Jets vs. Raiders: 12 Pack Of Predictions

A rainy Friday…a perfect time to take an extended lunch break with the 12 pack. Remember to check out today’s video picks and highlights.

1. Darren McFadden is going to run for less than 100 yards. The Jets run defense has been solid ever since Rex Ryan took over and regardless of how well McFadden has been playing, the Jets will keep him contained no matter how many touches the Raiders try to get him.

2. Santonio Holmes is going to have a big day, especially if Chris Johnson spends extended time covering him. As a matter of fact, there is no reason Plaxico Burress won’t have a big day either. Look for the Jets starting WRs to combine for 150 yards of receiving and at least one touchdown. Derrick Mason will also be more involved than he has been in previous weeks.

3. The Jets will have a tough time running the football up the middle, which will lead to more outside handoffs for Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. I still don’t expect a big day from the running game but they will do enough to keep Oakland’s defense honest.

4. Mark Sanchez will have another turnover but will throw for over 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He will also rush for at least 20 yards.

5. The Jets defense will continue their early season turnover forcing spree and come up with at least one interception and one forced fumble.

6. Antonio Cromartie won’t get the opportunity to return any kicks this week as Sebastian Janikowski will be kicking them out of the end-zone.

7. Rookie third round pick Kenrick Ellis will be active for the first time this Sunday.

8. Jason Campbell won’t throw for more than 225 yards and will be sacked at least twice. Bart Scott will continue his early season tear with another sack. Kyle Wilson will grab his first NFL sack.

9. Dustin Keller will be kept out of the end-zone for the first time this season.

10. Oakland will get off to a strong start in their first home game of the year but the Jets will weather the early blows and go into halftime with the lead.

11. Jeremy Kerley will gain some type of offensive yards this Sunday.

12. A tight game into the fourth quarter will turn into a two possession Jets victory, 27-17. Eat another hot dog, Sanchez…3-0 and heading to Baltimore.

How Can The Jets Handle The Mighty Raiders?

I am starting to wonder if the 2-0 New York Jets should even bother making the trip out to Oakland this week. With the amount of people picking against them and all the talk of the suddenly “strong” Oakland roster, how can they even stay on the same field as them?

I must have missed the part where the Raiders are 1-1, thanks to squeaking out a 3 point win over the dreadful Denver Broncos in week one and then allowed a 38 spot to lose week 2 to the Buffalo Bills. Aren’t the Jets 2-0 and coming off a 32-3 win? Weren’t the Jets 11-5 last year and in the AFC Championship Game, while the Raiders were 8-8 thanks to 8 wins against the AFC and NFC West, the two worst divisions in football? The Jets aren’t Kansas City. The Jets aren’t Seattle.

Let’s stop the hype about the Raiders being a contender that is anywhere near the Jets level. Let’s stop the chatter about their defense, since they are fresh off allowing 38 points and Fred Jackson to rush for 115 yards on 17 carries. Nobody is worried about them being extra motivated by Mark Sanchez eating a hot dog on the sideline the last time they played each other. Why shouldn’t have he ate a hot dog…did you see the effort Oakland put forth that day? If the Jets are beating them 38-0 again, I hope he eats another one.

Will the Jets miss Nick Mangold? Absolutely. It doesn’t mean that Chris Johnson and Stanford Routt can now cover Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burres. It also doesn’t mean that after the Jets stop the run, like they do every week that Jason Campbell will be able to throw on Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie with a pedestrian receiving core.

Every team is capable of laying an egg, including the Jets and that is what it would take for them to lose this game. Yet, with upcoming showdowns with Baltimore and New England, real AFC contenders like the Jets…I don’t see it happening.

Preliminary Thoughts: Jets vs. Raiders

The New York Jets have their first road game of the 2011 season this Sunday when they face the 1-1 Oakland Raiders. In their last trip out to Oakland in 2009, the Jets rolled to a 38-0 win, however that had a large part to do with JaMarcus Russell being under center. Oakland has since improved but is coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Buffalo Bills, where they allowed a massive second half comeback led by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson.

