Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 15 – Jets vs. Titans

12 predictions for the Jets must win Monday Night game against the Tennessee Titans

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is back with predictions for a critical Monday Night game for the New York Jets against the Tennessee Titans. If the Jets can take care of business, they are going to give themselves a somewhat realistic chance for a playoff spot in the season’s final two weeks. It has been a bizarre year, particularly in the AFC that has allowed a team currently at 6-7 and holding some shockingly embarrassing stats to remain relevant for so long. 

Yet there is no need for any apologies from the Jets. This is a team who gets criticized for beating Arizona by a single point, when a Detroit team with twice the talent as them goes out and loses to Arizona by 28. Rex Ryan has held his veteran team together, despite a lack overall talent and has prevented the 2012 season from slipping away just yet. It has slipped away in Buffalo. It has slipped away in Miami. It has slipped away in countless other NFL cities but not for the New York Jets. 

It hasn’t been a fun season for Jets fans. Think about it. How many truly enjoyable moments have there been? The week 1 rout of Buffalo was a blast but none of the other six victories have come with much excitement or celebration. Ironically, the season’s second best moment might have been recovering a fumble on a kick return late in the fourth quarter against New England…in what ultimately ended up being a losing effort.

Tonight has a chance to change that. The team and the fanbase has a primetime game to genuinely get excited about. A win in this game means the home finale next Sunday should be a packed and rowdy game as the team looks to beat up on San Diego in the final days of the Norv Turner era while scoreboard watching Kansas City/Indianapolis and Cincinnati/Pittsburgh. 

Hopefully, the Jets come out with the intensity of a team fighting for their playoff lives against the Titans team with nothing to play for. 

On to the predictions –

1. Braylon Edwards will play 15-25 snaps for the Jets offense tonight and pull in 2-3 catches for 30-45 yards, including at least one big first down.

2. Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell will combine for at least 35 carries and 150 yards. Tim Tebow won’t play on offense and Joe McKnight will contribute 3-5 offensive touches.

3. Chris Johnson will be held to under 85 yards rushing and be kept out of the end-zone.

4. Mark Sanchez will throw for under 200 yards and have one turnover, along with one touchdown pass.

5. Jake Locker will have at least 30 yards rushing and throw for around 200 yards. However, the Jets will sack him at least twice and force him into a pair of turnovers.

6. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright will make a few big plays working against Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster.

7. Jeremy Kerley will lead the Jets in receptions and receiving yards.

8. Muhammad Wilkerson will have at least one sack, continuing his All-Pro caliber season. Look for a big night from Quinton Coples as well, working against a beat-up Titans offensive line.

9. The Jets will avoid any major special teams errors and both Nick Folk and Joe McKnight will have solid games for Mike Westhoff.

10. Rookie Antonio Allen will play at least 15 snaps on defense and have a couple of quarterback pressures. Garret McIntyre will play the bulk of the reps at outside linebacker for Bryan Thomas.

11. The Jets won’t rotate Vladimir Ducasse in at guard.

12. With their season on the line, the Jets will jump out to an early lead and then hold on to it with their running game. This will be a tight one into the final minutes but look for the defense to make a big play late to ice a 16-13 victory.

Predicted Game Outcome Record: 11-2 

New York Jets Playoff Pipe Dream – Week 15 Viewing Guide

Your New York Jets playoff pipe dream viewing guide for week 15

Somehow, someway the New York Jets playoff pipe dream viewing guide is back. It took a pair of ugly wins over Arizona and Jacksonville and surprising upset losses for Pittsburgh and Cincinnati last week but here we are. The New York Jets are right in the mix for a AFC wild-card spot with three games left to play. Can you imagine the outrage if this team makes playoffs? I can already see the 4,000 word Grantland article documenting how they are the worst playoff team in NFL history and the 2,000 word Florio post on Pro Football Talk demanding a change to the playoff structure so teams like the Jets can’t get in. Hell, even if they lose by 30 in the first round, that would be worth the trip alone. 

