WATCH: 3 Keys to New York Jets Victory in Week 5 at Philadelphia Eagles
The New York Jets (0-3) will take to the road in Week 5, searching for their first win of the 2019 season - and first win in franchise history - against the Philadelphia Eagles (2-2).
The Eagles are off to an inconsistent start this year but seem to be trending in the right direction after their dramatic win over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football in Week 4.
The Jets, who are dealing with a broken offense and are still in the midst of a frustrating quarterback situation, may have their hands full against a well-balanced Eagles squad that will have plenty of momentum on their side.
A lot will need to break their way to pull off the upset, but if Gang Green wants to leave Philadelphia in the win column, they’ll need to do the following.
Offense: Air it out
Leaning on Le’Veon Bell (56 rushing attempts out of 172 total plays) has clearly been New York’s offensive philosophy so far. However, besides the fact that doing so has become a predictable strategy, the Jets will need to utilize a more pass-oriented game plan against the Eagles if they want to win on Sunday.
Philadelphia’s stop unit has been almost impossible to run on this year (62.0 yards rushing allowed, No. 4 in the NFL), but its secondary has been torn to shreds in almost every game.
Through the first four weeks of the season, the Eagles are allowing a league-worst 323.8 yards passing per game; and it’s not like they’ve been the victim of elite quarterback play in every contest, either.
In Week 1, Philly actually allowed Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum - of all players - to rack up 380 yards through the air, which is actually the second-highest single-game total the team has allowed this year.
Defense: Generate consistent pressure
The Eagles have one of the game’s most well-rounded offenses and are capable of beating teams in a variety of ways. However, pressuring quarterback Carson Wentz has been a tried and true formula for success for Philly’s opponents this year.
Wentz has been shaky facing consistent pressure and if he’s taken down more than once in a game, an Eagles win might as well be out of reach.
The 26-year-old signal-caller has been sacked multiple times in two of Philly’s games this season and ultimately struggled to maintain his composure, recording a 76.5 passer rating, 17.7 bad throw percentage, and two interceptions while completing just 55.7 percent of his pass attempts across those two games.
Consequently, Philadelphia sports an 0-2 record when conceding multiple sacks in a game. Gang Green has struggled to get to the quarterback this season and is averaging just 1.7 sacks per game (No. 25 in the NFL) so far.
If New York expects to win, Gregg Williams will need to put together a creative defensive game plan in order to manufacture the consistent pressure necessary to get into Wentz’s head.
Player Spotlight: Contain Zach Ertz
The roster of the Eagles features a bevy of talented players with several Pro Bowl and All-Pro team selections. However, Zach Ertz is arguably the best of the bunch and has been incredibly vital to Philly’s success this season.
The 29-year-old tight end is the go-to target in the Eagles’ offense, leading the team in total targets (38), red-zone targets (six), receptions (25), first-down receptions (13), and yards receiving (255).
While he hasn’t scored a touchdown this season, Ertz is seeing more than enough volume to do some serious damage and New York will need to contain the two-time Pro Bowler if it wants to keep Philly’s offense in check.
Surprisingly, though, containing Ertz may not be the monumental task it appears to be on the surface; as long as Gang Green can maintain their defensive form, that is.
The Jets have been one of the best in the league at defending tight ends this year, allowing just 81 yards receiving (No. 2 in the NFL) and no touchdowns to opposing tight ends.