Epitaph To The 2011 New York Jets Season

The New York Jets had a hell of a run this season, an emotional roller coaster that peeked when they hit the 2-0 mark, but came to an abrupt halt with a 34-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders. The loss ended a season that was supposed to see Rex Ryan’s team finally get over the hump to reach that elusive Super Bowl title, which has avoided the franchise since 1969. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case as the organization, fans, and local media members are forced to ponder where it went wrong before the season went down in flames in the Black Hole.

Joe Namath, the face of the franchise, has called out Rex Ryan and his lackadaisical preparation. The coach’s message clearly is falling on deaf ears in the locker room. The 2-1 record is a clear demonstration of that fact. Mark Sanchez, has regressed to a point that even Chad Henne is now considered more talented to him, after the division rival quarterback led his team to a brilliant 0-3 start. The defense is done. The running game is dead. Bury the Ground and Pound with the football they buried after the 45-3 New England loss last year and get ready for plenty of more games like that in the coming years.

This Jets team can’t compete in the stacked AFC anymore. In their own division, they are the third best team behind a Buffalo Bills team that hasn’t lost since the Jets beat them 38-7 in the final game of the 2010 regular season. Since then they have strung together a record breaking 3 game winning streak, winning in dominant fashion the past two weeks. The New England Patriots, who have lost 2 of the last 4 times they took the field in a game that matters, including once to the Jets in their own building to end their season, are also light years ahead of a bumbling Gang Green.

The season can’t go on. Nobody wants to suffer through watching the Jets lie down and take beatings the next four weeks. How could the Jets find a way past the Ravens who managed to get smacked around by a dominant Tennessee Titans team 9 days ago? Why bother to fly to New England, where the Jets haven’t won since the last time they went there? Miami owns the Jets and features Drew Brees Jr. aka Chad Henne under center. The San Diego Chargers never lose in the first half of the year and never lose to the Jets, except in 2009 when the Jets ended their season.

This team has never proven to have character since Rex Ryan has taken over. They don’t fight back. Remember in 2009, after they lost 6 of 7 to fall to 4-6 on the season. What happened? They gave up to finish with a 9-7 record, make the playoffs and win two road playoff games…pathetic.

How about last year after that brutal beat-down in New England, followed by an ugly loss to Miami? Remember how they went into Pittsburgh and won to basically clinch a playoff spot? They actually then had the audacity to end both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady’s season in their own buildings. No heart, no character, no fight. Those comeback victories in Denver, Detroit, Cleveland, and at home versus Houston in 2010…textbook same old Jets.

You would be a fool to think this team has the ability to get up off the mat after such a devastating week 3 regular season loss, where they were so thoroughly outplayed and manhandled that they looked like a Big East team. They only managed a 10 point lead at one point in the contest and were smashed around on a dropped kick return, a broken halfback option pass and reverse, and pass interference penalties.

Rex and the Jets had a nice run but all that is over now. Hand the crown over the Giants in New York. Let New England and Buffalo battle for the crown in the AFC East. Let the Ravens, Steelers, Chargers, Patriots, and Bills fight it out for a AFC Championship.

When it is over, it is over and after that Oakland loss…it is over.

Joe, Rex & The Confidence Of The Jets

Check out TOJ Friend Jeff Capellini’s opinion on the issue as well

Joe Namath’s opinion that Rex Ryan’s instilling of too much confidence in his players reared it’s ugly head in Oakland on Sunday, was met with a sharp response by Ryan Monday after both spoke on 1050 ESPN radio. Ryan invited Namath to practice to see how hard the Jets work and how diligently they prepare everyday for upcoming opponents. Namath perhaps was trying to share a hard lesson he had once learned himself on the way to a Super bowl title. Ryan was rightfully defending the positive results of re-branding an organization that eternally felt sorry for itself before his arrival. The harsh words from Namath may not be entirely applicable or appropriate, but the drama that played out over the radio airwaves yesterday can become a helpful foundation for the Jets. A team that has publicly stated that they must win as often as possible, in order to reach their immediate goal: playing home playoff games in January.

