Delayed Reaction: Lights Out on Jets Playoff Hopes

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Delayed Reaction: Lights Out on Jets Playoff Hopes

I am pretty sure I have seen this one before…the Jets defense dominates, controls the entire game, the offense struggles, can’t put points on the board…allows the other team to stay close…then with the game on the line the defense chokes and allows the other team to win…yup, that’s about right. It all looked familiar today for the Jets as they fell to 7-7 with a gut-wrenching 10-7 loss, failing to take advantage of a Miami and Denver loss.

I thought the defense was amazing today, except when the game was on the line. I know the offense didn’t help them at all, but you can’t be an elite defense when you have lost 3 games on the final drive because you couldn’t make a play. Zero sacks and about nine dropped interceptions doesn’t help your cause for being elite either. This team badly needs a pass rusher…the type of guy who can get to the quarterback when the Jets don’t call a blitz.

Sanchez…what can I say? He doesn’t value the football. There were the usual flashes of talent and potential but the same turnovers and missed throws. No, I am not ready to give up on him…he is a freakin rookie. If he is playing like this, come next December then yes I will be worried. Braylon Edwards had his best game as a Jet go to waste, which is a shame. Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene were quiet, Brian Schottenheimer also had plenty of questionable calls.

Obviously the special teams were a major issue…Kellen Clemens can’t hold. James Dearth can’t snap and Jay Feely can’t make kicks all of a sudden. I don’t know why, maybe because they are the Jets and they needed to take turns being responsible for a loss.

Jets vs. Falcons Prediction

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First a few updates:

1. As expected Mark Sanchez was named the starter for Sunday…big shocker there. He will play with two knee braces on, which is what every fan wants to see from their 23 year old franchise quarterback. It is going to be cold and potentially snowing on Sunday, so it is a good chance for Sanchez to prove he could play in the cold weather.

2. Good for the Colts beating the Jaguars last night, which was a big help for the Jets. Bad for the Colts for deciding to play their starters, which means a Jets playoff birth is likely going to involve ending a team’s perfect season in their building…I look forward to finding the out the result from my hotel room in Venice courtesy of NFL Game Rewind.

Jets vs. Falcons Prediction

This has been one of the more bizarre Jets seasons in recent memory…from a surprisingly strong start, to some ridiculously creative, painful losses, to getting embarrassed in New England, to a random three game winning streak that has somehow stuck them in the middle of the playoff race. The Jets have the league’s #1 total defense, #1 passing defense, and #1 rushing attack…and yet they are a 7-6 team who is longshot to make the postseason.

For some reason I see the entire Jets season coming down to next week, coming down to beating the undefeated Colts in their building. I think if the Jets win out, they’ll find a way to get in. Do I think they will beat Indy? That is an article for another week…however, for this week I got a good feeling…maybe it is the holidays, maybe it is the fact I am finally recovering from my strep throat/103 fever combination, maybe it is because I am finally ‘freakin done with all my grad school finals, but Sunday is going to be a good day for the Jets.

I am predicting a strong  performance from the Jets defense. I expect a couple of turnovers, a handful of sacks, and the Falcons not to score more than 10-13 points. On offense, the Jets will run the ball to their normal level of success and yes hit a few big plays down the field against Atlanta’s terrible secondary. A little time on the bench will prove to do Mark Sanchez good and he will play one of his better games of the season. Final score…Jets 23 Falcons 10.

I think the Jets will get some help this week in the form of a Miami and New England loss and I think this is the week to enjoy this Jets playoff pipe dream the most because it is likely coming to an end next week in Indianapolis.

Jets vs. Falcons: Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan still hasn’t named a starter at quarterback for Sunday yet, but all signs are pointing towards Mark Sanchez getting the nod. He took 75 percent of the snaps with the first team today and showed improved movement, along with no swelling from practicing yesterday. I am not sure of all the drama Ryan is trying to create here, but we all know Kellen Clemens isn’t coming out of that tunnel as a starter with the season on the line against a semi-decent team. Sanchez needs to play this week. We need to see our franchise quarterback in a December home game that actually means something.

