Keys to the Game- Week Four: New York Jets @ Baltimore

Week 4: New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens

Sunday October 2, 2011 8:35 PM

Line: Ravens -4 O/U 43

Week one up, week two down, week three up, week four? Which Ravens team is going to show up for Sunday prime time? Will it be the Ravens who have single handedly embarrassed the Fearsome Steelers and Lackluster Rams? Or will it be the Ravens who took a massive nosedive into the pavement against Tennessee? Well folks, as they say, that’s why we play the game. The Ravens are 6-1 all time against the Jets and haven’t lost to them since Vinny Testaverde was still under center. However, that’s by no means a guarantee for victory. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this week’s keys to the game. Keys to the Game

Keep Rice Rolling

After watching Oakland’s Darren McFadden abuse the Jets’ run defense for 178 yards last week, it should come as no surprise that this week’s primary goal is to get Ray Rice the ball and let him exploit the edges of the New York pass rush. The Ravens will need Ray, or at the very least the threat of Ray, to keep the secondary honest and open up the passing lanes over the middle and up top.

Stretch the Field

The Ravens absolutely embarrassed the Rams over the top last weekend. Torrey Smith’s three touchdown catches in the first quarter were a beautiful thing to watch for a fan base who has long suffered without a legitimate deep threat.

Although the Jets have a very good secondary, the Ravens must not be afraid to attack the top of the field to free up the middle and allow Ray Rice to get his traction. Fearing Revis or Cromartie is the first step in getting yourself beat.

Exploit the Line

It’s no great secret that the Jets’ primary weakness comes along their offensive line. They’re a banged up inexperienced unit who can be vulnerable to aggressive interior pressure. The key to the Ravens defense this week is sending Cheeseburger Cody up the middle and wrecking as much havoc as he can against Mark Sanchez. That brings me to my next point.

Drive Sanchez into the Ground

Mark Sanchez is a decently good quarterback when he’s given the time to make his throws. If you get after him though, he’s sloppy, erratic, and prone to turnovers. The major key for the likes of Jarrett Johnson, Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Ray Lewis, will be getting after Sanchez early and often and getting him down quickly. If they can get him rattled, this will be a much easier game to manage.

Stay Focused

Two things worry me about Sunday Night’s matchup. One, the Ravens have demonstrated this season already that they are prone to lapses in focus after big wins, and two, they don’t have the best record on the national stage. I think they just sort of get off track a bit when playing under the lights. It’s been less of a problem under Harbaugh, but it’s still something they’ll have to contend with. The Jets are used to playing in a fishbowl, the Ravens however, will have to rise to the occasion and stay focused if they’re going to win.

Ravens Gab Predictions

Jonathon Scruggs (2-1)

Last year the final score came down to one point and a 4th down stop late in the game. This year I’m not expecting the same low scoring slug fest, but I do feel that this is probably going to be the Steelers/Ravens type match we all expected from week one.

Ravens 20 — Jets 16

Matt Jergensen (1-2)

Emotions will run high in prime time. Rex will out to prove his old bosses wrong and that could be his undoing. Turnovers are the story in this game. The Ravens usually do a good job protecting the football and turning the opponent over. I see that trend continuing and look for the Ravens defensive stars to shine on Sunday night.

Ravens 27 – Jets 20

Gene Winner (2-1)

A key on defense for the Ravens is that the secondary must contain the Jets outside threats. I have a feeling the Ravens defense will have a good game confusing QB Mark Sanchez. Other than the Jets corners, no one on their defensive front poses a huge threat for the Ravens offense. They have struggled against the run and the Ravens need to get Ray Rice going early.

Ravens 23 – Jets 13

Ben Zinman (-)

For the first time since Rex became the Jets head coach the Jets look very beatable. Last week their run defense was exposed by the Oakland Raiders. Keeping Flacco upright is vital to a Ravens victory. The rebuilt offense and Flacco’s ability to throw downfield  will be key to a win. I do not trust the Ravens secondary. I think they are a disaster which has so far been Just OK. The run defense is fine and if Sanchez takes multiple hits and hurries then this game will not be as tight as some people think.

Ravens 27  Jets 17

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