Each week, Baltimore Sun reporters Aaron Wilson and Matt Vensel look back at the Ravens' previous game and that of their next opponent.
Bills 37, Jets 14
Strategy: The Jets are a team built to play with a lead, so it's not surprising that their game against the Bills turned into a total Dumpster fire when they fell behind by 20 points in the first half. Offensively, they rely on a power running game and gimmicks like the Wildcat in an attempt to hide rookie quarterback Geno Smith. They also try to give him quick, easy reads and have him roll out to attack one half of the field. Defensively, they are stout up front and tough to run on. But they do not have a major pass-rushing threat and must rely on scheme to generate pressure. If they don't get to the quarterback, their aggressive cornerbacks can be beaten.
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Personnel: The Jets have a formidable front line in their 3-4 base defense. Wilkerson and the other defensive end, Sheldon Richardson, who are recent first-round draft picks, are big, disruptive players and Damon Harrison, who went undrafted in 2012, has been good at nose tackle. This secondary just isn't the same after the offseason trade of star cornerback Darrelle Revis. Antonio Cromartie is a boom-or-bust player and first-round draft pick Dee Milliner has looked like a rookie. The Jets recently signed Ed Reed and are pairing him with another former Ravens safety, Dawan Landry, in the starting lineup. Often lining up deep in the secondary, Reed made just three tackles and was a non-factor in coverage. Offensively, they haven't surrounded Smith with much talent at the skill positions besides running back Chris Ivory and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, and those guys are nothing special.
What went right: The Jets shut down Bills running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller and held the Bills to just 1.8 yards per attempt on 38 carries. They only allowed 313 total yards and 14 first downs. Despite trailing by multiple touchdowns for most of the game, the Jets stuck with the running game and it finally paid off when Ivory rumbled up the gut for a 69-yard gain in the fourth quarter. Other than that, though, there was not much for the Jets to feel good about.
What went wrong: Where to begin? Smith played the worst game of his young career and probably one of the worst games that a quarterback has played this season. Throwing to a group of mediocre pass-catchers in heavy wind, he completed just eight of his 23 attempts for 103 yards. He threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and lost a fumble before he was benched in the fourth quarter. The Jets tried to confuse Bills rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel by showing heavy blitzes then dropping defenders in coverage, but Manuel picked them apart with short throws and threw a pair of long touchdown passes against the blitz, beating Milliner on the first one and Cromartie with a beautiful deep ball on the second.
Turning point: The Jets trailed, 10-0, in the second quarter when Bills defensive end Kyle Williams stripped Smith inside the Jets' 10-yard line. After the Bills offense cashed in that turnover with a touchdown, Smith immediately threw an interception, leading to a Bills field goal. Then the rout was on.
X-factor: Smith was clearly rattled against the Bills and has now turned the ball over 20 times this season. Jets coach Rex Ryan is sticking with the rookie, but Smith may need to pull a 180 to beat the Ravens. Earlier this season, Manuel was the rare rookie who has been able to beat them. Smith, who was drafted a round after Manuel in April, will have to show similar poise to have a chance to do the same.