On offense, Oakland begins and ends with Darren McFadden. Jason Campbell is a decent quarterback and rookie wide receiver Denarius Moore had an incredible game last week. Yet, a Campbell/Moore combination doesn’t do much in the face of Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Rex Ryan blitzes. The Raiders best chance lies in a huge day from McFadden both running and catching the ball out of the backfield. On defense, the Jets may want to consider having a safety like Brodney Pool shadow McFadden out of the backfield, so he can avoid being matched up on a linebacker.

The Raiders are solid on defense but are clearly missing Nnamdi Asomugha, as they were carved apart by Fitzpatrick last week and couldn’t cover Stevie Johnson or David Nelson. Fred Jackson was also able to pile up well over 100 yards on their rush defense, which looked terrific the week before against Denver. But then again, doesn’t everybody look great stopping the run versus Denver? Mark Sanchez should be able to move the football, even with the absence of All-Pro center Nick Mangold.

In order to protect rookie Colin Baxter, who will be starting in Mangold’s place. The Jets must implement a high amount of quick passes to the outside. Get the ball in the hands of Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress in space, as both should have mismatches this week. Dustin Keller should also be a major factor in the short/intermediate passing game. The Jets can also help Baxter by shifting their rushing attack to the outside, which could lead to an increased use of 2nd year back Joe McKnight and hopeful Brad Smith clone, Jeremy Kerley.

NFL Week 2 Review

1. With the amount of praise being lavished on the New England Patriots the first two weeks of the season, you would think they already have the Super Bowl wrapped up. I am not going to question how impressive their offense has been because it looks like a machine. Yet, if you watched their game against San Diego, you know how many opportunities the Chargers had to win that football game. If Mike Tolbert had his head on straight, they could have very well stolen that game and it isn’t like they ran the pathetic Miami Dolphins off the field the week before either. New England has the best offense in the league. Their defense is average. They are a beatable football team and we know the New York Jets know that better than anybody.

2. Kansas City Chiefs Todd Haley might soon be working for a Canadian online pharmacy with how unpopular he is becoming and how awful his team is performing. The Chiefs are a lifeless bunch who has been humiliated the past two weeks. How is it possible that this team won the AFC West last year? With superstar running back Jamaal Charles now out for the season and an upcoming game with San Diego, it is hard to see an improvement on the horizon.

3. Unbelievable how the Tennessee Titans could go from losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars to beating the Baltimore Ravens the following week. It was pretty apparent the Ravens were still hungover from their stomping of Pittsburgh the week before. However, the Titans could be a sneaky contender in the AFC South, considering how wide open that division is. Kenny Britt is playing as well as any wide receiver in the NFL right now. Matt Hasselbeck has the ability to win big games at quarterback and overall their defense is solid. They do still need to find a way to get Chris Johnson going however.

4. Drew Brees. Matt Ryan. Josh Freeman. Cam Newton. The NFC South is going to be fun to watch for a long, long time. It is truly remarkable how quickly Newton has become such a dynamic NFL player. Freeman is a younger Ben Roethlisberger, who is incredibly clutch. Brees is Brees. Ryan is coming off an impressive comeback win and is one of the league’s best young quarterbacks.

5. Week 3 games to look forward to –

  • New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles – Always an entertaining rivalry, let’s hope Mike Vick finds his way back to the field so we can see this game at full strength.
  • New England at Buffalo – Let’s see how much of a contender Buffalo really is.
  • Green Bay at Chicago – A rematch of the NFC Championship Game.

NFL Week 2 Review: Strange Times On The Sabbath

The second week is better than the first. 16 teams are undefeated. There has been separation. Now some undefeated will go win again while the list of the undefeated gets shorter. 2-0 teams feel good. Week 2. Some teams are lost at quarterback, and even for the good teams, things often go sideways.

Break this down. The Jets beat the Jaguars, who beat the Titans last week, who beat the Ravens this week, who beat the Steelers last week. Who beat the Jets last year in the AFC Championship.

The Buffalo Bills let Al Davis take one right in the mouth. That track team defense of Skinny Al let Ryan Fitzpatrick march right through his secondary, causing mass paralysis amongst the fat and wheezing Raider Nation. Dreams of Jason Campbell slowly turn to nightmares.