THE BIG ONES

Cincinnati (7-6) at Philadelphia (4-9) – Fly Eagles Fly! This game doesn’t feel quite as helpless after watching Nick Foles and company beat Tampa Bay on the road last week. Despite having a tough outing against the Bucs, Bryce Brown is beastly at running back and can provide the big play. The main concern here is that Philadelphia’s secondary is awful and the Bengals have that AJ Green guy. Their offensive line is equally awful and Geno Atkins has been a monster upfront for Cincinnati. This is going to be a close one and an Eagles win can give every Jets fans a great start to the football weekend. Doesn’t it feel kind of natural rooting for the Eagles? They are the most comparative team/fanbase to the Jets out there.

Pittsburgh (7-6) at Dallas (7-6) – How ’bout them Cowboys? Dez Bryant’s finger injury has dimmed the optimism for this game a little but for God’s Sake the Steelers lost to the Chargers last week…at home!?! How did that happen, seriously have you watched San Diego play this season? They are an abomination. Here is something funny, our buddy Evan Silva had Ryan Matthews ranked as a top three fantasy player coming into the season. He has one touchdown this year! That is 5 less than his whipping boy Shonn Greene, 3 less than Bilal Powell and 1 less than the immortal Jeff Cumberland. Anyway, it is hard to have any faith in the Cowboys in a big spot but Romo has to win an important December game at some point, right?

Indianapolis (9-4) at Houston (11-2) – Yes, the Jets can still catch the Colts who play Houston this week on the road, then in Kansas City and then Houston again at home. Is it that unfathomable for them to get swept by the Texans and lay at least one egg against an inferior team on the road? Regardless, I think the Texans win this one comfortably after their embarrassment in New England last Monday Night.

COULDN’T HURT

Denver (10-3) at Baltimore (9-4) – You want the Broncos to win so they stay breathing down the Texans neck for the #1 seed, forcing the Texans to play their starters against the Colts in week 17.

San Francisco (9-3-1) at New England (10-3) – Root for the Patriots (vomits in mouth) same reason as above.

In a perfect world, the AFC Standings will look like this heading into week 16

  1. Houston (12-2)
  2. New England (11-3)
  3. Denver (11-3)
  4. Baltimore (9-5)
  5. Indy (9-5)
  6. Pittsburgh (7-7)
  7. Cincinnati (7-7)
  8. Jets (7-7)

TOJ Staff Thursday Night Picks

  • Joe C – PHI (+4)
  • Chris G – PHI (+4)
  • Mike D – PHI (+4)
  • Chris C – PHI (+4)
  • Rob – CIN (-4) 

Turn On The Jets Week 15 Roundtable – Jets/Titans Match-Ups

The TOJ staff discusses what match-ups they’re most looking forward to in the Jets week 15 Monday Night matchup against the Tennessee Titans

The TOJ staff discusses what match-up they are most looking forward to in the New York Jets Monday Night match-up against the Tennessee Titans. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter –

Joe Caporoso – If the New York Jets can slow down Chris Johnson, who has the ability to kill them in the open field, they are going to be in great shape to improve their record to 7-7. Jake Locker can be dangerous when he starts scrambling around and does have an ability to push the ball down the field. Yet, let’s not ignore that he only completes 57.5% of his passes, has thrown 9 interceptions to match his 9 touchdowns and has lost two fumbles. Locker isn’t a good enough quarterback to single-handily beat the Jets defense. Due to this, the Jets front seven must stop Johnson, not let him get to the outside and not let him catch the football in space.

TJ Rosenthal – Chris Johnson could end the Jets season. Braylon Edwards, as much as naysayers refuse to believe, may help to prolong it. What we look forward to regarding Monday night most however, is the Jets rushing attack. The Titans are tied for 23rd against the run. Tony Sparano’s ground and pound has become more creative as of late. Shonn Greene has been maximizing his “plow forward” style since the bye week. Maybe this week though, Bilal Powell will finally emerge into something more than a split carry back. With his first breakout game coming on National TV.

Chris Celletti – It’s been a disappointing overall season for Chris Johnson, but the Titans’ back is still capable of having a big game. While the Jets’ defense is coming off two excellent weeks, Johnson is the best back they’ll have faced in the past three weeks by a mile. Also, you’d expect the Titans to use a heavy dose of Johnson as the Jets’ run defense is still weaker than their pass defense (basically, expect FIREWORKS on Monday since the Jets are going to go with the same approach on offense as well). Johnson is the one player on Tennessee that can wreck the game for the Jets. If they can shut him down, they give themselves a much better chance of moving to .500.

