NFL Week 15 Recap/Jets vs. Colts First Look

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First a few updates:

1. I really enjoyed Rex Ryan completely changing his tune in his Monday press conference…pretty funny stuff going from the “we are completely done..we suck” to the “hey are probably we going to the playoffs and we are going to fight like hell” attitude.

2. The game highlights section has been updated.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – I have had enough of hearing the Tom Brady/Randy Moss/New England storylines. Why does the 10thbest team in the NFL get the most coverage? Randy Moss didn’t dominate on Sunday, he had 70 yards receiving. Tom Brady went 11/23 for 115 yards with a INT…wow pro bowl stuff right there. The only reason New England won’t be one and done in the playoffs is because the NFL has already penciled them in to the Saturday night wild card game and they are planning to dump 19 feet of snow on the field. I can already see something like Jacksonville vs New England on Saturday night in a blizzard with the Pats running it up.

Miami Dolphins – Tough loss for the Dolphins who have decided to join the Jets in mediocrity at 7-7, thanks to their quarterback throwing three interceptions. I don’t see Miami getting in the playoffs, but if they do and play in New England in the first round, I will be watching LOST re-runs instead of that game.

Buffalo Bills – Why waste article space on this horrific franchise?

Other NFL Observations

How does Denver lose a game of that importance at home to Oakland? They are like the Jets with the December meltdowns…I am thinking Kansas City is regretting that Matt Cassell trade…Watch out, the Cleveland Browns are on a two game winning streak…The Giants/Redskins game was one of the least competitive football games I have ever seen…Yes, I am really enjoying the meltdown Minnesota is about to have, they are going to play themselves right into a first round exit, nice.

TOJ NFL Power Rankings (Only teams with a playoff pulse are ranked, no matter how weak that pulse is)

  1. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings (14-0) – Rest is always a good decision Jim Caldwell.
  2. San Diego Chargers (11-3) – Looking forward to that Colts/Chargers AFC title game.
  3. New Orleans Saints (13-1) – Still can’t believe they lost to Dallas.
  4. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) – Desean Jackson is a beast.
  5. Minnesota Vikings (11-3) – I guess Favre is the coach and the quarterback now, which will make it double sweet when their playoff run flames out.
  6. Arizona Cardinals (9-5) – Life is easy in the NFC West.
  7. Green Bay Packers (9-5) – Where Defensive POY Charles Woodson during those 503 passing yards?
  8. Cincinnati Bengals (9-5) – Better effort than I expected in San Diego.
  9. Dallas Cowboys (9-5) – Biggest win of Tony Romo’s career last Saturday night.
  10. New England Patriots (9-5) – Another AFC East title.
  11. Baltimore Ravens (8-6) – Huge game coming up in Pittsburgh.
  12. Tennessee Titans (7-7) – Won 7 of their last 8.
  13. New York Giants (8-6) – Still breathing in the NFC wild card race.
  14. Denver Broncos (8-6) – Lost to Oakland…really? About to lose in Philly.
  15. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-7) – Don’t see them winning in New England.
  16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7) – Huge game versus Ravens.
  17. Miami Dolphins (7-7) – Should handle Houston at home.
  18. New York Jets (7-7) – Received all the help in the world and couldn’t capitalize.
  19. Houston Texans (7-7) – The bottom of all the 7-7 teams.

Jets/Colts First Look

This whole thing comes down to how much the Colts starters will play. I expect the Jets to blitz the crap out of Manning in the first quarter and try to get some shots on him to convince Jim Caldwell to pull him, yet Manning coaches the team anyway so it might not matter. Can’t you see the Jets beating the Colts backups 20-10 in the fourth quarter, running their mouths like they always do, pissing Peyton Manning off who then decides to check himself back in and lead his team to a 24-20 victory? I can. Realize this, if the Colts starters play the whole game, the Jets can’t win.

Delayed Reaction: Lights Out on Jets Playoff Hopes

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Delayed Reaction: Lights Out on Jets Playoff Hopes

I am pretty sure I have seen this one before…the Jets defense dominates, controls the entire game, the offense struggles, can’t put points on the board…allows the other team to stay close…then with the game on the line the defense chokes and allows the other team to win…yup, that’s about right. It all looked familiar today for the Jets as they fell to 7-7 with a gut-wrenching 10-7 loss, failing to take advantage of a Miami and Denver loss.

