Grading Out Jets/Bills

TOJ grades out the New York Jets beatdown of the Buffalo Bills

Quarterbacks (B) – Mark Sanchez was a bonehead red-zone interception and a fumbled snap away from having a terrific game…unfortunately those type of plays count in a big way. Outside of those plays, he was accurate (20/28) and did a good job pressing the football down the field. The ball was also spread around well to his receivers and tight ends. I don’t think Sanchez is much of a threat as a blocker these days.

Running Backs (A-) – Shonn Greene was solid for the third straight game. He had a huge run wiped out by a holding penalty on Matthew Mulligan. LaDainian Tomlinson was good in a limited role and got into the end-zone. John Conner scored his first touchdown of the season.

Wide Receivers (A) – Plaxico Burress looks to be heating up just in time for the second half of the season. Santonio Holmes scored a touchdown and drew two huge pass interference penalties that set up other touchdowns. Jeremy Kerley is developing into a very good slot receiver.

Tight Ends (D) – The grade is low because of Matthew Mulligan’s penalties and Dustin Keller’s stupidity in trying to jump over defenders.

Offensive Line (A) – Completely physically dominated the Buffalo Bills. It is pretty amazing how far this line has come since the Baltimore game.

Defensive Line (A) – They played an excellent all-around game, despite not having Mike DeVito and Kenrick Ellis in the rotation. Kudos to Marcus Dixon, Ropati Pitoitua, and Martin Tevaseu for stepping up in the rotation. Muhammad Wilkerson also had one of his better games.

Linebackers (A) – Calvin Pace and David Harris both came up with interceptions and were a big part of slowing down Fred Jackson. Bart Scott had a big hit on 4th and 1 and overall had one of his best games of the season.

Secondary (A) – They completely smothered the Bills receivers all day, outside of Darrelle Revis getting beat on one play…no that wasn’t a typo. Antonio Cromartie has settled down and Kyle Wilson continues to have a very good year.

Special Teams (A) – Nick Folk made two long field goals. Joe McKnight ripped off a huge return. Brad Smith did absolutely nothing on returns thanks to the Jets kick coverage. Just another day at the office for Mike Westhoff’s unit.

Coaching (A) – Rex Ryan pushed all the right buttons and game up with a terrific game plan on defense. Also, how about some credit for Brian Schottenheimer who called maybe his best game of the season?

Instant Reaction: The Swag Is Back, Jets Dominate Buffalo

The swag is back for the New York Jets, who completely dominated the Buffalo Bills in their building today

The darling of the AFC East took a hard crack to the face today from the New York Jets, who flexed their defensive muscle in a way we haven’t seen since last year. Buffalo’s offense was thoroughly dominated by Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine’s unit. Ryan Fitzpatrick looked helpless against the Jets secondary and with the pass rush constantly in his face, as he threw two interceptions and never made a big play. The performance was that much more impressive considering both Mike DeVito and Kenrick Ellis were inactive on the defensive line. It was the best performance of the year from the front seven and the secondary was terrific as usual.

On the other side of the football, the first half was maddening. The Jets moved the ball up and down the field but Mark Sanchez threw a killer end-zone interception and botched a snap. Fortunately, he rallied and actually put together one of his best games of the year finishing 20/28, with 230 yards, and 1 touchdown. Plaxico Burress caught all 5 of his targets for 79 yards, Santonio Holmes pulled in a touchdown, and Dustin Keller had 64 yards receiving. Shonn Greene had a solid 76 yards on 19 carries and LaDainian Tomlinson and John Conner both got in the end-zone.

What did we learn today? We learned the Jets are still capable of having an elite defense and that they can still physically dominate teams, especially finesse ones like Buffalo. Anybody who wrote off the Jets as AFC East contenders were crazy. New England is coming to the Meadowlands this week where the Jets will have a chance to take control of the division and extend their winning streak to 4.

The Ground and Pound is back…and yes the swag is back.

TOJ Roundtable Week 9 – Jets/Bills Predictions

The TOJ writing staff submits their picks for the Jets week 9 showdown against the Buffalo Bills

Joe Caporoso: Check the 12 Pack

TJ Rosenthal: Jets Win If – They stop Fred Jackson. The Bills offense can be contained in the air for two reasons. First, their WR combo of Stevie Johnson and David Nelson won’t stand a chance to Darrelle Revis should the Jets choose to lock either one of them up. The Bills TE Scott Chandler has 6 TD’s but has been targeted just 18 times all season. The Jets get exposed when TE’s force safeties up in coverage. By shutting down the passing game the Jets can attend to Jackson who has been rushing for 5.5 yards per carry (132-721 yds).

We expect a balance on offense for the Jets with Shonn Greene being effective. The Bills defense has allowed 4.9 yards per carry to opposing backs and Greene is coming off his best three games of the season (62-269 yds 4.3 avg). Look for Holmes to breakout or contribute greatly this week in a winning scenario. The media spotlight on his “happiness” will only add motivation.

The Jets Lose If: They can’t stop Jackson and Mark Sanchez throws too many interceptions. His 5 INT game against the Bills as a rookie is a mere coincidence for this concept. Our point is, if Sanchez even manages this game, then Greene can burn down some clock so  the Bills can’t put up their 30 point average. However, if Fred Jackson helps open up the Bills offense for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick by keeping Rex honest and backed off of the line of scrimmage, then a poor decision making game by the Jets QB could be enough for Buffalo to tip the scales. Even in a game played by both teams scoring in the low 20’s. Containing Jackson, while protecting the ball on their own half of the field is the way to get out of Buffalo alive. Even WITH the understanding that attacking downfield must be mixed in by Schotty at times.

