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Inside the Jets-Eagles matchup

12/17/2011

The Jets try for their first win -- ever -- against the Eagles Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Let's go inside, with help from ESPN Stats & Information:

GREENE MACHINE: The Jets should use a heavy dose of RB Shonn Greene. Two reasons: 1. The Eagles aren't great against the run (18th overall). 2. It's what the Jets do. They called running plays on 63.6 percent of their snaps last week against the Chiefs, a season high. In the last two seasons, the Jets are 13-2 when at least 45 percent of their plays are designed running plays. They're 6-8 in all other games. In other words, it's what separates the Jets from very good to mediocre.

RUN D, Mc: The Jets' run defense will be focused on LeSean McCoy, the league's second-leading rusher. What makes him a potential problem for the Jets is his ability to attack the perimeter. In fact, he leads the league in rushing outside the tackles. If you notice, Eagles QB Michael Vick also is a terror on the outside. The leaders:

LeSean McCoy ... 466*

Matt Forte ........ 417

Michael Turner ... 361

Michael Vick ...... 343

Cam Newton ..... 325

*-League-high 28 rush 1st downs

SACK ATTACK: The Eagles recorded nine sacks last week against the Dolphins, tied for the third-most in franchise history. Jason Babin led the way with three, and he's now tied for second in the NFL with 15, the most by an Eagles player since Hugh Douglas in 2000 (15.0).

The Eagles' defense is predicated on rusher the passer. As RG Brandon Moore told me, "They stop the run on the way to the quarterback." They use the wide-9 front, which means one defensive end is lined up in the 9-technique. The Titans and Lions use a similar approach.

On thing about the Eagles: They rarely send extra pressure. They've used four or fewer rushers on 80 percent of pass play. They've sent extra pressure on only 90 dropbacks, the second-fewest in the league, behind the Colts. Maybe that's because they're not particularly effective with it. They've allowed six TD passes, with only one interception.

For the Jets, it comes down to their five OLM (plus any TEs or RBs) handling the Eagles' four rushers.

HANDLING VICK: In theory, blitzing Vick is a dangerous proposition because if he escapes, there's not much left between him and the end zone. But that appears to be the best strategy, as Vick has struggled against the blitz, especially when a DB is involved. His passer rating on pass rushes of 5+ players is only 72.6, and it drops to 50.2 when a DB is rushing.

He almost impossible to sack with a conventional rush. In fact, he's been sacked only four times in 216 dropbacks vs. a pass rusher of four or fewer. Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has been relatively conservative in his play calling this season, but based on this info, it makes sense for them to bring the heat.