<
>

Inside the Jets-Broncos matchup

DENVER -- It'll be a perfect night for football -- no rain in the forecast, temperatures a chilly 44 degrees. The question is, will it be a night of perfect football?

Here's an in-depth look at Jets-Broncos, with help from ESPN Stats & Information (some Denver nuggets, if you will):

DENVER HEAT: Everybody has been focusing on Tim Tebow and the Broncos' unconventional offense, but the Jets can't sleep on the defense (not a shot at Darrelle Revis). The Broncos are a pressure defense. LG Matt Slauson told me the offensive line studied tape of the pressure schemes, and "it seemed like the pressure tape went on forever."

The Broncos have rushed five or more 149 times, the fourth-highest total in the league -- and 46 percent of their pass plays. They've recorded 14 sacks with 5+ rushes, although it has left them vulnerable on the back end -- six TD passes, only one INT. Their edge rushers are rookie Von Miller (eight sacks) and Elvis Dumervil (four sacks, all in the last three games).

SANCHEZ VS. PRESSURE: For all his recent hiccups, QB Mark Sanchez isn't half-bad against extra pressure. His problem has been the standard pass rush (four or fewer rushers). He has completed only 57.3 percent, better than only one QB -- Jaguars rookie Blaine Gabbert (50.0). Sanchez has throw eight of his nine interceptions against standard rushes, an indication that his problems stem from dealing with coverage.

SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE: The Broncos used to be a really good home team. Those days are gone. They've lost four of their last five at home, and they've gone 5-12 dating to Week 9 of the 2009 season. Only the Dolphins have been worse over that span.

Thing is, the Jets haven't been a good road team -- 1-4, although they're riding a one-game winning streak (Buffalo).

STOPPING TEBOW & CO.: This is a no-brainer: The game falls on the Jets' ability to stop Tebow and the Broncos' second-ranked rushing offense from running all over the place. If the Broncos are smart, they'll run left.

While the Jets' overall rush defense has been fairly solid (4.0 per carry, ninth-best in the league), they've been getting gashed on runs to their right side (the offense's left). It's hard to pin that on one or two players because the Jets adjust their personnel based on the strength of the offensive formation -- in other words, they flip flop -- but it's certainly an indictment of the DEs and OLBs. No doubt, the loss of OLB Bryan Thomas has hurt a lot. They haven't found a replacement for him, and now they're trying Garrett McIntyre in the base.

Here's a breakdown of the Jets' rush defense by direction:

Category -- Left -- Middle -- Right

Yds/rush ..... 5.41 ... 3.77 ... 3.19

20-yd rush ... 5 ....... 1 ......... 0

TD .................. 5 ........ 2 ....... 2

AIR TEBOW: Tebow doesn't throw a lot, but when he does, he's looking for the home run. He leads the league in average air yards per pass (minimum: 100 attempts), including a mind-blowing average of 20.0 on eight pass attempts last week against the Chiefs (he connected only twice. Revis is right; they'd better not fall asleep in the secondary.

Leaders in average air yards

Tim Tebow ....... 13.0

Cam Newton ..... 10.0

Christian Ponder.. 10.0

Eli Manning ....... 9.9

Jason Campbell . . 9.8