TOJ Week 15 NFL Picks

TOJ with his week 15 NFL picks. Who are your best bets?

Last Week: 6-10

Season Record: 100-100-5

Week 15 NFL Picks (Lines courtesy of BetUS)

  • Jacksonville (+12) vs. Atlanta
  • Dallas (-7.5) vs. Tampa Bay
  • Washington (+7) vs. Giants
  • Green Bay (-14.5) vs. Kansas City
  • New Orleans (-8) vs. Minnesota
  • Seattle (+3.5) vs. Chicago
  • Houston (-6) vs. Carolina
  • Indianapolis (+8) vs. Tennessee
  • Cincinnati (-8) vs. St. Louis
  • Detroit (-2.5) vs. Oakland
  • New England (-7.5) vs. Denver
  • Jets (+3) vs. Philadelphia
  • Arizona (-7) vs. Cleveland
  • Baltimore (-3) vs. San Diego
  • Pittsburgh (+3) vs. San Francisco
  • Miami (PK) vs. Buffalo

New York Jets: Can They Beat Another Finesse Team?

TOJ on if the New York Jets can handle another finesse team

Michael Lomdbardi of NFL.com recently referred to the Philadelphia Eagles as a “nickel” team. The basic premise behind it was that they are built to spread the field and force you into a track meet. They want to play with three and four receivers on the field on offense and three and four corners on the field on defense. In this way they are one-dimensional, ultimately being both a finesse and soft team.

Lombardi referenced the New Orleans Saints as an example of a team who was originally constructed as a “nickel” team but wised up to add a physical dimension to their game. The Saints can now line up and run a smash mouth offense with Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, or Mark Ingram. They don’t have to get gimmicky or throw the football on 3rd and 1. They can go north and south to beat opponents at the line of scrimmage. On the other side of the football, they focused on building their front seven and play an aggressive physical brand on defense.

Philadelphia remains in the “nickel” mode. Running back LeSean McCoy has racked up impressive yardage totals thanks to his big play ability but Philadelphia is still overly reliant on their passing game and spread formations. They aren’t consistent in short yardage situations or around the goal-line (see Ronnie Brown’s bizarre run/pass against San Francisco earlier in the year). When it gets to the fourth quarter, they can’t put teams away because they lack a power running game that wears you down, hence their struggles all season in that portion of the game.

On defense they have struggled all season stopping the run and have missed an inordinate amount of tackles. Similar to their offense, they can’t close games out because they wear down late. Their defensive line has a dangerous pass rush but doesn’t always get a push in the running game. The linebackers have been a mess all season and their secondary, despite having big names at corner, have been beat for big plays all season.

Rex Ryan’s first ever game as a head coach for the New York Jets was against the Houston Texans. His pre-game speech emphasized that the Texans were a finesse team who the Jets could simply out-physical to a victory. He was absolutely right, as the Jets rolled 24-7 that day. Earlier in the year, LaDainian Tomlinson gave fiery pre-game speeches before games against San Diego and Buffalo, echoing the same sentiment: “this team isn’t as physical as us, we can impose our will on them.” This Jets team plays extremely confident when they are going against finesse or “nickel” units.

There is no question that Philadelphia’s speed on offense could cause the Jets problems. That being said, the Jets should be able run the ball down Philadelphia’s throat all game long to help keep that offense off the field. This is the type of game where Shonn Greene gets 25 carries and LaDainian Tomlinson chips in another 10. In the passing game, it is when Plaxico Burress and Dustin Keller should be breaking tackles and pulling balls down in traffic.

When it does get to Philadelphia being on offense, expect Rex Ryan to be blitz heavy as Mike Vick as struggled with the blitz in his face all year. With the blitzing, look for agressive man to man coverage on the outside from Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are dangerous outside the hashes but they don’t want any part of a physical game. They both have racked up dropped passes and fumbles all season. Cromartie in particular might give up a big play or two but he should also be able to make Vick pay for consistently throwing into traffic.

Philadelphia is a dangerous opponent. Everybody is familiar with the talent from top to bottom on their roster. Beyond that Philadelphia is a notoriously hostile environment. Yet, the Eagles ultimately are the type of a “finesse” team that the Jets have had their way with in previous years. This is the week to take pride in the Ground and Pound identity and run Philadelphia into the ground.