Mike Donnelly – The matchup I’m most looking forward to seeing this week is not Braylon Edwards against the Titans secondary (although it’s a close second), but rather how Quinton Coples and Mo Wilkerson do against this Titans offensive line suffering from injuries to four of their regular starters. These two are going to be major factors for our defense for years and I want to see Wilkerson continue his superior play while Coples joins him in the “soon-to-be-stud” club. Chris Johnson is the kind of shifty running back the Jets have struggled with this year, so the ability of Coples and Wilkerson to provide pressure right up the middle will play a major roll in whether or not the Jets improve to 7-7 on Monday.

Chris Gross – Jets Defense vs. Chris Johnson – Come Monday night, Tennessee will be without 4 starting offensive lineman. The Jets have been playing lights out defense the past few weeks, so with the Titans suffering such significant loss, the easy assumption to make is that New York has a clear advantage in this matchup. However, the Jets have struggled against backs with a skill set similar to Johnson’s this year. CJ Spiller gashed this team for over 100 yards in week one, while Reggie Bush has played decently against them, as well. The key for New York will be their ability to make plays in space. Johnson needs to be hit behind the line of scrimmage early and often, but if he hits the open field, New York cannot afford to miss him for he has significant big play ability

Rob Celletti – Can the Jets defense maintain its level of dominance this week?  The Titans aren’t world-beaters, but they have a little bit more talent than the Jets last two opponents, who have scored a combined 16 points and converted only 2 of 31 third downs. The particular match-up that’s key to this game features the Jets linebackers, who simply need to put in a good performance to keep Chris Johnson in check. After becoming the guy that every fantasy football owner loved to hate, Johnson has rebounded nicely this year, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Johnson is the prototypical running back that gives the Jets a hard time, because of his speed to the outside and ability to change direction.  The Jets’ worst nightmare in this game is Johnson breaking off a long run or two early, putting the Jets in a multiple score hole, and making their offense play catch-up. 

New York Jets – Somehow Very Relevant In December

Somehow the New York Jets are playing relevant football in the middle of December

The New York Jets are a deeply flawed football team. There is a frustrating level of dysfunction in the front office and a concerning lack of talent spread throughout the roster. Yet, when you strip away all the media backlash and punchlines…the Jets are an overachieving mediocre team. Through 13 regular season games, there is 17 teams with an outright better record than them, 1 team with the same record and 13…yes 13 teams with a worse overall record than them.

That’s right, the biggest circus in professional sports is having a better year than a whole bunch of teams in their own league, including two in their own division. There is a chance that when they take the field this Monday night, they will pull into a tie for the final AFC playoff spot with a victory. Could you imagine this team in the playoffs? The collective anger and bitterness of all the wise-ass pundits would be worth the trip alone.

How is this possible? There isn’t a team in the NFL with less offensive talent than the Jets. Their defense is pretty good but far from elite, mainly due to a lack of overall talent at linebacker. They have been a disaster on special teams all season. You can blame the schedule but Buffalo and Miami are playing the exact same one (if not a slightly easier one) and have a worse record with more overall talent.

His reputation will prevent him from getting the credit he deserves, but Rex Ryan has done a commendable job this year. There has been ugly moments but those blowout wins over Indianapolis and St. Louis don’t look so weak now do they? People scoff at a win over Jacksonville but Jacksonville hung 37 points on Houston 3 weeks ago and beat up on a Tennessee team 2 weeks ago, that many people will pick the Jets to lose to on Monday. This isn’t a good team but they haven’t quit and they have scrapped together enough wins to play a highly relevant game in week 15.

Rex is far from a perfected coach. He needs media training. He needs to learn to be less loyal. He needs to find a new offensive coordinator and be paired with a new, strong-minded GM. Yet, in a league filled with the likes of Jim Schwartz, Romeo Crennel, Dennis Allen, Ron Rivera, Chan Gailey, and Pat Schurmur…the Jets could do much worse. The focus this off-season needs to be on revamping the front office and rebuilding the roster…not starting over at head coach.

Let’s also not ignore the players who have put together strong seasons amidst the never ending idiotic TEEE-BOWWW speculation. Muhammad Wilkerson and Antonio Cromartie have been All-Pro caliber on defense, while LaRon Landry hasn’t been too far behind. The Jets received some heat for signing Landry but he hasn’t missed a game and has been productive all season. Rookie Quinton Coples is starting to come along and Mike DeVito and Yeremiah Bell have put in workmanlike seasons that are flying under the radar.

