Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets
By: Mitch Light | 9/9/10, 5:16 PM EDT
Two trendy picks square off in primetime at the New Meadowlands Stadium. The chatty Jets have made it clear that it’s Super Bowl or bust this season. For all the brash talk and hype this offseason, Rex Ryan’s bunch will be challenged by a revamped Ravens’ passing attack that includes newcomers Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Third-year quaterback Joe Flacco has one of the league’s most dynamic and versatile threats out of the backfield in Ray Rice at his disposal. Ryan’s top-ranked defense from a year ago will surely be tested by the multi-faceted Baltimore attack. Don’t think for a minute that Ryan, who was passed up for John Harbaugh for the Ravens’ job three ago, wouldn’t like to deliver a message to his former employer.
Two keys for the Jets
• Will All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis be rusty after missing the preseason due to a protracted holdout? The man with his own island marginalized every star wide receiver he faced a year ago. After a 36-day holdout, he’ll be challenged by the physical Boldin, whose crisp intermediate route running could give Revis some trouble.
• Mark Sanchez must eliminate the mistakes that plagued him as a rookie. Simply put: He was an enigma last year. After a turnover-prone regular season (20 INTs), Sanchez made smart decisions in the Jets run to the AFC Championship Game. He’ll face a secondary in shambles without all-world safety Ed Reed and cornerback Dominique Foxworth.
Two keys for the Ravens
• Flacco needs to quickly decipher the array of blitzes that Ryan will throw at them. If the offensive line gives him adequate protection, he has more than enough pass catching options to move the ball though the air against a secondary that includes a pair of new corners (Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson).
• Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg will have to slow down the Jets’ ground-and-pound attack. Of course, wearing down bruising Shonn Greene, who takes over as the feature back, is no easy task.
The Jets defense will keep Flacco in check and Greene will help Ryan’s team control the clock in what promises to be a white knuckler. Jets 20–16.