Namath is the symbolic patriarch of the Jets. Dick Wood. Mike Taliaferro. Remember them? We didn’t think so. Wood was the QB for the Jets in 1964, one year prior to Namath’s arrival in Green and White. Talafierro hung around backing up Namath as the Alabama star got his feet wet in the AFL. A league that Namath helped raise the awareness of, while simultaneously aiding the Jets in the local football conversation. One that was monopolized by the storied franchise from Yankee Stadium, the Giants, before Jets owner Sonny Werblin made Joe a Jet.

On Monday, Namath may have subconsciously been trying to help his beloved Jets get over the hump, by offering a warning about the thin line between having an inflated self opinion and playing desperate.

Namath’s self proclaimed turning point during the Jets only championship season came early on in 1968. Defensive coach Walt Michaels gave him an earful on the plane ride back to New York, after a putrid loss to an awful Buffalo team. In the Sept 2h9t, 1968 game at War Memorial stadium, Namath tried to do too much, throwing five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns in a shocking 37-35 loss.

Michaels implored him to let the defense do their job too and to take better care of the ball as the field general. Perhaps even going deeper into the psyche of Namath by in turn reminding him to respect all opponents in the meta message. Namath adjusted from that point forward and it showed. The Jets took off. Winning week after week in taking the Eastern division before knocking off the Raiders in the AFL championship at Shea Stadium 27-23. This prior to the miracle in Miami against the Colts.

Maybe Namath saw the ghosts of that day at Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium when he ranted with radio host Michael Kay. A flashback to a moment during his own prime, where an opponent was clearly beatable had the proper execution taken place on the field.

Ryan had an entirely different set of circumstances facing him as he entered the Jets family. “The Same Old Jets” 2008 version, had just went from 8-3 led by coach Eric Mangini and QB Brett Favre, to 9-7. A typical collapse that took them from first place to out of the playoffs, an ending to another once promising season, that only reinforced the nickname that Jet loyalists had loathed wearing through endless offseasons.

Ryan wasted no time in rebranding the Jets when he told the world during his first press conference that he wouldn’t kiss Bill Belicheck’s rings. He then took the Jets in his debut season of 2009 from almost dead to the AFC Championship in Indianapolis. It was the first sighting for many, of a Jets team would fight until the last second on the clock, until the last breath of a dying season. Jets fans have loved him and stuck by him ever since. Just like his players do.

Ryan’s encore began with a look inside the team, thanks to HBO’s Hard Knocks. A view that furthered the die hardsappreciation for a coach who maybe for the first time in club history, wears his colors loudly and proudly. What followed was yet another road tour through the AFC playoffs in January, which included an improbable win in Foxboro. A victory perhaps only trumped in Jets history by Namath’s Jets 16-7 Super Bowl upset in 1969.

When the 2010 season ended in Pittsburgh, Ryan then took it a step further. He declared New York the Jets town, and the new shared stadium the home of the Jets. Not the Giants. The bravado was not received well by many on the outside to say the least. Especially Giants fans. It was music to the ears of Jets fans though. A cult like collection of crazies who have had to endure second class status since it was stamped on the New York Titans birth certificate back in 1960.

On Sunday the Jets began an imposing road swing that included Ryan’s former team the Ravens and the hated Patriots. Directly in front of them however, was a team that many saw as the weakest of the three teams in this stretch. The Raiders. An organization that has undergone a decade of confusion, a myriad of coaches and quarterbacks, and to put it plainly, has not been very Raider-like.

Without three time All Pro C Nick Mangold, the Jets came out with a shrewd dink and dunk gameplan on offense thatprotected a makeshift offensive line and helped Gang Green jump out to 17-7 lead. Then an old time Jets Raiders AFL battle ensued as the Silver and Black, using a world class speed that may soon demand attention across the NFL, raced their way to 24 unanswered points. The barrage was enough to help lead Al Davis’s “Rai-duhs” to a 34-24 win.

