Breaking Down The Rest Of The New York Jets Schedule

TOJ breaks down the rest of the New York Jets 2011 regular season schedule. Is 10 wins reasonable?

The New York Jets currently sit at 4-3, likely a game or two behind the place many people thought they would be at this point of the season. When looking at their remaining nine games, it is very conceivable the Jets could still finish with 10 or 11 wins. Of course the deciding factor in that is going to be if they play like they did in the second half against San Diego for the remainder of the season or like they did in the second half against Oakland. Let’s look at what’s left for the Jets —

  • November 6th at Buffalo

A huge game that will go a long way how the AFC East and wild-card race will look for the remainder of the season. I would expect Buffalo to take care of business against Washington this week, meaning the Jets will be a full game behind the Bills heading into this meeting. The key against the Bills is to not turn the football over and slow down Fred Jackson.

  • November 13th vs. New England, Sunday Night

Showdown. Especially, if the Jets can beat Buffalo and New England slips up against either Pittsburgh or the Giants in the next two weeks. Even without a Patriots slip-up in the coming weeks, a Jets win will make them relevant in the AFC East race for the rest of the season. They have never been swept by New England since Rex Ryan has taken over.

  • November 17th at Denver, Thursday Night

A short week. A long trip. Tebow Christ. This should be an interesting game.

  • November 27th vs. Buffalo

The Bills for the second time in four weeks. They are a different team on the road and if the Jets handle their business, this could be a chance to bury them in the AFC East race and seriously cripple them in the wild-card hunt.

  • December 4th at Washington

Considering the way their season is headed, this should one of the easier games left on the Jets schedule if not the easiest. Rex Ryan and his defense should be able to tee off on the John GrossBeck crap platter at quarterback.

  • December 11th vs Kansas City

The Chiefs looked like the worst team in football for three weeks but now look halfway decent. Regardless, the Jets should be able to handle them at home.

  • December 18th at Philadelphia

A difficult road trip to face Mike Vick and the Eagles, who will likely need this game as they attempt to claw back in the NFC East race.

  • December 24th vs G-Men

How many fights are going to break out in the stadium? How many holidays are going to be ruined? It looks like this game will have playoff implications for both teams and you know Rex Ryan’s off-season quotes will be plastered all over the place leading up to it.

  • January 1st at Miami

Good to know if the Jets need this one, they finish against one of the worst teams in recent NFL history.

If you remember my roadmap to the Jets making the playoffs from a few weeks ago when they were 2-3, you will see they are on pace by taking the first step in sweeping Miami and getting a split out of the San Diego/New England match-ups. Sticking to that original article, 10 wins can be achieved like this —

  • Take 2 out of 3 from remaining NFC East opponents
  • Beat Kansas City, Denver, and Miami
  • Split with Buffalo

Not too crazy, right? Nevermind the reality that the Jets have a good shot to knock off New England at home, as they have done the past two years.

Young Pups Could Lead To Big Second Half For New York Jets Defense

TOJ on the development of the younger players on the New York Jets defense and how it could lead to a second half improvement

The New York Jets defense has problems and shortcomings, as any unit in the NFL does. However, thanks to Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine’s ability to gameplan on a weekly basis they can still come up with big time performances, which will allow the Jets to remain a playoff contender throughout the rest of the year.

One of the other reasons for optimism with the Jets defense in their final nine games is the development of their young players.

Let’s start with the defensive line, which has quickly been rebuilt for the long haul. First round draft pick Muhammad Wilkerson has put together a strong start to the year, particularly with his showings against Jacksonville, Baltimore, and San Diego. Third round pick Kenrick Ellis has shown potential in his limited role and should get more reps as the season moves on. Beyond that both Ropati Pitoitua and Marcus Dixon are quality rotational players to support Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito, who should still have their best years in front of them.

At linebacker, the Jets are sorely lacking speed. Josh Mauga and Jamaal Westerman are platooning as replacements for Bryan Thomas at outside linebacker and both have taken their lumps. Yet, Westerman has shown some of the pass rush ability the coaching staff has talked up with 2.5 sacks and Mauga should get better as the season progresses. Beyond that, Aaron Maybin has been a revelation with 3 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in only four games with very limited reps. His role will continue grow and he just may be the double digit sack guy the Jets have been looking for.

