New York Jets Week 5 Report Card – Good Effort?

Turn On The Jets hands out grades for the Jets week 5 game against Houston

(Hey Shonn, how many carries is it really going to take you to crack 1,000 yards this year?…Maybe 500, coach…maybe 500). 

A quick report on the New York Jets performance last night. Check back tomorrow for our offensive and defensive film breakdown, along with a preliminary look at the week 6 match-up against the upstart Indianapolis Colts.

Quarterbacks (D+) Yes, Mark Sanchez’s supporting cast leaves something to be desired and yes they dropped passes on him. However, it is simply inexcusable to complete less than 50% of your passes this consistently. Tim Tebow isn’t the answer because he doesn’t make the throws down the field that Sanchez did last night. Sanchez gets another week as the starter, this time against a softer defense, he is in desperate need of a big performance.

Running Backs (F) The running game is abysmal at this point. Part of that is on the run blocking. Part of that is on the Jets backs being completely unable to make people miss. What purpose does it serve to keep giving Shonn Greene carries at this point? Just give them to Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight and recently signed Jonathan Grimes.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends (C+) They made a few plays but also left too many on the field. Jeremy Kerley is a having a very good year and never deserves to be lumped in to negative statements about the Jets lack of talent at these positions. He is a legitimate playmaker who should be a huge part of the Jets offense in the coming years. Chaz Schilens is a capable possession receiver for the most part. Jeff Cumberland made a beautiful touchdown catch but still can’t block and had a killer drop late. Jason Hill also had a big drop.

Offensive Line (C) All things considered, the pass protection was not that awful. Obviously, they aren’t getting enough of a push in the running game. Credit Nick Mangold for gutting it out through an ankle injury. The Jets can’t afford to lose him.

Defensive Line (D) No sacks. No pressure. Not good enough in the running game. This unit is going to struggle in the coming weeks with Kenrick Ellis nursing a knee injury. Mike DeVito led the way with 8 tackles. Muhammad Wilkerson had a tackle for a loss. Through five games – zero sacks for Wilkerson or Quinton Coples.

Linebackers (D) No sacks. No pressure. Still too many missed tackles and missed assignments. Look for Demario Davis to start seeing more playing time because of Josh Mauga’s season ending injury. Mauga was taking a chunk of Bart Scott’s reps already. Through five games – zero sacks for Aaron Maybin.

Secondary (A) Antonio Cromartie played arguably his most impressive game as a Jet, shutting down Andre Johnson and pulling in an interception. He has elevated his play since Darrelle Revis went down with injury and proven himself to be a true number one cornerback. The rest of the secondary held their own…yes even including Kyle Wilson.

Special Teams (A) Joe McKnight had a momentum swinging 100 yard kickoff return for a touchdown that was beautifully blocked up. They executed a fake punt for a first down and perfectly executed a surprise onside kick but the ball went through Chaz Schilens hands. The Jets must continue to steal points and yards through their special teams.

Coaching (C) Rex Ryan had his team properly motivated and made excellent adjustments at halftime to slow down the Texans offense. Unfortunately that doesn’t erase how they were gashed in the first half. Tony Sparano’s playcalling also needs to come under question. He had a few truly awful ones down the stretch.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: Jets vs. Texans Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch, which is buying and selling after Jets/Texans

I know most people out there thought the Texans were going to just come into MetLife Stadium last night and blow the doors off the Jets. I wasn’t one of those people, but I was still pleased with the way the Jets played, and they exceeded my expectations. The best thing I can say right now is that the Jets aren’t going to turn into the Mets, and the second half of the season will at the very least remain watchable. We took the best team in the league right down to the wire, and there is hope! Of course, that doesn’t mean the loss didn’t hurt, since I really felt they had a chance to pull out the game. Let’s buy and sell some Jets stock based on last night’s performance and where the team is headed now.

BUY: The Onside Kick Call – I wanted to address this first. A lot of people had a problem with Rex calling for the onside kick after Joe McKnight’s kick return touchdown, but they shouldn’t. Rex was playing to win, and he knew he had to pull out all the stops to beat a team like the Texans. More importantly, it showed that Rex isn’t the delusional buffoon that many claim him to be. He knows the defense isn’t the dominant unit he claimed it was, and he didn’t have the blind faith in them to stop the Texans from running the ball down his throat in that situation. It showed guts, and I appreciate that. Plus, why not let the best unit on the team, the special teams led by Mike Westhoff, try to make another play and help win the game?

BUY: Nick Mangold – My heart dropped when I saw Mangold writhing in pain with an ankle injury and with the way this season has been going, I of course feared the worst. So it was pretty freaking awesome to see Mangold come back out on the field and play the majority of the second half. Nick Mangold is a man’s man, and I only wish this his toughness would rub off on some of his teammates. Yes, I mean Dustin Keller.