Who cares about the President’s approval rating? The Redskins are leading the NFC East. Yes it is a beautiful fact. Scott Van Pelt has finally taken out the old Redskins hat, and fit it like aged leather. They already owned the Giants last week, who are looking less and less likely to make the playoffs with every victory by the Eagles and Cowboys.

Monday Night Preview? The Giants will be forced to put on a show on defense tomorrow night, because the axes for Coughlin will get sharp if Eli tosses it all over the place against the Rams defense and gets picked more than once. A loss to the Rams on Monday Night loses the mystique of the Giants as a playoff contender for the rest of the year. Guaranteed.

Tony Romo put the Cowboys on his back against the Spikesless 49ers, which at the moment edges him ahead in the Jay Cutler poll of weakness in big games. Anyone see Taylor Mays?

Where did the Ravens go? Jets in the AFC Championship? What happens in Tennessee? Matt Hasselbeck doesn’t get sacked by the Ravens defense?

Donovan Mcnabb at the end of the rope? Adrian Peterson will soon regret any year longer than the next on his contract. Peterson is on a team that has no idea what it wants to do on offense and can’t get any younger on defense, a strange directionless ship without engines.

Will this be the year of Stafford? Could be. He has Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew, which seems to be the only thing you need when your defensive line is one of the best in the league. Keep him upright and feast on the carcass of Chicago and Minnesota towards the end of the season.

Can the NFC West do something relevant at any point this season? No. No exciting offense or defense will get you no love in the league of the Packers offense and Jets defense. If you don’t dominate on at least one side of the ball, you’ve got no room. 32 teams. Only 12 are relevant for longer than a week. And only 12 make the playoffs.

TOJ Week 2 NFL Picks

Last Week’s Record: 9-6

Season Record: 9-6

Week 2 Picks (Lines courtesy of BET Us)

  • New Orleans (-6.5) vs. Chicago
  • Detroit (-8.5) vs. Kansas City
  • Jets (-9) vs. Jacksonville
  • Oakland (+3.5) vs. Buffalo
  • Washington (-4) vs. Arizona
  • Baltimore (-7) vs. Tennessee
  • Pittsburgh (-14.5) vs. Seattle
  • Green Bay (-11.5) vs. Carolina
  • Tampa Bay (+3) vs. Minnesota
  • Cleveland (-2) vs. Indianapolis
  • Dallas (-4) vs. San Francisco
  • Houston (-3.5) vs. Miami
  • San Diego (+7) vs. New England
  • Denver (-3.5) vs. Cincinnati
  • Atlanta (+2.5) vs. Philadelphia
  • Giants (-6) vs. St. Louis

NFL Week 2 Picks: Saints & Texans Good Bets

Chris Celletti goes over the best bets for week 2 of the NFL

The mass uncertainty heading into an NFL Week 1 has come and gone, and while there are teams (ahem, the Giants) for whom the sky is falling, there is also extreme optimism across half the league. Week 2 should get everyone back to normal. Those teams who had a rousing Week 1 win, like the Bears, may get a reality check – while all will likely be right in Steelerland on Monday morning. Taking a look at the Week 2 NFL schedule, there are actually a lot of pretty miserable games on tap. The only thing that could make some of them watchable (Redskins vs. Cardinals, Browns vs. Colts – ouch), is what makes the NFL the most popular sport in the country anyway – betting!

Saints -6.5 vs. Bears

I love the Saints in this one. First off, because if you’ve ever been to New Orleans (and remember it), you know that the only things that matter in the Big Easy are food, alcohol, jazz, and the Saints (not necessarily in that order), so the Superdome will be rocking. Drew Brees looked silly-good against the Packers in Lambeau last Thursday, so I expect big numbers in the dome on turf. Despite missing Marques Colston, New Orleans will still be able to move the ball. The Saints D’ will come up with enough big plays, intercepting Jay Cutler a few times, and I think they win by more than a touchdown.

Texans -3 at Dolphins

The Texans’ defense is better than the Patriots’. Yeah, I said it. I’m sorry, Chad Henne is not throwing for 400 yards again this week. And while Matt Schaub is no Tom Brady, did you see the Dolphins’ defense in Week 1? My goodness. Add Andre Johnson into the mix, and the Texans should roll to 2-0 while covering this spread.

