Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson says he's not giving a second thought to Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh before Sunday's matchup of two of the NFL's top defenses at MetLife Stadium. After all, they won't be lining up across from each other like two sumo wrestlers.
"I don't go against Suh," Wilkerson said. "I worry about what's going on with myself and the rest of the D-line. I don't worry about Suh . . . As long as we stop the run and do a good job of containing [wide receiver] Calvin Johnson, we'll be fine."
Still, it's likely a good deal of the TV commentary will be directed at comparing Wilkerson and Suh, two of the most physical and skilled defensive linemen in the NFL. Both anchor two of the top defensive lines.
Suh gets powerful help on the inside from tackle Nick Fairley, and the same is true for Wilkerson, who benefits when tackles Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison get a good push in the middle. The Lions come in ranked No. 1 in total defense (244.3 yards per game), and the Jets are No. 2 (268.3).
Wilkerson had a scare in the Jets' Monday night home loss to Chicago when he had to leave the game with a knee injury. But he practiced fully Friday and is probable.
"It's still a little sore," Wilkerson said, "but I'll be all right come Sunday."
Though Wilkerson is determined to ignore his Lions counterparts, outside linebacker Quinton Coples, who alternates between rushing and dropping into pass coverage, said the Jets' defenders are looking forward to the challenge of matching the Lions.
"I think the media did a great job of hyping the No. 1 vs. the No. 2 defense," Coples said. "It's going to be a great show. Ndamukong Suh is a great player, and they have a great defensive front, actually. We've got to do what we've got to do. We respect those guys, but at the end of the day, we have to make sure they respect us and understand we're here, too."
The job of the Jets' pass rush is a tough one. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is known for his quick release. The Lions are sixth in passing offense (277.3) and second in third-down conversions (56.3 percent), and 45 of their 62 first downs have come through the air.
"He does two reads," Coples said of Stafford. "He checks to see if Johnson is open, and then he checks down to Reggie Bush or [Joique] Bell or whoever the running back is. He's pretty good with that, but we're going to have some things to get after him."