SELL: Jeff Cumberland, Jason Hill, Chaz Schilens – Not a surprise here, but these guys are absolutely terrible. TERRIBLE. There’s a reason they were all ranked so lowly in my roster run-down from last week. Schilens ran the wrong routes or messed up on more than one occasion. Jason Hill had that pitiful drop on the Tebow deep pass that proved every single Jets fan right who cursed Mike Tannenbaum for signing him, and Jeff Cumberland played like Jeff Cumberland. Even in a game Cumberland scores a touchdown, he still manages to come off looking like a disgrace.

SELL: Matt Cavanaugh – I said this months ago when I took the Jets to task for their complete and utter failure to properly develop their young quarterback, but when is this guy going to be held accountable? He has been an abject failure at every stop of his coaching career, and this is the guy we kept around to continue to mentor our struggling quarterback? I’m not saying he’s the problem here, but he’s absolutely, positively, without a doubt NOT part of a solution.

SELL: The Linebackers – My God, the linebackers on this team just fell off a cliff this year. Even David Harris, who I love as a player, has been struggling. Perhaps that’s because he has to make every single tackle since Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, and Bryan Thomas are USELESS (seriously, USELESS. That deserves mentioning twice), but he’s still not playing up to the standard that he set for himself. Garrett McIntyre also deserves special mention here for his performance, especially on the Arian Foster touchdown run where he got absolutely steamrolled. Sadly, despite all of Rex’s defensive wizardry, this unit can’t improve until these guys get their pink slips and some linebackers are brought in who can actually run, get to the outside, and generally not move around with all the grace of Tony Siragusa headed towards a toilet after a trip to Taco Bell. In the second half we saw more of Quinton Coples in 4 man fronts, Josh Mauga and Demario Davis at linebacker, and shockingly, the defense improved. That’s weird.

BUY: Jeremy Kerley – Jeremy Kerley had a great game. For a guy who was not expected to be anything more than a slot receiver this year, he’s really stepped into the #1 receiver roll and looked pretty darn good doing so. Defenses are going to start paying more attention to him, but if Dustin Keller ever gets the green light to actually play, the Jets might actually have some offensive weapons to use and we won’t have to see Cumberland and Jason Hill disgracing their family names any longer.

BUY: Antonio Cromartie – I saved the best for last this week. Antonio Cromartie played like the elite cornerback that he is this week and showed the world he wasn’t just blowing smoke when he said he feels like he’s the best corner in the league now that Revis is down. Guess what? He really might be. I never understood the irrational hatred towards Cromartie from Jets fans who were just jaded from watching Revis play. There’s only one corner in the world who doesn’t get beat. All of the others give up plays from time to time, but very few are able to cover man to man the way Antonio Cromartie does, and there aren’t 5 others in the league who can make the big plays he does either. He’s a great player, and the Jets are lucky to have him. How many other guys would be able to just take over the Revis role and follow around a guy like Andre Johnson all over the field and make it seem like the Jets defense isn’t missing a beat? If this season ends in anything but a Pro Bowl selection for Cro, it will be a travesty.

Sanchez Breakdown: Passing Grade?

Rob Celletti breaks down Mark Sanchez’s performance last night

Stat line: 14/31, 230 Yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions – 54.5 QB rating, 45.2 completion percentage

Season stats: 77/159, 1,043 Yards, 6 touchdowns, 6 interceptions – 66.6 QB rating, 48.4 completion percentage

Last week, I eviscerated Mark Sanchez in this space, and rightfully so.  But if last week was time for a rant, then this week is time for some rationality.

Mark Sanchez was inconsistent last night, but he played more than well enough to keep his job. Rex Ryan is famous for overhyping his players in press conferences, but last night he said that Sanchez played better than the numbers indicated, and I agree with him. Amazingly, the mainstream media tacitly agreed with Ryan, as no one stooped to the absurd level of asking about Sanchez’s job security. Sanchez was in a pass or fail situation, and he passed.  Was he graded on a curve last night? Absolutely, and he should be. When fans are furiously checking Twitter to get injury updates on Clyde Gates, how much blame can really be placed at the feet of the quarterback?

The Best: There was a lot of idiocy cascading down from the stands at MetLife Stadium last night after every incomplete pass, which was frankly infuriating. What these boo-birds failed to realize is that Sanchez actually made some excellent throws in this game; throws that Tim Tebow couldn’t make in a backyard game in Gainesville. The touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland, the seam route to Jeremy Kerley, the deep cross to Cumberland.  These are NFL level throws that Sanchez executed with aplomb that require a proper read, sound mechanics and timing. In the NFL, if your quarterback can’t make these throws, you just aren’t going to win many games. It’s a passer’s league, period. As is the case throughout his career, Sanchez has shown flashes of ability – the oft-repeated line of course is, “he can make every throw” and he can – but has failed in the consistency department.

