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New York Jets face lackluster Green Bay Packers with 6-1 start at stake

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers Photo Credit: Getty Images

Rested and rehabilitated, the Jets return from their bye week on Sunday with the inconsistent but talented Green Bay Packers waiting for them at the New Meadowlands Stadium (1 p.m., FOX).

Star cornerback Darrelle Revis nursed his hamstring back to 100 percent this week; he intends to “settle in and just play football,” he told reporters.

That’s good news for the Jets’ (5-1) pass defense, hoping to regain its swagger against the Pack’s Aaron Rodgers (150-235, 1,841 yds., 12 TD, 9 INT), the NFL’s fifth-ranked passer.
The injury-riddled Packers (4-3), with 10 players on season-ending injured reserve (half of them starters), are still a solid team, falling by only three points in each of their losses.

Apply the finishing touch
The three-point margins of defeat in Green Bay’s three losses — two in overtime (Washington, Miami), one with eight seconds remaining (Chicago) — reveal a more telling statistic regarding the Pack’s offense: It has been outscored 46-24 during fourth quarters this season. With the league’s second-ranked rushing attack, Gang Green has outscored opponents 48-26 in the final quarter, and should rely on its “ground and pound” approach to limit the Packers’ late opportunities.

Bracing for turbulence
The three-point margins of defeat in Green Bay’s three losses — two in overtime (Washington, Miami), one with eight seconds remaining (Chicago) — reveal a more telling statistic regarding the Pack’s offense: It has been outscored 46-24 during fourth quarters this season. With the league’s second-ranked rushing attack, Gang Green has outscored opponents 48-26 in the final quarter, and should rely on its “ground and pound” approach to limit the Packers’ late opportunities.

Fight-or-flight response
Since becoming the starter in 2008, Rodgers has been sacked 98 times — including 14 this season — forcing him to be one of the league’s most mobile quarterbacks. He handles the pass rush well, but his nine picks prove he isn’t mistake-free. The Jets’ secondary can’t allow Rodgers’ elusiveness to lure them away from their assignments, or he will find a receiver in open space. Pressure is on the pass rush to track Rodgers in the time between testing the coverage and deciding to flee.

Push the line of scrimmage
Despite Clay Matthews’ NFL-best sack totals (8.5), Green Bay’s front seven isn’t as dangerous with injuries to defensive ends Cullen Jenkins (borther of the Jets' Kris Jenkins) and Ryan Pickett, who didn’t practice this week. Given the strength of the Jets’ offensive line, creating space for LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene should become easier as the game progresses.

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