Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets and a collection of “Best Of” Lists for 2012
Week 15 Record: 0-3
Season Record: 14-29-2
Unfortunately, there are TWO more weeks of the regular season in the NFL. God why can’t this just end sooner?
I will be doing a Best Bets piece for Week 17 (I’m sure you’re all in tatters with excitement), but Week 17 falls on Dec. 30 this year. I plan on spending the week between Christmas and New Years bathing in alcohol and greasy food, so I’ll just alert you now; I’m probably going to mail in my Week 17 column like Mike Francesa in August.
So because I’m sure you haven’t seen enough year-end “Best Of” or “Top (insert whatever here) of the Year” lists, here come a bunch more. You’re welcome, everybody. Here are my Top 5 in a whole bunch of important things from 2012:
Movies of the Year
1. Zero Dark Thirty – I saw this last night and the first thing that came to mind when I walked out of the theater was “I’ve just seen the best movie of the year, if not the last five years.” Super intense, brilliantly paced, well-acted all around. It’s impossible to make a movie about this subject do a better job than Kathryn Bigelow did. The scene of the actual raid of the Bin Laden compound was action film-making at its finest. Oh yeah and all those torture scenes that the government are telling you are “factually inaccurate”? Yeah, please, we totally did all that.
2. Silver Linings Playbook – If everything about this movie was the same except the Solitano family was from New York or New Jersey and they were massive Jets fans instead of Eagles fans, there’s a chance this would be my favorite movie of all time.
3. The Master – Daniel Day-Lewis is going to get the Oscar for Best Actor for Lincoln, but Joaquin Phoenix is just as deserving if not more.
4. Argo – As much as it may pain me to say this, Ben Affleck made a great movie.
5. Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson quirkiness at it’s best. Children acting like adults, adults acting like children. Hilarious, outrageous and heartwarming at the same time.
Honorable Mention: Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, ParaNorman (no, really), Lincoln – and I fully expect Django Unchained to be great.
Mike D’Antoni Quotes of the Year (No explanation required)
2. ” Well, uhhhhhh”
3. “Now you’re startin’ to piss me off.”
4. “Uhhhhhh…Let’s go! Comeonnow! Let’s go!”
Honorable Mention: “Well…uhhhhhh, you know…uhhhhhh”
Albums of the Year
1. Japandroids – Celebration Rock – When your quarterback could learn a thing or two about attitude from the lyrics of a Canadian alternative outfit… “When they love you, and they will, tell ’em all they’ll love in my shadow / And if they try to slow you down, tell ’em all to go to Hell”…you know your football team sucks.
2. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball –An 11-track anthem for the 99%.
3. Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE –If I was doing a Top Songs of the Year list (I’m not), “Pyramids” would be vying for the top spot. That song is mind-blowing.
4. Fang Island – Major –I didn’t know it was possible for an indie band to make anthems that are loud, fast AND fun. Major proved to me that you can.
5. Green Day – Uno! –Pop this in and you may think it’s 1994 all over again. Which would be great if you’re a Rangers or Knicks fan, and not so brilliant if you’re a Jets fan.
Honorable Mention – Rex Ryan f/Mike Pettine – “Sounds of a Defense”. My favorite tracks are “BOOOOOM” “46 Bear 4 Life” and “F&$!@% Sanchez”
Athletes of the Year
1. LeBron James – Thanks to this Grantland article, I was reminded that in Game 4 against the Indiana Pacers with his team down 2-1 in the series, LeBron went for 40 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists. Holy hell.
2. Lionel Messi – He scored more goals in a calendar year than anyone in history. I’d say that’s fairly impressive.
3. Adrian Peterson – Putting together a year this great, in a league that’s going away from the run, after his knee was decimated late in 2011?
4. Rory McIlroy – Won the PGA Championship by a record 8 strokes, helped the European team to an all-time comeback at the Ryder Cup, and finished atop the PGA Tour’s Money List.
5. Henrik Lundqvist – A goaltender who played so ridiculously good over the course of an entire season. John Tortorella deserves a ton of credit for the Rangers finishing first in the East and making a deep playoff run, but the Rangers are nowhere near that good with standard goaltending. He deserved to win a Stanley Cup in 2012.
Honorable Mention – Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Nonito Donaire, R.A. Dickey, Jeremy Lin, Shonn Greene
“Same Old Jets” Plays of the Year:
1. Buttfumble – Sanchez’s Bubby Brister moment.
2. Season-Ending Snap Cluster%&!# – Blame it on Nick Mangold, blame it on Sanchez, take your pick. Picture perfect way for the meaningful part of Gang Green’s season to come to a close.