I thought the defense was amazing today, except when the game was on the line. I know the offense didn’t help them at all, but you can’t be an elite defense when you have lost 3 games on the final drive because you couldn’t make a play. Zero sacks and about nine dropped interceptions doesn’t help your cause for being elite either. This team badly needs a pass rusher…the type of guy who can get to the quarterback when the Jets don’t call a blitz.

Sanchez…what can I say? He doesn’t value the football. There were the usual flashes of talent and potential but the same turnovers and missed throws. No, I am not ready to give up on him…he is a freakin rookie. If he is playing like this, come next December then yes I will be worried. Braylon Edwards had his best game as a Jet go to waste, which is a shame. Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene were quiet, Brian Schottenheimer also had plenty of questionable calls.

Obviously the special teams were a major issue…Kellen Clemens can’t hold. James Dearth can’t snap and Jay Feely can’t make kicks all of a sudden. I don’t know why, maybe because they are the Jets and they needed to take turns being responsible for a loss.

NFL Week 14 Recap/Jets vs. Falcons First Look

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First a few updates:

1. Like the the rest of the Jets, I took yesterday off as a “victory Monday.” Actually, I have been suffering from a lovely combination of strep throat and a fever so I tried to sleep it off to be as healthy as possible for the final three weeks of the regular season. Yes, I consider my health of crucial importance to the Jets hopes for a miraculous playoff run.

2. According to Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemens are going to split reps at practice on Wednesday and then he will decide on a starter. I would be shocked if Sanchez isn’t under center this weekend but maybe that is just wishful thinking to avoid watching another Kellen Clemens performance. The Jets could get away with playing Clemens against the Bucs, but starting him against Atlanta could be pushing it.

3. Rich Cimini is reporting there is a strong chance the Jets/Bengals regular season finale could be moved to Sunday night since it is the final game in Giants Stadium. If somehow, someway the Jets are playing for a playoff spot…that place is going to be rocking…and yes I will be finding a way to bring myself to that game.

4. Some impressive Jets defense stats compiled by the Star-Ledger: They are ranked first in the NFL in total defense, first in pass defense, first in points allowed, first in three and outs, first in yards per play, first in fewest first downs allowed…along with of course having the NFL’s #1 ranked rushing offense…and yet we are still barely hanging in playoff contention.

5. The Jets have signed running back Chauncey Washington to their active roster off the Dallas Cowboys practice squad and released tackle Ryan McKee. This could be a reminder to Shonn Greene to tuck the football away.

6. Rex Ryan was very complimentary about Kerry Rhodes all-around performance against Tampa, saying he was strong in run support and was key in shutting down Kellen Winslow Jr. Let’s see how Rhodes finishes the final three games, which will go a long way to determining his future with the team.

7. The Jets are currently ranked #16 in ESPN’s Power Rankings…slowly climbing back up into the top half of the league.

8. The stats, depth chart, and game highlights section have been updated.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – An unimpressive win over a bad Panthers team has left me a little hope that the Patriots could struggle in Buffalo next week and in Houston the final week of the season. Randy Moss is starting to melt down. Their defense is extremely vulnerable, especially to the pass. Tom Brady isn’t playing like a pro-bowl quarterback. Bill Belichick is coaching like a guy who has won 3 Super Bowls and can do whatever he wants…could New England lose two of their final three? Absolutely. Will they? Probably not, they are most likely looking at a first round loss.

Miami Dolphins – We are moving closer and closer to my nightmare of a Miami/New England first round game. Vince Young you need to get healthy this week, Chris Johnson you need to stay motivated to break the single season rushing record, and Tennessee you need to focus on getting back to .500 in your building. I predicted Miami to be a 6-10 team this year and they have now shut me up on that prediction but I’d settle for 8-8 and missing the playoffs. The Dolphins could just as easily win their last three games, as they could lose them.

Buffalo Bills – Congratulations on winning arguably the most boring game of the season…now let’s focus on upsetting the Patriots in your building. Just remember to play physical with Randy Moss so he quits early.