Photobucket2. Rex Ryan also gave a lengthy campaign type speech for Darrelle Revis and his candidacy for Defensive Player of the Year. I think the guy absolutely deserves it…and don’t hit me with the BS about Charles Woodson and his stats. First off, Revis has 27 passes defensed…20 freakin 7…beyond that, what elite receivers has Woodson shut down this year? Did he shut down Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, Marques Colston, Randy Moss twice, and Terrell Owens twice? I didn’t think so. Revis is the best player on the league’s number one ranked defense, on a team that is a making a playoff push. Check out that cool screen shot 0n the side from NFL.com, that a reader sent in to the the jets blog (www.thejetsblog.com)

3. The Jets signed offensive tackle Dan Gay to their practice squad.

Jets vs. Falcons: Game Breakdown

Offense: This is an easy section to write every week because we know the Jets formula for victory involves a run heavy, conservative approach. You are going to see Thomas Jones get his 20-25 carries this week, but what will really be interesting to see is how the carries are divided up behind him. Will Danny Woodhead, Brad Smith, or even Chauncey Washington pull some carries away from Shonn Greene because of his fumbling problems? I definitely would expect to see more of Brad Smith in the wildcat formation or involved in some gimmick plays, after his strong showing last week.

Atlanta does have a very, very weak secondary. Whether it is Sanchez or Clemens under center, the Jets have to be able to punish the Falcons for stacking the box and leaving their shaky corners/safeties on Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller who has been invisible the past few games. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets take an early shot down the field to create some space for their running game.

PhotobucketDefense: Matt Ryan and Michael Turner both did practice today and will likely be game time decisions. Regardless, the Jets defense just needs to keep doing what they have been doing…stuffing the run, pressuring the quarterback, and smothering opposing receivers. Roddy White will do nothing because of Revis but I am a little worried about Tony Gonzalez. This is a big week for Kerry Rhodes to step up in coverage.

I think whether Matt Ryan or Chris Redman play, the Falcons will have a run heavy game plan. Both quarterbacks have been susceptible to turnovers this season so hopefully the Jets can keep up their recent run of creating big plays on defense. The Falcons offensive line is also banged up so there will plenty of opportunities to get after the quarterback.

Special Teams: The Falcons recently signed Matt Bryant to replace Jason Elam at kicker. It is supposed to be windy, cold and potentially snowy this Sunday so it could be a difficult conditions especially for a dome kicker. Jay Feely has been putting together a great season and will likely be called upon to kick 2 or 3 more on Sunday.

Falcons vs. Saints Last Week

Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 15 Viewing Guide

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First a few updates:

1. Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemens split reps today at practice. Rex Ryan said Sanchez looked good today in practice but he will wait to see how he responds tomorrow morning before making a decision on who his starter is going to be. I would still be surprised if Kellen Clemens was under center again this weekend. Everybody who reported from practice today said Sanchez looked fine and was moving around with no problems.

2. Robert Turner is the only person who missed practice today with an injury. Dwight Lowery should be able to return to the line-up after missing the previous few weeks with an ankle injury.

3. I purchased NFL Rewind yesterday…quality product. Now all I need is a hotel with a good wireless connection in Italy, unless of course the Jets lose to Atlanta this weekend, then my laptop isn’t making the trip.

Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 15 Viewing Guide

Three weeks to go in the regular season and the Jets still remain very much alive in the both the AFC Wild Card and AFC East race. They received some help last weekend since two of the teams in front of them (Denver and Jacksonville) both lost. However, Baltimore, Miami, and New England all took care of business… keeping the Jets playoff odds as fairly improbable. Here are the current standings and what games you need to be keeping an eye on in week 15. Dust off your Titans and Bills jersey…

  1. Indianapolis (13-0)
  2. San Diego (10-3)
  3. Cincinnati (9-4)
  4. New England (8-5)
  5. Denver (8-5)
  6. Miami (7-6)
  7. Jacksonville (7-6)
  8. Baltimore (7-6)
  9. NY Jets (7-6)
  10. Pittsburgh (6-7)
  11. Tennessee (6-7)
  12. Houston (6-7)

Indianapolis Colts (13-0) At Jacksonville Jaguars (7-6) – Very interesting game tomorrow night for Jets fans to keep their eyes on. Obviously, everyone is interested in seeing how long the Colts will play their starters especially Jets fans since we are playing in Indy next weekend. The best case scenario would be that the Colts play their starters for only a quarter but still find a way to beat Jacksonville or that they decide to play their starters the full game, beat Jacksonville and then rest their starters next week. I expect to see Peyton Manning and company for about a quarter, allowing Jacksonville to escape with a win…meaning we have to hope Jacksonville’s loss comes in one of their following two games.

New England Patriots (8-5) At Buffalo Bills (5-8) – Let’s go Buffalo…I have to say I got a good feeling about this game. I think New England is going to have a real tough time getting a victory in freezing Buffalo with an iffy running game and a questionable defense. The Bills should have confidence against the Pats since they should have beat them in week one and this game will basically be their Super Bowl since they have a chance to hurt the Patriots playoff chances. This would be a huge break for the Jets, if Buffalo could come through for them.

Miami Dolphins (7-6) At Tennessee Titans (6-7) – An elimination game for these two teams…I don’t know if Vince Young is going to suit up this weekend but obviously it would be a big boost if he did. Regardless, the Titans could still beat Miami with Kerry Collins behind center. Tennessee isn’t an easy place to play and the Dolphins have been inconsistent this season. Chris Johnson is motivated to break that single season rushing record and could be in line for a huge game. This would be another huge break for the Jets, if Tennessee could come through for them.

Houston Texans (6-7) At St. Louis Rams (1-12) – Why does this game matter? Jets fans want to see the Texans keep rolling and get back to .500 so they are confident/still have something to play for in their final two games against Miami and New England. Jets fans are going to be huge Texans fans in week 16 and week 17 so you might as well start rooting for them now.

PhotobucketAtlanta Falcons (6-7) At New York Jets (7-6) – The Jets have to take care of their own business for any of this to matter. I am going to be in the stadium on Sunday at 1 PM, constantly checking that scoreboard for the Titans/Dolphins and Bills/Patriots score and hoping that the Jets could keep their winning streak going. This is going to be a tough game for the Jets but I have faith in that defense and running game.

Chicago Bears (5-8) At Baltimore Ravens (7-6) – The Ravens have a relatively easy final three games and it is hard to imagine a crappy Bears team heading into Baltimore and getting a victory. Hopefully, Jay Cutler can remember how much money he is being paid, Matt Forte can remember the kind of player he was last year, and the Bears defense decides to wake up.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) At San Diego Chargers (10-3) – I will be rooting for the Bengals to catch a beating and start heading into a tailspin in the final weeks of the season. Maybe…just maybe, the 9-6 Bengals will be facing the 9-6 Jets in week 17, giving us a chance to beat them and hop over them in the standings…which would obviously involve Baltimore winning out and taking the AFC North title.

Oakland Raiders (4-9) At Denver Broncos (8-5) – You know that you aren’t a good quarterback when you are replaced by both Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye…sorry JaMarcus Russell.  Denver has traditionally been choke artists in December but it would be an all-time choke job to lose to Charlie Frye in their own building.

Green Bay Packers (9-4) At Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7) – Jets fans are also going to become huge Pittsburgh fans the final two weeks of the season, since they are playing Baltimore and Miami. So it would be smart to root for the Steelers to begin playing better this week by beating a strong NFC team.

Playoffs?…We Gon’ Make it

NFL Week 14 Recap/Jets vs. Falcons First Look

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First a few updates:

1. Like the the rest of the Jets, I took yesterday off as a “victory Monday.” Actually, I have been suffering from a lovely combination of strep throat and a fever so I tried to sleep it off to be as healthy as possible for the final three weeks of the regular season. Yes, I consider my health of crucial importance to the Jets hopes for a miraculous playoff run.