Offensively, there hasn’t been much to celebrate but the offensive line has been better than the general perception. D’Brickashaw Fereguson is having a nice bounce-back season and Nick Mangold remains a top five center in the NFL. The rest of the unit has struggled at times with pass protection but is getting a steady push in the running game. Bilal Powell is averaging 4 yards per carry and is showing potential to be the team’s long term 1B/3rd down back. Shonn Greene has been better in recent weeks but likely still won’t return (and the Jets would be foolish to sign him to a new contract). Despite his fumble yesterday, Jeremy Kerley has put together a very good year and will be a big part of the offense moving forward into 2013.

The Jets play ugly football because that is how they can win right now. Regardless of what happens the final three games, this roster needs to be rebuilt. But for now, all you can do is sit back and hope for another impromptu late season run from the Rex Ryan led Jets.

Initial Reaction – Ugly But Winning Football, Jets Move To 6-7

The New York Jets won ugly, beating Jacksonville 17-10 to move 1 game within .500

It has been far from pretty but the New York Jets have won two games in a row and three of their last four after today’s 17-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Somehow they remain relevant in the AFC Playoff picture for the final wild-card spot, thanks to losses from both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals today.

The Jets have fully embraced their 2009 style of football – playing suffocating defense and running the football, while shielding Mark Sanchez from taking any risks. It has helped that they played weak competition recently but wins are wins and it is working right now.

Let’s start with the defense, which hit Chad Henne 10 times, had 3 sacks and came down with 2 interceptions. They have now only allowed 16 points over the past two games and are slowly climbing up all the major defensive rankings, thanks to their feasting on mediocre offenses. Muhammad Wilkerson is turning into a legitimate All-Pro player in front of our eyes. He recorded another sack today and hit Henne three times. Rookie Quinton Coples also got in on the action, recording a sack and hitting Henne twice. If the Jets could ever find an edge rusher, it is hard to fathom just how productive the two of them could be on a consistent basis.

LaRon Landry and David Harris were all over the field, combining for 20 tackles, 1 sack and 2 tackles for a loss. It has been a down year for Harris but hopefully he can finish strong. Landry has been a strong free agent signing, bringing a needed physicality and attitude to the Jets secondary.

On offense, Mark Sanchez made one positive play, one negative play and didn’t do much else. The positive play was a huge 37 yard completion to Jeff Cumberland late in the 4th quarter on a beautiful throw. The negative play was yet another strip sack. This team is a mess at wide receiver and tight end. Rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill appeared to seriously injure his knee, which is the last thing this team needs right now. Hill needs as many reps as he can get in these final few games to keep growing for next year. Right now, the Jets are basically working with Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens and Jeff Cumberland as their top three pass catching targets.

The running game was extremely impressive. Led by a strong push from their offensive line, Bilal Powell finished with 19 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown, while Shonn Greene had 20 carries for 77 yards. Both backs had a drive apiece in the second half where they took over and showed good burst up the middle. Look for the Jets to continue to lean heavily on their rushing attack in their final three games.

If Cincinnati loses to Philadelphia next week and Pittsburgh loses to Dallas, next Monday night in Tennessee will be awfully interesting.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 14 – Jets vs. Jaguars

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – With predictions for Jets vs. Jaguars

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is back with predictions for this week’s “showdown” between the 5-7 New York Jets and 2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars. It is refreshing to remember that despite all the media hype, there are actually bigger circuses in the NFL than the Jets and worse football teams. This is in my mind after looking at the Jets next four opponents (Jacksonville, Tennessee, San Diego and Buffalo) and watching the Oakland Raiders get blown out again last night. Also don’t forget the Detroit Lions, with their own anonymous quotes, players lining up in the wrong spots on purpose and inadvertent challenge flags. Then there is the Philadelphia Eagles…Kansas City Chiefs…Cleveland Browns…you get the point.

The Jets may receive the most attention so that a casual outsider would assume they are 1-11 and easily the biggest circus in the league. In reality, they are a middle of the pack team who plays in the largest media market. It is a credit to head coach Rex Ryan that they aren’t a bottom three team because from a talent perspective they should be there. Yet, it appears they have a reasonable chance to be a .500 team this season. 

