Former Marshall University quarterbacks Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich square off in a match-up that a week ago appeared to be one-sided in favor of the Jacksonville. The Jaguars' defensive minded head coach Jack Del Rio, who likes to pound the ball and let his defense control the tempo of the game, found his team relying on big plays through the air in order to stay in a game they eventually lost to Washington in overtime last week.
Eric Mangini, another conservative, defense-first coach, took risk-taking to a new level, attempting two fourth-and-short conversions, an onside kick, and a final play reminiscent of the Stanford-Cal game in last week's loss to the Colts. New York is 2-0 on the road this season and has three winnable games coming up in Miami, Detroit, and Cleveland, but would love to win against a "ranked" opponent. Jacksonville has their bye week coming up and cannot get caught looking beyond the Jets.
WR Laveranues Coles (5'11", 193 lbs) vs. DC Brian Williams (5'11", 207 lbs).The Jets will align Coles to the left side of the formation to get him away from DC Rashean Mathis. Williams practices against big receivers and has the ability to reroute Coles when in press coverage, but is somewhat stiff in the hips and can be beaten with double moves, a favorite of Coles. As the running game is inconsistent, New York will rely on Coles to dominate this matchup if they are to control the ball and time of possession.
WR Reggie Williams (6'4", 223 lbs) vs. DC Justin Miller (5'10", 202 lbs). Williams, who had two electrifying catches in the fourth quarter last week, has become the go-to guy for Leftwich when he reads single coverage. Williams can change directions on one step, creating separation on hitch routes, or use his body to shield defenders away when going over the middle. Miller, who gave up a 41-yard completion last week when he didn't adjust back to the ball, will be challenged when fighting for the jump ball on the boundary, which is one of Williams' strengths.
Things to Look For:
Chad Pennington: Is ranked in the top three in the AFC in passing yards (1,015), passing TD (6), and passer rating (102.3)…has passed for 502 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT and completed nearly 70% of his passes in two road games (both wins) this season.
Laveranues Coles: Coles is a native of Jacksonville and is tied for 1st in the NFL in receptions and 2nd in receiving yards.
Jerricho Cotchery: Has a TD catch in three of four games this season and is tied for NFL lead with 3 TD receptions.
Kevan Barlow: Is tied for the NFL lead with 4 rushing TD.
Byron Leftwich: He has won 13 of last 17 home starts and has a TD pass in 15 of those 17 games.
Fred Taylor: Averages nearly 120 rushing yards per game in three career starts vs. the Jets.
Maurice Jones-Drew: averaging 8.3 yards every time he touches the ball over the last two weeks.
Ernest Wilford: 54 of his 73 career receptions have gone for 1st downs.
Rashean Mathis: Has an NFL-high 4 INT and became the team's career leader with his 16th INT in last week's game.
Reggie Williams: Tied for the NFL lead with 3 receiving TD.
Teams: The Jaguars have won four of the last five games in the series, including last year's game at the Meadowlands in overtime…the last time these teams met in Jacksonville was 2002, a 28-3 Jaguars victory…Pennington and Leftwich were college teammates at Marshall University. Pennington is the school's all-time leading passer and Leftwich is second…the Jags defense has 7 sacks and 4 INT in three games against Pennington and has recorded a sack in 17 of the last 18 games.