Everything is on the line for the 5-7 Jets, who have a very winnable game this Sunday in Jacksonville. With a win, the Jets could start to really think about running the table and perhaps sneaking into the postseason. It is a tall order, but after last week’s narrow win over the Cardinals, anything can happen.
Three things to watch for …
1. The Blackmon factor
It has been difficult to gauge just how good Justin Blackmon, the Jaguars’ first-round pick this year, is but there’s no denying how good he could be. Blackmon went to Jacksonville with a strong resume at Oklahoma State, but at first he didn’t seem like the No. 5 pick in the draft. After registering a combined four catches in his first three games, Blackmon has shown the penchant for big plays expected of such a highly-touted draft pick. In five of his last six games, he’s registered multiple catches — the only exception being one reception last Sunday at Buffalo. Two weeks ago at Houston, he had seven catches for 236 yards and a touchdown.
“I’m going about eight weeks back, I just saw something kick in where every day out at practice I could see him getting better. I think it’s transferring to the field,” Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey said.
With 39 receptions for 557 yards and three touchdowns this year, he is a true threat down the field and over the middle.
2. No hanging Chad
Every once in a while, Jets head coach Rex Ryan mentions the name Chad Henne and shakes his head. In Week 3 of the 2010 season, the then-Dolphins starting quarterback had a magical night when he carved up the Jets secondary. On that Sunday night game, he was 26-of-44 for 363 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The Jets made Henne look like an All-Pro that game. Since taking over the starting job with the Jaguars midseason, Henne has been relatively solid.
“I definitely feel comfortable. Obviously getting the practice reps and all the looks in practice, getting with the wide receivers [and] getting timing down, so it’s been going pretty well for myself,” Henne said.
That game in Miami might stick with Ryan, but later that season, when Miami visited the Meadowlands, the Jets got their revenge as Henne completed just 27.8 percent of his passes.
3. Ground to a halt
The weakness of the Jets defense this year has been in the run game, where they are No. 29 in the league. The Jets are conceding 137.7 yards per game on the ground, a gaudy number for their opponents. The Jets catch a break, however, as running back Maurice Jones-Drew will be out for the game with a foot injury. Given their inability to stop the run, that is welcome news for the Jets.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.