The Worst: The Jets had success throwing the ball down the field last night, but struggled mightily in the short passing game.  This is what is so frustrating about watching Sanchez. For every perfect downfield touch pass or frozen rope that pierces zone coverage, he skips a 4-yard out pattern or overthrows a checkdown receiver. This partly explains why his completion percentage is so low. Completing a dump-off to a running back should be a foregone conclusion, but it is anything but in the Jets offense. These accuracy issues are likely a combination of many factors, and the Jets don’t exactly have the most dependable receivers out of the backfield, but if Sanchez doesn’t improve on the short stuff, expect the completion percentage number to remain ugly and the Jet offense to continue to stall.

The Key Moment: When a team is playing poorly as the Jets are, it seems like the worst mistakes always happen at the most crucial moments of the game. You can see where this is going.

The situation was 2nd and 5 from the Texans’ 12-yard line, with the Jets driving for a potential game-tying score heading into halftime. The Jets had just run a draw play for 5 yards and with 30 seconds on the clock and two timeouts, they kept the foot on the gas pedal as opposed to calling timeout, and set up a bread-and-butter play for Sanchez. For all of the short passing woes noted above, Sanchez has typically been reliable on the quick slant. Unfortunately, J.J. Watt stood between Sanchez, the Jets, and six points last night, and Brice McCain grabbed the tipped pass and changed the tenor of the game. Turnovers are going to happen no matter who the quarterback is, and it’s obviously unfair to fault Sanchez for this one last night, but he seems to have a knack for giving the football away in the worst possible moments.

As you know, we’re on a constant Mission to Civilize Jets analysis and discussion here at Turn on the Jets, and it’s important to manage the expectations in regards to Sanchez, given the talent (talent, ha!) that he’s now being forced to work with on offense.  At the same time, everyone is still waiting for him to put it all together, and maybe even carry this rag-tag team on his back and win them a game or two on his own. If you were in MetLife Stadium last night though, you realized that fairly or not, patience is wearing thin with the fourth-year quarterback.

Initial Reaction – Jets Hang Tough But Fall Short, Pick Your Narrative

The New York Jets couldn’t make a big play late to upset the Houston Texans

If another team had played the Houston Texans tonight, maybe the Miami Dolphins or Cincinnati Bengals for example, the story would be about what a scrappy effort was put together in a losing cause. After all, Houston has won three of their 5 games by over 20 points and hasn’t trailed yet this season. We’d hear about gutsy fake punt and onside kick calls. A collection of unheralded players stepping up to nearly pull off the upset. Didn’t everybody pick the Jets to lose by 20-30 points tonight? And yet, there they were with a chance to win in the final 2 minutes.

Nobody is saying the team needs to puff their chest out about a loss but some perspective is needed. If for some reason you thought the Jets were a 12 win, Super Bowl contending team heading into the season, you were ignorant of their widespread roster problems. If you thought after losing Darrelle Revis, Santonio Holmes, Sione Pouha, Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill they were going to knock off the best team in football and still had the makeup of a 10/11 win team, you remain ignorant of their widespread roster problems.

The Jets aren’t the laughingstock most of the NFL media wants you to believe they are but they are a deeply flawed team, similar to many others in this league. Tonight was encouraging because the Jets had the look of a team who could hover around .500 and remain in the wild-card discussion into December. They looked like a team that should be able to scrap together a handful of wins when they aren’t playing stacked teams like San Francisco and Houston.

At times, we are harshly critical of players like Jeff Cumberland, Clyde Gates and Chaz Schilens on this site. Perhaps that isn’t always fair. These guys are role players who are being asked to be full time players for the Jets. They have talent. That is why they are in the NFL. You saw them all make plays tonight. Yet, you also saw them all make mistakes. The type of mistakes that happen when you rely on role players to be full time players and that is on Mike Tannenbaum.

Mark Sanchez did enough tonight to keep his job. Is his current level of play acceptable? No. It is too inconsistent. However, considering he has ZERO running game and a revolving door at receiver (Jason Hill was signed 5 days ago and probably played 30 snaps tonight, including all of them on the final 2 minute drive) and was still able to generate 230 yards passing, he deserves another week. He remains a better full time option than Tim Tebow, who the coaching staff still hasn’t figured out how to use properly along with their inability to master substitution patterns. These are the kind of things that happen when you are giving major reps to players who weren’t on the team last week, like Hill and Lex Hilliard.

Some other negatives? The pass rush is nonexistent. You never want to make bold proclamations like this 5 games into people’s careers but I am going out on a limb to say the Jets crapped the bed by passing on Chandler Jones for Quinton Coples. The running game remains a disaster. Can the Jets see if they can trade Shonn Greene to anybody for a conditional 6th or 7th round pick?

