Keys to Victory: Jets at Eagles

Safety Eric Smith chasing down  TE Brent Celek

With so much made of New York's inability to find the end zone this preseason, the Jets role players will have to come to the rescue in the preseason finale against Philadelphia.

Yes, it's the preseason and no victories don't carry over into the regular season. We get that. But for the New York Jets offense, Thursday night is about building some confidence heading into Week One against the Buffalo Bills.

1. Get in the Zone!

While Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow will root on their teammates from the sidelines, it's imperative for the Jets mental health to cross the goal line and put to rest any thought that a touchdown drought could extend another week. With quarterbacks Greg McElroy and Matt Simms leading the charge, New York's offensive unit will need to sustain drives and not settle for field goals in the red zone. McElroy has looked sharp throughout training camp, but it remains to be seen whether he will have the protection up front and the fire power around him to get the Jets off the snide.

2. Hit the ground running

Even though the Philadelphia Eagles will play mostly second and third stringers, their pass-rush can create havoc for New York's offensive line. In order to keep the Eagles defense honest, the Jets will have to run the football with power and force. Running backs Bilal Powell, Terrance Ganaway and Joe McKnight will have the chance to showcase their skills and get in the good graces of the coaching staff. Look for McKnight and Powell to split the rushing load early on to help establish a formidable ground and pound attack.

Don't make the big mistake

With the Jets desperately trying to end their touchdown slump, McElroy and Simms will have to be patient and not force any passes, which could turn into costly interceptions. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano doesn't expect either signal-caller to set a single game passing mark or light up the scoreboard, but to simply manage the game and lead the Jets into the end zone.

Prediction:

Eagles 17 Jets 14 Final

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