Other NFL Observations

DeSean Jackson is still running wide open through the Giants secondary…Fortunately for the Giants, the Cowboys annual meltdown will allow them to make the playoffs even if they lose another game this season…My Super Bowl picks, the Eagles and Chargers are rolling right now…Is it just me or does anybody think the Bengals just aren’t that good?…I was glad to see Detroit put up such a strong effort against Baltimore last week…Any hopes I had of Oakland upsetting Denver this week ended when Bruce Gradkowski left with an injury…I vote the Colts play their starters this week against Jacksonville and then rest them the following week against the Jets…Some of the more unconventional hopes I have for the Jets making the playoffs involve either the Broncos or Bengals suffering an epic meltdown and losing out.

TOJ NFL Power Rankings (Only teams with a playoff pulse are ranked, no matter how weak that pulse is)

  1. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings (13-0) – You don’t want to put Peyton Manning in front of the Jets defense in week 16…much too risky, right? However, feel free to beat Jacksonville on Thursday since their city doesn’t deserve a football team.
  2. New Orleans Saints (13-0) – I am happy for Jonathan Vilma…great guy and great former Jet enjoying tons of success with a great team.
  3. San Diego Chargers (10-3) – They are going to roll over the Bengals this weekend…would love to see them against the Colts in the playoffs.
  4. Minnesota Vikings (11-2) – They are going to get a much needed bye…I hope Green Bay gets a shot at them in the second round.
  5. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) – Their offense is explosive and their defense makes big plays…a very dangerous team.
  6. Green Bay Packers (9-4) –  A great defense, a strong running game, and a big play passing game could equal a dangerous playoff team.
  7. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) – About to catch a beating in San Diego.
  8. Arizona Cardinals (8-5) – Why can’t they beat the 49ers?
  9. Denver Broncos (8-5) – I’m not sold on them as a very good team, but who else I am going to put here? They are likely going 10-6 because of remaining home games against Kansas City and Oakland.
  10. New England Patriots (8-5) – They have a relatively easy remaining schedule so they should roll into the playoffs, where they will be knocked out in the first round.
  11. Baltimore Ravens (7-6) – As of right now, they have the best shot for the final wild card spot in the AFC.
  12. Miami Dolphins (7-6) – Let’s go Titans.
  13. Dallas Cowboys (8-5) – 8-8…here we come.
  14. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-6) – Overachieving team that will likely fall short of the playoffs.
  15. New York Giants (7-6) – Their defense is putrid but they can go 8-8 and still likely make the playoffs.
  16. New York Jets (7-6) – Mission improbable to make the playoffs.
  17. Tennessee Titans (6-7) – Big Titans fan this week.
  18. Houston Texans (6-7) – Big Houston fan for the rest of the season with games left against Miami and New England.
  19. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7) – Big Steelers fan for the rest of the season with games left against Baltimore and Miami.
  20. San Francisco 49ers (6-7) – Hoping for a Cardinals or Giants meltdown.
  21. Atlanta Falcons (6-7) – Hopefully the Jets can bury them this weekend.

Jets/Falcons First Look

PhotobucketThe Falcons are in the middle of a free fall and have endured tons of injuries, especially to key players. I wouldn’t expect to see starting quarterback Matt Ryan or starting running back Michael Turner this Sunday, which is obviously a big help for the Jets. The Jets are also benefited by getting a dome team in their building in the middle of December. Atlanta’s biggest weapons on offense are Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. White might as well not even bother suiting up because Darrelle Revis is going to take him out of the game. Kerry Rhodes will have a hell of a challenge against Gonzalez and a chance to show his value to the Jets defense. Atalnta’s defense has struggled all season, especially against the pass. However, if the Jets are smart they will stick to their ball control, run-dominated offense. Most people seem to be thinking the Jets are going to roll in this game, however I think this will be a close one. I like the Jets to get a home victory but it won’t be easy.

Jets/Bucs Highlights

Three In a Row: Jets Embarrass Bucs, Stay Alive in Playoff Race

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Three In a Row: Jets Embarrass Bucs, Stay Alive in Playoff Race

Another week, another ugly win for the Jets. It took more than half of the season but the Jets have finally found their identity over the past three games. When you look at the AFC standings, you have to be encouraged about the Jets still being very much alive heading into their final three games but feel a little disgusted looking at that three way tie at 7-6 with Jacksonville and Miami, considering the way the Jets lost games to them.