The loss surprised many including Namath who attributed it to the Jets being too self absorbed. A personality that he opined “started at the top.” Maybe however, a better way for the Jets to keep their edge in the future, especially in getting ready for games that sit before “marquee matchups” in prime time, might be the one that CB Darrelle Revis suggested. Instead of toning down the good feeling inside of Florham Park, the Jets might want to listen to, and follow their defensive leader Revis who said that ALL teams are gunning for the Jets. This fact alone should of course keep the Jets on their toes at all times.

Revis is right. The Jets ARE the hunted now. Not only because for the first time since Namath dropped back to throw, they’ve sat in the national spotlight for an extended period of time. Or because they make news when they talk. It’s because Rex Ryan’s Jets are good. Very good. Exciting too. With notable NFL stars all over the field, on both sides of the ball. With that comes the new responsibility for being ready every Sunday for sixty minutes.

The adjustment from being confident to delivering knockout punches before opponents can get up off the canvas, will lead to a stockpile of victories that can finally put them in position to overtake AFC East kings, New England. A group that, aside from their slip up on Sunday in Buffalo, makes a habit of giving lesser teams no chance and no life right from the first drive of the game.

One can argue that the Jets greatest legend, Joe Namath, was out of place when he stuck his nose in Rex’s business. It can’t be argued however, that the Jets can only benefit from Ryan’s miraculous psychology work that began in 2009, by improving upon it in this way as this season develops.

If nothing else, the loss to the Raiders combined with Namath’s comments, can be the foundation where upon the Jets can springboard themselves from a team that has fallen just short two years in a row, to one that wins the amount of games required to host postseason ones. A scenario that could help change the Jets flight of 2011 from one that again misses the ultimate mark, to a safe landing inside of Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5th, 2012. Date and site of Super Bowl Forty six.

NFL Week 3 Review: Not Buying Early Hype

1. Three games into the NFL season and the tickets are being punched for a Detroit Lions/Buffalo Bills Super Bowl match-up. Don’t get me wrong, Detroit is a talented team and their comeback over the Minnesota Vikings was a gutsy win to hang their hat on. Buffalo’s win over New England was even more impressive considering the way New England has handled them as of late and how they dug themselves out of a three possession hole for the second week in a row.

Yet, I have to laugh at the comments received about the New York Jets now being the third best team in the AFC East and when I hear talk of the Lions currently being a top five team in the NFL. The Bills have been down by 18 points in two straight weeks, there are plenty of flaws in their feel good story. They have found ways to win two tight games late, an admirable and important quality. Let’s see them handle being a favorite for a few weeks now. Let’s see them go on the road and take out some contenders. Let’s see them win a game when they aren’t capable of laying a 34 spot on the board. I am not buying it yet, not after 3 games.

The Lions have a beautiful thing on offense with Matthew Stafford throwing to Calvin Johnson. The comeback against Minnesota was a hell of a win, but if you haven’t noticed it, everybody is doing that this year. Again, let’s see them play as a favorite now and let’s see them stay ahead of Chicago in the standings into the second half of the year and how they handle the Packers and Saints down the stretch of their schedule. Are they a playoff contender? Sure, everybody is at this point. Are they one of the best teams in the league? I haven’t seen that yet, not after tight wins over Tampa Bay and Minnesota and beating the ACC caliber Kansas City Chiefs.

2. Nobody takes more cheap shots at the New York Giants than yours truly. I have been surrounded by a group of annoying Giants fans my whole life…otherwise known as all of my best friends. Yet, that doesn’t mean I won’t credit them for an impressive win over the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. I am aware Mike Vick didn’t play the fourth quarter but with the amount of injuries the Giants are dealing with, I am not taking anything away from them. How about North Jersey’s own Victor Cruz by the way? What a game. I am not sure who deserves their new contract less at this point Nnamdi Asomugha or Antonio Cromartie.

I do have to take time to mention what a dirtbag Antrel Rolle is on the field though. I am looking forward to Plaxico Burress giving him one of these shots on December 24th.

3. Week 5 Games to look forward:

  • Pittsburgh at Houston – Very interested to see how these two AFC contenders come out in this game.
  • New England at Oakland – Hoping Oakland can do to New England what they did to the Jets last weekend.
  • NY Jets at Baltimore – Game of the week and I’m not even being biased.

