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4 Areas in Which the New York Jets Must Improve in Week 6

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IOctober 10, 2013

4 Areas in Which the New York Jets Must Improve in Week 6

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    Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

    Fresh off a heart-stopping and shocking win over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, the New York Jets are riding high. 

    Gang Green is currently 3-2 and only one game back of the New England Patriots for first place in the division. 

    This week, the team gets to play an 0-4 Pittsburgh Steelers squad fresh off a bye. New York is the favorite in the game, but the Jets must improve in four key areas to avoid an upset and move to 4-2 on the 2013 season. 

     

Turnover Margin

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    The Jets did a tremendous job holding onto the ball this past Monday in Atlanta, and that was one of the main reasons the team was able to pull off the big road win.

    Unfortunately, turnovers have been a major issue for Gang Green in every other game this season. 

    The Jets currently rank 30th in the NFL with a minus-nine turnover differential. Only the Steelers, Sunday's opponent, and the New York Giants have been worse at holding onto the ball. 

    Even with his no-turnover performance against the Falcons, Geno Smith has compiled a ridiculous 11 turnovers through five games. Unless the rookie quarterback can fix his turnover problems for good, New York may struggle to continue its team success. 

    The defense, despite being terrific thus far in limiting opponent's production, has produced only three turnovers in five weeks. That also needs to improve. 

    Expect the Week 6 matchup against Pittsburgh to be decided by turnovers. 

Sacks Allowed

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Geno Smith's problems with turnovers are directly correlated to the offensive line's increasingly frustrating inability to protect the quarterback. 

    Through five weeks, the Jets rank a lowly 29th in the league in sacks allowed with 18. Considering Smith is a mobile signal-caller capable of escaping pressure, that number is unacceptable. 

    Pittsburgh's pass rush has yet to make a sizable impact, but the defensive unit still has its fair share of capable pass-rushers. LaMarr Woodley and Ziggy Hood are two players who could cause massive disruption up front. 

    For New York's offense to continue the success it had in Atlanta, the offensive line must hold off the Steelers' pass rush and keep Smith upright. 

Covering the Tight End

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    New York's defense has been outstanding through five games, as the unit currently ranks second in the league in rush defense and 13th in pass defense. 

    However, the Jets have consistently struggled defending opposing tight ends in recent weeks. 

    In Week 3, New York allowed five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown to Buffalo's Scott Chandler. In Week 4, Delanie Walker of the Tennessee Titans caught three passes for 14 yards and a score. In Week 5, Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez and Levine Toilolo combined for 12 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.

    The Jets struggles against the tight end are worrying, especially considering the defense is set to face Pro Bowler Heath Miller of Pittsburgh this week. 

    Miller is a safety valve for Ben Roethlisberger, and he is a terrific red-zone target. That is worrying, considering New York's struggles defending the tight end have been magnified near the end zone. 

    For New York to avoid the upset and move to 4-2, the defense must contain Heath Miller. 

     

Penalties

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The New York Jets lead the league by a wide margin in one of the most important statistics in football. Unfortunately, being at the top of this statistical category displays a lack of discipline that more often than not costs teams victories. 

    New York has committed an atrocious 50 penalties through five games, including a franchise-record 20 in its Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills

    The Jets penalties have come in all shapes and sizes, as well. From pass interference to holding to unnecessary roughness...Gang Green has done it all. 

    New York is lucky to be 3-2 with the lack of discipline the team has shown through five weeks. In order for the Jets to build off their solid start, they need to keep their emotions in check and avoid costing the team valuable yards through infractions. 

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