Today it was all about the defense, who completely dominated Tampa Bay. The Bucs are bad enough as is, but the Jets made them look like a division 3 team. They recorded three interceptions, including another one by Darrelle Revis who now has a INT in the past three games and is making a hell of a push for defensive player of the year consideration. David Harris picked one off on the first play of the game, setting the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Yes, even Kerry Rhodes got in on the fun with his third interception of the season. Calvin Pace, Donald Strickland, and James Ihedigbo all had a sack.

On offense, Kellen Clemens was okay. He started out poorly but got into a rhythm late in the third quarter, and showed some of his arm strength. Brad Smith was all over the place, finding success in the wildcat, on special teams by completing a 27 yard pass, and catching a pass. Danny Woodhead chipped in 52 total offensive yards. Thomas Jones continued to have a pro-bowl caliber season with another strong performance, finishing with 99 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.

Grading Out The Jets Thursday Night Win

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 First a few updates:

1. The big news of the day: Mark Sanchez has a sprained PCL and should be able to play against Tampa Bay. I wouldn’t bet on him practicing until the end of the next week. Hopefully, with the proper treatment and a brace he will be close to 100 percent on December 13th in Tampa.

2. Rex Ryan continued to express his frustration with Sanchez’s decision not to slide. He said it best last night, “The kid has to grow up.” It is a little ridiculous how the Jets took the time to bring Joe Girardi in this week and Sanchez still refused to slide. I know he was being competitive and trying to get a first down but he is going to keep getting hurt if he doesn’t listen to the coaching staff.

3. The stats and game highlights section have been updated. Congratulations to Thomas Jones for another 1,000 yard season.

4. Go Oakland, Kansas City, Green Bay, Houston, and New England this weekend. It is nice to still be playing meaningful games in December.

5. I am going to Italy from December 25th to January 1st, which of course means I will be out of the country during the Jets/Colts game. I am open to all suggestions about the best way to go about viewing the game. I am thinking about buying NFL Rewind, bringing my laptop and then locking myself in the hotel room on Monday night (you have to wait 24 hours until after the game is over to watch it). It is either that or rely on somebody to tape the game and then watch it when I get back, although it would be weird to watch a game on Saturday and then gear up for Jets/Bengals right away the next day. I leaning towards the laptop so I can drop an article or two in.

Grading Out The Jets Thursday Night Win

Quarterbacks: (C) Sanchez was playing well before he left with an injury. The numbers show 7/15 for 104 yards with a touchdown but Braylon Edwards dropped a 85 yard touchdown pass on him, along with another slant over the middle. David Clowney also should have pulled in a touchdown catch from him. Sanchez did miss a wide open Jerricho Cotchery in the end-zone but overall he didn’t turn the ball over, showed good mobility and more poise in the pocket. Obviously, it is frustrating to see him get hurt but I think he will back for the Tampa game. Kellen Clemens had a nice throw on 3rd down to convert a big first down but beyond that was pretty awful. He fumbled twice and showed absolutely no pocket presence. The Jets might run the ball 55 times if Clemens has to start next week.

Running Backs: (A) Thomas Jones racked up another 100 yard effort and is now over 1,000 for the season. He is currently on pace to have a career high in yards rushing for a season. There is nothing else to say except that Jones has been great this year. Shonn Greene had his best game of the season outside of Oakland, finishing with 59 yards on 11 carries.

Wide Receivers: (C) Braylon Edwards had a brutal drop but responded with an acrobatic grab on the sideline and a touchdown reception, where he showed some toughness after the catch. Jerricho Cotchery had a solid night, highlighted by a 45 yard reception. David Clowney should have hauled in that touchdown.

Tight Ends: (C) Quiet night for Dustin Keller, who only had one catch. However, him and Ben Hartsock did a good job of blocking.

Offensive Line: (B) The pass protection was a little shaky at times but overall the Jets dominated on the ground for the second time this season against Buffalo.

Defensive Line: (A) How about the season Shaun Ellis is putting together? Marques Douglas is also having a very good year and Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha have stepped up in the absence of Kris Jenkins.

Linebackers: (A) Another sack and forced fumble for David Harris. Bart Scott had one of his better games of the season. Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas were also active. Did anybody see Vernon Gholston out there, anybody?

Secondary: (A) This grade is only so high because of the Jets corners. What else can you say about Darrelle Revis? Lito Sheppard bounced back from giving up an early big play to Lee Evans to have his second strong game in a row. Kerry Rhodes, Jim Leonhard, and Eric Smith were all quiet.