Final Thoughts On Jets/Raiders

Game MVP – LaDainian Tomlinson, who ripped apart the Oakland defense as a receiver out of the backfield. For the second year in a row he is off to a very strong start.

Game Goat – Antonio Cromartie…the feast or famine act is growing old very quickly.

Play of the Game – Cromartie’s muffed kick is where the game went down the toilet. Fortunately, I can’t find a YouTube video link of it because I don’t want to see it again.

Trending Up

  • LaDainian Tomlinson – The Jets most consistent playmaker on offense through three weeks.
  • Plaxico Burress – He is still a match-up nightmare when given the chance.
  • Derrick Mason – Finished with 6 receptions and a handful of huge third down conversions.
  • Colin Baxter – Held his own in his first NFL start.

Trending Down

  • Wayne Hunter – A weekly regular in this category.
  • Antonio Cromartie – A lung injury could keep him out this week.
  • Santonio Holmes – Not necessarily on him but Jets must do a better job of getting #10 involved.
  • Bart Scott/ Calvin Pace/Bryan Thomas/David Harris – Not a pretty week for the Jets highly touted LBs.

1. I said before this game that the only way the Jets would lose is if they laid a complete egg. They found a way to do that in spectacular fashion for a key stretch of the game that put them in too big of a hole to climb out of. Penalties, turnovers, and missed tackles equal losses. It happens in the NFL. Too many people are making broad proclamations about the implications of this game as I will get into later today.

2. Jamaal Westerman is not an answer as a pass rusher. This team has to stop procrastinating each off-season when it comes to adding a player who can get after the quarterback.

3. Look for more Joe McKnight on kick return, especially if Antonio Cromartie will be nursing an injury. If Cromartie can’t play on defense, Kyle Wilson will likely get the start. He will get quite the chance for redemption after his rough season opener against the Baltimore Ravens in 2010.

TJ reviews his top five from the game

NFL Week 3 highlights

Jets In Oakland: The Numbers Simply Don’t Add Up

In Oakland, Jets QB Mark Sanchez threw for 369 yards and lost while the Jets defense gave up 15 more points than their 2010 average. In two of three games the Jets have played this season, the personality on both sides of the ball has changed in comparison to that of last year’s AFC championship runner ups. The Jets might want to look at what has occurred in these areas as a warning sign. Before a brutal four game AFC stretch, three of which take place on the road takes place.

On offense, the Jets and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer came out of the gates  looking to prove to the league, themselves, their fans, and anyone else, that Mark Sanchez could throw the ball and be trusted. They have thrown it 111 times already compared to 71 rushing attempts so far. Last season though, the team amassed 534 rushing attempts compared to only 525 through the air. Sanchez’s totals have ballooned from his 205 yard per game average in 2010 to 350 yards a game passing against Dallas and Oakland. Yet the Jets are only 1-1 over those two games.

Has the switch to more passing helped in scoring? Barely. The Jets averaged 22 points a game last year in going 11-5. In the two games aforementioned (forget the Jacksonville game for obvious reasons) the Jets have only raised their scoring by a field goal (25.5). This combined with an inability to keep teams out of the end zone has left the Jets with plenty of question marks. Despite having won two of their first three contests.

Rex Ryan’s defense has allowed 58 points against teams who albeit house big play stars such as Tony Romo and Darren McFadden. That’s a 29 points per game average compared to the 19 a game they were giving up in 2010 when they were the league’s third ranked defense. They’ve also yielded 385 yards. A total that is slightly less than a hundred MORE (291 yds given up per game in 2010) yards per game than their average total last season. A reality that does NOT portray the Jets defense as a unit who opposing teams with weapons, are playing in fear of.

It is clear that the Jets Ground and Pound of 2009 has morphed into the “run and screen” game with LaDainian Tomlinson as the feature outside of the hashes. It’s also apparent that the Jets are still developing the relationship between Sanchez and his new WR corps while featuring the emerging TE Dustin Keller within it.

The problem lies in how to blend the two together.

The Jets led 17-7 into the late second quarter Sunday based on a shrewd gameplan that incorporated the screen game with a rushing attack that finally took the ball outside of the hashes. However in the second half things changed. The Jets looked downfield more often and payed for it.