2. According to Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemens are going to split reps at practice on Wednesday and then he will decide on a starter. I would be shocked if Sanchez isn’t under center this weekend but maybe that is just wishful thinking to avoid watching another Kellen Clemens performance. The Jets could get away with playing Clemens against the Bucs, but starting him against Atlanta could be pushing it.

3. Rich Cimini is reporting there is a strong chance the Jets/Bengals regular season finale could be moved to Sunday night since it is the final game in Giants Stadium. If somehow, someway the Jets are playing for a playoff spot…that place is going to be rocking…and yes I will be finding a way to bring myself to that game.

4. Some impressive Jets defense stats compiled by the Star-Ledger: They are ranked first in the NFL in total defense, first in pass defense, first in points allowed, first in three and outs, first in yards per play, first in fewest first downs allowed…along with of course having the NFL’s #1 ranked rushing offense…and yet we are still barely hanging in playoff contention.

5. The Jets have signed running back Chauncey Washington to their active roster off the Dallas Cowboys practice squad and released tackle Ryan McKee. This could be a reminder to Shonn Greene to tuck the football away.

6. Rex Ryan was very complimentary about Kerry Rhodes all-around performance against Tampa, saying he was strong in run support and was key in shutting down Kellen Winslow Jr. Let’s see how Rhodes finishes the final three games, which will go a long way to determining his future with the team.

7. The Jets are currently ranked #16 in ESPN’s Power Rankings…slowly climbing back up into the top half of the league.

8. The stats, depth chart, and game highlights section have been updated.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – An unimpressive win over a bad Panthers team has left me a little hope that the Patriots could struggle in Buffalo next week and in Houston the final week of the season. Randy Moss is starting to melt down. Their defense is extremely vulnerable, especially to the pass. Tom Brady isn’t playing like a pro-bowl quarterback. Bill Belichick is coaching like a guy who has won 3 Super Bowls and can do whatever he wants…could New England lose two of their final three? Absolutely. Will they? Probably not, they are most likely looking at a first round loss.

Miami Dolphins – We are moving closer and closer to my nightmare of a Miami/New England first round game. Vince Young you need to get healthy this week, Chris Johnson you need to stay motivated to break the single season rushing record, and Tennessee you need to focus on getting back to .500 in your building. I predicted Miami to be a 6-10 team this year and they have now shut me up on that prediction but I’d settle for 8-8 and missing the playoffs. The Dolphins could just as easily win their last three games, as they could lose them.

Buffalo Bills – Congratulations on winning arguably the most boring game of the season…now let’s focus on upsetting the Patriots in your building. Just remember to play physical with Randy Moss so he quits early.

Other NFL Observations

DeSean Jackson is still running wide open through the Giants secondary…Fortunately for the Giants, the Cowboys annual meltdown will allow them to make the playoffs even if they lose another game this season…My Super Bowl picks, the Eagles and Chargers are rolling right now…Is it just me or does anybody think the Bengals just aren’t that good?…I was glad to see Detroit put up such a strong effort against Baltimore last week…Any hopes I had of Oakland upsetting Denver this week ended when Bruce Gradkowski left with an injury…I vote the Colts play their starters this week against Jacksonville and then rest them the following week against the Jets…Some of the more unconventional hopes I have for the Jets making the playoffs involve either the Broncos or Bengals suffering an epic meltdown and losing out.

