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.

New York Jets: A Report From The Road

What is it like traveling on the road to watch the New York Jets play?

I had the pleasure of making a road trip down to Washington, DC last week for the Jets’ at times frustrating yet ultimately very satisfying 34-19 win over the Redskins.  As usual, the game has been discussed at length and everyone is rightfully looking forward to the task at hand: the Kansas City Chiefs.  But I wanted to quickly recap some of the non-game facets of the trip.

There has been a fair amount of criticism in this space and elsewhere regarding the atmosphere at Jets games, the shortcomings of MetLife Stadium, the behavior of Jets fans and so on. All of that criticism is still justified, but after visiting FedEx Field, I realized that things in East Rutherford might not be so bad after all.

A friend of mine, who lived in Washington, DC for four years, described FedEx Field as “a soulless venue.”  This mostly has to do with the fact that the Redskins have had five winning seasons and four playoff appearances since 1992. Still, there was little to no energy in the building at kickoff.  As a matter of fact, about half of the stadium was empty, and people were still finding their seats with as late as 1:45 left in the first quarter. The Jet crowd (and most New York crowds nowadays) is notoriously late-arriving, but it has never been like that.

One cool moment occurred after the Redskins scored a touchdown on the opening drive.  After the extra point, the Redskins Marching Band (yes, they have a band, and yes, it sort of makes you feel like you’re at a high school game) broke into “Hail to the Redskins”, with the entire crowd singing along.

As an aside: I’m a big soccer fan and part of the reason I became one was the incredible atmosphere at English Premier League games. Hearing 40,000 people sing in unison to spur on their team is something that struck me, even only on television. So even though “Hail to the Redskins” has a decidedly college football feel, I was reminded of a soccer crowd. But in terms of positive atmosphere and energy from ‘Skins fans, that was it.

From a road fan perspective, I expected to sit quietly and watch the game, so as not to draw the attention and ire of the home crowd. However, section 430 at FedEx Field might as well have been section 317 at MetLife stadium, as there were hundreds of fellow gang green supporters nearby.  As the game progressed, my exaltations (and frustrations) were expressed out loud, with no threat of retribution. As a matter of fact, it seemed like ‘Skins fans were indifferent to the result of the game.

Seeing so many Jets fans at a road game renewed some of my faith in what I called one of the most negative fan-bases in sports just last week. Almost every fan I came in contact with was positive about the team, excited about the game and ready to show their support on the road.

They always say that the Steelers and Packers travel best, but when roughly 15,000 Jets fans at FedEx Field made the “J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets!” reverberate through vacated seats and concourses, I knew the trip was worth it.

Who Is The Most Popular New York Jet?

Heading into the final quarter of the season, who is the most popular player on the New York Jets?

TOJ took a quick Twitter and Facebook poll this evening, on who the most popular player on the New York Jets currently is, here are the results

*Out of the first 50 responses

  1. Aaron Maybin – 40%
  2. Darrelle Revis – 40%
  3. Mark Sanchez – 8%
  4. Nick Mangold – 6%
  5. Santonio Holmes – 2%
  6. David Harris – 2%
  7. Plaxico Burress – 2%

A few selected responses from Twitter where Maybin was particularly popular  –

Kind of crazy that a guy who wasn’t even on the team until week 4 is already this popular. However, it is clear the fans appreciate the energy and passion he brings to the team. Honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find another player on the roster who looks like they are having more fun than #51 and who has a better motor. The Jets may have finally found their needed pass rusher with Maybin. Let’s hope he finishes strong this year and is locked down for the long term in the off-season.

By the way, I am pretty sure Matthew Mulligan and Eric Smith came in 60th and 61st in this poll…behind all the practice squad players.

TOJ Week 14 NFL Power Rankings

TOJ with his NFL power rankings after three-fourths of the season

Your NFL Power Rankings, three quarters of the way through the season. Please feel free to discuss my idiocy in great detail in the comment section or on theTwitter and Facebook page –

1. Green Bay Packers (12-0) – It is fair to say that they should go 16-0 at this point. It was unbelievable how quick they went down the field for that winning field goal on Sunday.

2. Baltimore Ravens (9-3) – If they could handle subpar competition, they’d be 12-0. Their three losses have come to Jacksonville, Seattle, and Tennessee.

3. New Orleans Saints (9-3) – I am vaulting them over San Francisco because of how dominant they looked the past two weeks against potential playoff teams in the NFC.