When asked to protect Sanchez for longer pass routes, a makeshift offensive line that included rookie C Colin Baxter and a struggling Wayne Hunter, began to collapse. Why the sudden switch from the matriculation that was paying off? The Raiders came into the game ranked 27th against the run. Surely it seemed as though it would have been worth testing to see if they had worn down at all after getting hit hard and burned by RB Shonn Greene early on.

The reason may be twofold.

Perhaps Oakland adjusted their style on defense at halftime. If so, hats off to Raiders coach Hue Jackson and his staff.  The other scenario, a frightening one for the Jets could be that Gang Green is still trying to figure their approach out when they have the ball. Looking to find ways to spread the ball around, give Sanchez more responsibility, while regaining their running prowess, all at the same time.

Not having three time All Pro stalwart Nick Mangold certainly altered the initial offensive game plan yesterday. Still, The Jets must take the positives they see on film from Sunday in the run game and now devise a plan for how and where to attack with Greene and company.

The defense has ten returning starters from last year’s top five unit but must slow down fast teams that are scoring and gaining more than they did when they truly were the top five unit that Ryan would brag about on a weekly basis. As of right now, teams are not respecting the Jets defense in the way that they respect themselves. The numbers so far are proving that. They don’t add up.

For the Rex Ryan Jets the mantras aren’t matching the play. There is no more “Ground and Pound.” The defense has not smothered the good teams yet.

Amidst the search for consistency, the Jets still remain mentally tough. Often finding ways to win late in games as they did against the Cowboys in the opener and many times throughout 2010. Almost climbing back into the game during the waning moments in the Black Hole as well. Regardless of the need to tighten up the nuts and bolts, the Jets, as October approaches, have put themselves in position to still get where they want to go.

At 2-1, there should be no cause for panic. This solid but imperfect start in the standings should be seen a lift off point. With a little correction and adjustment time mixed in. However, if the Jets don’t keep a close eye on the guidelines and winning formula that they have set for themselves on paper over the past few years, then they may take on a personality that is truly not who they are. Or who they want to be.

Grading Out Jets/Raiders

Check out the week 3 video recap

Quarterback (B-) – One of the best statistical days of Mark Sanchez’s career (27/43, 369 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 1 rushing TD) wasn’t one of his best overall games. He had a killer turnover and missed a few big throws, most notably a 4th and 2 slant to Plaxico Burress. He is also taking a beating behind his offensive line which continues to struggle which appears to be rattling him a little bit.

Running Backs (A) – LaDainian Tomlinson with 154 total yards and a touchdown gave one of his best performances in a Jets uniform. Shonn Greene also showed signs of life with 106 total yards. The Jets seemed to find something by running the football to the outside.

Wide Receivers (B) – Derrick Mason had his best game as a Jet with 6 receptions for 45 yards. Plaxico Burress made plays when given the chance and the offense did a poor job of getting Santonio Holmes involved as he finished with only 1 reception. Jeremy Kerley lost yardage on his first Wildcat snap of the season and Patrick Turner had a drop.

Tight Ends (D) – Jeff Cumberland and Matthew Mulligan both dropped touchdown passes. Cumberland is also now out for the year with a torn Achilles, taking away a promising part of the Jets passing attack. Dustin Keller had another solid day with 87 yards receiving.

Offensive Line (D) – Do they realize if Mark Sanchez gets hurt who the backup is? The only positive I can take away is that rookie center Colin Baxter held his own. Wayne Hunter looks clueless. Brandon Moore could still be feeling the effects of off-season hip surgery. It isn’t pretty right now.

Defensive Line (C) – A quiet day and they didn’t do enough to stop the run.

Linebackers (D) – No pressure and way too many missed tackles. Honestly, they looked slow out there and by the way Jamaal Westerman is not an adequate answer as a pass rusher.

Secondary (D) – The Cromartie curve ruins the grade for the whole unit. I know some of those penalties were awful calls but on the whole it was a terrible day for him. Darrelle Revis was himself. The safeties didn’t make an impact except in the missed tackle category.

