Jets vs. Ravens: 3 things to watch

Ray Rice
Ray Rice has not been his usual self for the defending champion Ravens this season.
Credit: Getty Images

After a disaster in Buffalo last week that might cost them a wild-card spot, the Jets are teetering in must-win mode and they face a difficult task in Baltimore. The Ravens have underwhelmed with a 4-6 record but they are still a formidable side at home, posting a 3-1 mark at M&T Bank Stadium.

This is a winnable game for the Jets on paper, but they will need to be flawless in their execution, particularly on offense.

The last time the Jets played in Baltimore was Week 4 during the 2011 season in a 34-17 drubbing.

Three things to watch for …

1. As Always, It’s About Geno

In the loss at the Bills, Smith had the worst game of his young professional career. He completed just 34.8 percent of his attempts, threw three interceptions (and no touchdowns) and had a blindside fumble where he failed to notice on the pressure. He showed little pocket presence and played scared, consistently making poor choices.

“I think the more you think about it, the worse you’ll do. The best thing for me to do is just wipe it out of my mind [and] just play with a clean slate,” Smith said. “I pretty much do that every week. I’m not out there thinking about what happened three or four weeks ago when I’m playing, but when you make mistakes over and over that can accumulate and we can start talking about where you were headed Week 3 and how you’re doing. You want to see progress. So in that area I just have to continue to work at it and I know it’s going to get better. That’s not my nature as a quarterback or player. I think it’s just a matter of me growing as a quarterback, so I just have to continue to get better and not worry about the mistakes I made in college.”

Thankfully for Smith, the Ravens aren’t a tremendous pass defense. They’re No. 13 in the league, allowing 237.2 passing yards per game. If he can limit mistakes, Smith can move the ball against this team.

2. Ground to a Halt

The trademark of Baltimore’s offense has consistently been the ground game, led over the past few years by Rutgers product Ray Rice. But Rice has just 420 rushing yards on the season, on pace for the lowest total since his rookie season in 2008. The Jets have the league’s top run defense, making this a matchup they must win.

“Ray had the hip-flexor injury the second week against Cleveland,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. “Obviously that was a factor, but the problems are deeper than that, different than that and not something I really want to get into. But, we understand what they are.”

Keeping Rice and the entire Ravens backfield in check would make this a game quarterback Joe Flacco has to win in the air. That could be a good thing given Flacco’s struggles this year.

3. Think about the Wildcat

Considering the Jets’ struggles moving the ball the past few weeks, particularly in the air, it wouldn’t be the worst thing to see more of the Wildcat this week to keep the Ravens defense off balance. The Wildcat took a pleasant turn for the Jets with the midseason signing of Josh Cribbs, who played quarterback at Kent State and owns several passing records for the program. Cribbs’ ability to throw the ball accurately in addition to his speed and athleticism could be something the Jets exploit on Sunday to stretch Baltimore’s defense. Don’t be surprised to see a pass or two over the top to try to exploit the Ravens.

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…