The positives? The Jets run defense can build on the second half. After getting gashed in the first two quarters, they held Houston to 59 yards on 22 carries in the second half. Antonio Cromartie played a terrific game, completely shutting down Andre Johnson and coming up with an interception. Jeremy Kerley continued his very strong season, finishing with 5 receptions for 94 yards. Kerley is going to grow substantially from the extended playing time this year and is arguably the brightest spot on the Jets entire offense so far and going forward.

Next week against the Colts won’t be easy. The Jets don’t have easy games this year. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t more than capable of taking care of business next week and setting themselves on track to get into their bye week with a .500 record.

Turn On The Jets Roundtable Week 5 – Jets/Texans Predictions

The TOJ staff gives their predictions for Jets/Texans tonight

Joe Caporoso – 12 Pack

Chris Gross – Texans 27, Jets 20 – Rex Ryan and his coaching staff will have this team ready to come out swinging after last week’s debacle. Every news outlet and their brothers are already writing the 2-2, 1st place Jets off, as good as dead. However, the Rex-led Jets have historically played their best football with their backs against the wall. in 2010, they didn’t have a snow ball’s chance in hell to go into New England in the post season and beat Tom Brady and the Patriots at home, particularly after the 45-3 blowout New York suffered to New England in their previous meeting.

Tonight, the Jets face a 4-0 Houston team in a similar predicament. The difference this time is that the defense is not nearly as good, and the talent on offense has dropped off tremendously. The Jets will come out and play desperate, throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Houston in all three phases of the game. However, unlike in 2010, this unit does not posses the talent to couple with the sense of desperation needed for an upset. New York keeps it closer than everyone is predicting, but in the end, they will prove unable to stop the vast amount of playmakers Houston has all over the board.

Mike Donnelly – I know what everyone is thinking — this game is going to be an absolute disaster. The Jets won’t be able to move the ball, won’t stop Arian Foster, won’t get anywhere near Matt Schaub, etc, etc etc. I know that’s the perception, but I don’t think it’s going to be the reality. This team right now is like a wounded dog that’s cornered, and I expect them to come out swinging. Don’t think for a second Rex Ryan hasn’t reminded his defense every day about Carlos Rogers saying they quit last week. They’re going to play really well and keep the team in the game tonight. On offense, it’s Tebow time and we are gonna see a much bigger dose of him to make up for the fact Mark Sanchez is throwing passes to low-level high school calibre players like Jeff Cumberlamd in the base offense. I don’t think the Jets are going to win, but I expect them to show some pride and keep it close all the way before ultimately falling short, 24-20.

Chris Celletti – When I was picking this week’s games for our Race For The Steak, I picked the Jets +8.5. I’m not really sure why the hell I did that, so here comes a total hedge. I don’t see the Jets being very much competitive on Monday night. The Texans will run the ball right down the Jets’ throat, controlling the clock and field position. The few times the Jets offense does have the ball, I don’t expect it to be pretty. The roster the Jets are throwing out there, offensively, on Monday night is one of the worst collection of skill position players the franchise has ever assembled. This Jets’ offense is worse than the ones they had under Rich Kotite. How are they supposed to score any points? Maybe the Jets score in garbage time or on special teams. Other than that, I see almost no hope. Texans 24, Jets 7

Rob Celletti -Honestly, I’m tired of hearing how bad the Jets are.  I’m tired of reading it, hearing it, seeing it, writing about it.  They’re injured, they lack depth, there are questions about the general manager, coach and quarterback; these are all valid points.  But analysis of the NFL is often driven by hyperbolic narratives that change week to week: one win, and everyone thinks you’re a contender; one loss, you’re in serious trouble.  The Jets are 2-2, it’s October 8th.  There are still 12 football games to be played.

Why am I so positive?  Because I think somehow, the Jets show up tonight and compete.  Offensively, yes, the Jets are challenged, but the defense is due for at least a representative performance. I think they keep the Jets in this game.  I also think Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley will make their presence felt on special teams. As I wrote last week, these are major factors in the recipe for an upset.  On offense, it’s anyone’s guess. I wish I could tell you that Mark Sanchez will find a way to put 14 points on the board, aided by a heavy dose of Tim Tebow. If the Jets offense can manage two touchdowns, I think they have a decent shot at winning this game.
Unfortunately, I don’t think they can.  Texans 16, Jets 10.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 5 – Jets vs. Texans

Turn On The Jets with 12 predictions for the Jets Monday night game against the Texans

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is back with predictions for a game that is expected to a complete sh*t storm for the New York Jets. Seriously, can you remember a game where a higher percentage of people were 100 percent convinced the home team was going to lose by at least 3 touchdowns? Tickets are going for $15 tonight! It cost more money to watch me play Division 3 Football! (Well maybe not, but close). Anyway, on to the predictions…

1. Jeremy Kerley will lead the Jets in receptions and receiving yards. When discussing the team’s wide receivers, it is easy to lump everybody together as being awful. That simply isn’t in the case with Kerley who has made big plays whenever given the opportunity. The Jets need to give him as many touches as possible throughout the rest of the year, as both a receiver and runner.