On to the predictions –

1. Mark Sanchez will have a stat line that somewhat resembles 15/25 for 198 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 turnover. It won’t be the kind of performance that will get anybody excited about him turning it around but it will be enough to keep his job for another week.

2. Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell will combine for at least 35 carries and be very effective running the ball on Jacksonville’s porous run defense. Both of them will get into the end-zone.

3. Antonio Cromartie will shut down Justin Blackmon, holding him to under 40 yards receiving and keeping him out of the end-zone.

4. Chad Henne will throw for around 250 yards but also have a pair of turnovers and be sacked at least twice.

5. Stephen Hill will have another encouraging game, finishing with 6 catches for 65 yards. Jeremy Kerley will also be productive finishing with at least 60 yards receiving.

6. Jacksonville will finish with less than 75 yards total rushing. Remember they are basically down to their 4th string running back.

7. Mercedes Lewis will make a few big plays against the Jets secondary in the middle of the field and score a touchdown.

8. Tim Tebow won’t see the field on Sunday.

9. Muhammad Wilkerson will continue his recent tear and finish with 5 tackles, a sack and 2 tackles for a loss.

10. Nick Folk won’t hit the post on any of his field goal attempts.

11. LaRon Landry will force a turnover for the third straight week.

12. The Jets are going to win this one comfortably, 31-13. 31 points? Am I insane? No, Jacksonville’s defense is just that bad and the Jets are going to run the ball all over them, which will set up some easy ones in the passing game. They are also without their top three running backs and top wide receiver on offense. The Jets are bad but much better than what Jacksonville is running out on the field Sunday.

Predicted Game Outcome Record: 10-2 

New York Jets Week 14 – Early Thoughts On Jets/Jags

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 14 match-up against the Jacksonville Jaguars

Oh hey, remember there is still a football game this Sunday amidst all the quarterback controversy when the 5-7 New York Jets travel to face the 2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars. It is game that will likely be played in front of 10,000 disinterested Jacksonville fans, 10,000 disappointed Tebow fans who came to the game just to watch him stand on the sideline in a sweatshirt and many…many tarps.

1. The Jets may be catching a huge break if both wide receiver Cecil Shorts and running back Rashad Jennings don’t play this weekend due to injury, making an inept Jaguars offense that much worse. They have been more productive since Chad Henne took over at quarterback although he took a step back last week but Shorts in particular would have given the Jets fits. Justin Blackmon will likely be manned up by Antonio Cromartie and now the Jaguars don’t have the playmaking Shorts to eat up Kyle “Finger Wag” Wilson and Ellis Lankster. If Jennings doesn’t play, it leaves special teamer Montell Owens to handle the primary running back role. Basically, Rex Ryan’s defense should be able to beat up on this unit the way they beat up on Arizona last week.

2. You will hear a ton of hype this week about how Chad Henne has “owned” Rex Ryan’s defenses when in reality outside of one big game early in 2009, he hasn’t doen much of anything against them. In his last start against the Jets, Henne went 5/18 for 55 yards and was sacked 5 times.

3. Yes, Mark Sanchez will be under center this week and yes he will have a quick hook. It will be fascinating to see what kind of game plan the Jets come out with. Jacksonville has the league’s 31st ranked defense meaning they are putrid against both the run and pass. Last week Buffalo racked up 232 rushing yards on them. There should be a heavy dose of both Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell but the Jets have to take their shots down the field, if anything just to see how Sanchez handles it.

4. Hopefully wide receiver Stephen Hill can build on his encouraging performance from last week. The Jets worked him in the short/intermediate passing game and it’d be nice to see him as a target on most deep shots…not Chaz Schilens who struggled with them last week.

5. Speaking of rookies, can we see more of Quinton Coples and Demario Davis? Both barely played last week and will be opening day starters in 2013.

6. For you playoff day-dreamers you need to root for the following: Jets win, Colts loss to Tennessee, Pittsburgh loss to San Diego and Cincinnati loss to Dallas…also a New England win over Houston so the Texans have something to play for in week 17 vs. the Colts…good luck!

