- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The reeling New York Jets (2-2) will be in the national spotlight when they host the undefeated Houston Texans (4-0) on "Monday Night Football." The Jets will be without two of their best players: Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis (knee) and top receiver Santonio Holmes (foot).
Here are three things to look for in this game:
Who's No. 1? The New York Jets had a clear No. 1 receiver in Holmes, who was lost for the season in last week's loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He was New York’s most dynamic and consistent playmaker. But with Holmes gone, who will step up and become the No. 1 option? The options are not household names. The Jets will go with receivers Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, Jason Hill and Clyde Gates. Rookie second-round pick Stephen Hill is listed as “doubtful.” Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez needs someone to step up in the passing game.
Dwindling defense: New York’s defense has been a shell of itself compared to the past three seasons. The Jets are ranked 20th in total defense and has been surprisingly bad against the run. New York is 31st in run defense, allowing 172.8 rushing yards per game. But New York’s defense is the strength of the team and must step up for the Jets to have any chance to salvage their season. Last week, the Jets’ defense was called out by San Francisco 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers for quitting. Let’s see how New York’s defense responds against a very good Houston offense.
Shrinking leash: Speaking of Sanchez, this is a huge crossroads game for him. It's been four years of ups and downs, and Jets fans are tired of waiting. A franchise quarterback can lift the level of the team through injuries and adversity. Can Sanchez do that for the Jets? It’s time for Sanchez to show and prove in his fourth season. He’s been up and down so far and needs to play well. If not, the Jets could turn to popular backup quarterback Tim Tebow sooner than later.