3. Joe McKnight’s Kickoff Fumble vs. New England – Couldn’t help but start laughing.
4. Sanchez’s OT Fumble in New England – The beginning of the end.
5. Tim Tebow signing a contract – Wait, no, THIS was the beginning of the end. While we’re at it…
Tim Tebow Plays of the Year:
1. 3-yard plunge
2. 2-yard plunge
3. Loss of 6
4. Incomplete Pass
5. 4-yard swing out to Jeremy Kerley
WHAT A FOOTBALL PLAYER!!!
Games/Events of the Year:
1. Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV – If you read this column (first off, thanks!) you know where I stand on this.
2. Manchester City’s Title-Winning Comeback – Watch this clip. If you say you’ve ever heard an American sports crowd go anything close to as insane as this, you’re lying through your teeth. Goalkeeper Joe Hart running around by himself in celebration is an incredible image. Martin Tyler’s call is probably the best call in live sports broadcast history. I’m not exaggerating.
3. Saints at 49ers, Divisional Playoffs – I wish every football game was played like this. Rex Ryan doesn’t.
4. Winter Classic – Rangers vs. Flyers – The Rangers go down only to come back to take a lead in the third period. In the final minute, Henrik Lundqvist stones Danny Briere on a penalty shot with a slim one-goal lead. All in the fresh, open air.
5. Linsanity vs. the Lakers – Jeremy Lin outdid Kobe Bryant, dropping 37 points on the Lakers at MSG. Linsanity’s fever pitch.
Honorable Mention – Raul Ibanez pinch hits for A-Rod, hits game-tying and game-winning HRs, The Ryder Cup’s final day, Olympics Women’s Soccer Gold Medal game – U.S vs. Canada, No. 15 Lehigh beats No. 2 Duke
Oral Histories of the Year:
No yeah screw that, oral histories suck.
Jets Websites of the Year:
1. TurnOnTheJets.com – Yeah that about rounds out the list.
And now…the vaunted picks:
Redskins -6 at Eagles – Skins need it, Eagles are dead.
Giants -2.5 at Ravens – Ravens defense will have trouble with Eli, Cruz, Bennett etc.
49ers PK at Seahawks – Will be a defensive battle, but the Niners have the better big play capability.
Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 6-8-1) – Knicks -6 vs. Bulls AND the over (187)
Chris Celletti with his Best Bets and weekly rants for week 15 of the NFL Season
Week 14 Record: 1-2
Season Record: 14-26-2
When I sit down every week and scour the NFL betting lines and look to pick three games for this column, it’s sort of like when someone hands Mike D’Antoni a clipboard during the defense portion of practice.
Okay, I know what I’m doing here, right. Wait no, I DON’T. What is a ‘hedge’ again? Don’t freak out, just pretend you know what you’re doing, say it with confidence and they’ll believe you.
-I can’t tell you how beautiful it was to watch last night’s Knicks-Lakers game from a Knicks fan standpoint. And especially from someone who since Day 1 did not want D’Antoni anywhere near the Knicks and had to endure three-plus seasons of his “system”, it was almost cleansing to be on the other side of a classic D’Antoni game. Get used to it, L.A. You’re going to have first quarters where you give up 40-plus points. You’re going to have games where you fall behind by 20-plus only to claw back in but ultimately fall short. You’re going to have games where you can’t get a stop when you need it – or all freakin’ night for that matter. Last night, all of those came together and that’s what you get. Yes, when the picture-perfect only man on earth who D’Antoni can win with, Steve Nash, returns the Lakers will be better. They’re going to make the playoffs. But a 39-year-old Steve Nash, who couldn’t guard a water bottle in his prime, isn’t going to fix all the Lakers’ real problems.
-I turned 26 this week, and 26 is very odd age. I’m now on the downside of my 20’s, which is fairly depressing. I have distinct memories of when I was 16 years old and some of those don’t seem that far away. So now I’m equidistant to age 36 than I am to 16. Weird. And one thing I can’t stand is when someone my age complains about getting older, and then someone who’s like 30, or 38 or 47 goes “Oh come on! You’re 26! Please.” So just because I’m younger than you means I can’t complain about my age? Untrue. I have no problem telling someone who just turned 19 that it’s a crappy age to be. 18 is fun because you can do stupid things like buy lotto tickets, and get into “18 to party, 21 to drink” places (who goes to those?!). 19 and 20 are agonizing. 26 isn’t great. Although if I were a Jets’ starting linebacker, I’d be the young buck of the group.
