Jets vs. Ravens: 3 things to watch
1. Ravens are now flying high
This isn’t the Baltimore of 2000. They were led by Trent Dilfer, a quarterback who limited mistakes and scored just enough points for the league’s top-ranked defense to take care of the rest.
These Ravens can score and move the ball, as evidenced by the 533 yards of total offense in their win over St. Louis. Joe Flacco, who set a career-high in passing last week is why the Ravens’ offense is soaring.
Ryan remembers being on the Ravens staff and watching Flacco as a rookie in training camp.
“I’m like, ‘Come on, let me see this guy. He’s not any good.’ Then, when he got here, it took about one day and then you saw him throw,” Ryan said. “It was like, ‘Whoa.’ He was so much better than anything we had.”
If Flacco has time in the pocket, he can pick a defense apart.
2. Jets must limit their mistakes
Not only can Flacco and Co. put up some points, this is a defense that is among the toughest units in the league.
“This is one of the best groups we’ll face all year, a physical group. They know their schemes really well,” quarterback Mark Sanchez said. “They’ve played together for a long time, so this is probably one of the best teams we’ll play, and we need to play well on the road, answer the call and play well against this really good team.”
Sanchez, who has three interceptions in the past two games, will need to limit mistakes.
3. A new mantra: ‘Stop Ray stop’
The mantra for former Rutgers product Ray Rice used to be “Run Ray Run” and Rice took his hard-charging ways from the Big East to the NFL.
Rice’s form must be a concern for the Jets’ defense, which gave up 171 yards and two touchdowns, including a 70-yard run, to Darren McFadden.
“We have to have set edges on our defense, and if you don’t do that, that’s where big runs happen,” Ryan said. “And obviously, a 70-yard run is about as big a run as you’re going to give up.”
Rice is the kind of running back who can punish a defense with solid runs and wear you down physically. It is a match-up that must worry the Jets.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.