It can’t possibly be worse than last Sunday, but it could still be bad.
The battered and bruised Jets are clearly a team on the decline, having lost star players Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes for the remainder of the season in consecutive weeks. Then they were on the wrong side a humiliating, 34-0, home loss to the 49ers last weekend. The task tonight might be even more difficult when they host the Texans, arguably the best team in the AFC.
What to watch for ...
1. Will Cromartie step up against Johnson?
With Darrelle Revis gone, Antonio Cromartie will be asked to step-up again this week.
He will have to do that against Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, who has 33 catches for 492 yards and two touchdowns and is closing in on 10,000 receiving yards in his career.
“He’s a big, physical receiver that can get in and out of his breaks,” Cromartie said. “He knows how to use his body very well. The biggest thing for me is just going in and playing my game.”
Cromartie has been watching film from 2009 when Revis limited Johnson to four catches for 35 yards.
2. Can the Jets stop Foster and Tate?
Not much went right last Sunday, least of which was a run defense that allowed the 49ers 16 rushing first downs and a total of 245 yards on the ground.
The Jets have the league’s second-worst run defense, allowing 4.9 yards per carry and 172.8 yards per game. In other words, Arian Foster and Ben Tate must be licking their lips in the Texans backfield.
“We have to get back to what we do. We have to defend the run. Sometimes, we have to do it in a lighter box,” defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said. “That’s been the challenge laid out to the guys.”
3. What kind of performance can Sanchez provide?
The offense has been so bad it is averaging just 10 points per game over the last three games and quarterback Mark Sanchez is largely to blame.
He’s made poor decisions, has struggled with ball security and is still forcing the ball to his first read. In other words, he’s the same guy under center for the 8-8 Jets last year.
“There are no do-overs. You’re out there and the game is happening fast. The ball is in his hands every single play,” offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.