Week 4 is upon us and the Jets sit at 0-3 with Rex Ryan on the hot seat. As expected, the circus remains in Florham Park and things couldn’t look worse for Gang Green…. Wait, no, that isn’t right at all. That is what the media wanted to be writing this point in the season, but instead they’ve all been served a turd sandwich as Rex Ryan and his Jets currently sit at 2-1 and were a play or two away from turning that L into a W up in Foxboro. This week our boys in green travel to Tennessee to take on another surprise 2-1 team in what is sure to be a close — and winnable — game. Let’s do some stock watching!
BUY: Marty’s Handling of Geno – Perhaps the biggest takeaway from last week was the way that Marty Mornhinweg handled Geno Smith and this offense. Marty ran a balanced attack that featured Bilal Powell heavily and then also called for several designed deep shows down the field to loosen up the defense. Opposing defenses are naturally going to stack the line against a rookie quarterback and make him prove he can beat them down the field, and that’s exactly what Marty is letting Geno do, which has been great to see. It was also great to see Marty gameplan to attack the weak spots on a defense, which is something Jets fans are unused to seeing from their coordinators. After three weeks, it’s impossible not to like the job Marty has done with this offense and it’s rookie quarterback.
BUY: Rex Allowing It – Marty deserves a lot of credit, but so does Rex Ryan for allowing Marty to operate the way he has been. The Rex Ryan who took over the Jets a few years ago believed in running the ball and keeping his QB in a cocoon of sorts, with instructions to simply not make mistakes and grind out a win with the defense. The mantra was “Ground and Pound” and while the Jets had some success like that, you can’t really win in the NFL today like that.
So Rex 2.0 decided to change things things up and put trust in his offensive coordinator and rookie QB to let it rip. Gone is the ground and pound philosophy and the 60/40 run-pass ratio that came with it. Rex allows Marty to run the offense how he sees fit, and if that means chucking it down the field for big chunk plays and accepting the mistakes that come with it, then so be it. And that was the best thing he could have done. Rex deserves kudos for adapting and changing his ways.
BUY: Bilal Powell – I have never been a huge Bilal Powell fan, but I also know he’s a useful player that can play a big role on this team. He’s not the biggest, fastest, or most talented back around, but he is extremely dependable and can do a little bit of everything. He’s a jack of all trades, but a master of none so to speak. He can get the yards that are blocked for him, catch passes out of the backfield, and is terrific in pass protection. I don’t think they can continue to count on him to carry the load like he did last week, but I’m coming around on Bilal Powell and expect him to do a solid job as the lead back throughout 2013. Powell being so dependable is huge, especially since….
SELL: Chris Ivory’s Hamstrings – Ugh. After Chris Ivory started to get it going in the Patriots game, I thought big things were ahead for him and expected him to be the guy who led the team in carries and rushing yardage, but it seems as though his hamstrings are just never going to cooperate with him. The same hamstring that cost him several weeks in the preseason is the same one that knocked him out against Buffalo and will in all likelihood keep him out for a few more weeks. Fortunately for the Jets, Mike Goodson will be back week 5, but if the Jets ground game is going to really become a force, they’re going to need a healthy Chris Ivory back. I just don’t know if we’re going to see that in 2013.
BUY: The Return of Tone Time – It was impossible to not crack a smile when Santonio Holmes hauled in what what prove to be the game-winning touchdown and ran into the end zone with his arm stretched out doing his Jet celebration. It wasn’t just that the Jets scored and went ahead in the game, but it was that the guy that so many people and media members wrote off (remember the “Holmes won’t play in 2013” stuff?) was back on the field and making huge plays for this team. Santonio gives the Jets a legitimate, proven receiver that defenses have to account for, and that is huge for a rookie like Geno Smith.
SELL: Kyle Wilson – Only Kyle Wilson could turn a positive into a negative so quickly and in such spectacular fashion. For three quarters he was playing pretty well as the nickel corner, which to his credit, he has been doing for the most part this season. Then the 4th quarter came and Wilson decided to rack up penalty after penalty after penalty after penalty and damn near cost the Jets the game. The only way it could have been more embarrassing for Wilson was if he removed his pants and punched out a referee while wagging his finger the whole way off the field. Kyle Wilson isn’t an awful player, he just isn’t a good one. He’s a decent #3 cornerback that makes some unbelievably awful plays that always overshadow any of the good that he offers, and that’s just the way it is.
BUY: The Defensive Line - Again, how good is the Jets defensive line?! And did you know that former-Jet Rob Turner is the Titans starting center? And that rookie Chance Warmack has struggled while highly-paid free agent Andy Levitre is off to a tough start? Guess who those guys have to block this week. Just Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Quinton Coples, and Damon Harrison. I like the Jets chances to blow up the Titans line, stuff Chris Johnson, and pressure Jake Locker from the first whistle on Sunday.
BUY: The Linebackers – Other than that one flukey run by Fred Jackson last week, the Jets linebackers completely put the clamps down on the Bills running backs and didn’t allow anything to the outside, which is important since they’re facing Chris Johnson this week. The Jets can’t allow any breakaway plays from Johnson this week like they did last season, and with David Harris and Demario Davis playing as well as they are, I have the utmost confidence in them to shut down Chris Johnson and the Titans run game. Pay special attention to Harris this week if you get a chance. The guy is playing completely out of his mind lately.
BUY: Jets +3.5 and Win - I fully expect the Jets to cover another spread this week to go 4-0 in that regard, and to pull out the win outright. Rex Ryan feasts on inferior quarterbacks and Jake Locker certainly fits the bill. The Titans don’t have any receivers that can tear apart the secondary and the defensive front should pressure Locker all day and key on Chris Johnson. Jets will run their record to 3-1 with a score of 24-13.
TNF Picks - San Francisco (-3) vs. St. Louis
- Joe – SF
- Connor – SF
- Dalbin – SF
- Dan – SF
- Mike – STL