Could The New York Jets Make The Playoffs At 10-6?

Could the New York Jets make the playoffs at 10-6?

Maybe I have lost some of my optimism, but I believe it is worth considering the possibility of the New York Jets not running the table, and maybe winning just 2 of their final 3. Does that scenario leave them a realistic chance of being the AFC’s number six seed? It just might…

They have built a one game lead over Oakland, Tennessee, and Cincinnati. We already know they don’t have the tie-breaker with Oakland and as of now they don’t have it with Tennessee or Cincinnati based on conference record, although that could change.

Let’s start with Oakland, who would only need to lose one more game to keep the Jets safe at 10-6. They play Detroit, at Kansas City, and home against San Diego. Right now Detroit and San Diego are better teams than Oakland and Kansas City has already beat them this year 28-0 this season. I think it is a safe assumption that Oakland will lose one, if not two more games.

Tennessee plays at Indianapolis, home versus Jacksonville, and then finishes at Houston. The assumption all along has been that Houston will be resting starters in week 17. As of now, that won’t be the case because they could very well be playing for a bye. Beyond that, they could want to get as much work for T.J. Yates as possible before the playoffs start. Considering that Houston beat the Titans 41-7 in their last match-up, if the Texans don’t rest anybody they should be able to handle Tennessee. Outside of week 17, Indianapolis just might show a little pride at home this week to avoid going 0-16 and there is a good chance Jake Locker will be making the first start of his career on Sunday. Hey, you never know right? Jacksonville also has upset potential because of their running game, defense, and the fact that they beat Tennessee earlier in the year.

Cincinnati travels to St. Louis this week before hosting Arizona and Baltimore to end the season. Again, many people were assuming Baltimore would be resting starters in week 17. However, considering they have the same record as Pittsburgh and they could potentially drop from a 1 to a 5 seed if they lose the AFC North, resting starters wouldn’t be an option as of right now. On top of that, if Pittsburgh falls out of contention for the division title, they are still battling Houston and New England for the 1 and 2 seed. If Baltimore does happen to rest their starters, Arizona is 6-7 and will be far from a walkover for banged up Bengals team.

Of course, it would be much easier if the Jets just took care of their own business and won their last three. However, it remains a very real possibility that they could still sneak in, even at 10-6.

NFL Week 15: Playoff Picture Remains Blurry

With three games to go, the NFL picture remains blurry

There are only three games left in the 2011 NFL season. Where did the time go? Despite heading into week 15, 21 teams technically remain alive for a playoff spot and we are only sure about one thing when it comes to seeding, that Green Bay will be number one in the NFC. Let’s take a closer look —

AFC

  1. Houston (10-3)
  2. Baltimore (10-3)
  3. New England (10-3)
  4. Denver (8-5)
  5. Pittsburgh (10-3)
  6. New York Jets (8-5)
  7. Tennessee (7-6)
  8. Cincinnati (7-6)
  9. Oakland (7-6)
  10. San Diego (6-7)

The battle for a bye and the NFC North title should prevent Houston, New England, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh from resting any starters in the coming weeks. Denver looks to be in the driver’s seat for the AFC West, considering how Oakland has looked in the previous two weeks. San Diego is technically still lingering around in the West but Baltimore could end that this weekend. In terms of the wild-card, the Jets control their own destiny but have three very losable games approaching on the schedule. Cincinnati and Tennessee still have a good shot if they could win out, but that could be more difficult than it initially looked. Pretty funny that if the season ended today, the Jets would be traveling to New England for wild-card weekend.

NFC

  1. Green Bay (13-0)
  2. San Francisco (10-3)
  3. New Orleans (10-3)
  4. New York Giants (7-6)
  5. Atlanta (8-5)
  6. Detroit (8-5)
  7. Chicago (7-6)
  8. Dallas (7-6)
  9. Seattle (6-7)
  10. Arizona (6-7)
  11. Philadelphia (5-8)

We are going to learn plenty about San Francisco this Monday night against Pittsburgh. Their battle with New Orleans for a bye should be interesting to watch. The Giants are in the driver’s seat now for the NFC East and would be dangerous in the playoffs because of how well Eli Manning is playing. Atlanta, Detroit, and Dallas will battle it out for the last spot but all three feel like one and done type teams. Yes, Eagles fans are still counting on running the table and the Giants and Dallas losing two of their last three so they could sneak in.

