Keys to Victory: Jets at Rams

Shonn Greene | New York Jets

Green and White Report takes a look at three key matchups to keep your eyes on for Sunday's clash with St. Louis.

It's a well known fact that the New York Jets are in a slump. Two weeks ago they took a beating from the Miami Dolphins at home followed by a lopsided loss to the Seattle Seahawks. These two massacres came after a hard fought loss in Week 7 against the New England Patriots. This week the Jets travel to play the St. Louis Rams in a must-win game. The Jets are three games behind the first place Patriots and their playoff hopes will be likely out of reach if they lose this week.

The Rams defensive ends vs. the Jets offensive tackles:

No one questions Rams defensive end Chris Long's ability to become a star player in the NFL. Long had 13 sacks during the 2011 campaign, but this season he has not been nearly as impressive. Long has 5 sacks and just 17 tackles. Robert Quinn plays on the opposite side of Long and has been a nightmare for quarterbacks tallying 8.5 sacks this season. D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Austin Howard will need to have strong performances to give the offensive line a chance.

Last week the only touchdown came from the defense and the offense was almost nonexistent. Quarterback Mark Sanchez has been struggling through the course of the season and could be on the verge of losing his starting job to Tim Tebow. If Ferguson and Howard can keep the Rams young defensive ends out of Sanchez's face, he has a chance to have a solid week.

James Laurinaitis vs. the Jets run game:

It's clear what the Jets have to fix and that's their offense. Every aspect of the offense needs to improve. The defense made positive strides last week, but the same was not true for the offense. The offense is still making the same mistakes they made in the beginning of the season and are not building camaraderie as a unit. The run game especially needs to wake up. Greene is coming off a subpar performance where he had 58 yards on 15 carries.

The Jets have been playing without third-string running back Joe McKnight, who brings breakaway speed to the table. Rams' linebacker James Laurinaitis is regarded as one of the best run stoppers in the game. This season Laurinaitis is tied for fourth in the NFL with 81 tackles. The Jets will have to know where Laurinaitis is at all times during the game or he will damage their run game.

Danny Amendola vs. the Jets cornerbacks:

Danny Amendola came back from collar bone injury last week and hauled in 11 receptions for 102 yards against the top-flight San Francisco 49ers secondary. The 49ers have one of the top defenses in the NFL and Amendola played as if he didn't miss any time. The man who is in charge of getting him the ball, Sam Bradford, had one of his best starts of the season. Bradford completed 24 of 36 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns in the tie against San Francisco.

The Jets cornerbacks looked sluggish against the Seahawks and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson had a field day in the second half. At times the Seahawks made the Jets' secondary look foolish, especially Kyle Wilson. The Jets young cornerback got beat twice for touchdowns and showed that his inexperience is catching up to him. Antonio Cromartie is making a strong push to be in the Pro Bowl game in January, but did not play his best football this past Sunday. With the Rams coming off a strong offensive performance, the Jets will have to play tight coverage to stay in this game.

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