TOJ NFL Power Rankings (Only teams with a playoff pulse are ranked, no matter how weak that pulse is)

  1. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings (13-0) – You don’t want to put Peyton Manning in front of the Jets defense in week 16…much too risky, right? However, feel free to beat Jacksonville on Thursday since their city doesn’t deserve a football team.
  2. New Orleans Saints (13-0) – I am happy for Jonathan Vilma…great guy and great former Jet enjoying tons of success with a great team.
  3. San Diego Chargers (10-3) – They are going to roll over the Bengals this weekend…would love to see them against the Colts in the playoffs.
  4. Minnesota Vikings (11-2) – They are going to get a much needed bye…I hope Green Bay gets a shot at them in the second round.
  5. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) – Their offense is explosive and their defense makes big plays…a very dangerous team.
  6. Green Bay Packers (9-4) –  A great defense, a strong running game, and a big play passing game could equal a dangerous playoff team.
  7. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) – About to catch a beating in San Diego.
  8. Arizona Cardinals (8-5) – Why can’t they beat the 49ers?
  9. Denver Broncos (8-5) – I’m not sold on them as a very good team, but who else I am going to put here? They are likely going 10-6 because of remaining home games against Kansas City and Oakland.
  10. New England Patriots (8-5) – They have a relatively easy remaining schedule so they should roll into the playoffs, where they will be knocked out in the first round.
  11. Baltimore Ravens (7-6) – As of right now, they have the best shot for the final wild card spot in the AFC.
  12. Miami Dolphins (7-6) – Let’s go Titans.
  13. Dallas Cowboys (8-5) – 8-8…here we come.
  14. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-6) – Overachieving team that will likely fall short of the playoffs.
  15. New York Giants (7-6) – Their defense is putrid but they can go 8-8 and still likely make the playoffs.
  16. New York Jets (7-6) – Mission improbable to make the playoffs.
  17. Tennessee Titans (6-7) – Big Titans fan this week.
  18. Houston Texans (6-7) – Big Houston fan for the rest of the season with games left against Miami and New England.
  19. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7) – Big Steelers fan for the rest of the season with games left against Baltimore and Miami.
  20. San Francisco 49ers (6-7) – Hoping for a Cardinals or Giants meltdown.
  21. Atlanta Falcons (6-7) – Hopefully the Jets can bury them this weekend.

Jets/Falcons First Look

PhotobucketThe Falcons are in the middle of a free fall and have endured tons of injuries, especially to key players. I wouldn’t expect to see starting quarterback Matt Ryan or starting running back Michael Turner this Sunday, which is obviously a big help for the Jets. The Jets are also benefited by getting a dome team in their building in the middle of December. Atlanta’s biggest weapons on offense are Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. White might as well not even bother suiting up because Darrelle Revis is going to take him out of the game. Kerry Rhodes will have a hell of a challenge against Gonzalez and a chance to show his value to the Jets defense. Atalnta’s defense has struggled all season, especially against the pass. However, if the Jets are smart they will stick to their ball control, run-dominated offense. Most people seem to be thinking the Jets are going to roll in this game, however I think this will be a close one. I like the Jets to get a home victory but it won’t be easy.

Jets/Bucs Highlights

Three In a Row: Jets Embarrass Bucs, Stay Alive in Playoff Race

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Three In a Row: Jets Embarrass Bucs, Stay Alive in Playoff Race

Another week, another ugly win for the Jets. It took more than half of the season but the Jets have finally found their identity over the past three games. When you look at the AFC standings, you have to be encouraged about the Jets still being very much alive heading into their final three games but feel a little disgusted looking at that three way tie at 7-6 with Jacksonville and Miami, considering the way the Jets lost games to them.

Today it was all about the defense, who completely dominated Tampa Bay. The Bucs are bad enough as is, but the Jets made them look like a division 3 team. They recorded three interceptions, including another one by Darrelle Revis who now has a INT in the past three games and is making a hell of a push for defensive player of the year consideration. David Harris picked one off on the first play of the game, setting the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Yes, even Kerry Rhodes got in on the fun with his third interception of the season. Calvin Pace, Donald Strickland, and James Ihedigbo all had a sack.

On offense, Kellen Clemens was okay. He started out poorly but got into a rhythm late in the third quarter, and showed some of his arm strength. Brad Smith was all over the place, finding success in the wildcat, on special teams by completing a 27 yard pass, and catching a pass. Danny Woodhead chipped in 52 total offensive yards. Thomas Jones continued to have a pro-bowl caliber season with another strong performance, finishing with 99 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.

