by Steve Geller, email@example.com,posted Nov 1 2013 7:32AM
The 6-1 Saints are sure hoping this isn’t their only trip to Met Life Stadium this season. NY/NJ is the host city for this year’s Super Bowl; and while it may be a blizzard, who doesn’t want to be playing in the big game? The Jets are 4-4 and have been better than most expected this season. Head Coach Rex Ryan was thought to be on the hot seat this year, but he is really getting the most out of what he has to work with.
Here are some players I am keying in on in this match-up:
OLB Junior Galette
Galette is a big reason the Saints defense is thriving in the pressure department this year, and his fumble recovery on the first play of the game against Buffalo set the tone for the entire game last week.
He has 4 sacks this season, but they’ve all come at home. I think the cool, crisp New Jersey air will help add a little more pep to Galette’s step, and that he will have his way with the Jets shaky offensive line. New York has allowed 29 sacks this season. That ranks 2nd worst in the league. FEAR THE BEARD!
RB Darren Sproles
Now the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets are the stingiest team in the league against the run, allowing just 78 rushing yards a game to opponents, but Sproles isn’t used as a traditional RB in the Saints offense.
He is 2nd on the team in receiving yards with 366, and I have a feeling he’s going to explode this week after ending up with zero yards on 4 catches last week against the Bills.
S Raphael Bush
Big questions loom over the safety position for the Saints this week. Malcolm Jenkins and Kenny Vaccaro have missed practice time, while Roman Harper was back on a limited basis.
That leaves Bush as the only for sure thing to be suited up for Sunday. The undrafted product out of South Carolina State is now in his 3rd year in the NFL and has seen a good amount of playing time this season under coordinator Rob Ryan. Last year, the real R Bush saw action in all 16 games and managed to finish the year with 20 tackles. Through 7 games in 2013 he has 27 tackles.
If Bush is thrust into a starting role due to injuries, expect little to no drop-off as he’s rock solid in coverage.
QB Geno Smith
As expected it’s been an up & down season for the rookie. The 7th overall pick in this year’s draft has thrown 8 touchdown passes with 13 interceptions. He has showed great leadership and poise at times, though, leading his team to comeback victories over Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Atlanta and New England.
Expect the Saints to really give Smith the stress test with a lot of pressure to gauge how the youngster responds. If the trend of good game / bad game continues for Geno, then he should put up some decent numbers against the Black and Gold in week 9. The Jets have alternated wins and losses all season.
RB Chris Ivory
When the Saints traded Ivory to the Jets on the 2nd day of the NFL draft this year, you would think he was Deuce McAllister or something. The big bruising back put up some decent numbers during his 3 years in New Orleans but just couldn’t stay healthy.
This year has been no different. Ivory has only 230 yards rushing for the Jets and no touchdowns. Take that Ingram haters!
While Ivory says there is no added motivation to perform well in this game, you can better believe he is looking forward to barreling over some of his former teammates. I would not be surprised one bit if he finds the end zone for the first time this season and puts up over a 100 yards rushing in the process.
DT Sheldon Richardson
I actually had him going to the Saints in my mock draft this year with the 15th overall selection, but it was the Jets who grabbed the 6 ft 3 294 pound Missouri defensive tackle at #13. (The Saints took Vaccaro with the pick.)
Richardson has 37 tackles with 2.5 sacks and has been a monster at stuffing the run. Look for the impact that he and 3rd year man Mohamed Wilkerson have on the Saints O-line that has had issue protecting Brees.