W2W4: New England Patriots vs New York Jets

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When the Jets Run the Ball:

Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) hands the ball off to running back Chris Ivory (33) during the first half of a game against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets offensive philosophy remains centered around running back Chris Ivory. As the bell-cow in New York, his workload may increase this week with third-down receiving back Bilal Powell injured and not in the lineup on Sunday. Yes, the Jets were planning to run the ball anyway, but with Powell out, it means more Ivory time on third down.

The Jets are 4-0 with Ivory in the lineup and 0-1 without him. One week after plowing through the Miami Dolphins defense for 166 yards Ivory went off for 146 yards against Washington (all stats from Pro-Football-Reference unless otherwise noted). The Patriots will have their work cut out for them trying to stop Ivory.

The improvement of Ivory comes from improved play up front. Left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold are longtime stalwarts. Right tackle Breno Giacomini was joined by former Seahawks linemate James Carpenter and the duo are driving run blockers. Right guard Willie Colon is growing long in tooth, but has played well to date.

Sep 20, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills tackle Cordy Glenn (77) and New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones (95) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Patriots beat the Bills 40-32. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

New England has invested in their front seven this offseason but will be without top run stopping defensive end Jabaal Sheard who is out injured. Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich will have to set the edge and turn Ivory back inside to the linebackers and defensive tackles.

Inside, the Patriots have used penetrating young tackles Dominique Easley and Malcom Brown as a duo while veteran Alan Branch and Sealver Siliga have been the early down run-stoppers. However, it has been Easley and Brown who have been most effective against the run the past few games. Of course, adding a healthy Dont’a Hightower to the defense can only help.

The New England defense has allowed 571 yards rushing and a 4.8 yards per attempt average in five games. However, the stats are slightly skewed due to the fact that New England has spent a majority of time in a sub package.  Against the Steelers and Colts, New England was daring the teams to run the ball and pass on attacking with their potent passing attacks.

When the Patriots have tried to stop the run, they looked good. Granted it was against Jacksonville and Dallas, but adding a third linebacker and going back to base defense has been solid. At the goal line, their jumbo package has been impressive in stopping runners. However, until they prove they can slow Chris Ivory on Sunday, the Jets will be featuring him all afternoon.


Next: When the Jets Pass the Ball