The Sky Is Falling! Mark Sanchez Named Starting Quarterback

Mark Sanchez will remain the Jets starting quarterback

The New York Jets are staying with Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. While this has come as a shock to many, we detailed here yesterday how there was a reasonable argument for this to happen. Not surprisingly many Jets fans are acting like the sky is falling right now…threatening to abandon the team…cursing out Rex…cursing out Sanchez etc…

Here is the simple reality – Mark Sanchez is getting paid 8.3 million dollars from the Jets next year regardless of whether he is on their team, another NFL team or laying on a beach in California. The Jets are finishing up a playoff-less season against four mediocre football teams. The hope is that he plays well in these games, builds some measure of confidence back up and becomes a reasonable option to start in 2013 (he should still be forced to compete with a veteran next summer).

Believe it or not, this team is going to give every chance possible to a former first round pick who has won more playoff games than any other quarterback in franchise history. Is it worth the risk of playing him the last four games when you are 5-7 and nearly half your team won’t be back next year? Yes…it probably is.

If you want to get mad at somebody, get mad at “cap expert” Mike Tannenbaum for how he structured Sanchez’s contract. Get mad at him for the contradicting actions of doubling down on Sanchez in 2013 and then supporting him by bringing in a PR circus as a backup quarterback and not upgrading running back, wide receiver or offensive line this off-season. Sanchez already took a step back last year but the Jets front office greased the skids on his regression this season by having an awful off-season.

Sanchez has been generally terrible this season but the Greg McElroy infatuation only comes from his last name not being “Sanchez.” Ask yourself this, if McElroy’s fourth quarter interception stood (like it should have) and the Jets lost 9-7, is this debate so heated right now? If McElroy is the savior that many are exaggerating to call him and Sanchez is truly that awful. Guess what? Sanchez will be benched at some point in the next four gams and McElroy will get his chance.

As for the ongoing pity party Jets fans are throwing for themselves. Get a grip on reality. Look around the NFL. Since 1997 the Jets have 12 seasons at .500 or better, 7 playoff wins, 3 AFC Championship Game appearances and yes despite it being over 40 years ago…the Jets have won a Super Bowl. How do you think Bills fans have enjoyed the last 15 years? Lions fans? Eagles fans? Chiefs fans? Browns fans?! The list goes on.

Mark Sanchez starting a week 14 game in a 5-7 year is the straw that broke the camel’s back in your support of this team? Really? Not letting the roster go to crap after  back to back AFC Championship Game appearances? Not the PR-stunt Tebow trade? This is the decision? And people wonder why the general perception of Jets fans is so negative.

There is no reason to be overly optimistic that Sanchez is going to turn it around and have a brilliant final four games but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t logic behind this decision. It also means the most logical thing for any Jets fans to do is root for Sanchez to succeed…otherwise go become a Bills fan.

A couple of appropriate Godfather clips

Making Sense Of The New York Jets Quarterback Mess

An attempt to make sense of the New York Jets quarterback mess

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan will likely announce a decision on his starting quarterback within the next 24 hours. There have been various reports on who prefers who in the Jets hierarchy, but at this point who can really trust any sources from this organization?

We know this much, it isn’t going to be Tim Tebow. Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and the entire coaching staff have never shown a hint of interest of giving Tebow a major role and that isn’t going to change now. This was 100% a PR trade and at this point, it is almost an act of defiance and protest by everybody not named Woody Johnson to keep him on the bench. Tebow will never start a game here, may never play another snap again here, and without question will be let go this off-season.

This leaves the decision down to Greg McElroy and Mark Sanchez. From what I can tell about 95% of the fanbase wants McElroy to start because the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town and he did provide a needed shot of energy to the Jets huddle on Sunday. Outside of that, there is a reasonable argument to give him the ball for the final four games of this disappointing season.

Considering how Mark Sanchez looked on Sunday from the opening snap and his general play throughout this season, it is fair to surmise that he is mentally finished as a quarterback in this market. Doesn’t Rex Ryan have to hold his players accountable for porous play on the field…especially his quarterback? You can’t watch the game tape from the past two weeks and say Sanchez gives the Jets a very good chance to win. Simply put, he is playing like a bottom three starting quarterback in the league right now and could jeopardize four very winnable games down the stretch for his team.

McElroy looked decent enough in his first NFL action and could be a viable contender for a starting job next season. The only way the Jets will find that out is by giving him a chance here. His arm strength is suspect but at a minimum, it is fair to expect relatively smart, mistake free football from him which could be all the Jets need to finish 4-0 and keep themselves distantly relevant in the playoff race into week 16 and week 17.

