It's been a rough three weeks for the Jets away from MetLife Stadium.

The journey began with a disappearing act in the Black Hole in Oakland, followed by a crabby dud in Baltimore. Then came Sunday's deflating defeat, a win so sweet for the Patriots that it apparently still had Bill Belichick feeling chipper Monday.

So now the Jets find themselves mired in a three-game losing streak, and some people already are beginning to shovel dirt on them. Think about it: If Tony Romo doesn't make two inexplicable mistakes in the fourth quarter of the opener, the Jets could be staring at a 1-4 start.

A few weeks ago, who would have thought Monday night's date with the 0-4 Dolphins would turn out to be so critical? But the Jets will be 0-2 in the AFC East if they lose the second game of a stretch in which they play four of five against division opponents.

That's why they have to turn this around immediately. Otherwise, they might have no tiebreakers within the division, which would make it nearly impossible to make the playoffs. Here are three things the Jets have to do to reverse course:

 

Plug the defensive leaks

Letting the Raiders' Darren McFadden rip them to shreds for 176 yards and that 70-yard touchdown on which the Jets lost containment was bad enough. But letting New England's BenJarvus Green-Ellis carve them up for a career-high 136 yards is a sign they have deeper issues within a run defense allowing 134.8 yards a game.

Before this season, the Jets allowed three 100-yard rushers under Rex Ryan, and it's now happened twice in three weeks. They also must shore up the middle of the field. Teams are picking on safety Eric Smith, and he's not handling it consistently enough, with the latest example coming Sunday on Wes Welker's 73-yarder when Smith was out of position.

They also have to get off the field more often in third-down situations, in which the Patriots were 7-for-14.

 

Adjust quicker on 'O'

Too many times, it seems as if the Jets don't switch up their game plan on the fly. Part of the problem could be related to their identity crisis, wanting to pound the ball with the run one week, then have Mark Sanchez pass frequently the next. They were as balanced as they've been all season against the Patriots, yet it still was fruitless.

They have to find a way to take better advantage of their mismatches, incorporate all their weapons into the mix and run the ball effectively while also maintaining a constant rhythm. All of that will help protect Sanchez, who's taken a beating and has gotten a case or two of happy feet.

 

Get it to Dustin

It's no coincidence that, typically, when Dustin Keller is a force, the Jets are a hard team to beat. After leading them with 249 yards and two touchdowns on 16 receptions during the first three weeks, the tight end has been a non-factor of late. He has three catches for 19 yards in the past two games, and was targeted only twice against the Patriots in part because Keller said he was being rerouted after he got off the line. "Once you see something like that," he said, "you see it for the rest of the season."

No one is saying force the ball to him, but it goes back to adjustments. There has to be a way to keep him involved on a weekly basis, because the Jets have outside threats in Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress. Keller is extremely key to their success and they have to get him the ball.

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