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Jets, Pats vie to be year's first 2-0 team

Geno Smith of the the New York Jets.

Geno Smith of the the New York Jets. (Jim McIsaac) Credit: Geno Smith of the the New York Jets. (Jim McIsaac)

Sunday wasn’t pretty, but Jets fans will take the season-opening victory against the Buccaneers with a smile on their faces. Although it’s far less likely Gang Green would have pulled out the “W” if not for a Tampa Bay penalty that set up the game-winning field goal, the team finds itself 1-0 entering a matchup against the hated Patriots.

Here are three keys to the Jets becoming the first 2-0 team of 2013.

Force turnovers
It’s not quite a given that Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith will turn the ball over, but most rookies are prone to making mistakes. To combat that, they’ll need to go after Pats running back Stevan Ridley, who fumbled twice when the Pats beat the Bills, 23-21, on Sunday. Getting Tom Brady to throw a pick or two would be a nice bonus.

Run, run, run
Smith can’t be the one to lead the Jets in rushing every week, as he did on Sunday when he tallied 47 yards on six carries. Running backs Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory combined for 22 carries and 44 yards, with Powell coughing up the ball once against a stout Tampa Bay run defense. That’s just not good enough to win consistently.

Feed the tight ends
The Jets are already thin at wide receiver, and Jeremy Kerley won’t be there either due to a concussion. Good thing Kellen Winslow Jr. came through last week with a turn-back-the-clock performance (seven receptions, 79 yards, 1 TD). If they can get ailing Jeff Cumberland on the field alongside Winslow, all the better.
 

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