Special Teams: (A) Jay Feely is quietly having a pro-bowl caliber season. Brad Smith and Jerricho Cotchery were okay on returns.

Coaching: (A) Good offensive game plan by Brian Schottenheimer who caught Buffalo off guard with some misdirections and reverses and another strong defensive effort led by Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine.

Highlights From the Jets Win

Still Breathing: Jets Beat Bills, Sanchez Hurt

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For the second week in a row the Jets won ugly but again a win is a win. Somehow, someway the Jets currently are a 1/2 game out of the wild card and still have life heading into the final fourth of the season. Obviously, the big story leaving this game is that Mark Sanchez left in the second half after injuring his leg. The early reports is that it is a sprain and we probably won’t know his availability for the Tampa Bay game for a few days. Fortunately, he has a little extra time to recover since the Jets have 10 days until their next game. The sooner he is back, the better because Kellen Clemens looked awful tonight and Sanchez actually looked pretty good before he went down. He certainly wasn’t helped by the dropped passes…cough cough, Braylon Edwards, really? However, nice job by Braylon bouncing back with a touchdown reception.

3/4 of the world is covered by water, and the other 1/4 is covered by Darrelle Revis as far as I’m concerned. Terrell Owens was completely dominated by Revis who had 5 passes defensed and an interception. Debating whether Revis is the best corner in football this season is like debating whether the sky is blue. He is the best, don’t waste your breath arguing it. Shaun Ellis also had a great game tonight with 2 sacks, including a key one on the Bills final drive. David Harris continued to have an all-pro season with 11 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. The Jets defense is reverting to early season form and is playing like an elite unit again.

Another strong game from Thomas Jones and a good effort from Shonn Greene. The two backs combined for 168 yards on the ground. Tony Richardson chipped in 36 yards and Brad Smith and David Clowney both had big plays on reverses. Brian Schottenheimer called a good game tonight.

So, what to do now? Hope Sanchez can get healthy in the next 10 days. Hope that we don’t choke on the road against the 1-10 Bucs. Hope that Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Denver lose and hope that New England and Miami beat each other up.

Grading Out The Jets/Panthers Game

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First a few updates:

1. Except for Denver winning (thank you very much Giants), literally every team the Jets needed to lose yesterday, actually did lose. It was a rare day of positive outcomes for the Jets, who now somehow sit 1 game out of the AFC’s final wild card spot.

2. I don’t have a major problem with how Kerry Rhodes handled the media yesterday. The guy has been through a rough week with his well deserved benching. He said what he needed to say and left before having to answer millions of questions about whether he should get his job back (he shouldn’t yet, Eric Smith played a very good game). Hopefully, Rhodes will string together a few big games and start to resemble the player the Jets expected him to be in 2009.

3. The stats and game highlights section have been updated. It was nice to finally add some winning highlights. We are currently working on an extended holiday special version of TOJ TV to hopefully air before the Jets/Bucs game on December 13th. However, I’d like to get something up before Thursday’s game but apparently I need to devote more attention to my finals than my website’s television show. We’ll see if I end up writing my final today or instead laying in my bed, watching re-runs of LOST, and eating pretzels.

Grading Out The Jets/Panthers Game

JETS V PANTHERS SQuarterbacks: (B-) It was far from his best game of the season, but it was still a step in the right direction from the previous few games for Mark Sanchez. He was noticeably more careful with the football, showed his ability to run when his receivers are covered and displayed accuracy on a few impressive throws over the middle to Dustin Keller. Yes, the interception he threw was a bad pass and eventually he will have to press the ball down the field a little more but he played well enough for the Jets to win. It was also good to see him finally get his completion percentage well above 50.

Running Backs: (B-) A solid, workmanlike day from Thomas Jones. Shonn Greene’s fumble lowered the grade of this group. He shows some good burst but must do a better job of protecting the football. It was a smart decision by the Jets coaching staff to activate Danny Woodhead and use him in the third down role because he is a very good receiver out of the backfield. He provides a Sanchez a good outlet as a check down.

Wide Receivers: (C) It was a quiet day from this group, with Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery only combining for 4 receptions. Edwards showed a strong ability to run after the catch and it was also a good decision to throw him shorter passes to keep him involved.