2. Tonight will be the end of Shonn Greene’s tenure as the Jets lead back. He will have another ineffective game and Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight (let’s hope they give him a chance) will do more with their carries.

3. Tim Tebow will see his most extensive playing time of the season tonight, receiving 7-10 carries and throwing 3-5 passes.

4. Mark Sanchez will do just enough to keep his starting job for one more week, throwing for 200 yards and protecting the football. He will also complete over 50% of his passes…a shame this feels like a bold prediction.

5. Quinton Coples will record his first career sack and play his most reps of the season.

6. Matt Schaub will relentlessly pick on Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankser, finishing with over 250 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns.

7. The Jets run defense will show better than it has in recent weeks but Arian Foster will still finish with over 90 yards rushing and a touchdown.

8. The Jets will attempt at least one special teams trick play.

9. MetLife Stadium will be 50% empty and 25% of the people in attendance will be Texans fans.

10. LaRon Landry will force another turnover.

11. It will be a one possession game at halftime.

12. The Jets will show better than many expect but ultimately don’t have enough offense to win this game, losing 27-13. Mark Sanchez will start next week but Tebow will continue to see more and more playing time.

Turn On The Jets Week 5 NFL Picks

The Turn On The Jets staff gives their week 5 NFL Picks

The Race for Steak continues. Note that last week’s record includes the most recent Thursday Night game –

CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Mike Donnelly (36-26-2)

2. Rob  Celletti (28-32-4)

3. Chris Celletti (25-36-3)

4. Chris Gross (25-36-3)

5. Joe Caporoso (24-37-3)

Joe Caporoso

Last Week (6-8-1)

  • Falcons (-3) vs. Redskins
  • Steelers (-3) vs. Eagles
  • Packers (-7) vs. Colts
  • Browns (+8) vs. Giants
  • Vikings (-5.5) vs Titans
  • Bengals (-3) vs. Dolphins
  • Ravens (-6) vs. Chiefs
  • Seahawks (+3) vs. Panthers
  • Bears (-4.5) vs. Jags
  • Patriots (-6.5) vs. Broncos
  • 49ers (-9.5) vs. Bills
  • Saints (-3.5) vs Chargers
  • Texans (-8.5) vs. Jets

Mike Donnelly

Last Week (8-7)

  • Was +3 vs Atl
  • Pit -3 vs Phi
  • Ind +7 vs GB
  • Cle +8.5 @ NYG
  • Ten +5.5 @ Minn
  • Cin -3 vs Mia
  • KC +6 vs Balt
  • Car -3 vs Sea
  • Jax +4.5 vs Chi
  • NE -6.5 vs Den
  • SF -9.5 vs Buff
  • NO -3.5 vs SD
  • NYJ +8.5 vs Hou

Rob Celletti

Last Week (9-5-1)

  • Falcons (-3) over Redskins
  • Steelers (-3) over Eagles
  • Colts (+7) over Packers
  • Giants (-8.5) over Browns
  • Vikings (-5.5) over Titans
  • Bengals (-3) over Dolphins
  • Ravens (-6) over Chiefs
  • Seahawks (+3) over Panthers
  • Bears (-4.5) over Jaguars
  • Broncos (+6.5) over Patriots
  • Bills (+9.5) over 49ers
  • Saints (-3.5) over Chargers
  • Jets (+8.5) over Texans

Chris Celletti

Last Week (5-9-1)

  • Falcons
  • Steelers
  • Packers
  • Giants
  • Titans
  • Bengals
  • Chiefs
  • Panthers
  • Bears
  • Pats
  • Bills
  • Saints
  • Jets

Chris Gross

Last Week (6-8-1)

  • Falcons (-3)
  • Eagles (+3)
  • Colts (+7)
  • Giants (-8)
  • Vikings (-5.5)
  • Dolphins (+3)
  • Ravens (-6.5)
  • Panthers (-3)
  • Bears (-5.5)
  • Broncos (+6.5)
  • 49ers (-9.5)
  • Saints (-3.5)
  • Jets (+8.5)

Turn On The Jets – NFL Week 5 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his Best Bets for week 5 of the NFL Season

Eat. Drink. Football. Gamble. America. Make sure to check out our deal this weekend courtesy of Night Out. $20 for 20 wings and 2 pitchers of beer.