4. San Francisco 49ers (10-2) – They should roll to the number two seed.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3) – Looking like the number five seed unless the Ravens slip-up.

6. New England Patriots (9-3) – Don’t be surprised if they finish 13-3.

7. Houston Texans (9-3) – Their defense and running game is good enough to carry them to a AFC South title with T.J. Yates under center.

8. Denver Broncos (7-5) – I keep thinking the next week will be the one when Denver finally gets burnt in a close game but it hasn’t happened yet.

9. New York Jets (7-5) – Too high? Look at the 7-5 teams below them.

10. Oakland Raiders (7-5) – Was getting obliterated by the Dolphins an aberration or the sign of a late season meltdown?

11. Dallas Cowboys (7-5) – An absolutely brutal loss to Arizona, means the NFC East is going to be a dogfight.

12. New York Giants (6-6) – There is some pride in losing to Green Bay only by 3, but a loss to Dallas this weekend would be their fifth straight and could be a nail in the coffin to their season, then again a win puts them in the driver’s seat for the NFC East.

13. Atlanta Falcons (7-5) – It has been a disappointing season for Atlanta but if they beat the teams they should, they will end up in the playoffs.

14. Chicago Bears (7-5) I put them below Atlanta out of anger for Brett Favre rumors starting again.

15. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5) – A humbling loss in Pittsburgh shows the injuries may be too much for this young team to overcome.

16. Tennessee Titans (7-5) – If Chris Johnson is really back, they could be very dangerous down the stretch.

17. Detroit Lions (7-5) – Undisciplined and dirty.

18. Miami Dolphins (4-8) – Imagine if they had won some of those close games early in the year.

19. Seattle Seahawks (5-7) – Sneakily not really that bad of a team.

20. Arizona Cardinals (5-7) – See above.

21. San Diego Chargers (5-7) – Philip Rivers looked like himself for the first time this season last night.

22. Kansas City Chiefs (5-7) – A good defense keeps them competitive, despite Tyler Palko.

23. Buffalo Bills (5-7) – It feels like a hundred years ago that they were the feel good story of the NFL.

24. Philadelphia Eagles (4-8) – A very different 4-8 than the Miami team they are facing this week.

25. Carolina Panthers (4-8) – They are going to give Atlanta everything they can handle this week.

26. Washington Redskins (4-8) – I guess you can’t win with Rex Grossman under center.

27. Cleveland Browns (4-8) – The most boring team in football?

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9) – They shouldn’t be allowed on prime-time for another few years.

29. Tampa Bay Bucs (4-8) – What a disappointing year for the “youngry” Bucs.

30. Minnesota (2-10) – Well Percy Harvin is pretty good…

31. St. Louis Rams (2-10) – Maybe they are the most boring team in football.

32. Indianapolis Colts (0-12) – It is fair to say that they should go 0-16 at this point.

New York Jets Wildcat: A Stunt Or December Surprise

TJ on the benefit of the New York Jets using the Wildcat more moving forward

With the 2011 season on the line in Washington, Rex Ryan unveiled off all things, the Wildcat formation. Doing so with speedster Jeremy Kerley and Shonn Greene at the helm. The results were a success at times, other times not so much. Looking deeper into the message this surprising ploy may have sent, the bigger question is whether or not this wrinkle was a game day stunt or permanent December addition. Further, what are the advantages of continuing the use of the Wildcat if it IS here to stay?

The idea reached the peak as the Jets closed out the Redskins with a direct snap play to Shonn Greene, who rambled into the end zone in the closing minutes at Fed Ex field.

Perhaps its use in the Jets overall offensive gameplan going in, was to function more than as just a measure to slow down the Redskins pass rush. The Skins, ranked 3rd in the NFL in sacks with 33 heading into the contest, were a threat to the shaky Jets pass protection.

By adding some plays to the ground game Gang Green not only neutralized the Skins attack up front, they also allowed Kerley and Joe McKnight (who lined up as RB when Kerley took the snap), the fastest skill position Jets, a few more chances to make plays.

In addition, by adding run plays, the Jets helped minimize more passing attempts from Mark Sanchez. A player who thrives late in games but has, to his detriment, contributed to uphill climbs in 2011, by throwing into traffic prior to the final quarter of games.

Going forward, the Jets might want consider the Wildcat as a package against the rest of their schedule.

