Time for a NimbleTV Turn On The Jets 12 Pack. Traveling on Sunday? Sign up for NimbleTV here, read our review and catch all the action wherever you happen to be. On to the predictions, preceded by a few thoughts on the Jets match-up with San Diego…
Many Jets fans have already written the team off to an inevitable 1-6 start. Starting this Sunday, they begin a gauntlet of AFC opponents, playing San Diego, Denver and New England…three teams many projected as the three best in the conference. As of now, we know the Patriots don’t belong in that category but San Diego most certainly does. Quarterback Philip Rivers is playing the position better than anybody in the NFL right now and has a deep roster of weapons at his disposal in the passing game, led by wide receivers Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal and ageless tight end Antonio Gates. The Chargers defense has exceeded expectations, particularly in the secondary. San Diego is 2-0 at home, including a statement 30-21 victory over the defending champion Seattle Seahawks.
Rex Ryan has coached well against Philip Rivers since taking over in New York, beating Rivers two out of three times (the only loss coming when Greg McElroy was under center). Rivers was under 180 yards passing in two of those games and has four total interceptions. However, it is hard to put too much stock in that history right now. As of today, San Diego is a superior team who has the Jets on a cross country flight on their home field. Rex is off to a rough start this season., making head scratching scheme choices that are frequently hanging his players out to dry.
Yes, the Jets are undermanned at certain positional groups but that doesn’t excuse regularly leaving David Harris, Calvin Pace and Kyle Wilson to be victimized in single coverage or an over reliance on Dawan Landry. We know Rex’s loyalty and stubbornness has got the best of him at times and it sounds like it could be manifesting itself again this season when the Jets publicly said Antonio Allen will remain at corner for the rest of the season.
When Dee Milliner is truly healthy and back to the player he was last December (tomorrow is hopefully the first step in that process), he should be accompanied in the starting line-up by Darrin Walls, who has been the team’s best cover corner this season. Allen should move back to safety, where he was an ascending player in 2013 and away from corner where he has likely plateaued. Allen and Calvin Pryor at safety is a duo the Jets can build on for the future and allows them to stop playing a generally ineffective Dawan Landry 100% of the snaps per game. When the Jets go to five defensive backs, they can bring Landry back in for a limited role and have Allen move into the slot nickel role, limiting the necessity to play the perpetually disappointing Kyle Wilson.
Let’s hope this is the course of action instead of Rex sticking to “his guy” Landry, keeping Wilson in the slot, banishing Walls to the bench and leaving Allen at cornerback because he schemed up the idea in the summer. Ryan already jerked around Allen’s development last season by foolishly giving Ed Reed a full time role…because he was “his guy.”
Rex is inconsistent with his gameplanning but with that inconsistency comes a few gems per season to match his few head scratching ones per season. The Jets have been outcoached the past two weeks and Rex is due for one of those great days at the office from the past, the type of day that allowed them to beat New Orleans and New England last season and most famously steal a handful of road playoff upsets in 2009 and 2010.
I said in this week’s podcast that tomorrow is a “kitchen sink” game for the Jets. Tomorrow is basically a must win and the Jets are appropriately 7 point underdogs. Now is the time to try that trick play you’ve been saving on offense or that fake punt or that surprise onside kick…but more importantly now is the time for Rex to script up a game plan that is going to slow down the league’s top QB at the moment.
Geno Smith is a wildcard. Will he rise to the occasion away from a fan base that has already developed a toxic relationship with him? Or will he struggle again, forcing Rex’s hand in game to make a switch? Nobody really knows but let’s see if the Jets go down swinging with their best punch when it comes to utilizing their players to the best of their ability.
On to the predictions…
1. Chris Ivory will finish with 90+ yards of offense and his third touchdown of the season.
2. Keenan Allen will have at least 70 yards receiving and a touchdown.
3. Antonio Gates will catch a touchdown.
4. The Chargers will rush for less than 55 yards as a team.
5. Chris Johnson will break at least one play for 20 yards or longer and have his best overall game since week 1.
6. Phil Rivers will throw for at least 230 yards and two touchdowns. He will also throw an interception (the Jets first of the season).
7. Geno Smith will finish the game under center.
8. The Jets will sack Rivers at least twice.
9. Jace Amaro will have at least four receptions and his first touchdown.
10. TJ Graham will be active in his Jets debut and have a catch.
11. Nick Folk will stay perfect on the season.
12. The Jets will play San Diego tough but will come up a play or two shot on the road, losing but covering a 7 point spread by the final of 24-20.
12 Pack Record