In the secondary, outside of Darrelle Revis putting together another monster season the most encouraging thing has been the growth of Kyle Wilson. The Jets 2010 first round pick is substantially improved in his second year and is turning into a very good nickel back, which is a key spot in Ryan’s defense.

In the long term, the Jets will need more young talent, particularly at safety and linebacker. However, they do have enough this year to make that run Rex Ryan talked about in his most recent press conference.

A Roadmap Is Found By The New York Jets

TJ on the winning formula the New York Jets discovered against the San Diego Chargers

The Jets exited the field of Met Life stadium on Sunday, entering the much needed rest of a bye week as owners of not only a crucial comeback win, but possibly of a roadmap containing an identity and blueprint for the future.

Down 21-10 midway through the third quarter to the 4-1 Chargers was not how Gang Green had drawn up their pre game battle plans against a Bolts offense known for delivering high powered knockout blows. Then again, neither was a 3-3 start to a 2011 season that was racing towards a scenario that would have left the club three games back of first place with half the year already in the books. Then it all came together. On both sides of the ball.

A ten play 55 yard TD drive that started with 7:30 left in the third quarter, was soon followed by a game changing interception by, who else, Darrelle Revis. Just like that, a two score deficit became a one score lead. Along with it, the reemergence of hope for a season that a short while ago, contained Super Bowl goals.

Credit the eternally embattled offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer for making a point to get ALL Jets skill position players involved during the first half. This attention to detail not only gave Shonn Greene (20 carries -112 yards) the amount of carries that Rex Ryan often insists will make him a War Machine again, but it helped keep another embattled Jet, Plaxico Burress, attentive long enough to add two more TD catches to his three score day.

Looks to speedy rookie  Jeremy Kerley with carries finally given to Joe McKnight, gave the Jets some unpredictable flavor. This as Sanchez took shots to big play Santonio Holmes (who had an incredible diving TD reception called back due to a holding call) as well.

The offensive line also stepped up again. Credit the recent return of Nick Mangold from injury and the improved play of Wayne Hunter at RT (who helped slow down Miami’s pass rushing star Cameron Wake the week before) for the rise in quality. With the offensive line coming together to help spearhead a balanced attack (Sanchez 173 yds passing. Jets rushing attack combined 162 yds), the Jets were able to surpass their 24.2 points per game average just enough to turn things over to Rex’s defense. A unit that was also doing it’s share of growing.

While Revis was busy taking star WR Vincent Jackson (1-15 yds) out of the equation, the Jets were busy trying to sort out their first half issues of once again dealing with the tight end. This was not your normal one, somehow burning them up and down the field though. It was future hall of famer Antonio Gates. Gates was open early and often during the first half but better coverage by the safeties, linebackers, and emerging second year CB Kyle Wilson on Gates in the second half (Wilson’s first NFL interception late in the 4th to help seal the win) was a big reason that the Jets held the mighty Chargers offense scoreless after halftime.

Scrap heap gem Aaron Maybin, provided his third sack and added some pressures to a defense that exited the game 6th in the NFL with 18 sacks. The notion of pressure from both Calvin Pace and now Maybin, with weekly lockdown coverage from Revis, could now get another boost INSIDE the numbers from players like Wilson.

Should this and Antonio Cromartie’s work towards keeping his hands to himself (as he did for the most part on Sunday) begin to solidify, than THIS Jet defense, during this modest two game win streak, may have found a rocket boost in two places; Pressure and coverage.

Now add Special Teams into the equation. With McKnight and Kerley having safely allowed the Jets to have moved beyond the loss of current Buffalo Bill Brad Smith due to their big plays during the first seven games, the Jets can add the potential for big plays into their new formula. One that abandoned the overload of pass or run for a less obvious mixture.

In September, the Jets tried to feature Mark Sanchez as a fantasy football owner’s dream. In October, they tried to delve into the past with the ultra conservative Ground and Pound. Against the Chargers, in the final game before the Winter months arrive, they blended both. Letting everyone join the party in doing so.

When the air attack would end up in turnovers, Jets coaches would often retreat into treating Mark Sanchez as an adolescent. A teenager not to be trusted alone in the house while the parents were out for the night. During the Chargers win however, Sanchez, despite any recent proof of an ability to lead the club all day with his arm, was imparted with a measurable amount of faith from the Jets sidelines. It payed off, as key pieces provided big time production at the right time.

