Jets Season At A Crossroads

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A little dramatic in the title?

I don’t think so.

The reality of the situation is this, the Jets season is going to head in to two very different directions depending on the result of Monday night’s game.

A win equals a 2 game lead on the Patriots with 4 games left to play. Unless the Jets meltdown in the last quarter of the season, they are looking at a #1 or #2 seed, a first round bye and a home playoff game in the divisional round of the playoffs. You can’t ask for a better road to the Super Bowl and the organization is way overdue on hosting a playoff game.

A loss? The Jets fall to the all too familiar position of chasing New England. They could have 1 or 2 games to make up depending on how the rest of the division schedule plays out, but realistically it would be very unlikely for the Jets to catch the Patriots, which means a trip back into the wild card.

The road to the Super Bowl then likely involves a first round trip to either Indianapolis or San Diego. Do you want to deal with Peyton Manning  in the first round? I don’t. Beyond that, a victory will result in a trip to either New England, Pittsburgh, or Baltimore.

Yes, it is a little dangerous to put all your eggs in the basket of a week 13 game and yes it would absolutely to be an exaggeration to say the Jets 2010 season was in major trouble with a loss. However, the opportunity is there to jump in the driver’s seat of not just the AFC East but of the entire conference and great teams take advantage of those opportunities.

So for once, can the Jets avoid doing it the hard way?

Monday Night Is What The Jets Drafted Sanchez For

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In week 2 of the 2009 regular season, the Jets overcame an embarassing 8 game home losing streak to the New England Patriots. It was an important moment in the then young Rex Ryan era, demonstrating the Jets would no longer be pushed around by their long superior divisional rival. Yet an even more aspect of that game was Mark Sanchez outplaying Tom Brady. The Jets rookie posted a 101.1 quarterback rating, while Brady struggled to a 53.1.

Finally, the Jets had hope at the quarterback position to duel against the Patriots eventual first ballot Hall of Famer. These hopes were severely rattled later in the 2009 regular season, when Sanchez hit a nasty mid-season slump and turned in an ugly…make that hideous 4 interception performance in New England en route to a 31-14 Jets loss.

So far in year two, the Sanchez of 2009 is nowhere to be found. The quarterback has grown by leaps and bounds and currently has an impressive 16 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, along with 2,472 yards passing. Even better, Sanchez again out dueled Brady again in a week 2 New England/New York match-up by throwing for 220 yards and 3 touchdowns compared to Brady’s 228 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.

Brady’s stat line in 2010 is All-Pro caliber, with 23 touchdowns compared to 4 interceptions (half of those against the Jets) and 2,703 yards passing. Beyond that, the guy doesn’t lose home regular season games. As a matter of fact, he has won 25 in a row. Yes, 25.

Yet, as we touched on earlier in the week, Monday night is a night for a changing of the guard in the AFC East. Part of that means, it is time for Mark Sanchez to go on the road and beat the Jets most bitter rival and their long haired, Uggz boot endorsing quarterback, who never loses in his building.

We drafted Mark Sanchez to back up Rex Ryan’s big talk on the offensive side of the football. This year he hasn’t disappointed but it would be a major step in his development if he could lead the Jets to a victory on Monday, which would take them one major step closer to becoming the new kings of the AFC East.

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Jets vs. Pats: Scary Thoughts On Patriots Tight Ends & 2010 Draft Class

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The biggest concern for the Jets this Monday night is slowing down New England’s two rookie tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. I say this because of how awful the Jets have been at defending the tight end throughout the year and how productive the two players have been, including a 100 yard performance from Hernandez in week two against the Jets.

Wes Welker is obviously dangerous in the slot, but the Jets can move Darrelle Revis over to him in key third downs or even have him track Welker for the bulk of the game. Deion Branch has been very good since coming over from Seattle but is nothing Antonio Cromartie can’t handle. It is Gronkowski and Hernandez who really have the potential to keep the New England offense on the field, chewing up yards and racking up points.

The two tight ends are part of an impressive rookie class the Patriots have assembled, which is even more disconcerting considering how the Jets 2010 draft class is looking so far.

Look at the comparison –

New England

  • Corner – Devin McCourty – 61 tackles, 5 INTs, 12 PDs
  • Tight End – Rob Gronkowski – 25 receptions, 310 yards, 6 TDs
  • Tight End – Aaron Hernandez – 36 receptions, 462 yards, 3 TDs
  • Linebacker – Brandon Spikes – 54 tackles
  • Punter – Zoltan Mesko – 43.7 yards net average
  • Linebacker – Jermaine Cunningham – 26 tackles, 1 sack

Jets

  • Corner – Kyle Wilson – 20 tackles, 4 PDs
  • Guard – Vladimir Ducasse – Inactive every week but one
  • Running Back – Joe McKnight – Normally inactive, 4 carries, 12 yards
  • Fullback – John Conner – 2 receptions, 9 yards

Let’s be honest, to this point Wilson, Ducasse, and McKnight have all been major disappointments. Drew Coleman has outplayed Wilson all season, who has struggled both at corner and punt returner. Ducasse was easily beaten out by Matt Slauson in training camp for the starting guard job and is the team’s 3rd backup OL behind Wayne Hunter and Robert Turner. McKnight…well, what can you even say about him? At least we have The Terminator leading the way for years to come at fullback.

You have to give the Patriots credit for putting together a strong group of selections in 2009. The last time I checked they have about 49 picks in the first 3 rounds next year, so we can only hope they will go back to drafting the Chad Jacksons and Laurence Maroneys of the world.

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