FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Each week we will select two players on the New York Jets -- one on offense, one on defense -- who figure to play a key role in the upcoming game:
OFFENSE: Breno Giacomini, right tackle -- The Denver Broncos attack with bookend pass rushers, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. They're not always in the same place, but Miller usually lines up over the right tackle -- a tough assignment for Giacomini. Miller (team-high 3.5 sacks) is one of the most prolific young pass rushers in league history. He has 38.5 sacks in 44 games (0.88 per game), the second-best ratio in history. The San Francisco 49ers' Aldon Smith (0.98) is the only player with a better per-game average. Miller, who underwent major knee surgery last season, has regained his explosiveness, showing the ability to speed rush and close quickly on his prey. Meanwhile, Giacomini has yet to allow a sack, according to Pro Football Focus, but has yielded five quarterback hits. To neutralize Miller, his feet will have to move at a "Dancing-with-the-Stars" speed.
DEFENSE: Antonio Allen, safety/cornerback -- Allen was in our spotlight last week as a cornerback, but as you know, he played safety against the San Diego Chargers, allowing two touchdowns to tight end Antonio Gates. If he remains at safety -- which is likely -- it'll be another huge challenge. Tight end Julius Thomas has 19 touchdowns since the start of the 2013 season, tied for first in the NFL during that span. Thomas, a former basketball player, is an ultra-athletic pass catcher in the Jimmy Graham mold. He moves eveywhere in the formation, but he has lined up as a outside receiver on 33 percent of his routes. Peyton Manning is 8-for-9 with six touchdowns when targeting Thomas in the red zone. Allen has enjoyed some success in the past against top receiving tight ends, but you have to wonder where his head is after getting yanked around by the coaches.