Steelers -14 vs. Seahawks

I usually stay away from a spread this high, but the Steelers are pissed after getting routed by the Ravens last week. Good night.

Bucs +3 at Vikings

I need to see something from Donovan McNabb to prove that he’s not a walking corpse before I have any confidence in the Vikings. I’ll give you Adrian Peterson, but outside of him Minnesota is weak. I think Tampa was overhyped last year and was the classic “new coach out of nowhere 10-6 team (see 2006 Jets under Eric Mangini), but I think they keep this a low-scoring affair.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week!

Floyd Mayweather Jr. by KO over Victor Ortiz (+200)

Looking at the odds for the Mayweather-Ortiz fight, I think any Mayweather by KO odds are sneaky good bets. Especially if you can find someone to give you the Vegas lines that ESPN’s Dan Rafael tweeted yesterday, where a Mayweather KO in rounds 9-11 is at 12-1. Mayweather is no knockout artist but I can see this fight being eerily similar to Floyd’s December 2008 fight with Ricky Hatton. Ortiz is going to try to get inside and make it a brawl, and may have some moments in the early rounds. But by round four or five Mayweather will have adjusted, which he does better than anyone in boxing, and will be systematically picking apart Ortiz. Ortiz won’t pull a Shane Mosley and give up, he’ll keep coming in, hoping to land a big shot. As he tires, he’ll be ripe for the picking by Mayweather, and I think a 10th or 11th round stoppage is a good possibility.

Please don’t blame me if you lose all your money this weekend.

NFL Week 1 Review

It is too early to throw around Power Rankings, so here are 5 observations from week 1 of the NFL

1. The Colts are a one man organization. They haven’t drafted well in recent years. They have done nothing in free agency in recent years. The competency of their coaching staff, including Jim Caldwell, is questionable. When you latch all your success on to one individual it is poor management. Peyton Manning is gone and isn’t coming back this year. It looks like the Colts are ready to tuck their tail between their legs and become a 4-12 team. It sure wouldn’t hurt to have a guy like Rex Ryan being your head coach in their situation to put a little fire into that lifeless bunch who was whipped by Houston.

2. Nobody likes poking fun at our uptight neighbors more than me, but the New York Giants were truly awful in week one. When are they going to improve their special teams? How will they overcome their injuries on defense with such questionable depth? Is Eli Manning really good enough to carry a team with mediocre surrounding talent? The Giants need to take advantage of an easy start to their schedule, beginning with their home opener versus the Steven Jackson-less Rams or they will be looking at a 5-11 season.

3. It isn’t very often you see the Pittsburgh Steelers manhandled the way they were on Sunday. It will be interesting to see how each team responds to such a surprising week one outcome. I would still bet they will be battling for the AFC North title into the final weeks of the season. One other comment on Pittsburgh, it is a little sad to see Jerricho Cotchery still injured and eventually coming back into a #5 receiver role on the Steelers behind Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and Antonio Brown.

4. I won’t go crazy with Buffalo hype because I don’t think Kansas City is good. Yet, the Bills will be a fun team to watch and should flirt with a .500 record this season. The Jets two games against them this year won’t be gimmes by any stretch of the imagination. New England and Miami set defensive football back about 100 years on Monday night. Then again, the Jets did almost allow 400 yards, so I shouldn’t say too much. Yet, seriously New England…you are going to let Chad Henne throw for over 400 yards on you?

5. A few games to look forward to this week –

  • Philadelphia at Atlanta – The Mike Vick show comes back home, while the Falcons badly need a win.
  • San Diego at New England – Good barometer for the Chargers early in the year
  • Green Bay at Carolina – Should be fun to watch Cam Newton off his 400 yard performance against the Champs.

Week 1: Near Misses, Big Wins, and the Buffalo Bills

As a Jets fan I have to root for the Bills 14 games a year. They’ve been awful for 10 years yet I feel they’re finally picking up some much needed steam. The play of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson and Marcell Dareus will define how far they go this year.

While I did not see the Bills game live, I did get to see the Ravens destroy the all powerful, all aging defense of the Steelers while Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis prove that they still have the best defense in the AFC North. Ray Rice was a machine, and Ben Roethlisberger looked like his scrambling is not always going to end up with a 30 yard pass down the field. The Ravens proved that if you stop the Steelers run game, things get a little bit shaky when you mix coverages and blitz schemes.