Burress was BROUGHT HERE to be fed in the Red Zone. Sanchez fed him. TE Dustin Keller, the true safety valve wasn’t forgotten. He was featured. Greene’s engine was made to plow over ground like a tank after the engine was properly heated. Sunday, the third year back was given the ball. Time and again. The Jets overall ability to finally use their weapons collectively, helped the club finally move the chains. In doing so, it allowed the defense the opportunity to stay rested and settle in.

The Jets, at 4-3, have not played well enough against enough quality teams, to simply assume that they are now undoubtedly headed for a third straight playoff appearance under Ryan. They ARE however in position to, for the first time this year, put the search mission to rest. The Jets, if even for a brief two quarter stretch, showed themselves who they are, and who they can be. A team that runs the ball efficiently while using the air to both threaten and damage.

They are a team that will always leave a top receiver stranded while pressure and coverage thanks to the surprising play of Maybin and Wilson, may help tighten the screws even tighter on the opposition.

Buffalo and New England are up next. It won’t be easy. However, a Jets team that may now be firing on all cylinders, will be tough for opponents to beat as well. The Jets can use the second half comeback that saw 17 unanswered points, as a template going forward, provided they can show that all of the miscommunication that went on weeks back inside of the Jets locker room, was like their inconsistent play, a thing of the past.

Those faces are starting to fall in place. Just in the nick of time. November is here and that means that it is time to make the push for the playoffs. The Jets are set up to do that now. To be a team that CAN surge head on into January, and perhaps even beyond. For the first time this season.

CHECK OUT THE REST OF TJ’S WORK

JEFF CAPELLINI TALKING JETS FANS BACK TO REALITY

A Closer Look At The New York Jets Stats

TOJ with a closer look at the New York Jets stats through 7 games

Passing

  • Mark Sanchez – 129/231, 55.8 completion percentage, 1545 yards, 12 TDs, 6 INTs

Despite all of the scrutiny he is under, Sanchez is on pace for a season that many of us would have signed up for statistically. Of course, the Jets don’t need him to rack up All-Pro stats. All that matters is his ability to continue to win football games, play well in big spots, and be a leader on the offense. Considering their move back to Ground and Pound and the expected continued growth in chemistry with Plaxico Burress, there is no reason Sanchez can’t finish with over 25 touchdowns and around 3,500 yards.

Rushing

  • Shonn Greene – 113 carries, 426 yards, 3.8 yards per carry, 2 touchdowns
  • LaDainian Tomlinson – 34 carries, 111 yards, 3.3 yards per carry
  • Joe McKnight – 10 carries, 26 yards
  • Mark Sanchez – 13 carries, 67 yards, 2 touchdowns

Shonn Greene is getting the bulk of the carries, as was talked about all off-season. He wasn’t doing much with it until last week. A big second half from Greene will likely equal a new contract and a commitment to him as the long term feature back. A shaky second half could lead to a spirited pursuit of Matt Forte or Maurcie Jones-Drew next off-season. Tomlinson’s top contributions come in the passing game. McKnight is slowly becoming more acclimated to the offense. Sanchez is underrated as a mobile quarterback.

Receiving

  • Dustin Keller – 25 receptions, 372 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Santonio Holmes – 22 receptions, 311 yards, 3 touchdowns
  • LaDainian Tonlinson – 2o receptions, 260 yards 1 touchdown
  • Plaxico Burress – 18 receptions 243 yards, 5 touchdowns
  • Jeremy Kerley – 9 receptions, 82 yards, 1 touchdown

I would expect Keller to end up leading the team in receptions. Holmes numbers will eventually pick up but it is hard to see him ending up being a 1,000 yard receiver. If Burress finishes with 40 receptions, 500 yards but over 10 touchdowns, I consider his signing a success. Jeremy Kerley’s role will only continue to grow throughout the year. I would expect him to finish with over 30 receptions.

Kicking

  • Nick Folk – 10/10 Field Goals, Long of 50 yards

He never misses.

Return

  • Joe McKnight – 13 attempts on kick return, 520 yards, 40.0 average, 1 TD
  • Jeremy Kerley – 14 attempts on punt return, 143 yards, 10.2 average

McKnight has been a Pro-Bowl caliber kick returner so far this year. Kerley is also an explosive option on punt returns.