Week 4 Record 1-2

Season Record: 4-7-1

Damn you Larry Tynes! Once again, never bet on your crosstown rival. It just never works.

So I watched the Presidential Debate on Thursday night. It was horrible television, as most debates are. Everybody was ripping moderator Jim Lehrer for not taking control, but why even have a moderator on these things? Neither candidate follows the format whatsoever. This is how a presidential debate generally goes:

Candidate 1: “…And that’s how I plan on putting Americans back to work!”

Moderator: “Candidate 2, can you directly respond to Candidate 1’s plan to add jobs to the economy?”

Candidate 2: “Well, one thing I agree on with my opponent is that our military must remain the strongest in the world.”

These guys aren’t debating crap. They’re simply spewing pre-canned responses of their positions regardless of what the other says or what they were actually asked by the useless moderator. Unless you’re Mitt Romney, who essentially lied for 90 minutes and was deemed the run away winner. Only in American politics.

But the real reason I bring this up was that I saw a freakish parallel between the Presidential race – specifically the debate and the reaction to it – and the NFL. After the debate, it was widely opined that Romney had won. This was a shock to most people. Most expected President Obama to whitewash Romney. After the debate, there was incredible overreaction on both sides…just like we see each and every week in the NFL. It was like if the Colts beat the Packers this week. Massive underdogs, the Colts would be riding an incredible wave of high after beating an incumbent great NFL team. And good for them if they do, they should feel great about themselves. But you know if that happens, you’ll see Peter King dedicate four pages of his column on how sneaky-good the Colts are, how Andrew Luck is already a top-10 quarterback in the NFL and headed for Canton and how brilliantly the Colts are run from an organizational standpoint. And then you’ll flip on ESPN and Mark Schlereth will be babbling inanities like “The Packers are in trouble,” or “I’m seeing a shift in Aaron Rodgers that tells me he just isn’t the same guy he once was.”

Last night after the debate, Chris Matthews on MSNBC had me thinking I was watching Jets’ Post Game Live on SNY. He was totally distraught, yelling into the camera things like “What was he (Obama) doing out there!? Who was that guy!?” You can pretty much tune into SNY after every Jet game and get the same thing from Ray Lucas talking about Mark Sanchez. And of course Romney supporters are already pouring their scotch in anticipation of a November MittFest. It was just one good night for Romney, one bad one for Obama, and there’s so much that can and will happen in the time being. But you know, we can’t be rational about things like politics and sports.

Point of this all is, can we somehow find a way to have Mike Francesa moderate the next debate? Please?

Anyway, I’m supposed to make some picks or something in this column, so here we go:

Green Bay -7 at Colts

Ha! See what I did there? But no, really. Pack are due for a big win.

Bills +9.5 at 49ers

I in no way think the Bills are heading to the west coast and beating the Niners, but I think they’ll put up a much better fight than the Jets or Obama did (back to the politics for a second: who coached Obama before that debate, Brian Schottenheimer? “Hey Barry, here’s what you DON’T do: mention that 47% thing. Way too risky. Run the ball.”) Even if it’s a 14 point game late, I could see a late touchdown and a backdoor cover for the Bills.

Saints -4 vs. Chargers

It’s gonna be a silly high scoring game, but I think it’s about time the Saints won a darn football game. Back home at the dome, I think they’ll finally get on the board, and by a touchdown at least.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record 3-1)

We’re two for our last two in the English Premier League, so why mess with a broken thing? Let’s make it tiny bit harder and go with a little two-game parlay, Fulham (+165) over Southampton and Everton (+100) over Wigan.

New York Jets: Sanchez’s Last Stand

Mark Sanchez is running out of opportunities as the New York Jets starting quarterback

I wonder if Mark Sanchez longingly studies the depth chart of the quarterbacks drafted in the same year as him or the years right around him. Does he complain to Eva Longoria about Joe Flacco handing the football to Ray Rice and throwing the ball as far as he can to Torrey Smith while Anquan Boldin cleans up underneath? Does he shake at his head at Sportscenter highlights of Calvin Johnson leaping 18 feet in the air to pull down a Matthew Stafford pass? Does he go home in the off-season sit by the beach and imagine what it would be line up under center, look to his left and see Julio Jones, look to his right and see Roddy White and then look back to his left to see Tony Gonzalez. Does he take out the calculator and try to figure out how the small market Tampa Bay Bucs can provide Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin to Josh Freeman? He’d be crazy not to, right?

Nobody is saying that Mark Sanchez would be the same quarterback as Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, or Matthew Stafford in the same situation. You might have argued that in 2010 when Sanchez led a 11-5 team to the AFC Championship Game and seemed to be growing as he outplayed Tom Brady in his own building in the playoffs. Those days are long gone now. Gone like the days when the New York Jets had one of the league’s best offensive lines, a rushing attack that could average more than 2.8 yards per carry and wide receivers who didn’t belong on a UFL roster.

