Once again, the Jets are in “must-win” mode when they take on the Broncos in Denver. The surging Broncos have won three of their last four games — not the ideal bounce-back team as the Jets try to right themselves after a devastating blowout loss Sunday night to New England.
Three things to watch ...
1. Setting Their Mark
Five sacks conceded against New England is an unsettling sign for an offensive line that seemed to be coming together the past month. Quarterback Mark Sanchez was hurried and harried by the Patriots’ pass rush. Given Sanchez’s tendency to lock-in on receivers early, rattling the quarterback and forcing him to make throws early only exacerbates the problem. The Jets need to establish Shonn Greene early in the game to help take the heat off their quarterback.
“Once you just abandon the run game it’s very difficult and it makes it quite predictable,” Sanchez said. “So hats off to them. They played a heck of a game.”
2. Replacing Tomlinson
LaDainian Tomlinson won’t be available this week. Without Tomlinson, the Jets lose their best receiver out of the backfield and a player who can get valuable yards on third down. The Jets could well turn to fourth-round pick Bilal Powell, who has been inactive for the first nine games of the season.
“I’m excited, I’ve been waiting all season for it,” Powell said. “My chance is here.”
3. Up for the Rebound
Given their 37-16 loss on Sunday night, the Jets could well be a little down heading into this game, especially given their subdued nature this week on the practice field and in the locker room. But the good news for the Jets is that this game falls on a Thursday night, meaning the Jets have little time to dwell on their woes and have to focus on getting a win.
“It’s a good challenge,” Sanchez said. “There’s two ways to look at it — we can kind of hang our heads from the New England game and be upset about not being in the driver’s seat in the division or we can turn right around, get the bad taste out of your mouth and play well on Thursday in a short week. And I think it’s obvious what guys wanted to do.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.