-If you want to watch the Best Sporting Event of 2012, HBO is re-showing Juan Manuel Marquez’s dramatic knockout win over Manny Pacquiao tomorrow night. I advise you to watch, or if you have a social life and are going to be out, at least DVR it. It will be worth the 40 minutes or so it will take up on your DVR and the time it takes to watch it. In my opinion it’s the best sporting event of the year. Two high-level technicians, two of the absolute best in the world at what they do in their fourth fight against each other – the first three featuring 36 action-packed rounds in which about 33 of them were a total toss up – and it couldn’t have unfolded in a more jaw-dropping fashion. Off the top of my head I can’t think of anything that was better from a sports perspective this year. Of course this depends on who you root for and what sports you fancy. I would expect a Giants fan to say the Super Bowl was better, some NASCAR freak probably thought the Pennzoil 400 or whatever was scintillating. In my mind, the NHL’s Winter Classic was pretty memorable, similar to the Pacquiao-Marquez fight in the event ending dramatically and living up the hype and build-up. And yes, I love boxing so my view is skewed (but that’s what debating sports is really all about, no?), and for my money it didn’t get any better than those six rounds in 2012.
And now let’s lose some money:
Jets +1.5 at Titans – Oh yeah I did!
Patriots -5 vs. 49ers – I’m a big Colin Kaepernick fan, mostly because when he torched the Jets in the Wildcat back in Week 4, I thought to myself “Oh, this is what the Jets could have with Tim Tebow, if only Tebow was actually fast like this dude.” And then I watched as Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith, saw him throw and run an offense, and the guy’s pretty legitimate. But I don’t think the Niners have the downfield threats that you need to really hurt the Patriots’ defense. I think the Pats hold San Francisco down a bit and continue their torrid offensive play.
Colts +9.5 at Texans – I think the Texans win this game but it’s a close one throughout. Houston’s defense has been exposed a bit recently. If Chad Henne can chuck it for 400 yards on you, you may not be as dominant as everyone thinks. J.J. Watt wrecking this game scares me a bit, but I think Andy Luck and the Colts keep it close enough to cover.
(And yes, I know it’s “Andrew Luck”, but sometimes I like to pretend that athletes use the different version of their given name sometimes. Oh how different things would be if B.J. Roethlisberger were starting for the Steelers this week.)
Bonus Non-Football Bet of The Week (Season Record: 5-8-1)
Tough loss for Manchester City last week against Manchester United. Of course City fans responded gracefully to United’s late winner by pelting coins at Man U’s players, opening a nice gash over Rio Ferdinand’s eye. Not unreasonable at all for a mid-season loss. And Bart Scott wants to cry about a few fans dropping F-bombs. How soft.
Man City looks to rebound at Newcastle and I’ll hop on the 1-goal spread at +120 and roll with a 3-1 City win.
Chris Gross – Jets 17 Jaguars 3 – In yet another horribly ugly football game, the Jets defense and run game will carry them to a painful 17-3 victory. All eyes will be on Quarterback Mark Sanchez, who will lead one early scoring drive, extending his short leash throughout the game. Sanchez will commit a turnover in some fashion before the end of the first half, but will not play poorly enough to force Rex Ryan to make a quarterback change. The Jets will run the ball close to 50 times, with Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell each scoring a touchdown and rushing for over 80 yards a piece. Defensively, the Jets will smother the Chad Henne led Jaguars offense, who will be competing with a group that is actually depleted worse than the Jets offensive unit. Don’t expect this one to be too enjoyable to watch, but the Jets will be one game away from .500 by about 4:30 pm today. Who would have thought?
Chris Celletti – So everybody has been asking for Mark Sanchez to stop being coddled by the Jets, to have to feel the pressure of playing for his job. Well, it probably doesn’t get much worse or more embarrassing for a professional athlete, especially a starting quarterback in the NFL, than to get benched and have a backup with one eighth your physical talent to lead your team to victory. The Jets are rightly seeing how Sanchez responds to this, and how he does is going to determine his fate as a New York Jet. And with that, Sanchez probably couldn’t pick a better scenario to kick off his rehabilitation tour, as the Jacksonville Jaguars own the league’s worst record and a bad defense to go along with it. Although if I were running the Jets I would, but I don’t expect them to let Sanchez fling it around. Expect a gameplan akin to what you saw a few weeks ago in St. Louis; a run-heavy approach with a simplified passing game. I think Sanchez will do just fine if that’s the case, throwing for around 200 yards while taking care of the ball. The Jets defense should be rolling a bit after their dominant performance last week, and the already-thin Jaguars’ offense is even more depleted due to injuries. I think the Jets win comfortably, 28-10.