Even a self-professed Sanchez Apologist has to admit there has been a clear regression in his play. Stats don’t need to tell the story because the game film does. In 2011, we saw the same inconsistencies we saw from Sanchez in 2010 except he didn’t rally in a big spot the way he traditionally did. He tanked in the team’s three biggest games of the season and didn’t offer a signature win all year.

It was also clear by the end of the season Sanchez’s supporting cast needed a tune up. The Jets were no longer a feared rushing attack and they didn’t have enough weapons in the passing game. Their once dominant offensive line had sunk to mediocre. Financially, the Jets doubled down on Sanchez by guaranteeing his money the next two years and proclaiming him their franchise quarterback. The next logical step was improving the rest of the offense to make sure that investment was a wise one.

We all know what happened. The Jets overvalued their own talent, believing Shonn Greene was a 1,500 yard back, Wayne Hunter and Matt Slauson would improve, and that Santonio Holmes could carry an inexperienced group of receivers. The only addition was Tim Tebow. We were given a cute story about how Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan discussed the acquisition in an airport , realizing it made perfect sense with Tony Sparano now the offensive coordinator. Tebow would fill the talent gaps because the Jets had a unique plan to mix him into their offense which would provide a spark to both their running and passing game.

It has been pretty apparent through four games that it was a line of bullshit. The Jets coaching staff is completely clueless when it comes to mixing Tebow into their offense, failing to even take advantage of him in obvious situations, like 3rd and short. With each passing week, the Tebow acquisition is looking more and more like a 100% money-grab business decision. The reports are already surfacing now about Jets owner Woody Johnson pushing for Tebow in the starting line-up and now it seems like only a matter of time until #15 is under center full time.

Where does all this leave Sanchez? The guy who started out the season on fire for 5 quarters, followed it with 6 abysmal quarters, rallied late against Miami and then bottomed out against San Francisco. It leaves him facing the league’s best team in primetime with the worst collection of skill position players in the NFL, no seriously. Go bring up every depth chart in the NFL and tell me who has a worst group of running backs than Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight. Go bring up every depth chart in the NFL and tell me who has a worst group of wide receivers than Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Chaz Schilens, and Clyde Gates. There isn’t a worst starting tight end in the NFL than Jeff Cumberland. There isn’t a worst fullback in the NFL than John Conner.

(For the record, Jeremy Kerley is a very talented slot receiver. He is seriously miscast as a number one receiver at this point of his career though. Stephen Hill has a very high ceiling as a big play wideout but right now he is a rookie from a triple-option college offense)

It almost seems like Mike Tannenbaum is setting Sanchez up to fail…almost. I don’t buy into the conspiracy theories, I just think Tannenbaum is incompetent as a talent evaluator. Sanchez has been dealt a crap hand and needs to find a way to make it work. He needs to hold Tebow off for one more week, so he can remain under center for the Jets final three games before the bye where they have a puncher’s chance of going 2-1 to hit the halfway mark at 4-4.

If Sanchez duplicates his performance against San Francisco on Monday night, how could you not support calls for him to be benched? He must protect the football. He must be more accurate. He must show command of the offense. He doesn’t need to pull the upset off, he just needs to keep the Jets competitive against the league’s best team with his excessively weak supporting cast. It is sad expectations but they are realistic.

Why show any hesitance in handing the team off to Tebow? The reason is a 8-8 season from Tebow will be considered magical and create a media firestorm, the type of media firestorm that will encourage Woody Johnson to bring him back as the team’s starter next year. Where I believe you will be looking at another 8-8 type season. I will take Tebow more seriously as a starting quarterback than Sanchez when he shows he can beat New England, not lose by 30 points. I will take Tebow more seriously as a starting quarterback when he can win double digit games in a season and a road playoff game. If he does that as a starter for the Jets this year, then by all means make him your long term starting quarterback.

Ultimately, I’m still of the belief that if Sanchez is surrounded with a competent supporting cast that the Jets ceiling remains higher than it would with Tebow running a read-option offense. With no supporting cast? Maybe Tebow is a better option cause of his diverse skill set but knowing the history of this franchise, there is a reasonable fear the Jets will double down on Tebow if he is just decent the rest of 2012 dooming themselves to a few more years of mediocrity. I could see myself writing the same article at this time next year when the Jets are 1-3 because they didn’t upgrade the offense around Tebow and thought he could just carry it on his own.

Mike Tannenbaum’s recent failings as a General Manager and his own inconsistencies have pushed Mark Sanchez to the brink of his career as the New York Jets starting quarterback. Can he get off the mat one last time?