Halfway There: Jets Destroy Chiefs, Move Closer To Playoffs

The New York Jets destroyed the Kansas City Chiefs and thanks to some help moved much closer to a playoff spot

The real drama so far today didn’t take place inside MetLife Stadium where the New York Jets steamrolled the Kansas City Chiefs, 37-10. It took place in Cincinnati, where T.J. Yates produced a game winning touchdown drive in the final seconds to give Houston a victory and in Tennessee where the Saints defense held at the end of the game, to escape with a 22-17 win. The Jets took care of their business and received the help they need. It will only take either a Green Bay win over Oakland (they are up 14-0 as I type this) or a Chicago win over Denver to control their playoff destiny.

Let’s talk about that business that the Jets handled today. Offense? They went right down the field on the first drive for a touchdown and tacked on three more in the first half to make this one a laugher by the time the teams hit the locker room after the second quarter. It is December, when the games matter more, so you know Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene were bringing their “A” game. Sanchez went 13/21 for 181 yards with 2 touchdowns and also tacked on 2 rushing touchdowns for good measure. Greene continued his recent tear, rushing for 129 yards on 24 carries with another touchdown. He also added 58 yards receiving.

You have to give Brian Schottenheimer credit for the game plan today, which made good use of the screen game and his running backs as receivers. LaDainian Tomlinson added 50 receiving yards and a touchdown. Dustin Keller was involved early with 4 first half receptions and Santonio Holmes caught his 7th touchdown of the season. The only complaint could be on a pair of first half sacks allowed. The offensive line must be more consistent, with the Eagles and Giants pass rush on the horizon.

On defense. There isn’t much to it. The Jets completed dominated an inept Kansas City offense. They finished with five sacks, a safety and an interception. Unfortunately, the interception came at the price of liking losing safety Jim Leonhard to an ankle injury for the rest of the season. This will be a difficult injury to overcome, considering how reliable he is on punt return and his knowledge of the defense at safety. It will be on Jeremy Kerley to step up as a punt returner and not muff any kicks and on Brodney Pool and Eric Smith to handle an extended roll on defense.

Thanks to a timely 3 game winning streak. The Jets are a 6-1 team at home and will now very likely sit in complete control of their destiny when it comes to making the playoffs. What else can you ask for at this point of the year, considering some of the losses they have suffered this season?

New York Jets Fans: Week 14 Rooting Guide

Who should Jets fans be rooting for this Sunday?

There is no way around this reality: We are going to know if the New York Jets are a very realistic playoff contender or a long shot pipe dream by the end of the day Sunday. Sadly, this season is at the point where I am nauseous worrying if the Jets will even have the chance be in the driver’s seat for the #6 seed in the AFC. That driver’s seat includes a daunting 3 game finish in Philadelphia, home versus the Giants, and then at Miami, all three games I could see the Jets losing. Oh well, here is the help they need next week to gain control of their destiny…

Houston (9-3) at Cincinnati (7-5) – Yates. Yates. Yates. Somehow Houston has kept winning despite all the injuries they have sustained, thanks to a power running game and a great defense. The Bengals are coming off a beating at the hands of the Steelers and have dealt with their own rash of injuries. After this game, Cincinnati plays St. Louis and Arizona, before closing the season with the Ravens in a game that could be meaningless for them. So yes, the Jets badly need Houston to take care of business here.

New Orleans (9-3) at Tennessee (7-5) – The Saints have been on absolute fire the past two weeks but this game concerns me. They will be outside, in a cold-weather city, and could be up for a let-down. After this game, the Titans have the Colts, Jaguars, and the Texans in what also could be a meaningless game for them, so similar to needing Houston to take of business, the Jets need the Saints to avoid a let down on the road.

Oakland (7-5) at Green Bay (12-0) – The Raiders looked awful last week and now run into the Green Bay buzzsaw. It looks Tebow Nation just might win the AFC West.