Rob Celletti – The most intriguing stat regarding Sunday’s game involves the number 36. As in, there are 36 combined players between the Jets and Jaguars that appear on the injury report. These teams lacked talent to begin with, and now they’re starting third and fourth stringers in some key positions. Neither team is confident in its quarterback. The Jaguars are 32nd in the NFL on the ground and 24th through the air. The Jets offense, especially the passing attack, is downright laughable at time. In other words, this one should be a doozy!
In all seriousness, games like these favor the Jets. And as our esteemed editor has pointed out, while the Jets have certainly disappointed in many ways this season, they are far from the worst team in the league. Actually, the Jacksonville Jaguars are the proud owner of that title, with a league-worst 2-10 record. I’ve predicted lots of games to be ugly this year. This one’s no different. Jets win it 23-9.
Chris Celletti with his Best Bets for week 14 of the NFL season and a brief rant on the Knicks and the NHL Lockout
Week 13 Record: 0-3
Season Record: 13-24-2
Well, at least I’m not in last place in The Race For The Steak (sorry, Joe). At this point my picks are becoming valuable, because you can win some money if you do the exact opposite of what I say. I’m sort of like the new Evan Silva. This sucks.
Before we get to my picks, a few things swirling around my mind other than football, because the Jets are garbage and I suck at picking football games:
-What the hell happened last night? I’m referring to that basketball game played in Miami, where the sans-Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks destroyed the Heat in their building. The Heat have only lost three games by 20-plus points since LeBron Decisioned his way to Florida, and the 2012-13 Knicks are responsible for two of those. Do the Knicks have the Heat’s number? Or are these two wins just a weird anomaly? It’s probably somewhere in the middle. If the Knicks and Heat began a 7-game series tonight, the Heat would still be favored and rightly so. Regardless, the Knicks do match up well with the Heat and that’s not a mistake.
You have to hand it to Glen Grunwald and the Knicks’ brass for building a team with facing Miami in the playoffs in mind. The Knicks are strong in the defensive paint with Tyson Chandler and Rasheed Wallace and whenever-he-gets-healthy Marcus Camby, have good perimeter defenders in Ronnie Brewer, Jason Kidd and Iman Shumpert, and have perimeter shooting with J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Raymond Felton, ‘Melo, Kidd, etc. What last night proved, if nothing else, is that the Knicks are a true title contender, a Top-5 or so team in the league. And they’re that way because they had a great offseason. They made tough and shrewd decisions, the most scrutinized being letting Jeremy Lin go and replacing him with Felton. Do you think the Knicks win last night with Lin at point guard? Do you remember when LeBron and Co. slapped the breaks on Linsanity in Miami last season? Also, the signing of Kidd looks more each day like the smartest roster move they’ve made in years.
There’s a team or two in New York, a certain football team comes to mind, that could learn a little bit from the Knicks.
-It’s hysterical to me that you can read a report about the NHL Lockout negotiations, the quotes from both sides, the predictions from the media, and if you swapped out the names and locations you could be reading about the Fiscal Cliff. Maybe the parties involved should do just that, swap places altogether and give it a shot. Chris Matthews interviewing Gary Bettman would be epic. “You know, Gary, you guys are like a bunch of bullies, shoving the the younger, littler guys into lockers and stealing their lunch money. This is the United States of America, Gary. This isn’t Oak Hills Elementary School!”
-The Grammy Nominations came out this week. The Grammys are the most bi-polar awards ever. Some years all the nominees and winners are pop artists, and sometimes the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences straight up trolls pop music (also, the “National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences” is the most asinine, outdated name for the organization that gives out music awards in the 21st century. There is more science to Mark Sanchez trying to parallel park a car than there is to Katy Perry recording a song). Once every five years, the Grammys give out major awards to people you’ve never heard of or artists 40 years past their prime to serve as a reminder that their awards are meaningless. In 2008, Herbie Hancock won the Album of the Year award. 47 people on Earth have ever listened to that album. This year the five nominees are all popular artists, so expect the 2014 award for Album of the Year to go to k.d. Lang.
