The bye week is here and gone for the New York Jets, a dinged up team now returning to health ahead of Week 6 and the Washington Redskins. And while the Redskins may not look it, they are a pretty good team.
The 2-3 Redskins are bland in some areas, particularly a ground game that lacks imagination and doesn’t really seem to align itself with their scheme. But they do have big play potential and Kirk Cousins can make throws down the field when he has time, but he is also prone to mistakes and errors when pressured. And their defense, while it struggles in consistently stopping the run, is very quietly putting together a solid season.
The key to this game will be all about bringing the pressure, especially with Sheldon Richardson returning from a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. If the Jets can get into that backfield, they should be able to stop this Redskins passing game that can be dangerous if Cousins has time in the pocket.
Create pressure, hit the quarterback. If the Jets do these things they will be 4-1 by late afternoon this Sunday. Here are three things to watch’ from the Jets in Week 6:
Slowing Down DeSean
A hamstring injury has limited DeSean Jackson in recent weeks but the Redskins speedster at wide receiver will play this Sunday and give his team a much-needed dimension on offense. Jackson can stretch the field but also go over the middle, giving quarterback Kirk Cousins some relief. “It will be a big impact. He is one of our most explosive players,” said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. “He’s our most explosive player. When you lose a guy of that caliber, it’s hard to replace him. Hopefully, we’ll get him back, but only time will tell. He’s getting better and progressing nicely.” Over the past six seasons, Jackson has four years where he’s topped 1,000 yards.
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Cloning Week 4 Fitzpatrick
Outside of Week 3 when he threw three interceptions and looked shaky in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Ryan Fitzpatrick has been relatively steady. He’s on pace for a season that would put him near the top of the Jets record books for passing yards and touchdowns in a season. But he’ll also be near the top in turnovers as well, something that could hurt this 3-1 team’s playoff chances. “Sacks and turnovers are two things that we really put an emphasis on. Obviously, the turnovers especially on my end have to come down a little bit in terms of the interceptions,” Fitzpatrick said this week. “I think we’re on the right track in terms of what we’re doing with not giving up a lot of sacks.” The bearded one nailed the sacks part: Fitzpatrick has been taken down only two times this NFL season, a stark contrast to the protection issues from the past few seasons.
Run the Ball
The Redskins have a very, very under-rated defense but one area where they can be exposed is the ground game. Teams haven’t pounded this defense very much but they are giving up 4.4 yards per carry, a number that puts them in the bottom half of the league. The Jets, with their own vaunted running game, should be able to reel off some nice gains and keep things open down the field for their wide receivers. Don’t be surprised to see the Jets go heavy with the run early in the game, then hit Brandon Marshall and Devin Smith down the field.