Defense

  • Eric Smith – 44 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT
  • David Harris – 36 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT
  • Bart Scott – 36 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 FF
  • Calvin Pace – 33 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 FF
  • Darrelle Revis – 20 tackles, 10 PDs, 4 INT
  • Muhammad Wilkerson – 17 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL
  • Antonio Cromartie – 22 tackles, 5 PDs, 3 INT
  • Jamaal Westerman – 16 tackles, 2.5 sacks
  • Aaron Maybin – 6 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 FF

A few highlights from the defense. Despite their stat lines, it does feel like Bart Scott and Calvin Pace have missed their share of tackles and are struggling a little bit out in space. The coaching staff has been raving about Pace and their improvement in run defense against San Diego should be attributed to him helping set the edge. Darrelle Revis has been the Defensive Player of the Year in my opinion. Aaron Maybin racked up those 3 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in a limited amount of time. You will see plenty more of him down the stretch and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up with double digit sacks. Eric Smith and Antonio Cromartie both have decent enough stat lines but have been wildly inconsistent so far.

TEAM RANKINGS

  • Passing Yards – 207.7 yards per game, 24th in NFL
  • Rushing Yards – 92.4 yards per game, 28th in NFL
  • Opposing Passing Yards – 196.7 per game, 7th in NFL
  • Opposing Rushing Yards – 126.9 per game, 26th in NFL

Other Notes

  • 11 interceptions through 7 games in 2011, 12 interceptions all of 2010 season. The defense is also on pace for more forced fumbles and sacks this year.

Did The New York Jets Turn A Corner?

TOJ examines if the Jets really turned a corner with their victory over San Diego

The New York Jets victory over the San Diego Chargers was without question a crucial and pivotal win. It set the table for their upcoming games against the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots to truly be relevant, meaningful games as the Jets are now in the thick of both the AFC East and wild-card race. The impact on the standings was nice but won’t last long if the Jets don’t handle their business after the bye week.

In reality, the main reason the victory was so important was because of how the Jets won. This was a replication of the 2009/2010 Jets smacking around and beating up on a finesse team. Prior to kickoff, LaDainian Tomlinson yelled the following in his pre-game speech –

“We couldn’t be more different. Weakness vs. Strength. Finesse vs. Power. West Coast vs. East Coast.”

He was absolutely right. San Diego is everything the Jets aren’t. They put up big-time stats and win “pretty.” The Jets will never turn heads with their statistics and win ugly. The bigger the game gets, the worse San Diego plays. The later in the game it gets, the worse San Diego plays. In contrast, the Jets thrive in big spots and in late game situations. When it comes down to it, San Diego is a finesse team led by a subpar coach and a quarterback high on passing stats but low on playoff victories, who spent their post-game crying about the officials. The Jets couldn’t let a team like that beat them in their own stadium in a such big spot in their season and they responded by going back to their winning formula, running and defense.

A second half run by the New York Jets is highly plausible. After their back to back showdowns against Buffalo and New England, the schedule becomes more friendly. They fully have the ability to take advantage of it, especially if they continue to thrive in their proper identity.

On offense, Shonn Greene needs to balance the offense with a productive 20+ carries each week. Mark Sanchez plays much better with an effective rushing attack to throw play action off of. There may be times he has to throw 35 passes in a game but for the most part, the Jets will be in a better situation when he has 22-28 attempts per game. His top two targets should most consistently be Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller. Jeremy Kerley should be a third down weapon, working quick outs, whip routes, and the short crossing routes. Plaxico Burress should be the primary red-zone option who provides an occasional big target over the middle.

Defensively, Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine have shown the ability to coach around their unit’s shortcomings in the past and they must do it again. Right now, the Jets are weak at outside linebacker and safety. However, with a young and improving defensive line, Aaron Maybin turning into a legitimate pass rushing threat on third downs, and Darrelle Revis playing at the top of his game the Jets have enough on defense to play their “Ground and Pound” style.

We will learn if the team really turned a corner these next two weeks, when they have a chance to show that they are the team to beat in a division where many think they are the third best team.

Sanchez Led The Way Before The Light Began To Fade

TJ on Mark Sanchez coming up with yet another clutch performance

Sanchez this, Sanchez that. Say whatever you want about Mark Sanchez. The elite quarterback who had the 21-10 lead with the ball  in the third quarter, lost. The one who is always under fire for not “progressing,” won.

Mark Sanchez, against the elite QBs in the AFC is now: 3-3 against Tom Brady, 2-0 against Phillip Rivers, and 1-1 against Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning.

The third year franchise signal caller has alot of improving to do. With his consistency, his footwork, and his ability to be resourceful earlier in games when the team is struggling to move the ball.