It will be a grave injustice if “Call Me Maybe” doesn’t win Song of the Year.
Bengals -3 vs. Cowboys – The Bengals like the throw the ball around and the Cowboys aren’t very good at stopping it. Could be similar to the Bengals’ blowout win over the Giants a few weeks ago.
Saints +5 at Giants – You don’t need to watch any Giants football the rest of the year because I’m going to spell out for you everything that’s going to happen to them from here on out. They’ll lose their next two (vs. Saints, at Falcons) to fall to 7-7 and it will be panic time. They’ll go into Baltimore in Week 16 and beat the Ravens on a late touchdown by Eli, then blow out the Eagles at home in the regular season finale to finish 9-7 and with a division title. They’ll host Seattle in the Wild Card round and win 24-14, setting up a date in Atlanta in the Divisional Round. The Giants will win that game 31-10, then visit the Packers in the NFC Title game and win 27-21 in overtime on a 53-yard touchdown to Victor Cruz after Aaron Rodgers fumbles a snap. Of course they’ll play the Patriots in the Super Bowl and win because they own New England. Woody Johnson will respond by firing Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum and hiring Brett Favre as Coach/GM. Rinse and repeat.
Packers -6.5 vs. Lions – Anyone who has Aaron Rodgers in fantasy will win this week.
Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 5-7-1) – Boxing again! Should be a fascinating fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday. Quick primer: they fought to a draw in 2004 and Pacquiao eked out highly-controversial decision wins in 2008 and 2011. A fourth fight is definitely a bit of overkill, but all three have been absolute wars and this one should be no different. Marquez is maybe the world’s best counterpuncher and because of that he gives Manny fits. But the reason to be excited for this one of that Pacquiao is going to be in total knockout mode, trying to quell any doubts about the first three fights. I think Marquez will be a bit too amped for a knockout himself and may leave himself open. If Pacquiao still has any power left, which is certainly a question at this point in his career, he can score a KO or stoppage in this one. Pacquiao by KO or TKO is +200. Take it.
Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets, including an argument for the New York Jets to fire Rex Ryan
Week 12 Record: 1-1-1
Season Record: 13-21-2
Let’s go back, briefly, to my pick from last week’s Falcons/Buccaneers game. I’ll just copy and paste it verbatim because it’s glorious:
“Falcons -1 at Buccaneers: I think the Falcons win this game, and to me, if they win it they’re going to cover a one point spread.
/Watches in dismay as the Falcons win by 1″
Just in case you guys forgot, the Falcons won 24-23. YAY.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me respond to Chris Gross’ excellent, well-thought out and researched piece defending Rex Ryan by naming him the Captain of Team Pro Rex, while countering and calling myself the Captain of Team Anti Rex. I’ll use this space to state my case as to why I’m just not a big Ryan fan, even though I’m like most Jets fans and fell in love with the guy in 2009.
Chris used mainly numbers to justify that Ryan is coaching a collection of players that simply aren’t good enough, or at least very much below the average of their opponents at basically every position on the field. There’s no arguing that, and I would never ever argue that Rex isn’t getting the full potential out of this lot of crappy players that the Jets have assembled in 2012. No team is going to win a lot of games giving major reps to guys like Edmond “Clyde” Gates, Chaz Schilens, Austin Howard, Matt Slauson, and, in 2012 at least, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas. The Jets do not have playoff talent, so I don’t expect Rex to lead this team to the playoffs.
Do I expect better than four wins at this point in the season? Maybe. But I certainly expect the team to be more competitive on a week-by-week basis and not get blown out five times, thrice at home. That, I believe, is largely on the coach. It’s my opinion that teams in the NFL, a league designed so that every team can win every week, don’t get blown out consistently if they have a truly great coach on the sideline. Regardless of the talent on the roster.
Now, Mike Tannenbaum deserves every ounce of blame he gets for the Jets’ being the way they are this year. He doesn’t deserve to be the GM of this team anymore. But you cannot simply blame Tannenbaum and nobody else, and that includes Rex Ryan. It’s not like Rex went on vacation all offseason and parachuted into Florham Park in mid July and was like “Woah, Tanny, what the hell is this? This is who I have to work with?” It’s impossible that Rex has NO say whatsoever in the personnel on his team. I understand that there are salary cap implications and the like, but you can’t tell me that Rex Ryan couldn’t go to Tannenbaum right after last season and say “Mike, I can’t go into next year with these four linebackers. And we need a better right tackle. And a fullback. And a…” and you get the point. And if he doesn’t have any say, at all? If it’s literally that he just shows up and coaches the guys he’s given, well that tells you all you need to know about the Jets organization.