The Jets average 24.2 points a game and give up 21.7. Their margin for error is small. However, it is one that, when matched up against their final four opponents, bodes well, should they be able to keep living up to their own numbers.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The Jets remaining opponents:

Kansas City Chiefs: 13.9 scoring, 22.3 allowed

Philadelphia Eagles: 22.6 scoring 23.5 allowed

New York Giants: 22.9 scoring 26.2 allowed

Miami Dolphins: 20.5 scoring 18.5 allowed

While it is fair to say that these are year long numbers that are not based on recent trends to highlight backups Vince Young, Matt Moore, and Tyler Palko at the helm on offense for their respective clubs (to which only Moore has helped improve production from the injured starter), the stats still show that the Jets on average, outscore all four opponents.

By limiting opportunities for the other team to score more than THEIR average, the Jets will be in every game for the rest of the season. The Wildcat works if it cuts down on turnovers. It thrives if it delivers solid gains and of course touchdowns.

Don’t be surprised to see it stick around. For more reasons than just trickery, or the hope that it springs big plays from the line of scrimmage.

Week 14 Is When New York Jets Can Make Their Move

This Sunday is going to go a long way towards telling us just how realistic it is for the New York Jets to make the playoffs

Picture this scenario for the New York Jets: at about 7 PM this Sunday night, they sit at 8-5 and in complete control of their own playoff destiny. If they win out, they will be in. No scoreboard watching. No worrying about another team giving them help.

It isn’t that far fetched.

The New York Jets host the Kansas City Chiefs at 1 PM, in a game that they should win. Considering how stingy the Chiefs D has been and their ability to run the football. This will be far from a walkover but you would hope in the end, a Rex Ryan defense will triumph over Tyler Palko.

Let’s then take a look at who the other 7-5 teams in the AFC are playing.

Fresh off the whooping they took in Miami, Oakland must travel to face the Green Bay Packers. I don’t think it is a leap to think that the Raiders won’t be ending Green Bay’s hope for a perfect season. Tebow Christ and Denver will be hosting Chicago, in a game they probably should win to take control of the AFC West.

The Cincinnati Bengals host the Houston Texans. Most of us had assumed the Texans would begin to fall off with T.J. Yates under center but their defense and running game has been good enough to keep them afloat. Cincinnati looks they are starting to feel the injuries on their roster and may be ready to fall off. It would be a decent upset if they knocked off Houston, considering how poor they looked against Pittsburgh last week. Jets fans need to be pulling hard for the Texans because the Bengals have the Rams and Cardinals coming up after and there is no guarantee their week 17 game against Baltimore will be difficult, as the Ravens could be resting starters.

The Tennessee Titans have looked like a legitimate threat these past two weeks but host the red hot Saints at home this Sunday. Similar to the Bengals scenario, this is the hardest game left on the Titans schedule. After playing the Saints, they have Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Houston in what could be a meaningless game.

In summary, the Jets need to handle their business and hope New Orleans, Houston, and Green Bay do the same as favorites. If that happens, the Jets playoff destiny will be in their own hands. If it doesn’t, the Jets are going to need major help and major upsets down the stretch.

New York Jets: Westerman Provides Shot In Arm To Linebackers

Jamaal Westerman provided much needed speed and playmaking ability to the outside linebacker position for the New York Jets on Sunday

The New York Jets have missed outside linebacker Bryan Thomas since his season ending injury in week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens. It has been clear the impact Aaron Maybin has provided to the Jets. Yet, he isn’t a traditional outside linebacker and is used specifically as a pass rusher, primarily out of a sprinter’s stance on the defensive line. The carousel of players attempting to replace Thomas began with Jamaal Westerman, then moved to Josh Mauga, and most recently to Garrett McIntyre.

After failing to lock down the job in his first attempt, Westerman replaced a benched McIntyre in the base defense starting in the second half against Washington. He responded with 5 tackles, a sack, and 2 tackles for a loss. It wasn’t his first batch of impact plays in the 2011 season, as he has 3.5 sacks so far and forced a safety against New England a few weeks back.

Despite lacking size, Westerman provides much needed speed to a painfully slow linebacker group. He also looked much improved against the run in the second half versus Washington. Perhaps he realizes that if he doesn’t make an impact in these final stretch of games, he may never get the chance again to be an impact player on this defense.

Prior to the year, Ryan dubbed Westerman his DPR or “Designated Pass Rusher” but it has been Maybin who has taken over that title, literally. He was announced in the starting line-up at the Jets/Pats game as it. With likely another shot at the starting outside linebacker spot, Westerman has a chance to still develop into the impact player the coaching staff envisioned him as.

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