However, he steals wins late in games more than he hands victories over by making dumb mistakes down the stretch. His decision making hardens when the going gets tough. Add four playoff wins during his first two years to the equation as well.

The Jets are now 4-3. It is essential that Sanchez continues to develop. The Jets DON’T need however, to teach Sanchez how to win. While his imperfections have prevented him from being a statistical killer to this point, maybe it is time for the detractors to finally accept what Mark Sanchez in two and a half seasons HAS brought to the Jets. Leadership.

On Sunday down 21-10 in the third quarter, when the season felt like it was once again, hanging in the balance, Sanchez began to show off HIS biggest attribute. With two of his three TD passes to Plaxico Burress coming in the second half, key scrambles, and third down completions, the Jets quarterback found a way to help navigate the Jets out of the darkness and into the second half of a season now filled with promise and hope. Just minutes before much of the light in a season that began with Super Bowl aspirations, began to fade.

Strange Vibrations in the BCS Machine, 4 NFL Teams Run Out Of Gas

A review of the past weekend’s action in college football and the NFL

Taking one final look at the BCS standings: the prophecy of SEC domination is beginning to take over, the Big 12, the Pac 12…will all bow at the altar.

I want to be a West Virginia fan. Open a dude ranch. Set my couch on fire while spitting out moonshine and reading the Book of Revelation. Drink some PBR and spend half the day tending to the livestock. I get the LSU loss, makes sense to lose with the pressure of a home game against the second best defense in football in primetime but Syracuse? They don’t do anything well, except expose that 3-3-5 stack for all it’s worth. A million passing yards, man coverage failure, beat on slants, beat deep and time to take a long hard look in the mirror and settle with the Snapshot Progressive Savings bowl. Let’s say they finish 9-3, which is two losses too many for the Big East. 2nd place and a weekday bowl game that makes football freaks sick.

It is going to get ugly for a second straight year in Texas. They have some pieces for the future on defense, but Mack Brown might make it only a few more if they don’t at least make it through the season with less than 5 losses. Texas Tech, Kansas State and Texas A&M will take 2 out of those 3 with ease, look for more recruits to find other Texas area schools as the days of National Championships are over for the next decade. The power is shifting. Move over Cowboys, we have another candidate for team most hanging on to their own history. The fat old businessmen are simply getting drunk on Saturdays and not caring about the outcome of the game. Betting is over and the Longhorns are looking like fools.

Auburn has officially gone to hell. The Cam Newton factor may have singlehandedly won them at least 3 road games last year. They did not have the overall talent to win a National Championship, and are sitting at the bottom of the SEC West, hoping for some sort of magic to hobble them through the rest of the year as a 5 loss team. They may play in Alabama, but they are not Alabama. Clemson set the wheels in motion, and LSU buried any chance of relevance for the next 2 years. Nobody cares about Auburn anymore, and nobody will by the start of next year. Michael Dyer will always be the runner up to Trent Richardson,

Will Georgia beat Florida? That’s going to be the type of game where you hope each team beats each other into the ground, akin to a Giants/Patriots, or a Packers/Steelers game. How they made it by Tennessee and Mississippi State perplexes me but they will probably get one over on Auburn, who will be scraping themselves off the floor by November 12th. If South Carolina loses Lattimore, all bets are off on the SEC East.

Arizona State Sun Devils, one of the PAC 12 phantoms that rises out of the woods and goes backwards towards the latter half of the season. They just may go undefeated through the rest of the year, but two losses keep them on the edge of the highly overrated PAC 12 conference. There is nothing I care about concerning this team, though I am sure USC is probably a better team. Unfortunately Reggie Bush ruined the beauty and sun kissed finesse of USC for the next few years.

I will root for Texas Tech for years to come. One because they are the reason for Michael Crabtree. Two because they knocked off Oklahoma. Three, because they average 383.7 passing yards per game. The only caveat to Texas Tech is of course the second half of their schedule. Texas will summon enough pride to keep that game close. Oklahoma State will outgun them, and Baylor will attempt some sort of dramatic 500 yard passing high note against a defense that averages 30.7 against it.