What this also brings up is a question I often ponder, and that’s whether coaches make players or players make coaches in the NFL. I think there are strong arguments either way. Bill Belichick did not have great success as a head coach before going to New England and having Mo Lewis deliver Tom Brady into his lap. There’s no doubt that Brady, or any great quarterback, can hide the shortcomings of a head coach. But I personally think there are more examples of “system” players, guys that can thrive in the right situation, if used correctly and maximized by the coaching staff.
My favorite example in this case is Victor Cruz. I respect the hell out of Cruz, and I’m in no way trying to say that the guy lacks talent or anything. You don’t put up record-setting seasons like he did last year if you’re not any good. But football is the ultimate system sport. Tom Coughlin is an offensive coach, a wide receivers coach by trade, and I have a tiny feeling that he knows exactly what hes doing in terms of utilizing Victor Cruz. I look at someone like Jeremy Kerley or Randall Cobb, and I’m honestly not so sure that there’d be that big of a drop off if the Giants replaced Cruz with one of those guys. Maybe they wouldn’t put up numbers that were as gaudy, but it’s not like Cruz makes the Giants an 11-win team where they’d be a seven or eight win team with Kerley or Cobb. That’s because Tom Coughlin is a great coach – and it definitely doesn’t hurt having a top quarterback like Eli Manning either.
I’m sure there are instances in which Ryan has gotten more out of certain players than other coaches would. Maybe Muhammad Wilkerson wouldn’t be half the player he is with the Jets than if he were on half the other teams in the NFL. I don’t think Rex is an incompetent football coach, and this brings me to my next point that I’ve always feared with Rex, and that he’s a great defensive coordinator but an average-at-best head coach. There are a lot of signs that this is the case, from poor clock and game management, to the fact that he admitted that this season, his FOURTH AS A HEAD COACH, that he’s going to more offensive meetings and getting more involved on that side of the ball than ever before. I’ve never played football on any level, so maybe I’m naive and this is just how head coaches work, but if that’s the case then that’s asinine. You’ve always gotten the sense with Rex that his defense was all important, and the offense was just the other side of the ball. Which brings me to my last point, one that I think is the most relevant in today’s league.
I think that the type of football Ryan wants to play is archaic. That’s my opinion. The league has changed over the past 10 or 15 years, and you need to change with it in order to be successful. The worst thing that ever happened to Rex Ryan was being on the Ravens’ staff in 2000 when they won the Super Bowl with an all-time defense, a good running game and an otherwise pretty bad offense, with a middling quarterback and receivers. He’s trying to recreate that with the Jets, but it’s 2012 and that doesn’t work anymore. Look at the teams that have made and won the Super Bowl over the past few seasons. New England constantly wins 13 games and goes deep into the playoffs despite having one of the league’s worst defenses nearly every year. The Giants’ defense has patches every season where you think “they cannot win with this”, yet they do. The Colts, for years, had Peyton Manning and a bad defense, yet they won a Super Bowl and went to another. The Saints, the Packers…these are the types of teams that win in the NFL these days.
What all of those teams have in common is great quarterbacking, and that’s not something the Jets have. But it goes beyond that, and it’s about the culture of those teams and how they’re built. It’s not about punching someone in the mouth and giving up 10 points. It’s not about running the ball to control the clock and keep the other team’s QB on the sidelines. All those successful teams we just mentioned didn’t have shut down defenses, they had defenses that could make big plays at big times. They had the ability, and most importantly the desire and were designed to, put up a lot of points and hit big plays. Watching the Jets over the past three-plus seasons, I don’t get the vibe it’s just that the Jets can’t play offense this way, it’s that they don’t want to. Too risky. Too much potential for turnovers. Well if your defense is so great, how about picking up the offense when it inevitably turns the ball over? I’m sorry, you don’t hand-pick Tony Sparano to run your offense if you want to succeed in the NFL in 2012.
This is not even to get into the idea of Ryan’s boasts, the ridiculousness that constantly surrounds this team, etc. I honestly don’t even believe in that stuff too much. That’s the type of thing that is all well and good when you’re winning, and is a disaster when you’re losing. I have no problem with that.