Back From Hiatus: TOJ TV Holiday Edition, Jets vs. Bucs Prediction

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets official injury report lists Mark Sanchez, Dwight Lowery, and Robert Turner out. Wayne Hunter and Alan Faneca are listed as questionable with illnesses, and Donald Strickland has been bumped up to probable.

2. A belated thank you to Eric Mangini and the Browns for knocking off the Steelers Thursday night. Three losses in a row to the Cheifs, Raiders, and Browns? Yikes.

Back From Hiatus: TOJ TV Holiday Edition, Jets vs. Bucs Prediction

If you aren’t interested in hearing me talk about the Jets/Bucs game, fast forward to the 1:45 mark for the skit.

Jets vs. Bucs: Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. Kerry Rhodes got into a shouting match with secondary coach Dennis Thurman today because of his frustration about rotating with Eric Smith. Rhodes had an attitude with reporters after practice and made it sound like he isn’t thrilled with Rex Ryan or the prospect of playing in New York again next year. My opinion? See you later Kerry, we’ll be fine without you. The guy is lucky enough to be making a start this weekend because he certainly didn’t earn his position back last week. It is time for him to shut up and perform.

2. Larry Izzo has been placed on injured reserve with a neck injury. Rex Ryan said he expected Donald Strickland to be able to play this weekened but isn’t as confident in Dwight Lowery suiting up.

3. Kellen Clemens sounded confident talking to the media yesterday. This is a big game for Clemens career. He is auditioning for a job next season with another team because I expect the Jets to move Erik Ainge into the backup role next year. Another thing on the quarterbacks, I think it is insane to think Rex Ryan is punishing Mark Sanchez for not sliding. Ryan is simply being cautious with his franchise quarterback against a 1-11 team.

4. Anybody else enjoying all the drama going on in New England the past couple of days?

Jets vs. Bucs: Game Breakdown

PhotobucketOffense: Run, Run, Run. I would expect to see plenty of the Jets heavy set, where they bring in an extra lineman as a tight end and only split out one receiver. Tampa Bay knows the Jets are going to be running and I don’t think the Jets are going to care. You can bank on Thomas Jones getting 22-25 carries and Shonn Greene getting 10-15 carries. Also, expect to see the Jets continue with the misdirection plays to Tony Richardson or Brad Smith, which they used against Buffalo. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Wildcat snaps with Smith either. Eventually, the Jets are going to have to take a shot down the field. Hopefully, Kellen Clemens can take advantage of some single coverage and an overstacked box by hitting Braylon Edwards, Dustin Keller, or Jerricho Cotchery for a big play. Remember that Clemens has no chemistry with Edwards, so he may look to Cotchery or Keller more.

Defense: Expect the Jets to come after Josh Freeman early and often. I don’t know if the Jets will lock Darrelle Revis on to Antonio Bryant, considering he is their top big play threat. Kellen Winslow could also be a match-up problem. Eric Smith and Kerry Rhodes will likely both take turns covering him. The reality is that the Jets defense should keep up their dominant streak against a Tampa offense that lacks big play capability and is susceptible to turnovers. This should be a healthy stat-padding game, but then again this is the Jets we are talking about. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Freeman go off and Cadillac Williams run for 175 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Special Teams: Bucs return man Clifton Smith is out for the season. Brad Smith should continue as the Jets kick returner. He has been okay. I still would like to see Jerricho Cotchery off punt returns but it looks like he will keep the job for now.

In Honor of AI Returning to Philly…Practice?

Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 14 Viewing Guide

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First a few updates:

1. Obviously the big news of the day is that Kellen Clemens is going to start this Sunday against Tampa Bay. Sanchez didn’t practice today and Rex Ryan announced the decision at his press conference today. Apparently, Sanchez is angry with the decision but in reality this is the right move for the long run. He is a rookie and there is no reason to throw him out there at 80-85 percent with no practice. Let him get three more days of rehab over the weekend and come back at 100 percent for the final three weeks. The bottom line is that the Jets should be able to beat the 1-11 Bucs with their backup quarterback. All I know is that the Jets may set a record for rushing attempts this Sunday, Ryan can talk all he wants about having confidence in Clemens but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene both get 20 plus carries. Overall, I agree it is better to be overly cautious with your franchise quarterback…so let’s pretend it is 2007 and try to excited about Kellen Clemens taking snaps.

2. It looks like Kerry Rhodes is going to start this Sunday. I am not sure why he got his job back but apparently he is back with the base unit, although Rex Ryan insists Eric Smith will still see plenty of time. A friendly Turn On The Jets reminder to Kerry Rhodes…you need to use your arms to tackle.

3. Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery, and Larry Izzo were all limited in practice today. I wouldn’t bank on seeing Strickland or Lowery suit up.

4. A few notes from Sanchez’s press conference today: He basically reaffirmed his belief that he could play Sunday and his frustration with the decision. However, he said understood where Ryan was coming from and that he was confident in Kellen Clemens playing well. He also said there is no doubt at all that he will play next week against Atlanta.

Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 14 Viewing Guide

For at least another week, the Jets playoff pipe dream remains alive thanks to a victory over Buffalo, a shocking Pittsburgh loss, a Baltimore loss on Monday night, and a few other somewhat favorable outcomes. Here are what games to keep an eye on this weekend and who you should be rooting for, preceded by the current AFC standings:

  1. Indianapolis (12-0)
  2. Cincinnati (9-3)
  3. San Diego (9-3)
  4. New England (7-5)
  5. Denver (8-4)
  6. Jacksonville (7-5)
  7. Miami (6-6)
  8. Baltimore (6-6)
  9. NY Jets (6-6)
  10. Pittsburgh (6-6)
  11. Houston (5-7)
  12. Tennessee (5-7)

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6) At Cleveland Browns (1-11) – If you decide to pass on watching NBC Must See TV and the trainwreck “Jersey Shore” (which completely disgraces my state and ethnicity) on Thursday night, turn in to the Steelers and Browns on the NFL Network. Can Eric Mangini and former Jets legends Eric Barton, Hank Poteat, Jason Trusnik, Chansi Stuckey, Abram Elam, CJ Mosley, and David Bowens knock off the slumping defending champs? If Pittsburgh can lose at home to Oakland to the Bruce Gradkowski/Louis Murphy connection, why can’t they lose in Cleveland? Let’s go Mangini…let’s play some consistent, fundamental football in all three phases of the game because that is always a function of winning.

New York Jets (6-6) At Tampa Bay Bucs (1-11) – Can the Jets avoid the traditional late season loss in a bad spot to a really awful team? Let’s keep it entertaining for at least another week.

Miami Dolphins (6-6) At Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5) – Tough call here. I have been torn most of the week on who to root for in this game. I have decided to go with Miami. Why? Here is my scenario: the Dolphins win and the Jets win putting both of them and the Jaguars at 7-6. My man Vince Young beats the Dolphins in week 15 and the Jaguars lose to the Colts on Thursday night in football in the last game of the year Indy plays with all their starters the full game and Jacksonville continues their tailspin by losing in New England the following week. Miami beats Houston in week 16 by closes the season with a loss to Pittsburgh to finish 8-8. This allows the Jets to lose in Indy, which will inevitably happen if Peyton Manning plays into the second half and creep in with a 9-7 record if a few other things break their way…complicated? I know. The bottom line is that the best thing here would be a tie. The Jets are helped in some ways and hurt in some ways regardless of the outcome.

Detroit Lions (2-10) At Baltimore Ravens (6-6)Daunte Culpepper will be making the start in this game. I vote that he decides to throw it back to the old school, mistake Calvin Johnson for Randy Moss and lead the upset charge. One thing about the Ravens, they get called for pass interference on every other pass attempt so maybe the Lions can keep it close.