Chicago (7-5) at Denver (7-5) – It certainly doesn’t hurt if Denver loses…

New York Giants (6-6) at Dallas Cowboys (7-5) – Yes, I’d love to watch the Giants lose 5 in a row and have their season basically end in week 14.

Jets vs. Chiefs: 12 Pack Of Predictions

12 predictions for the Jets do or die week 14 game against the Kansas City Chiefs

This is the week that could very well make or break the Jets playoff hopes. Will they hold up their end of the bargain? Let’s see what the 12 pack thinks…

1. Mark Sanchez is going to throw for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He will be sacked at least once and have one turnover.

2. Tyler Palko won’t throw for more than 150 yards against the Jets defense. They will also force him into at least two turnovers.

3. Thomas Jones will have a touchdown in his return to New York.

4. Shonn Greene will have his second 100 yard rushing game of the season.

5. Aaron Maybin will have another sack.

6. Antonio Cromartie will have one big kick return, replacing Joe McKnight.

7. Bilal Powell will be active but won’t see any offensive snaps. Brandon Moore will start. Mike DeVito won’t play. Joe McKnight won’t play.

8. Dwayne Bowe will have less than 40 yards receiving.

9. Plaxico Burress will score his 8th touchdown of the season and finish with over 65 yards receiving.

10. LaDainian Tomlinson will get back in the end-zone with a receiving touchdown.

11. This will be a one possession game into the fourth quarter.

12. Ultimately, the Jets will win another sloppy game, 20-10. This won’t require the last second heroics but it won’t be pretty either.

New York Jets: What Does More Moore Mean?

What does Tom Moore’s “promotion” mean for the New York Jets offense the rest of the year?

The talk of this week has been the decision of the New York Jets to keep offensive consultant Tom Moore with the team full time the rest of the season. Moore had originally been working part time, only occasionally showing up for practices and games, including an appearance in the booth last week versus Washington.

As you would expect, the coaching staff and players talk in reverential terms of Moore’s presence and the speculation is swarming about Brian Schottenheimer’s job security.

What should we really make of this decision?

Personally, I think this is simply an all hands on deck situation. The Jets need to run the table, so why not make sure you are going to get the absolute most out of all your assets? At this point of the year, Moore won’t be touching any of the play-calling duties. You don’t switch the chain of command like that at this point. However, you hope that he is playing a more active part in constructing the game plan and designing specific plays to help jumpstart the Jets passing game, particularly by getting better use out of tight end Dustin Keller.

For the long term, it is hard to get a read on Schottenheimer’s job status. We all know his contract runs for two more seasons but that certainly doesn’t mean the Jets can’t fire him. If this team doesn’t make the playoffs, they are going to need shake something up and Schottenheimer is the sensible fall guy. I don’t think Moore is taking over as a full time coordinator at this point of his career but he could weigh in on the hiring process while remaining in a consultant role.

For the immediate future, I would hope to see more Dustin Keller and better creativity in certain situations (maybe some more down field shots) but ultimately this is stil Schottenheimer’s offense, so expect the same inconsistencies and frustrations.

TOJ Week 14 NFL Picks – Extended Edition

TOJ with his week 14 NFL Picks…an extended edition, with a rant for Giants fans

Last Week: 5-10 (yikes)

Season Record: 94-90-5

  • A very important update. Last week a bitter Giants fan who couldn’t stomach some good-natured trash talk about his team’s 4 game losing streak pointed out that between week 10 and 11, the numbers on my season picks were incorrect. After he took the time to organize photographic evidence, it does appear to be true. I accidentally typed a “5” instead of a “6” in front of my losses one week. The number is corrected now. Contrary to some thinking out there from the previously mentioned bitter Giants fan, there was no conspiracy to enhance my record, which is ultimately meaningless, just a simple typo. Why this individual decided to wait until his team lost their fourth straight game to mention this random typo, when he could have mentioned it in our comments section or Facebook Page or Twitter account in the prior 4 weeks is beyond me. So I apologize to anybody out there who was feverishly tracking my record for any reason. There is no grassy knoll assassin, just a typo.

While on the topic of Giants fans, as the trash talking heats up in the holiday season with both teams fighting for their playoff lives and a Christmas Eve showdown on the horizon —

Why do they love referring back to Denver loss? Isn’t it less embarrassing to lose to Tebow on the road on a 3 day week, who is blessed by God and is 6-1 as a starter, than to lose at home to Vince Young and Charlie Whitehurst in the same year?

