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Key Matchup: Jets D vs. Broncos O

Posted Nov 15, 2011

On Thursday Night Football, one of the biggest stories within the Broncos-Jets game will be the matchup between an evolving Denver offense and an aggressive Jets defense.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The first game of Week 11 boasts one of the more intriguing matchups of the entire slate -- an ever-evolving Denver Broncos offense against an aggressive New York Jets defense.

The Jets enter Thursday night's game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High with the No. 8 overall defense in the league, and Head Coach John Fox said that's what he's come to expect from a Rex Ryan-coached team.

"(His) defenses have always been good whether it’s in Baltimore or in New York," Fox said of Ryan. "You’re going to get a well-coached, hard-nosed team, and coming off of a loss, they’ve been there before and usually responded very well.”

This year the Jets defense has been propelled by its ability to defend the pass. New York is tied for fourth in the NFL with 13 interceptions this season and has gotten to the quarterback for 18 sacks.

The biggest name on the defensive side of the ball for the Jets is All-Pro Darrelle Revis, who is often mentioned among the best cornerbacks in the league.

Eddie Royal said that while it's a difficult matchup, it's a chance for the receiving corps to test itself against a Pro Bowl player.

"It's great because when you play against a guy that good, you have to be detailed in what you're doing," Royal said. "You can't give away any indicators on what your route's going to be. You really just have to be smart and be patient. You can't try to rush things against a guy like that. Just being disciplined."

Still, New York has been somewhat susceptible to the run this season, as they're in the middle of the pack, allowing 116 yards on the ground per game.

And on the other side of the ball, that's exactly where the Denver offense has thrived in the past five games. Since their Week 5 matchup with the San Diego Chargers just before the bye week, the Broncos have averaged 215.4 yards on the ground per game.

Those 1,077 rushing yards are the most during a five-game stretch in team history.

Lance Ball, who set career highs with 30 carries for 96 yards last week, said the Broncos can't worry about any potential defensive disguises the Jets throw at them trying to defend the run.

"If you have somebody across the way knowing that you're going to run the ball at them, you have to have a mindset saying I'm going to win this and take it to them," he said.

Ryan said that stopping the run will be New York's "number one challenge this week" on a conference call earlier Tuesday.

“They’ll do everything they can to mess with that, and that’s kind of what you do," Fox said. "That’s what we’ll do offensively as well. Again, it’s who executes on game night or game day, and usually whoever does that wins. We’re in the preparation phase now. We know it’s going to be a tough game against a team that’s very experienced and been in big spots before. We’ll have to bring our A-game.”

Both the Jets and Broncos have a short week to prepare for the Thursday Night Football matchup, with Denver looking to add to its two-game win streak and New York hoping to bounce back from a Sunday-night loss to the division-rival New England Patriots.

In addition to playing at home, Fox said an advantage for the Broncos could be the style of offense they have employed in the past two weeks, so the Jets "don't know what (they're) going to see necessarily yet."

Tebow wasn't tipping his hand one way or another when asked whether it will take more passing than last week's eight attempts to defeat the Jets.

“We just want to win the game somehow, and we never know how that’s going to be," he said. "Every game that I’ve started has been very, very different, so who knows how they’re going to play out, but we just want to be ready for anything.”

Regardless, Royal said the Broncos are anxious for the primetime challenge.

"You know everybody's watching," he said, "so you've got to come out and play your best."