Denver Broncos (8-4) At Indianapolis Colts (12-0) – The best thing that could happen here is that Indy could run it up on the Broncos like they always seem to and throw the Broncos into a self-doubting tailspin. This tailspin carries over to the following week where they lose to sudden juggernauts Oakland Raiders, followed by another loss to the Eagles and what do you have? Another Denver December meltdown.

Carolina Panthers (5-7) At New England Patriots (7-5) – The best way to attack the Patriots is through the air. Throwing the football isn’t Carolina’s strong suit, even with Matt Moore now in at quarterback. The only way I could see this game even being close is if Steve Smith makes 5 or 6 ridiclous catches and Bill Belichick continues to refuse to kick field goals or punts on 4th down.

Kellen Clemens Starting For the Jets in 2007…Wow, I don’t miss Justin McCariens

Jets vs. Bucs First Look

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets moved up to #19 in ESPN’s Power Rankings today. They are behind Atlanta, which I don’t agree with. The Falcons looked simply awful at home last week and are decimated with injuries. Pittsburgh is also ahead of them despite losing to Oakland at home (the Jets beat Oakland 38-0 by the way).

2. It is looking like Eric Smith will start his third straight game this week. According to the beat reporters, he ran with the starters in Monday’s walk through. I don’t see any reason why Kerry Rhodes should have his job back after a somewhat weak performance against Buffalo.

3. Backup offensive lineman and extra tight end in short yardage sets Robert Turner is going to be out this week and probably the following week. Corners Donald Strickland and Dwight Lowery are improving with their respective injuries but I wouldn’t bank on either of them playing on Sunday. I would rather see them at 100 percent against Indy then rush back this weekend against the Bucs weak receivers.

4. Green Bay helped the Jets playoff cause last night by beating the Ravens 27-17. Make sure you check back tomorrow for “Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 14 Viewing Guide,” where I will discuss all the playoff scenarios and who Jets fans should be rooting for this week.

Jets vs. Bucs First Look

PhotobucketTampa Bay’s Key Players: On offense Josh Freeman has breathed some life into Tampa. However, he is coming off his worst game of the season. Freeman threw five interceptions last week in a loss to Carolina. On the season he has 7 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and is completing 54 percent of his passes. He is mobile in the pocket and has already racked up 134 yards rushing in a limited number of starts. Cadillac Williams is the Bucs leading rusher with 572 yards, with Derrick Ward chipping 304 yards. Neither of backs has an overly impressive yards per carry (4.0 for Williams and 3.6 for Ward). Tight End Kellen Winslow is putting together a strong season with 58 receptions for 633 yards, with 5 touchdowns. Maybe the Jets should put Darrelle Revis on him, since the top receivers for Tampa both have 27 catches. Yet, Antonio Bryant is averaging an impressive 17.6 yards per catch. Also watch out for ex-Jet fullback BJ Askew, who has 3 total  offensive yards this season.

On defense, the Bucs are very young and they struggle to stop the run (Run, TJ, Run). However, they do have some talented pass rushers. Stylez White has 5.5 sacks and Jimmy Wilkerson has 6 on the season. Barrett Ruud is a solid linebacker and leads the team in tackles. Aqib Talib is beat often at corner but does make some big plays. He currently has 5 interceptions and 11 passes defensed. Ronde Barber is still playing but doesn’t have an interception yet this season, despite having 2 sacks.

Typical Jets: How typical would it be for the Jets to go on the road and lose to the 1-11 Bucs? They got everybody excited about some type of crazy playoff run in December. They are getting help at every turn, with Oakland winning in Pittsburgh, the Dolphins losing to Buffalo and then coming back and beating New England, the Ravens losing on Monday night, the Texans melting down and on and on. Of course all these wacky playoff scenarios go to the wayside if the Jets can’t beat one of the leagues worst teams. Can we avoid the obvious loss this week and keep the pipe dream alive for another week?