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There is no secret about the game plan when facing a Denver Broncos team led by Tim Tebow. There will be a lot of options and running the ball and virtually no throwing. While it may seem easy to defend, Tebow is 3-1 since taking over the starting job in Denver.
The Jets are coming off a disappointing loss at home to the Patriots that all but killed any chance of them winning the AFC East, and looking to bounce back on a short week when they face the Broncos, who are suddenly back in the race for the AFC West, on Thursday night.
The Jets had a golden opportunity to take control of their playoff destiny and the AFC East, but lost 37-16 to the Patriots and snapped a three game winning streak. The game was characterized by sloppy play, including a missed 24 yard field goal, a muffed punt that the Jets failed to recover three times, a pick six, and a stupid timeout.
Sanchez didn’t show up to play, throwing two interceptions and getting sacked five times. The timeout he called before the half prompted coach Rex Ryan to tell NBC at halftime that it was the “stupidest play in NFL history.” “There’s plenty of football left to play,” center Nick Mangold said. “We’re excited about the opportunity to get out there Thursday night and, you know, right the wrongs.”
The Jets are facing the polar opposite this week as the Patriots featured a lot of spread offenses while the Broncos are strictly a running team. This might pose some problems for the Jets defense that statistically is better against the pass with their talented cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. The Jets rank 8th against the pass giving up 210.8 yards per game.
On Sunday Denver rushed the ball 55 times in its win over Kansas City and had 244 yards on the ground. Tebow only attempted 8 passes all game completing 2, though one of the completions was a 56 yard touchdown to Eric Decker. The Jets faced a season-high 39 pass attempts Sunday against the Patriots holding them to 60 yards on 28 carries.
The Jets are still only rank 15th against the run giving up 116.0 yards per contest. The Broncos have the 2nd best rushing attack in football averaging 158.2 yards per game, but have been averaging 246.0 yards in their past three games. “I think it’s just one more thing for people to prepare for,” Tebow said of Denver’s unique offense.
“It’s not like we went out there and did a lot (Sunday) but it’s something you have to scheme for, you have to prepare for and you have to be sound.” There might be some changes for the Broncos in the backfield, though it likely won’t change how the team runs the ball. On Sunday starter Willis McGahee left the game with a hamstring injury and is listed as Questionable.
Backup Knowshon Moreno also was hurt Sunday suffering a torn ACL which will end his season. Sunday they had to turn to third string tailback Lance Ball who was effective rushing for 96 yards on 30 carries, with Tebow adding 43 and a score on 9 carries. They will turn to Ball and second year back Jeremiah Johnson if McGahee can’t go.
The Jets also look to run the ball, though not to the extreme that the Broncos do. They’re averaging 125.5 yards on the ground in their last four games with Shonn Greene averaging 80.8. LaDanian Tomlinson who was hurt late in the game Sunday will not play this week and the Jets have activated rookie Bilal Powel from the practice squad.
The last meeting between the teams was last year and the Jets won 24-20 with a late touchdown from Tomlinson to seal the win. Tebow was only used as a runner in that game carrying the ball 6 times for 23 yards.
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