What I saw from the Indianapolis defense last night was not surprising. Greatest offense in the NFL against a secondary with a large majority of undrafted, third tier players? Not much of a contest. Small linebackers who can’t defend receivers, can’t stop the run, and can’t tackle in space? Indianapolis hash them. Defensive line? Freeney and Mathis are two of the best defensive ends who happen to be two of the smartest in the league. But when a quarterback can get away from the pocket and throw, defensive ends can’t do much. Especially when they start throwing the occasional power run and play action pass. If your secondary can’t give you three seconds to get the sack, all that effort goes to waste.

The Miami Dolphins are God’s way of punishing the Miami Heat. I was once invited to a Dolphins game. Reggie Bush might keep you awake, Brandon Marshall will make some big catches. But they can’t finish games once they get stopped through the air. Chad Henne would have got them 4 wins, but there is no stopping the insanity for Andrew Luck, who will in fact decline Miami’s invitation if it is given. What’s there to be excited about. A 20th ranked defense? A bunch of overrated wide receivers? No great tight end? Miami could do best by trading the Luck pick for two first rounders and two second rounders, beefing up their secondary and receiving core. They’ll be able to get someone decent at QB in the second or third round.

Now for the sorriest team from the sorriest division of the sorriest coast of professional football. The Rams are not worthy of the old Rams colors. They are second tier talent across the board. They are the 8-8 team without a highlight reel, and Sam Bradford is going to need some help at receiver. He needs a big playmaking receiver to sit across from Brandon Lloyd while Pettis and Salas grow into starters. Amendola will be relegated to the slot and Lance Kendricks will finally take over at tight end. They need secondary help and they could use some offensive lineman to keep Bradford upright. They will make do on their defensive line although Spagnolo is itching for a first round defensive lineman to accompany Robert Quinn.

Minnesota proves my theory of hedging your bets on an aging quarterback to be disastrous for twice as many years as he plays. Brett Favre for two years? Four year recovery time for any sort of playoff run. Look at the Vikings closely. Is Adrian Peterson the best running back in the NFL? There’s no way to judge that. Without Favre, the Vikings are going against a stacked box all day. When Favre was there, everyone defended the pass. Hell of a change for the offensive line. There’s going to be nothing to like about this team by the end of the year. Peterson would break all sorts of record on either the Packers, Saints or Ravens. Sadly, he will stay in Minnesota and freeze his ass off.

Grading Out Jets/Chargers

TOJ grades out the Jets week 7 win over the San Diego Chargers, who are still sobbing about the referees as we speak

Quarterback (B+) – Mark Sanchez overcame a first half red-zone interception to put together an all-around solid performance. Beyond his 173 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, he also broke off a 25 yard run and ran for a key first down late in the game. After a rough outing in Baltimore, Sanchez has steadily improved the past three weeks.

Running Backs (A) – Shonn Greene finally put together the type of game we have been waiting for. If he can run the football like that on a consistent basis, the Jets offense is going to be difficult to stop. LaDainian Tomlinson struggled with the flu but should be fresh for the second half the season due to his minimal amount of usage early in the year.

Wide Receivers (A) – Plaxico Burress did what he was brought here to do, score red-zone touchdowns. Jeremy Kerley did what he was brought here to do, convert third-downs. Santonio Holmes had a quieter day, but he should be back to making plays by the Buffalo game.

Tight Ends (B-) – The Dustin Keller fumble was disappointing to see, however he did make a few plays down the field. Matthew Mulligan played nearly the whole game and seems to be providing a good push in the running game.

Offensive Line (B+) – The penalties were obviously disappointing. However, the pass protection has came miles since the Baltimore game and the run block is improving. Wayne Hunter is staring to settle down into a decent right tackle and Matt Slauson keeps getting better.

Defensive Line (A-) – A very good all-around performance, especially considering Mike DeVito was out and Kenrick Ellis left early in the game. Muhammad Wilkerson had one of his better games, finishing with 5 tackles and 1 for a loss.

Linebackers (C+) – It was an inconsistent first half, as the linebackers continue to struggle in coverage and with missed tackles. Yet, they settled down in the second half. We saw a good amount of Josh Mauga, who looks like he will be platooning with Jamaal Westerman at outside linebacker moving forward. Aaron Maybin racked up another sack and a few more quarterback pressures. I would expect to see his role continue to grow, as he is quickly becoming the team’s best pass rusher.

Secondary (A) – Darrelle Revis is the Defensive Player of the Year through the first 7 weeks. Antonio Cromartie had one of his better games and Kyle Wilson continued his strong season, pulling in his first interception. Eric Smith and Jim Leonhard still give up plays, but this is what they have to work with the rest of the year.

