The New York Jets have struggled to defend the pass for much of this season, and they rank just 24th in the NFL in pass yards allowed per game, despite previously never ranking lower than 6th in the Rex Ryan era. However, things may be looking up for the Jets’ secondary. Antonio Cromartie is finally healthy, Dee Milliner is rounding into form and the Jets just signed Ed Reed to shore up their safety position.
Making things even better, the Jets are playing the Buffalo Bills and their 29th ranked pass offense on Sunday. As if that wasn’t enough, the Bills will be without both Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods, their two best receivers. The Jets were able to pressure and rattle Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel in the first meeting between these two teams, and they should have even more success in that area because of the Bills’ depleted receiving corps.
This is the perfect matchup for the Jets’ secondary get their play turned around, as Marcus Easley and Marquise Goodwin should be no trouble for Cromartie and Milliner. Another good performance from Milliner will go a long way towards building his confidence, and it could help turn him into a major asset down the stretch.
This game is also the perfect scenario to break Reed into the secondary. Since the Jets aren’t facing an elite passing attack, they will be able experiment with different safety combinations of Reed, Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen, allowing them to figure out the best pairings for different situations.
The Jets were able to dominate the Bills up front in Week 3, recording 8 sacks and 16 QB hits. If Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and the rest of the Jets’ outstanding front seven can generate that type of pressure again on Sunday, it will make the secondary’s life that much easier.
Things are set up perfectly for the Jets’ secondary to have their best game of the season. That is very important, because the Jets need this win to maintain their control over the sixth and final AFC playoff spot. This game could be a turning point for the Jets’ pass defense, and how they perform on Sunday will be a good indication how how prepared they are for the final stretch of the season.