Tight Ends: (C) Dustin Keller had a very good game, except for his fumble. It is good to see him becoming more consistently involved in the offense. Ben Hartsock is stringing together a few games without a penalty.

Offensive Line: (C) It wasn’t the best day for this group. Sanchez was sacked a few times and Thomas Jones couldn’t crack the 100 yard mark. D’Brickashaw Ferguson also had a holding penalty.

Defensive Line: (A) A really strong effort from this group in slowing down DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Marques Douglas and Shaun Ellis are both playing better than expected this season. Sione Pouha has also been more than competent as a replacement for Kris Jenkins.

Linebackers: (A) A sack for David Harris, Calvin Pace, and Bryan Thomas. Bart Scott was also fairly active. Was Vernon Gholston in uniform on Sunday?

112909Jets03ACNYSecondary: (A) Darrelle Revis played another terrific game on Sunday, you can add Steve Smith to the list of elite receivers who have been completely shut down by Revis. Eric Smith didn’t disappointin his promotion to the starting line-up, with a team leading 8 tackles and 2 for a loss. Aided by Jake Delhomme’s general awfulness, Kerry Rhodes pulled in his first two  interceptions of the season. Rex Ryan is looking pretty smart for at least one week.

Special Teams: (B) Jay Feely made an important kick in the 4th quarter. Brad Smith had a nice kick return. The punt coverage was a little shaky.

Coaching: (A) The benching of Kerry Rhodes brought out strong performances from both him and Eric Smith. Ryan also made the right call by challenging Steve Smith’s touchdown. It was a good game plan on both sides of the ball and the coaching staff had the team ready to play.

Highlights of the Jets 17-6 Win Over Carolina

It's About Time: Jets Beat Panthers 17-6

Panthers Jets Football

It wasn’t pretty but it was something the Jets badly needed, a victory. If the Jets could have played this type of ugly, run-dominated, conservative style a few other times this year they may not be below .500 right now. Mark Sanchez didn’t light the world on fire today with with 154 yards passing, o touchdowns, and an interception. However, he was 13/17 which is a major step in the right direction for his completion percentage. He also chipped in 27 yards rushing. The injury to his leg that required him to miss a few snaps doesn’t appear to be too serious because it didn’t look to limit him when he returned.

Turnovers still remained an issue today with fumbles from Shonn Greene and Dustin Keller, however the Jets were able to overcome it thanks to a terrific effort from their defense. Darrelle Revis continued to prove he was the best cornerback in football by holding Steve Smith to one catch for five yards and pulling in two interceptions of his own, including a bizarre one that he ran back 67 yards for a touchdown. Kerry Rhodes picked himself off the mat and recorded his first two interceptions of the year. The early returns on Rex Ryan benching him are positive because Rhodes appears to have woken up and the guy who replaced him, Eric Smith played a great game also, leading the team with 8 tackles, including 2 for a loss.

Bryan Thomas, Calvin Pace, and David Harris each recorded a sack and the Jets constantly applied pressure all game. It looked a little bit like the first few weeks of the season. Thomas Jones had another solid effort with 75 rushing yards and touchdown. Braylon Edwards chipped 40 yards receiving and even Danny Woodhead got into the act with 23 receiving yards and a rushing attempt.

Also, to everybody in Miami…haha.

NFL Week 11 Recap/Jets vs. Panthers First Look

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First a few updates:

1. The big story being reported out of the New York media today is how Rex Ryan will be more hands on with the Jets offense and Mark Sanchez. Hopefully, a person the size of Ryan constantly in Sanchez’s ear about protecting the football will make him think twice before he launches another ball off his back foot into double coverage. Ryan also said yesterday he felt disrespected by the Pats bombing it up to Randy Moss with 30 seconds left despite being up 17. Was it a classless move? Sure it was, but what else would you expect from New England? The Jets and Pats are rivals. For all the talking the Jets have done this year, this is no time to be complaining about feeling disrespected.

2. The Jets fell to number 22 in ESPN’s Power Rankings. Remember when they were the #5 team? It is hard to believe that it was during this season.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – Unless they have a colossal meltdown, the Pats should cruise to the AFC East title. I am not sure if they are good enough right now to pull out a victory in New Orleans, but beyond that I think will roll through the rest of their schedule.