Special Teams (A) – Very good as usual. How about Nick Folk 10/10 on field goals?

Coaching (A) – The “A” comes from the half-time adjustments, which shut down the San Diego offense in the second half and kept their own offense rolling.

Initial Reaction: They’re Not Dead Yet, New York Jets Win 27-21

The New York Jets put together a complete team effort to come up with a huge win over the San Diego Chargers

This was the New York Jets team we expected to see in the 2011 season. An offense led by a power rushing attack, with Shonn Greene racking up nearly 6 yards per carry (20 attempts, 112 yards) supported by an improving Mark Sanchez (18/33, 173 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT). Plaxico Burress being a beast in the red-zone (3 touchdowns) and contributions from the other receiving options when Santonio Holmes has a quiet day (Dustin Keller 53 yards, Jeremy Kerley 4 receptions). On the other side of the football, a defense shutting down one of the league’s top offenses and coming up with big plays in big moments.

We got it today, as the Jets won a crucial home game over the San Diego Chargers 27-21, moving to 4-3 on the season and 4-0 at home. It is time now to gear up for back to back AFC East showdowns against the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots.

What was impressive was the resiliency shown by the team today. At the half this was a 21-10 San Diego lead, as the Jets failed to take advantage of a strong offensive performance. On defense the Jets were getting pushed around and looked like they were ready to allow 35+ points. However, give credit to Rex Ryan and the rest of the unit for shutting out the Chargers in the second half and allowing the offense to score 17 unanswered. The defense also came up with two interceptions, including yet another one by Darrelle Revis who is making another campaign for Defensive Player of the Year.

This team is far from perfect but I got news for you, the AFC is wide open this year. The Jets still have a shot to make noise in the AFC East and if the Patriots do happen to pull away, they are going be right in the mix for a wild-card spot with a cluster of other teams. This offense has enough weapons to consistently score 24-28 points and even though the defense has some issues at linebacker and safety, with Rex Ryan’s coaching they can still flip the switch to come up with big time performances.

Bring on the Bills.

TOJ Roundtable Week 7 – Jets/Chargers Predictions

The TOJ writers put in their picks for the Jets/Chargers week 7 showdown

Joe Caporoso: 12 Pack

TJ Rosenthal: The Jets win if: They can avoid falling behind too far early in the game against a team that historically can put up points. This high powered reputation may be masking the Bolts current potency but the Jets shouldn’t be careless by being inefficient with the ball, in order to test this hypothesis out.

The Jets, even with their struggles on offense this year, average the same 24 points a game that the Bolts do. With Vincent Jackson headed for a battle on Revis Island, the key may simply be to keep Ryan Matthews from tearing up the ground. Especially out on the edges. The Chargers are 4-1 but have won 4 games against teams with a combined 4-17 record. Stay in the game early. Then attack when the time is right.

Jets 23 Chargers 20

The Jets Lose if: The Chargers offense gets rolling thanks to the healthy return of Antonio Gates and Ryan Matthews. The Jets defense again fails to slow down big gains to the outside. They fail to cover a tight end again, and the offense provides a carbon copy of it’s past efforts that featured consistent three and outs. Hope turns bleak and the team starts to breakdown mentally. Many will both write the Jets off and target Ryan’s weekday comments as a primary culprit.

Chargers 38 Jets 27

Rob Celletti: Make no mistake, this is going to be a tough game.  But earlier this week, I took an optimistic view of the Jets, and I’m going to let that optimism ride.  I’ve always liked the Jets’ matchup against “finesse” teams like the Chargers and Texans. No, the Jets’ defense and running game isn’t as imposing in 2011 as it was in ’09 or ’10, but I still think this is a football team that wants to play physical on defense, run the ball and control the clock. The Jets can do this against a Chargers team whose 4-1 record is a bit deceiving (the Chargers have beaten precisely zero good teams: Minnesota, Kansas City, Miami and Denver, to be exact). Keep in mind as well that, even though they’re coming off a bye, the Chargers are making the long flight east and will be playing a game at what may feel like 10:00 AM to them.

Philip Rivers will get his yards, but he’ll also throw an interception or two, and the Jets will hold the Chargers to 20 points. Offensively, I expect both running backs to have solid, if not spectacular games.  Mark Sanchez will throw an interception (he’s just due), but it won’t cost the Jets, who take this game 24-20.