And I honestly hate that I feel this way because I did love Rex Ryan when he took over in 2009. It felt like he changed the culture of the Jets, but I think the past two seasons are a clear indication that he really didn’t. He merely turned the Jets from a team that nobody bothered paying any attention to into to one that people love to point and laugh at and root against. Either way, they aren’t winning. At one point, us Jets fans thought that we had our coach in Herman Edwards, in Eric Mangini, when those guys surprised us early on by bringing us to the playoffs. I think Rex is a better coach than both of those guys, and I really hope that we don’t look back on him the same way we do those guys.
I fear, however, that we will.
Oh yeah, the picks:
Jaguars +6 at Bills, 49ers -7 at Rams, Jets -4.5 vs. Cardinals
Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 5-6-1): Boxing Bet Alert: Miguel Cotto vs. Austin Trout. I like Cotto at -230 to win, and under 9.5 rounds at +220.
Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets, including a needed rant on the state of the Jets
Because anytime you can name your sports column after a MeatLoaf song, you have to do it.
Week 11 Record: 1-2
Season Record: 12-20-1
I named my column so for two reasons. The first is quite simple, that at this point I’ll take two out of three of my Best Bets picks every week for the rest of the season. If that happens, I’d finish below .500 at 24-26-1. At this point I’d take that, just like the Jets would probably sign up for a 7-9 finish to this season. Thus, we’re at my second reason for why I named my column as I did.
I had the joy of ringing in the holiday season at MetLife Stadium last night, which means that I was there to see the Jets’ 2012 season come crashing down. When the Patriots scored 21 points in less than a minute, I thought to myself that this was as bad as I’ve seen the Jets play, as an entire team, maybe in my life. Yes, that includes the 4-25 stretch under Rich Kotite, the Brooks Bollinger games, the Neil O’Donnell games. Not only are the Jets 4-7, they’ve been thoroughly outclassed five times this year. Five times! Even the Jacksonville Jaguars keep games close – they were in it late against the Packers at Lambeau and took the Texans to overtime recently. At this point, the Jets are incapable of staying in a game with a good NFL team, which is inexcusable with the way this league is structured.
I, like many Jets fans, became enamored with Rex Ryan when he took over in 2009. Even then you could criticize his boasts, his X’s and O’s, his game management, but what we all thought he did was what we have been waiting for our whole lives – he changed the culture of the Jets. We all have to admit that we were hoodwinked, and had the blindfold over our eyes in 2009 and 2010. The culture has not changed at all. These are the same New York Jets. This is Pete Carrol, this is Al Groh, this is Herm Edwards, this is Eric Mangini, and yes, this is Rich Kotite. This is, unfortunately, Same. Old. Jets.
So what do you do when your team is not only this bad but this disillusioned? You gut it, and gut it now. As far as I’m concerned, I won’t be satisfied heading into next training camp unless two out of these three people are gone: Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum. So again, here, I’ll take two out of three.
Admittedly this is unrealistic. If Woody Johnson has the stones to fire Mike Tannenbaum – something he has earned – whoever the new General Manger is would likely want to bring in his own head coach, which means that Rex Ryan would be gone, and whoever the new coach is would probably want his own quarterback, which means Sanchez would be gone. And given that Johnson apparently loves Tannenbaum and Ryan, and Sanchez is owned a ton of guaranteed money next year, chances are they’ll all be back next season. Wonderful.
On to the picks:
Raiders +8 at Bengals: The Raiders defense is awful but they do put up a lot of points. This line seems a tiny bit high for me, and I like the chances of a backdoor cover given the Raiders can hit big plays.
Falcons -1 at Buccaneers: I think the Falcons win this game, and to me, if they win it they’re going to cover a one point spread.
/Watches in dismay as the Falcons win by 1
Ravens (Pick) at Chargers: John Harbaugh vs. Norv Turner? That’s a whitewash.
Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record 4-6-1)
Let’s go with an NBA Player Prop, something we haven’t done at these parts yet this season. I went on over to Bet US and looked for a Jeremy Lin prop ahead of tonight’s Knicks-Rockets game, and to my dismay there were none. I really, really wanted to take the under on anything they would have presented to me re: Lin (note: I’d be handing you free money, Bet US). Well, they’re giving me an over/under of 24.5 points for Carmelo Anthony. You know where I’m going with this one.