Turn On The Jets Week 5 Fantasy Football Preview

Mike Donnelly with his weekly fantasy football preview. Who should you bench and start?

This has been a rough NFL week for me. The Jets debacle speaks for itself. But almost as importantly, I lost in all three of my fantasy leagues this week due to stink bomb performances from a combination of Dennis Pitta, Percy Harvin, Darren McFadden, and Mikel Leshoure. All of these things added up put me in quite a foul football mood. In honor of that I’m going to list all the players I dislike for this week. It’s all negativity, all the time this week!

QB- Ben Roethlisberger vs. Phi – Yes, the Iggles are coming off a big win and are set up for a letdown performance, while Big Ben is coming off a bye. I don’t think it matters, because the Steelers are likely getting Rashard Mendenhall back and are going to look to establish some semblance of a running game, starting this week.

Prognosis: Borderline start in 12-team leagues.

QB- Michael Vick @ Pitt – I wasn’t kidding when I said I think the Eagles are primed for a letdown game this week against a rested Steelers defense. Could be a rough one for the Dog Murderer.

Prognosis: Wouldn’t start in a 12-team league.

QB- Kevin Kolb @ StL – I certainly hope you aren’t relying on Kevin Kolb, but if your starting QB is on a bye this week and you’re weak at backup, I could see the thought process. Unfortunately, these Thursday games have not gone too well for offenses, especially road teams, except for Eli throttling Carolina of course. This isn’t quite breaking news, but Kolb is no Eli, and St. Louis has a tough defense.

Prognosis: Would rather take a shot on Tannehill or Matt Hasselbeck.

RB- Alfred Morris vs. Atl – I’ve seen him ranked as an RB1 this week, and I just don’t see it. This game very well could turn into a shootout, and the running opportunities just may not be there for Alf this week.

Prognosis: Low-level RB2 this week.

RB- Stevan Ridley vs. Den – As a Ridley owner in all my league, this one pains me. Brady vs. Peyton could easily turn into a shootout, and when the Pats go to their no huddle, up-temp attack, they like to get Danny Woodhead in there, so unless Ridley gets a TD, the yardage total may leave you disappointed.

Prognosis: Slightly behind Alfred Morris.

RB- Ryan Williams @StL – Another Thursday Nighter. Everyone is pumped he’s going to be getting all the carries in Arizona now that Beanie Wells is hurt, but the fact is Arizona just stinks at running the ball for whatever reason (TERRIBLE O-LINE. That’s the reason). I see him as worth a shot as a flex play, but not the RB2 slam dunk most have him as.

Prognosis: RB3 or Flex option.

RB- Benjarvus Green-Ellis vs. Mia – Miami has a very stout run defense, and as I’ve said all season, BJGE just isn’t that good of a player.

Prognosis: Low-level RB3 or Flex.

RB- Shonn Greene vs. Hou – Sigh.

Prognosis: Again.. Sigh..

WR- Demaryius Thomas @ NE – In general, I love Demaryius this year. But this week against Belichick and the Patriots, I can see him being swarmed and Peyton Manning relying on the underneath stuff to Decker and Tamme all day. Obviously he’s worth starting, just keep the expectations in check.

Prognosis: More of a WR2 than an elite option.

WR- Brandon Lloyd vs. Den – Mr. Lloyd, meet Champ. Keep expectations in check, even though I would never recommend benching Tom Brady’s #1 wide receiver.

Prognosis: Low-level WR2 option.

WR- Pierre Garcon vs. Atl – Apparently Garcon isn’t going to be healthy for a few more weeks still, so even with him playing he may not get the amount of snaps necessary to make a big impact. And sadly, I don’t think we can rely on fumble recovery touchdowns every week.

Prognosis: WR3 or Flex option.

WR- Mike Wallace vs. Phi – Nnamdi Asomugha and the Eagles defense are fully aware of where Mike Wallace will be at all times. I wouldn’t expect a monster performance at all this week, especially since I think the Steelers will go out of their way to establish a run game.

Prognosis: Low-level WR2 or Flex option.

WR- James Jones @ Ind – Here is some friendly advice you should never forget: Do. Not. Trust. James. Jones. Ever. Every time he makes you think it’s safe to start him, he throws up a stat line along the lines of 2 catches/13 yards/1 fumble lost.

Prognosis: Never trust James Jones.

TE- Vernon Davis vs. Buff – The 49ers are going to run the BIlls over — literally. They’re going to run left, run up the middle, and run right. Then they’re going to do it again. And again. Davis will have his chances, but I don’t see him having a monster game.

Prognosis: Low-level TE1, not top 5.

TE- Greg Olsen vs. Sea – Seattle has a tough defense, and you better believe Olsen is going to be keyed on all day. This could be the week Carolina wakes up their sleeping run game as well.

Prognosis: TE2 option, or low-level Flex.