The Rams! The Rams, like a few other franchises, seem to be flailing on all fronts. Steven Jackson rips one off for a 50 yard touchdown and then pulls a quad and misses the entire game. Sam Bradford looks like a rookie again and the Rams receiving core looks like a bunch of second stringers on any other team. Two rookie receivers and a rookie tight end who looks undeserving of a second round draft pick.

Michael Vick and the Eagles got lucky. Yes. Lucky. Name one good player on the Rams defense. Exactly, there aren’t any. Let’s see Vick go against the Ravens defense and see if he can run all over the field like that.

On to the Redskins, I said one thing to my dad (who is a Redskins fan) on the phone today. Redskins defense and Ryan Kerrigan will have to win the game. So what happens? Well there is currently 5 minutes left in the game and the Redskins are up 28-14. Ryan Kerrigan deflected a pass for an interception on the 9 yard line and ran it in for a touchdown. I also predict the length of marriages.

Colt McCoy didn’t look like the greatest quarterback of all time, despite many watching him in the preseason and proclaiming such. The Bengals will enjoy this one, and will again having fun watching the AFC north slip away for yet another year.

Calvin Johnson again proves Cris Carter wrong, and Matthew Stafford is proving that the 2009 QB draft class (Stafford, Sanchez, Freeman) may be one of the best in recent memory.

So how have things changed? Washington leads the NFC East, the dream team Vikings are no more, the NFC South is all even at 0 wins. A useless NFC West is tied between the Ted Ginn & Company 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals, Ryan Fitzpatrick understands the science of football. The Bengals lead the NFC north. Jacksonville leads the AFC South and San Diego actually won a game before the first snowfall in the East.

It Is All Downhill From Here: Better Than The Superbowl?

Sometimes you see people working on a higher plane. It happens in film (Martin Scorsese), it happens in music (Kanye West), and it happens in sports. Jordan made a career out of it. Mariano Rivera has done it. Last night, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees were working on a higher plane.

Last night’s game left many questions. Think about this. If the Saints didn’t turn the ball over early in the game, would the Packers have pulled away so fast in the second half? Was it Drew Brees seeing the season opener slip away that turned him into the Drew Brees from the 2009 playoffs? Was it competitiveness or skill? We’ll never know, but we all know one thing, last night was something special.

We saw the Packers with the ball for what seemed like 2/3 of the game, yet Drew Brees threw for 400 yards. We saw Brees get sacked, yet somehow get the ball down to the Packers 1 with less than a minute to go. We saw the Packers go 3 and out once in the game, yet they couldn’t put it away when it counted. To say there were any weaknesses by either team on the offensive front would be like criticizing the follow through of a game winning 3 pointer.

The Packers have done something that everyone feared would eventually happen. They got their superhuman tight end the ball (resulting in some truly humiliating moments for Roman Harper), and they got the best value ever out of a 2nd round wide receiver this early in the season. Good luck making the team next year James Jones.

In my preview article, I talked about the dreaded 4 wide set for the Packers. It was successful, very successful. 250 yards of passing successful. It not only took 6 out of the box, it gave Aaron Rodgers time to scramble in ways Michael Vick can only dream of.
At times, Rodgers looked like he had literally been playing the 5th quarter of the Super Bowl. We are fortunate to have about 40 cameras surrounding the field for the 2011 season, because if this were the 70’s, you couldn’t comprehend how hard half of those completions were.

To add to this, usage of Mark Ingram for the Saints was so predictable it made the goal line run look foolish in retrospect. If they were to toss off the left they may have stood a chance, but as soon as you saw Packers linebackers flying over their defensive line, the game was over.

I recently bet a close friend of mine in Madden for PS3. The final was 49-14. I was literally turning to him at certain points and asking him if he was ready for me to go 10 yards, 15 yards, or 20 yards at a time. It made recent Madden commercials look like ads for the next Pixar movie.

Sometimes you see things so clearly it becomes almost laughable. That is why you saw the smile on Aaron Rodgers face, even after the incompletions.