Jets playoff primer

Posted Jan. 05, 2011 @ 3:01 a.m.
Posted By PFW staff

PFW examines the Jets as they prepare for the playoffs, identifying the keys to the offense and the defense, a player to watch, and what they have to do to win the Super Bowl.

New York Jets
11-5 / Second place in AFC East

Keys to offense: When they're at their best, the Jets are running the ball between the tackles and using play-action to stretch defenses deep. RBs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene provide the team with two reliable ballcarriers, and each can break big runs if given room to operate. QB Mark Sanchez is never going to be confused with Michael Vick, but he is capable of making athletic plays outside the pocket with both his arms and legs, although he must avoid throws into heavy traffic.

Keys to defense: With a pair of top-of-the-line corners in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie on the outside, the Jets want to crowd the line of scrimmage, put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and force teams into making mistakes. Because the CBs can lock down on receivers one-on-one, that usually means heavy blitzes from multiple angles and formations. Nickel coverage and over-the-top safety help have been issues lately because of some injuries in the secondary — particularly to FS Jim Leonhard — but that won't stop the Jets from bringing the heat up front.

Player to watch: It's hard to see the Jets doing much in the playoffs if WR Santonio Holmes doesn't make his presence felt. A big-play threat with a history of coming up huge in the postseason, Holmes has emerged as Sanchez's favorite target over the second half of the season. While he's a solid option over the middle, Holmes does his best work deep down the field and is one of the best in the league at keeping his balance and making plays along the sideline.

They'll win the Super Bowl if ... Revis Island is open for business. The Pro Bowl-bound corner is the best player on the Jets and the one most capable of dominating a game on his own. If he can shut down top receivers and allow the other defenders to wreak havoc, the team can fulfill Rex Ryan's preseason prediction of Gang Green making it to Dallas and coming home with the Lombardi Trophy.