Dolphins-Patriots-Football2__1222089553_3355Miami Dolphins – Somehow, someway the Dolphins are right in the thick of the AFC wild card race. Unlike what was expected for the AFC this year, there is plenty of mediocrity battling for the #5 and #6 playoff spots. If the Dolphins can avoid a slip up against Buffalo this week, they will have a chance in upcoming games against Houston and Jacksonville to put themselves in great position to play in January. I am already having nightmares about a Miami/New England first round playoff game.

Buffalo Bills – I am fascinated to see how the NFL Network is going to promote the upcoming Jets/Bills Thursday night game, “Watch Mark Sanchez and his 19 interceptions lead the 4-7 Jets into Toronto to play Ryan Fitzpatrick and the 3-8 Buffalo Bills”…oh boy.

TOJ Top Twenty

  1. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings – I am giving them the bump up to #1 because of recent impressive victories over New England and on the road at Baltimore.
  2. New Orleans Saints – If they beat New England on Monday night, 16-0 becomes a reality.
  3. Minnesota Vikings – All I can do now is hope for a Brett Favre flameout in the playoffs.
  4. San Diego Chargers – About to run away from the suddenly hapless Broncos in the AFC West.
  5. New England Patriots – Another chance to show they are an elite team this Monday night.
  6. Arizona Cardinals – Putting together a very impressive season to follow up their NFC title.
  7. Cincinnati Bengals – A loss to Oakland? Really? Fortunately for them the Steelers couldn’t beat the Chiefs.
  8. Philadelphia Eagles – They finally won a close game.
  9. Dallas Cowboys – Ugly ugly win but if they can handle Oakland on Thursday, they will be 8-3 heading into a huge game against the Giants.
  10. Pittsburgh Steelers – Who would have thought Pittsburgh would be battling for a wild card spot?
  11. New York Giants – They should be able to handle the fading Broncos on Thursday.
  12. Green Bay Packers – I would love them to get another shot at Minnesota in the playoffs.
  13. Jacksonville Jaguars – Let’s see if they can handle a West Coast trip and being a playoff contender.
  14. Baltimore Ravens – Huge game Sunday night against the Steelers.
  15. Tennessee Titans – Could they actually finish over .500 after starting 0-6?
  16. Atlanta Falcons – Soft remaining schedule could help their playoff run.
  17. Miami Dolphins – I am hoping it is too little, too late for the Dolphins but unfortunately it may not be.
  18. Houston Texans  – They can’t win a big game.
  19. Denver Broncos – Could they actually finish below .500 after starting 6-0?
  20. Carolina Panthers – Good news for their fledgling playoff hopes…the Jets upcoming on the schedule.

Jets vs. Panthers First Look

jake_delhommeThe Opponent: Let playing out the string commence…the Jets begin a three game streak against sub .500 teams this week with a home game against Carolina in the “Interception Bowl.” Jake Delhomme (14) and Mark Sanchez (16) have combined for 30 interceptions this season. The Panthers are coming off a 12-4 season but have disappointed in 2009 with a 4-6 record. Similar to the Jets, they can run the football and play some defense but are limited by a turnover prone quarterback. I do know this, I would be starting both Thomas Jones and DeAngelo Williams on your fantasy football team because there should be plenty of handoffs in the Meadowlands on Sunday. Last Thursday night, Carolina lost 24-17 at home to our beloved Dolphins, due to Ricky Williams running all over them…like I said it is time to hand the football off.

Key Players: Steve Smith is one of the league’s premier big play receivers but has struggled in 2009 because of inconsistent quarterback play. Fortunately, the Jets have Darrelle Revis to handle him and Carolina doesn’t have Wes Welker on the other side of him. DeAngelo Williams is their lead back and is also a big play threat with breakaway speed. Jonathan Stewart is very involved as the #2 running back with over 500 yards and 6 touchdowns. He provides a more bruising, inside running style. On defense, Julius Peppers is having another strong season with 7 sacks. Jon Beason is one of the better linebackers in football and Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall are a talented pair of corners.

Injuries: I would expect Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery, and Vernon Gholston to miss another week. Strickland has a head injury. Lowery has a bad ankle sprain and Gholston has a hamstring/he’s not that good and the Jets coaches need an excuse to bench him issue.

