Jets vs. Panthers: Passing Game Will Be Crucial

By Rich Welch
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Both the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers have faced offensive ineptitude this season, each for entirely different reasons with entirely different results. Cam Newton has been able to survive despite a limping offensive line, but a lack of explosive playmakers on the outside and a lack of time to throw the ball has left the Carolina offense without any punch.

The Jets have some strength up front with Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, but Geno Smith has been a turnover machine and Santonio Holmes is the only credible playmaker on the entire unit.

To make things worse, each team has a dominant defense that is loaded with talent up front, built to stop the run and put heavy pressure on both quarterbacks. Both offensive lines are going to have a hard time getting a push up front and preventing penetration, leaving little time for the backs to make decisions.

However, while these teams are stacked up front, their secondaries are vulnerable with a combination of youth and inexperience leaving them exposed.

Carolina has been able to get by with their patchwork secondary, but they got shredded by Drew Brees last Sunday to the tune of 313 yards and four touchdowns. The Jets’ secondary has a star in Antonio Cromartie, but rookie Dee Milliner has struggled for the 24th ranked pass defense in the league.

Carolina will have trouble matching up with the size and speed of Santonio Holmes, but hopefully the Panthers will be smart enough to double team him as the Jets have no other playmakers on offense. Carolina, however, may have a chance to break out.

Cromartie will most likely have Steve Smith locked up, but Brandon LaFell and Greg Olsen will have favorable matchups on the outside and over the middle. Cam Newton has to find a way to stay alive long enough to get the ball to them, but if he can the Panthers will have the edge.

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