You want to criticize Rex for making guarantees he hasn’t kept. Fair enough, but know your team does the same thing. Antrel Rolle guaranteed the playoffs last year and they didn’t make it. He did it again this year and the Giants are 6-6.

The Giants haven’t won a game in 32 days.

We can only hope as the trash talks picks up in the coming weeks. People keep it to the teams, and don’t make it personal, although we are anticipating plenty of holidays being ruined at MetLife Stadium on Christmas Eve.

On the to picks…

Pittsburgh (-14.5) vs. Cleveland – Too important for Pittsburgh to slip up…

Indianapolis (16.5) vs. Baltimore – The Colts will lose, but I give them the cover.

Houston (+3) vs. Cincinnati – Considering the direction these two teams have been trending.

Green Bay (12.5) vs. Oakland – 13-0.

Kansas City (+10) vs. Jets – Not comfortable giving the Jets double digits.

Tennessee (+4.5) vs. New Orleans – Jets fans sweat out a scary tight win for the Saints.

Miami (-3) vs. Philadelphia – Two teams going in different directions.

New England (-9.5) vs. Washington – Line should be higher.

Carolina (+3) vs. Atlanta – Upset written all over it.

Arizona (+4.5) vs. San Francisco – They are due for a let-down, right?

Denver (-4) vs. Chicago – One step closer to AFC West title.

San Diego (-7) vs. Buffalo – #BillsMafia

Dallas (-3) vs. Giants – 5 in a row…

Seattle (-5.5) vs. St. Louis – This is really a Monday night game?

Tampa Bay (PK) vs. Jacksonville – zzzz

Minnesota (+8) vs. Detroit – The Lions woes continue.

Ten Preliminary Thoughts On Jets vs. Chiefs

Ten preliminary thoughts on the New York Jets week 14 match-up with the Kansas City Chiefs

Ten preliminary thoughts on the New York Jets week 14 match-up with the Kansas City Chiefs, which is once again…a do or die game.

1. Kansas City’s offense is bad…bad enough to make you appreciate the New York Jets offense. They have averaged 7, yes 7, points over the last 5 games and that includes a touchdown on a Hail Mary. Tyler Palko is about as good as a poor man’s Brooks Bollinger. This is the type of game where Rex Ryan needs to send the house early and often to force some turnovers.

2. Kansas City does have an ability to run the football a little bit. Jackie Battle and Dexter McCluster are having okay years. Former New York Jet Thomas Jones is struggling, averaging only 3 yards per carry.

3. Dwayne Bowe is their top target in the passing game but Darrelle Revis should be able handle to him. If there is any type of receiver who gives Revis problems, it is quick ones who run very precise routes. Bowe is far from that.

4. The Chiefs do have a very respectable defense. They have a creative 3-4 scheme, led Tamba Hali who has already racked up 8 sacks this season. First round pick Justin Houston (remember his name from pre-draft speculation?) exploded with 3 sacks last week after a slow start. Brandon Flowers is a very good corner, who will probably be matched up with Santonio Holmes.

5. Besides the Chiefs coaching staff, who is full of ex-Jets. How about these names? Jon McGraw plays for them at safety and Anthony Becht is on the roster at tight end. Talk about long lost crappy ex-Jets.

6. If Joe McKnight doesn’t suit up, look for Antonio Cromartie on kick return and for Bilal Powell to be active. I wouldn’t expect Powell to get any work on offense though, unless LaDainian Tomlinson leaves early with an injury.

7. Very quietly the Jets are 5-1 at home this year. Could there finally be some kind of advantage developing at MetLife Stadium?

8. You would hope for once, the Jets don’t have to play an ugly, down to the wire game that will require last minute heroics. This is their “easiest” game left by far. Sunday is a time to get a lopsided win and build some confidence heading into more challenging opponents.

9. This is supposed to be Shonn Greene’s time of the year and it is hard to see him not getting at least 20 carries this week. He has only had one 100 yard game this season. There couldn’t be a better time for number two.

10. I would love to see what this team could do in a game that they didn’t muff a punt or kickoff.