Special Teams (D) – Cromartie curve. Considering his lung injury look for more Joe McKnight on kick return. Jeremy Kerley was terrific on punt returns.

Coaching (D) – No sufficient second half adjustments from the defense and a lack of preparation on the final drive both contributed to the loss. The Jets should have been kicking a field goal and then attempting an onside kick on the final drive, not going for it on 4th down.

Closer Look At Why The Jets Lost

Let’s rip open that wound one last time

Where did this game go wrong? A few key moments that are the reasons the Jets won’t be going 16-0 this year…

1) Untimely Turnover7-7 in the first quarter and the Jets have the ball on the 24 yard line after a beautiful punt return from Jeremy Kerley. They run a play action rollout and instead of Mark Sanchez throwing it away, he tried to force it in the endzone was intercepted. The solution? Throw the football away.

2) Dropped Touchdown – 14-7 Jets, with a 3rd and 2 on the 3 yard line. They call the same play that they scored their first touchdown of the season on against Dallas, but Dustin Keller slipped leading to Mark Sanchez scrambling and then finding Matt Mulligan in the end-zone, who dropped the pass. I am aware it was tipped but he still should have caught that pass. The solution? Catch the football.

3) Poor Contain – The Jets inability to further extend their lead in the previously mentioned opportunities, kept Oakland in striking distance when the Jets defense did a horrible job containing one of the league’s best running backs, Darren McFadden. They allowed him to bounce to the outside and then Antonio Cromartie didn’t keep contain. The solution? Tackle.

4) 4th and 2 – 17-17, the Jets defense is playing well to start the second half, forcing Oakland into consecutive punts. The Jets put a drive together and decide to go for it on 4th and 2 from Oakland’s 37 yard line. I don’t disagree with the decision or the call, a slant to Plaxico Burress, but it was a poor throw from Mark Sanchez. The solution? Be able to executive your money route, which for Mark Sanchez is the slant.

5) The Meltdown – In retrospect the Jets meltdown kicked off with the previous play. The Raiders roared back down the field and despite the Jets being prepared for two trick plays, a halfback option pass and a reverse, they failed to tackle leading to two monster plays. On the ensuing kick, Antonio Cromartie made one of the dumber plays I have ever seen. First off, not being prepared for a line drive kick after Sebastian Janikowski did it on the previous kickoff. Second, dropping the ball. Third, not falling on the football but instead trying to pick it up. The solution? Tackle and think.

The answers are simple. If you make stupid decisions and stupid mistakes, you will lose football games. The Jets must realize teams now get up to play them because of their recent success and because of how much they talk. Oakland treated yesterday like their Super Bowl and the Jets couldn’t match their intensity, especially after the momentum began to swing.

Initial Reaction: Painful One – Jets Lose Ugly In Oakland

One of the primary talks of this off-season was the need to win the AFC East, to avoid a three game road trip being the road to the Super Bowl. Today the Buffalo Bills, who must now be taken seriously as s contender knocked off the New England Patriots, giving the New York Jets an early opportunity to gain a game on them. Unfortunately, the Jets squandered that opportunity with an ugly performance in Oakland that resulted in a 34-24 loss.

After an initial punch in the mouth that put them down 7-0, they seemed to regain their balance after going ahead 17-7. Yet a huge run from Darren McFadden set the tone for the Raiders to come storming back to take a 31-17 lead. Despite a late comeback attempt, the Raiders did hold on.

Where to start? Antonio Cromartie and his bonehead play on kick return? Not only did he drop a line drive, instead of falling on the ball, he tried to pick it up resulting in a lost fumble. He left this game with injured ribs after being called for 4, yes 4 penalties. The officiating was an atrocity in this game but 4 penalties and a fumble is inexcusable. Overall it was a poor performance from the defense who allowed McFadden to run all over them, generated no pass rush, and couldn’t come up with any big plays.

The offensive line was terrible in the second half, making Mark Sanchez rattled. His stat line will look pretty in this one, as he threw for 369 yards and 2 touchdowns but this wan’t his best effort. He had another bad interception and was shaky in the pocket. The offense must also find a better way of getting their starting receivers involved. Plaxico Burress didn’t get going until late and Santonio Holmes only had 1 reception.