Chris Celletti with his weekly Best Bets for Turn On The Jets
Week 10 Record: 1-2
Season Record: 11-18-1
Week 10 Record in Race For The Steak Picks: 10-3
For this week, I think it’s apropos to rename this piece “Worst Bets”, considering what happened last week with my picks. In the 13 games your Turn On The Jets staff picked from Week 10 of the NFL season, I went 10-3. The three games I did not get right were the Bears over the Texans, the Chargers covering against the Bucs and the Giants over the Bengals. If you recall (I’m sure my picks are ingrained in your mind), I picked the Bears and Chargers in my Best Bets from Week 10, and so desperately wanted to choose my Giants pick because I thought that game was a foregone conclusion. Then Eli Manning turned all Mark Sanchez on us.
Before we get to my picks for this week, I wanted to weigh in on a few things, as I’m wont to do in this space:
-People have to stop with the “Poor ol’ Timothy Tebow!” shtick. Please. Yeah, he’s a good guy. He doesn’t deserve to wake up one day to see his teammates trashing him in the “media” – regardless of if the story is true or not. But let’s not get all worried about how unfair this whole thing is to Tim Tebow. Newsflash: the world of pro sports is a tough business. People love you, people hate you, the media is horrible, the fans are horrible, etc. But I don’t feel like I need to worry about the feelings of a guy who has won two National Titles in college, a Heisman trophy, was a first round pick in the NFL, is a MILLIONAIRE, and is dating Camilla Belle. I’m supposed to feel bad for this guy because of a fabricated news story that said that some teammates think he sucks? Excuse me if I felt worse for Chad Pennington when the home crowd cheered him getting injured and replaced by Jay Fiedler.
But the Jets only have themselves to blame for the mess they’re in, and I for one am glad in a way that the Tebow thing is blowing up. In a perfect world, this would be the wake up call Woody Johnson needs to learn that it’s not good to try and be Jerry Jones, and just hire competent football people (read: NOT Mike Tannenbaum), and let them run the show. Sadly, I don’t see that happening, because Woody Johnson is a horrible owner.
Along with many on this site, I’ve been a big time defender of Mark Sanchez (I would love to see him coached by Bill Cowher), but I would bench him on Sunday if the Jets had a viable backup (I don’t know, maybe someone like Drew Stanton? That name just popped into my head, I really have no idea why). They don’t. The worst possible thing that could happen to the Jets is to insert Tebow and win a few fluky games like the Broncos did last year, enough wins for the coaching staff to think that he could be the long-term solution at QB. Thankfully it doesn’t look like it’s going to go that way, and that’s a good thing. I have no idea who is going to be the Jets’ QB next year, but I know it shouldn’t be Tim Tebow.
-The Knicks are for real. You can no longer just say “The Knicks are off to a good start.” Did people say that about the Spurs, who started 7-1? No. People just said “Of course the Spurs have a good record, they’re a good team”. The Knicks are a damn good team, and anyone who doesn’t think so just isn’t being fair. This isn’t to say the Knicks are going 82-0 (although they might!) or that they’re beating the Heat and winning a title. But they’re a good team, one of the league’s best, and it’s going to be a fun season at MSG.
-I wonder what the narrative would have been if Jeremy Lin was still on the Knicks and did what Raymond Felton did against the Spurs, outplaying Tony Parker and dropping 25 while leading the Knicks to a huge win, while Carmelo Anthony scored nine points.
Okay, on to the picks.
Broncos -7.5 vs. Chargers – I’ve went with the Broncos for two straight weeks and they’ve done good for me, so I’m sticking with them. I also took the Chargers last week, which was patently moronic.
Eagles +3.5 at Redskins – I know, I know, the Eagles are just as bad a mess as the Jets, and Andy Reid is all but fired, but this is the exact game the Eagles ALWAYS win. Of course they’re going to win Nick Foles’ first start! This is how the Eagles do. Remember all the times they won games with Ty Detmer? Same thing. Philly fans are going to overreact like the South after Obama’s reelection when Foles leads them to a win on Sunday, and it’s going to be glorious when they start 1-4 next year and Foles has a QB rating of 61.
Packers -3.5 at Lions – Pack have won four in a row, heating up at the right time. Watch out, NFC.
Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 4-5-1)
Let’s see if we can hit a 3-way NBA parlay (chances: highly unlikely). Hawks -2 at Kings, Jazz +1 at Sixers and Timberwolves -2 vs. Warriors.