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Jets Need a Voyage of Rediscovery This Weekend

Going back to the scene of last year's triumph should awaken some old memories

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    This is the Shonn Greene the Jets have been looking for.

    The Jets are reeling right now.

    Two straight losses that saw just about everything go wrong all at once were followed by bickering among key offensive players and an absolute hammering from just about everyone following the team. If not for Tony Romo's trademarked inability to make plays in the fourth quarter, they'd be 1-3 and in a panic mode of gargantuan proportions.

    Just where you want to be when you have to travel up to New England for a date with a Patriots team that looks like it is going to shatter all kinds of records for a passing offense. Good thing that Antonio Cromartie decided to poke the tiger in the cage by asking Tom Brady to throw at him.

    There's also the little business of the Pats looking for some revenge for what happened in the playoffs last season. Brady and Bill Belichick don't lose at home and, as you'll recall from last season, they often win by margins usually seen when Alabama takes on Southern Idaho Junior College. 

    If all that isn't enough, throw in a coaching staff that can't seem to prepare the team for what they're going to face each week and a roster that might be constructed all wrong for the task at hand. It's a shock that the team's headquarters hasn't burned down.  

    All of that makes winning on Sunday a very tall order for the Jets, but the matchup with the Patriots also provides them with a golden opportunity to rediscover the identity that's been missing in the first four weeks of the season.

    The Patriots are long on fireworks offensively, but they're short on toughness defensively. With linebacker Jerod Mayo out for this game, they have even less in their arsenal when it comes to stopping the run.

    That makes it the perfect weekend for the Jets to rediscover the identity that we haven't seen since the end of last season. If they dedicate themselves to running the ball, they can control the clock and keep the Patriots offense off the field for long stretches of the game.

    When the Pats do get the ball, we've seen that Rex Ryan is capable of devising a scheme that can make life difficult for Brady. It doesn't always work out, but putting Darrelle Revis on Wes Welker and forcing the Pats to find another way to get the ball down the field while pressuring Brady relentlessly is a pretty good starting point.

    It might not work, but the Jets don't really have another choice. They need to figure out who they are after the schizophrenic first four weeks of the season and there's no better place to do it than in the kind of lion's den they'll need to survive if this year is going to lead anywhere good.

    Another loss wouldn't be ideal, but it won't be a killer if the Jets show that they are moving in the right direction. That direction is clear, now the Jets just need to get moving.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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