The Jets never do well against Baltimore, but the loss against the Raiders means they have to perform on Sunday night. Frank Doyle previews the action.
The Ravens are the last team the Jets want to play right now. The Ravens are the Jets’ bogey team – the Jets have only beaten Baltimore once, and have lost the other six encounters. That one win was fourteen years ago, the first ever meeting between the teams, and it’s been downhill since.
Their most recent meeting was the Monday Night opener of last season, a mauling war of attrition that the Ravens won 10-9. The Jets had only sixty yards passing that night – with their current struggles with the running game, the Jets could be looking at a bad beating if that sad passing statistic repeats itself.
The Jets are a team going through something of a crisis. They need to establish the run on offense but that hasn’t been happening for them. Even more worryingly, the Jets couldn’t defend the run against the Raiders, giving up 234 passing yards. That’s unthinkable for a Rex Ryan coached team, and they can’t let it happen again.
The Ravens outmatch the Jets in terms of rushing offense – the Ravens are getting 127.7 yards per game against the Jets’ 82. Shone Green has been a disappointment and LaDainian Tomlinson is in the winter of his career (although Tomlinson remains a valuable option in the Jets’ passing offense).
The Jets have to establish the run in their offense and stop the run in their defense, forcing Joe Flacco to pass. Flacco is always under pressure in terms of his passing, which can be a little unfair. He was outstanding against Pittsburgh, awful at Tennessee and good again at St Louis. The Jets have shutdown corners in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. They won’t offer Flacco much.
But then, the Ravens might just choose to run at Jets and see how they like it. While the Jets enjoy the top-rated pass defense in the NFL, only the Rams have given up more rushing yards per game. The Ravens have Ricky Williams to run between the tackles and Ray Rice to go around them. The Jets will see plenty of those guys on Sunday.
The NFL betting line on the game is Baltimore -3.5, which seems about right. The over/under is set at 41, which is low in what has been a high scoring year in football (the average total for the season so far is 44.5). Of course, nobody is expecting this game to be a shootout, but the average total score of seven previous encounters between the teams is 32.4. The Under isn’t an easy bet to watch on a nationally televised game, but it could be the smart play on Sunday night.