Dolphins/Panthers Highlights

Grading Out The Jets/Patriots Game

Jets Patriots Football

First a few updates:

1. Leigh Bodden is not a New York Jets receiver…just needed to update Mark Sanchez on that in case he happens to stumble across this website…anything I can do to help.

2. With the Jets playing out the string (something I will write about more throughout the week) I am going to move towards a little extra general NFL writing, with the discussions of the NFC/AFC playoff races, weekly picks on important games, etc. I will still have my normal amounts of coverage on the Jets because there is plenty of negative stuff to be written, but there is no reason to ignore the 16-20 teams still battling for position in January.

3. Rex Ryan’s press conference today: Donald Strickland got a concussion and will be out for awhile. Dwight Lowery has a high ankle sprain and will be out for a few weeks. Ryan said he will be more hands on in terms of monitoring Mark Sanchez and drilling into his head the importance of protecting the football. He also admitted he needs to be more hands on in general with the rest of team outside of the defense.

4. The stats and game highlights were updated…proceed with caution.

Grading Out The Jets/Patriots Game

Quarterbacks: (F) Just absolutely awful is the only to way to describe how Mark Sanchez played. The first two interceptions were bad enough but then somehow the Jets battled back to make  it 24-14 and have the ball in Patriots territory and what does Sanchez do on the first play of the drive, completely overthrow Jerricho Cotchery (or underthrow Braylon Edwards) I couldn’t even tell and is intercepted…then the Jets defense stops New England again and Sanchez scrambles around in the end-zone and when there is clearly no play to be made, instead of throwing it away he throws it right to Brandon Merriweather…awful. The guy has no respect for the football. The last interception he threw to Merriweather was comically bad, little league stuff. The worst part is that he just doesn’t seem to get it…he isn’t learning from his mistakes and he has this weird smug attitude after the game, which doesn’t seem to recognize how bad he is actually playing.

Sanchez is playing like he knows the Jets won’t pull him because they have nobody to turn to. He is stubbornly refusing to protect the football and is showing no fundamental idea of how to play quarterback at the NFL level. If he doesn’t show any improvement over the last 6 weeks, the Jets may be staring at the reality that they whiffed on two straight first round picks. Note, how I said that if he doesn’t show any improvement in the 6 last weeks…they may have to face that reality. The kid obviously has some talent but let’s see him learn and grow over the 6 last games or it could be ugly here for awhile.

Running Backs: (B) Thomas Jones is one of the few Jets who showed up to work on Sunday and put together another solid game. He is earning a new contract. Shonn Greene has been a ghost since his breakout game against Oakland.

Wide Receivers: (C-) Jerricho Cotchery played a very good game, as he usually does against the Patriots. Braylon Edwards had a big third down drop early in the game and also probably should have pulled in another deep ball. David Clowney had a drop early in the game also.

Tight Ends: (B) Dustin Keller made a few tough catches over the middle is starting to become consistently involved in the offense. There were no penalties on Ben Hartsock which is always a positive for him.

Offensive Line: (B) They put together a good all around effort. Thomas Jones ran for 100 yards and Sanchez was only sacked a couple of times.

Defensive Line: (C) Great game by Shaun Ellis. Marques Douglas forced a fumble and Mike DeVito also was active. However, Laurence Maroney still got a decent amount of yardage.

Linebackers: (C) Quiet games from Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas. David Harris did his job for the most part. I am not sure why the Jets had him in coverage in Wes Welker on some plays…yikes. Bart Scott hit Brady a couple of times but didn’t make any big plays.

APTOPIX Jets Patriots FootballSecondary: (D) Darrelle Revis is a great football player. Jim Leonhard is a tough, above average safety beyond that the Jets secondary is straight garbage. Kerry Rhodes should be benched. I would be thrilled if we could trade him to Cleveland (probably the only team who would take him) for a 3rd or 4th round pick. Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland are always banged up. Drew Coleman was helpless in the slot against Welker. Dwight Lowery is also now hurt and is an average corner even when healthy.

Special Teams: (A) Nice blocked punt by Eric Smith. David Clowney and Dwight Lowery showed something on kick returns.

Coaching: (D) They were completely out-coached by New England, who clearly adjusted to the Jets blitzing scheme. There was also no adjustment to slow down Wes Welker.

The Mark Sanchez Interception Show