There was also poor coaching at the end of the game, as the Jets should have had the field goal team ready so they would have a shot for an onside kick. Instead they ran a play and Sanchez came up short on his scramble. Overall, it was just an ugly, uncharacteristic meltdown. Unfortunately there is no time for a pity party with Baltimore and New England coming up on the schedule.

Final Thoughts On Jets/Raiders

Jets Inactives – Kenrick Ellis, Rob Turner, Nick Mangold, Emmanuel Cook, Kevin O’Connell, Bilal Powell, Logan Payne

– I feel very strongly the Jets are going to put together a statement performance today. Too many people are overestimating the Raiders. They have beat nobody of significance in the past two years. Yes, they will be feisty in the their home opener and yes the Mangold injury will hurt but in the end the Jets are a substantially better team and that will shine through.

– Considering the Raiders defensive scheme and their starting corners, I’d be very surprised if Mark Sanchez doesn’t for right around 300 yards or more. Look for a big day from Plaxico Burress, who I think the Jets will finally get involved early.

– Look for Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley to be involved today on offense.

– Very interested to see how the Patriots/Bills game goes today. That place is going to be rocking.

TOJ Roundtable Week 3: Jets/Raiders Predictions

Joe Caporoso: Read the 12 pack

TJ RosenthalJets Win if: The makeshift line holds up long enough for Mark Sanchez to work the short passing game. Sanchez will throw for 250 plus yards on the day the Jets will offset the loss of Nick Mangold with the addition of the “Wildcat” some Joe McKnight, and more unpredictability in the Jets run game as far as the point of attack is concerned. The Jets secondary will continue their hot start with another handful of interceptions. FINAL: 23-17 JETS

Raiders Win if: The loss of Mangold becomes too much for the Jets to overcome. Backup C Colin Baxter gets beat in crucial moments. The lack of confidence and mutual trust by the makeshift O line up leads to too many false starts. QB Mark Sanchez tries to do too much, and is picked off three plus times. The ground game remains pedestrian. Darren McFadden gashes a tired Jets defense that is on the field too long too many times. FINAL: 31-20 RAIDERS

Chris Celletti: The Jets need to be careful here. West coast trip, no Nick Mangold, two BIG road games coming up after, and Oakland’s home opener? To quote the great (kidding) Mike Francesa, It will NOT be easy. I think the Jets will be able to handle the Raiders’ offense for the most part, but will struggle to run the ball without Nick Mangold at center. The Jets should be able to exploit some mismatches on the outside with Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes, as long as Brian Schottenheimer has his head on straight. I think the Jets will be able to make enough plays in the passing game to get by, and will win in a game that is decided late in the fourth quarter.

Justin Fritze: Colin Baxter is not the name you want to hear today. The Jets will be forced to test the run and play action their way to two touchdowns. I see this one going to the wire in a 21-17 penalty filled game that will finally legitimize the Jets as one of the top 5 teams in the league. Dustin Keller will have a few good catches, look for Santonio and Plaxico to get involved early with a few shots down the field.

Rob Celletti: The superstitious side of me says that it’s a bad idea to keep picking the Jets to win every week, but this is part of getting used to the Jets actually being a team that should expect to win almost every single week.  And so I’ll take the Jets in this one, 23-13.  The consensus this week seems to be that the Jets should be able to throw for a bunch of yards on the Oakland secondary, and while proclamations like this usually lead to unmet expectations, I think it’ll happen.  The matchups just seem right, though I am worried about the makeshift offensive line’s ability to protect Mark Sanchez.  I think the Jets will contain Darren McFadden for the most part and force Jason Campbell into some turnovers by not only pressuring, but also confusing the quarterback with different coverage looks.  Campbell does have a huge arm, so the Jets need to be mindful of the deep ball.  The Raiders will move the ball but mostly be forced into field goal attempts.  The Jets will kick more field goals than you’d like to see, but will do enough to secure their 3rd victory of the year.

Check out the week 3 NFL highlights and picks