First a few updates (or more accurately a little background):
1. What a day. I returned from Italy at about 3 PM today. Somehow I successfully went my entire vacation without finding out a single word about the Jets/Colts game and the wait proved to be well worth it. During week 16 I happened to stumble into a bar in Venice around 9:30 PM which was playing the 4th quarter of the Ravens/Steelers game. I sat down…Houston beat Miami? New England beat Jacksonville? The Steelers were going to hold off the Ravens? The Giants lost 41-9 to Carolina? The football gods were clearly smiling on the Jets.
I somehow communicated to the bartender a question about which game was on next, he grabbed the remote and showed Jets/Colts with a 10:15 PM kickoff. I thought about it…I could sit there until 1:30 AM, scare all the Italians in the place by pacing around the bar like a maniac during the game, and likely be disappointed by a season ending loss, have to get up 6 AM the next day for touring the rest of the trip and be in a bad mood for the next 4 days. I decided against it, I left and went back to my hotel room. I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t. I tried counting hypothetical Mark Sanchez interceptions in my head, but I still toss and turned all night wondering what the hell was going on.
The next day on the tour bus, somebody in our group tried to offer me an American newspaper with all the NFL scores in it. I took it…folded it up and threw out at our next stop. I instructed my family to wait it out and that nobody was allowed to find out the score…we were waiting until we made it back to Ringwood. Somehow I made it back without hearing anything. I saw a guy in a huge Colts jacket in Florence and my Dad started up a J-E-T-S chant to gauge his reaction but he kept walking, while people gawked at us.
Anyway, I got back today to a VHS copy of the game. I sat down with my family (which I is something I never do, I prefer my Jets suffering in solitude) and promised if they somehow won, dinner was on me tonight. Well it was the best 40 dollars I ever spent on some local takeout…because the Jets are playing the day after tomorrow for a playoff spot on Sunday night football…who would have thought?
It Is Good To Be Back: Jets Prepare For Win and In Sunday Night
Some scattered observations as I try to get my stuff together before unpacking and then heading off to a full day of tailgating for the Jets/Bengals game on Sunday (just bought my ticket).
1. On Jets/Colts – Very weird game. The timing of the Colts starters being benched seemed off to me. I am not sure why a 15-10 score inspired it but believe me I didn’t relax until the clock was 0:00. I was waiting for Manning to come back in down 21-15 and even 29-15 to lead a comeback and yes if a Colts starter or a fan, I would be royally pissed.
2. All the critics of the Jets (which I have caught up on the past few days) and how they have a chance to make the playoffs…cry me an ‘effin river. This is a franchise that never receives any type of break or luck and finally got one, took advantage of it and now has a chance to close out Giants Stadium the proper way (not by being humiliated by a 6-8 team by 32 points…owch G-Men). I am sorry but who deserves the AFC wild card more than the Jets? The Broncos and their 2-7 record after their 6-0 start? The Steelers and their three straight losses to the Chiefs, Browns, and Raiders? Trust me Lamar Woodley nobody is scared to play a defense that lets Bruce Gradkowski drive down the field in their building for a win. The Dolphins who choked against the Titans and Texans the past two weeks? Ha! The Jaguars who didn’t even get off the bus in New England for their week 16 game? The Texans who were embarrassed by the Jets in their building?
The Jets have the league’s #1 ranked defense and #1 ranked running game, why don’t they deserve a shot to play for a playoff spot?
3. I thought Mark Sanchez played well in a big spot. Not great…but he protected the football and made some tough throws on third downs and converted both two-point conversions. How about our other rookie Shonn Greene stepping up with 95 big yards? The Jets are obviously going to be extremely run heavy the rest of the way so Greene needs to keep it up to support TJ.
4. Brad Smith’s kick return couldn’t have come a better time. It gave the Jets the shot of the confidence they needed and obviously needed points because our offense still can only score about 10 a game. Calvin Pace is quietly putting together another very good year and Marques Douglas has been a big upgrade over Kenyon Coleman.
5. I think the back and forth between Revis and Ochocinco has been entertaining as hell. They are friends and will provide a great match-up to watch Sunday night. You think Revis is going to allow Ochocinco to do his O-C-H-O chant in our end-zone? I think not.
6. Speaking of Revis, congrats to him, Nick Mangold, and Alan Faneca for making the pro-bowl. David Harris and Brandon Moore also deserved a spot on the roster.
7. I am pretty confident New England will play their starters and beat the Texans, locking the Bengals in to the #4 seed. I wouldn’t be shocked to Cincy backups in the second half but honestly remain confident even if the Jets see their starters the whole game. Maybe that is crazy but I like the Jets on Sunday in a low scoring, defensive battle and if they do win…trust me that I am going to like them the following week in Cincy during wild-card weekend.
8. I like how the Jets match-up with the Bengals offense, which has struggled throwing the ball all season and lacks big play capability. The front seven is good enough to slow down Cedric Benson and Revis can take care of Ochocinco. Carson Palmer isn’t very mobile which will aid the Jets pass rush and while Laveranues Coles (haven’t had to type that name in awhile) will get his catches on Lito “toast” Sheppard, he won’t kill the Jets with big plays. The Jets offense will have a tough time throwing on a strong Bengals secondary but if they lean on TJ, Greene and a short passing game that allows Braylon, Cotchery, and Keller to run after the catch they could be alright.
9. Stats and game highlights are updated…better later than never.
10. I hope to see you at the stadium on Sunday…let’s send it off the right way.
11. Only a Jets win could give me the energy to write this at 2 AM with extreme amounts of Jet lag.
We Have to Run This Town Sunday Night