There is always a point (usually multiple points, actually) in the season where you put your confidence out there in your team. Expectations for the New York Jets weren’t high entering the season but after three games, they appeared to be trending in the right direction. It didn’t seem too crazy to think they could beat a solid Tennessee Titans team on the road. They had a strong enough defense and yes they had a rookie quarterback who was making mistakes but also making big plays. Why not?
Well then, last Sunday happens…the type of game when the team gets off the plane not ready to play and everything goes wrong from the first drive until the final whistle. The rookie quarterback was a train-wreck, the defense has a minor letdown and you feel entirely foolish for putting confidence in your team on the road against a solid opponent.
The Jets are going to be a roller coaster this season, primarily because of their youth and inconsistency on offense. They are heading into a tough atmosphere tonight, going on the road against a desperate 1-3 team who was a pre-season Super Bowl contender. There are very fair reasons for the Jets to be 10 point underdogs.
We have no proof that Geno Smith can handle this type of environment. He could very well have a Mark Sanchez in Baltimore circa 2011 performance and this game could get very ugly. If your quarterback is going to turn the ball over incessantly, you aren’t going to even be competitive in games like this. However, if Smith plays a smart game…protects the football and picks his spots to attack down the field, the Jets have some match-ups they should be able to exploit.
The Jets defensive line will give a beat up Falcons offensive line problems but can they get to Matt Ryan quick enough to prevent him from getting the ball down the field, where he can exploit a weak secondary? The Jets should be able run the football against the Falcons front seven but will Marty Mornhinweg oblige…or will he get too pass happy?
Let’s answer these questions and more in today’s 12 Pack…
1. Julio Jones will finish with 95 yards receiving and a touchdown. Tony Gonzalez will add in 70 yards receiving and a touchdown of his own.
2. Matt Ryan will throw for at least 275 yards but be sacked three times and throw an interception.
3. The Falcons will rush for less than 60 yards as a team.
4. Bilal Powell will have his second 100 yard rushing game of the season. Mike Goodson will have 4-6 offensive touches and have at least one play over 10 yards.
5. Stephen Hill will play and have 4 receptions for 68 yards.
6. Jeremy Kerley will lead the Jets in receptions and receiving yards, along with catch his first touchdown of the season.
7. Geno Smith will throw for over 200 yards, rush for 40 yards, throw one touchdown and one interception.
8. Muhammad WIlkerson will have his 4th sack of the season. Sheldon Richardson will have another sack as well.
9. Brian Winters will make a handful of noticeable mistakes but will have an overall encouraging starting debut and maintain the job for next week.
10. Kellen Winslow Jr will end up playing but will struggle to be a factor.
11. Newly acquired wide receiver David Nelson will play 10-15 snaps and record at least one reception.
12. The Jets are going to lose and barely cover (+10), 26-17. They will represent themselves well in primetime and take some strides back in the positive direction after last week’s slop-fest.