On the other hand, Mark Sanchez is owed over 8 million guaranteed dollars from the team next season. Unless they want to take a massive cap hit, he is likely going to be on the roster next year. He is a former first round pick who has been successful here, no matter how much certain people want to act like it never occurred, shouldn’t you give him every last chance to turn it around…particularly in a generally meaningless final four games? If there is a place to build somebody’s confidence back up, it is on the road the next two weeks against awful Jacksonville and Tennessee defenses. If you permanently send him to the bench here, is there any way he is viable competitor to start next year or do you just accept a 8 million dollar cap hit or spending that on a backup?

People are going crazy for McElroy but is there any reason to believe his ceiling is anything higher than “game manager?” Are the Jets in such a rush to usher in another era of that type of football or will they finally look to do better than that at quarterback? If McElroy plays okay down the stretch and the Jets finish well, the team can’t be blinded by that and must still bring in veteran competition for him.

There is an argument for both sides at this point despite the fan’s angst towards Sanchez. It is a critical decision that could ultimately seal the fate of Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and Tony Sparano which is what should make these next few days and upcoming game especially compelling.

Ultimately my prediction is that the team will cave to public sentiment and go with McElroy. The Jets will finish winning 3 of their last 4 or maybe even running the table behind generally average play from him. They will try like hell to move Sanchez in some way this off-season (probably failing) and whether he comes back or not as a “competitor” for the starting job with McElroy and a veteran add on will depend on their desire to stomach such a large cap hit for a player not on the roster.

New York Jets – The Other Guys

A look at the other New York Jets who played yesterday besides the quarterbacks

Lost in the shuffle of the ongoing quarterback controversy surrounding the New York Jets is that other players actually took the field yesterday…and many performed well for a refreshing change of pace. These last four games remain critically important for many young players on the team’s roster who will be expected to be key parts in 2013 and beyond. Here is a recap of a few who stood out –

Bilal Powell – His role is growing every single week and he is taking advantage of it. Yesterday Powell finished with 58 yards on 12 carries, finishing with a 4.8 YPC. He broke a 17 yard run that helped propel the team’s only touchdown drive. Powell has good vision and is both shiftier and quicker than Shonn Greene. There is no reason that Powell can’t be a capable 1B option and 3rd down back for the team next season. On the year, Powell has 70 carries for 278 yards for 4.0 yards per carry. Hopefully, he can finish the season getting 10-15 carries each week and maintain that average at over 4 yards.

Stephen Hill – It has been a rough year for the rookie but yesterday was a step in the right direction. Hill had 5 catches for 40 yards and drew a penalty. What was encouraging is that many of the catches Hill made were difficult ones in traffic. He is going to be the team’s starting split end next year, so he must build momentum heading into 2013. Now that Hill looks like he is gaining confidence in the shorter passing game, it would be nice to see the Jets hit a big play down the field to him which is the primary thing he was drafted for.

Jeremy Kerley – It wasn’t a gaudy statistical game (3 catches, 37 yards) but Kerley made difficult catches in tight coverage. Most notably pulling down a key third down conversion with elite cornerback Patrick Peterson draped all over him. This has been a terrific all around season for Kerley who still has an outside shot of having a 1,000 yard season in one of the league’s worst passing offenses which is pretty damn impressive. If Hill develops alongside him and Santonio Holmes comes back healthy, the Jets have the makings of a very good group of receivers in 2013.

Muhammad Wilkerson – This isn’t anything new but Wilkerson is maintaining his play at a Pro-Bowl level. The 2nd year player is one of the few recent draft picks Mike Tannenbaum can really hang his hat on. If the Jets ever find an outside linebacker who can get into a quarterbacks’s zip code, watch for an explosion of stats by Wilkerson who will finally get to deal with less double teams. Put it this way, if you were playing the Jets wouldn’t just triple Wilkerson and let Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas and their 7.8 forty yard dash times run free at the quarterback?

LaRon Landry – Not a “young player” but somebody who is making a strong case to be brought back in 2013. Landry isn’t without his flaws (occasional lapses in coverage and missed tackles) but on the whole he has brought a needed playmaking element and physical attitude to the Jets backend.