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I try not to buy into the “Same Old Jets” talk. I don’t believe things that happened years ago impact the individuals in the Jets locker room now, especially with the change of culture Rex Ryan has ushered in. However, this week I am worried more than I should be for a 5-2 team on the road facing a 2-5 team who has won 4 games over the past 2 and 1/2 seasons.
Part of the reason is that the Jets simply haven’t played all that well since their week 4 drubbing of the Buffalo Bills. They won a sloppy game against the Vikings, thanks largely to Brett Favre’s incompetence. They escaped with a victory in Denver, thanks to a defensive pass interference penalty and then were shut out at home by the Green Bay Packers. Now I don’t want to take credit away for the wins against Minnesota and Denver. A win is a win and the Jets stepped up in big spots late in those games to ensure victories. However, they still aren’t clicking like they were when they ran through their AFC East opponents.
The other reason is that the Lions are better than most 2-5 teams. There is a good amount of talent on this roster and they are a few plays (include a robbery in Chicago) from being a 4-3 team. They have plenty of flaws, namely their ability to stop the run and run the football but there is playmakers spread across this roster.
Matthew Stafford has been similar to Mark Sanchez so far in his career, when he has managed to stay healthy, which means he could be great on some days and god awful on others. Calvin Johnson is one of the most physically gifted players in the NFL and along with Jahvid Best, Kevin Smith, Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler, and Nate Burleson…there are plenty of viable options on the Detroit offense.
Their defense has struggled but Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch have proven to be playmakers on their line and Alfonso Smith has pulled in 4 interceptions in only 7 games in the secondary. Jim Schwartz is a good coach, who has his young defense competing and as he pointed out today, they do have 8 more sacks so far this season than the Jets.
The Jets like to talk like they are the best team in the NFL. If they are, they should be fuming after being embarrassed in front of their home fans and ready to steamroll a young Detroit team in their own building. You would hope that is the mindset and there is nothing being taken for granted. Cut the cute BS out on offense Brian Schottenheimer and ram the ball down the Lions throat. They can’t stop your running game. Rex Ryan, man your prized cornerbacks up and send the house at their inexperienced quarterback, the way other teams have at your young quarterback.
The best way to knock the memory of the Green Bay debacle out of everybody’s head is to leave no doubt who the 5-2 team is and who the 2-5 team is this Sunday.