Better late than never, here are 12 predictions for tonight’s showdown, which is arguably the most hyped Jets regular season game in franchise history — How long have we been waiting for this game by the way?
1. Tonight will be the night Mark Sanchez puts to rest any lingering questions about him as one of the best young quarterbacks in football. He has exceeded everybody’s expectations throughout the season and will continue his strong 2010 season by throwing for over 250 yards, 2 touchdowns, and not having more than one turnover.
2. Tom Brady is going to put together a stronger than usual performance against a Rex Ryan defense. The Jets secondary is getting his “A” game tonight. Brady will also throw for over 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns. However, he will throw his fifth interception of the season tonight.
3. Shonn Greene will lead the Jets in carries and rushing yards. LaDainian Tomlinson will be involved in the offense but primarily through the passing game. Tomlinson will have less than 10 carries but at least 5 receptions.
4. Danny Woodhead will have no more than 60 total yards of offense but will score a touchdown, followed by mass hysteria from Jets fans on Twitter.
5. New England’s leading receiver will be Aaron Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski. Darrelle Revis will spend the bulk of the night on Deion Branch and Wes Welker. Antonio Cromartie will either be covering one of the tight ends, Brandon Tate, or Branch.
6. Jerricho Cotchery will be reliable on punt returns, not muffing any but also not providing any big plays. He will grab at least three receptions in his return to the Jets offense.
7. BenJarvus Green-Ellis won’t have more than 45 yards rushing. The Patriots will be largely one dimensional on offense throughout this game.
8. Both teams won’t hesitate to use trick plays on offense or special teams. Keep an eye on for reverses, toss passes, reverse passes, surprise onside kicks, fake field goals, fake punts or anything along those lines.
9. Jason Taylor will record his fifth sack of the season tonight but overall the Jets will struggle to consistently get to Brady.
10. Mark Sanchez won’t be sacked more than once by New England’s weak pass rush.
11. Both field goal kickers will miss at least one very make-able kick tonight.
12. Your final score? I am taking the Jets 34-31 in a shoot-out and in one of the best games played of the 2010 NFL regular season. This will be a landmark win in the young Rex Ryan/Mark Sanchez era.
A quick rooting guide for your Jet less Sunday…Gave Jimmy Leonhard the picture because we will miss him the rest of the year.
New Orleans at Cincinnati – In a game that has no impact on the Jets playoff chances, root for Ochocino and T.O to continue losing. Also more importantly root for New Orleans defense as TOJ is starting them in fantasy this week. Carson Palmer has to throw at least 2 interceptions, right?
Chicago at Detroit – If you are like me, you think Jay Cutler looks like the rich kid at the party sulking because somebody spilled beer on his 129 dollar shirt and who doesn’t hate people like that? Beyond that, the Lions deserve this one after they were screwed in week one.
San Francisco at Green Bay – I hate Mike Singletary’s press conferences and I hate that Green Bay shut the Jets out at home. I will root for the Packers because it sickens me that the 4-7 49ers are still in playoff contention.
Jacksonville at Tennessee – I don’t want the Colts in the playoffs and Jacksonville is closer to preventing that from happening, so go Jags. Hey, at least for today they have another fan…which should give them about 38.
Denver at Kansas City – Two unpopular coaches. I want the Chargers out of the playoffs, so using the same theory from the Jacksonville game, I will root for T.J. and the Chiefs.
Cleveland at Miami – Is it me or does Jake Delhomme look like a creepy guy? It must be something with those facial expressions after he is throwing all those interceptions. Obviously, I will be rooting for him, Eric Barton, Chansi Stuckey and the rest of the Jets JV team.
Buffalo at Minnesota – Very rare that you would ever root for a AFC East team against a non division opponent. However, I will be rooting for a bounce back for Steve Johnson and a win for the feisty Bills.
Washington at New York Giants – Let’s hope McNabb continues his trend of dominating the Giants.
Oakland at San Diego – Again, I’d rather not have Phillip Rivers in the playoffs with the way he is playing. So I will be pulling for the imploding Raiders.
Carolina at Seattle – I am not even sure this counts as a NFL game. I’d rather watch The George Lopez Show than this game. Enough said.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay – I’d like to see the young Bucs pull off the upset in front of the 26 people who will be at their stadium today.
St. Louis at Arizona – Derek Anderson may put his heart and soul into being the worst quarterback in the NFL but you have to root for the Rams to continue their quest to 7-9 and an improbable division title.
Dallas at Indianapolis – Go Cowboys. We don’t want Rex Ryan’s kryptonite in the playoffs.
Pittsburgh at Baltimore – The Jets don’t have a tie breaker with the Ravens so I will be waving the yellow towel in this game.
A little dramatic in the title?
I don’t think so.
The reality of the situation is this, the Jets season is going to head in to two very different directions depending on the result of Monday night’s game.
A win equals a 2 game lead on the Patriots with 4 games left to play. Unless the Jets meltdown in the last quarter of the season, they are looking at a #1 or #2 seed, a first round bye and a home playoff game in the divisional round of the playoffs. You can’t ask for a better road to the Super Bowl and the organization is way overdue on hosting a playoff game.
A loss? The Jets fall to the all too familiar position of chasing New England. They could have 1 or 2 games to make up depending on how the rest of the division schedule plays out, but realistically it would be very unlikely for the Jets to catch the Patriots, which means a trip back into the wild card.
The road to the Super Bowl then likely involves a first round trip to either Indianapolis or San Diego. Do you want to deal with Peyton Manning in the first round? I don’t. Beyond that, a victory will result in a trip to either New England, Pittsburgh, or Baltimore.
Yes, it is a little dangerous to put all your eggs in the basket of a week 13 game and yes it would absolutely to be an exaggeration to say the Jets 2010 season was in major trouble with a loss. However, the opportunity is there to jump in the driver’s seat of not just the AFC East but of the entire conference and great teams take advantage of those opportunities.
So for once, can the Jets avoid doing it the hard way?