Chris Celletti: If the Jets have proved anything under Rex Ryan, it is that they play their best when their backs are against the wall. I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic when I say that their season rests on what they do Sunday in Buffalo. A loss is potentially crippling with the Patriots coming to town in Week 10. The Jets simply have to win this game, and I think they respond. It will hinge a lot on the Jets’ offense, an offense that simply has to put up points to beat the Bills. Buffalo has been very good on offense all year, with Fred Jackson being one of the best backs in football, and the Jets’ run defense having been suspect. On the other hand, Buffalo’s defense is statistically one of the worst in football.

I expect the Jets to give a healthy dose of Shonn Greene to try and control the clock and keep Ryan Fitzpatrick on the sideline (who would have ever thought that would be the strategy against the Bills?) In the end, I think the Jets make just enough plays on both sides of the ball, perhaps forcing a few key turnovers as the defense steps up in the second half. The Jets set up a showdown with the Patriots as they knock off Buffalo, 26-20.

Rob Celletti: Following the Jets in the Rex Ryan era, there have been a lot of stories written about the dangers of a team that “believes its own hype” and its eventual downfall.  Strangely, this week could potentially flip the script.  Yes, the Jets got some of their swagger back before last week’s bye, but is there a sexier team than the Buffalo Bills in 2011?  Media and casual fans are enamored, and the team’s confidence couldn’t be higher.  Well, that all comes crashing down to earth this week for the Western New Yorkers.

There will apparently be a “white out” at Ralph Wilson Stadium, with the home fans matching the home team’s all-white get-up.  But the Jets have not only played in, but thrived in more hostile atmospheres.  I expect the road warrior Jets of 2009 and 2010 to show up big for this game.  Buffalo is 4-0 in home games (including last week’s Toronto game), the Jets are 0-3 on the road.  As Michael Kay would say, “Do you believe in ‘due’?”

Do not forget that the Jets have embarrassed this Bills over the past few seasons with a relentless rushing attack, and I expect Shonn Greene to rack up another 100+ yard performance and punctuate it with a score or two.  Joe McKnight will be dangerous as well.  Santonio Holmes is also going to reel in a touchdown and post close to 100 receiving yards.  The Jets’ defense will shut down Ryan Fitzpatrick’s receivers, and they’ll pick off the Harvard man once or twice and turn it into points the other way.

The Bills have been a good football team, and I don’t mean to disparage them, but they’ve benefited from some pretty fortunate bounces (see the multiple interception games by Mike Vick and Tom Brady, for example).  I just have a feeling that their luck runs out this week, just as the Jets start to get rolling.

The game will seem close, but Mark Sanchez will throw a late touchdown to Dustin Keller to put this game on ice.  Jets 31, Bills 20.

Media Trends: New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills

It has been an interesting week of media coverage leading up to the New York Jets/Buffalo Bills week 9 match-up. Let’s take a look at what has been trending…

1. The Fallacy Of Santonio Holmes Unhappiness – Has everybody forgotten this rumor started with this BS article from Pro Football Talk? Read the article, there is no source…just a complete assumption that since Holmes didn’t have a big game against San Diego that he was unhappy. Everybody has ran with this story and questioned him on it, like this was an event that actually occurred. Take all PFT stories with a grain of salt considering their history and ongoing anti-Jets bias.

2. #BillsMafia – There is a group on Twitter that has risen out of Buffalo’s recent success talking tough to the Jets and their fans this week and preparing for a whiteout where they will be handing out pom-poms to all their fans…no really. When it comes to the Bills Mafia and there obvious jokes about feet and Rex Ryan, along with the Jets being from Jersey, we take them about as serious as everybody took Fredo in the Godfather.

3. Other Quick Hits

  • Expect to see some Joe McKnight at receiver this week. He was working with them throughout the week.
  • Keep an eye on TJ Conley, as Mike Westhoff was clear in his press conference that he is less than thrilled with him.
  • Have you seen a major media outlet pick the Jets to win this week? I haven’t.

New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills: Game Breakdown

TOJ breaks down the New York Jets week 9 match-up against the Buffalo Bills

Offense: I don’t think it is any secret that the New York Jets need to run the football this Sunday. They haven’t cracked 40 carries in a single game yet, but with Shonn Greene’s recent emergence and talk of Joe McKnight receiving more opportunities this week, now could be the time. Buffalo struggles to stop the run and has only had success on defense when they have forced turnovers. This is the perfect week to run right at them, have Mark Sanchez work off his play action and bootlegs, and control the time of possession. Remember the Jets game-plan back when they beat Cincinnati in the wild-card round? Brian Schottenheimer should dust off that tape.

Santonio Holmes is due for a big game and if he could find single coverage off play action, he should be able to make plays down the field. Also keep an eye on Dustin Keller, who did have two touchdowns against in Buffalo last year.

Mark Sanchez needs to protect the football and know when to pick his spots. With the recent improvement in the offensive line’s pass protection, he should have time in the pocket but this isn’t the type of game where he should try to do too much. Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Joe McKnight need to lead the charge. It would be nice to see Brian Schottenheimer finally dust off a screen pass or two to his backs as well.

Defense: A nice challenge for a unit this showed signs of improvement last week. Expect the Jets base defense to have Kyle Wilson and Brodney Pool out there to match-up with Buffalo’s spread attack. The key to slowing down Buffalo is slowing down Fred Jackson.  If the Jets can keep him under 100 yards, I would expect a victory. Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown his share of interceptions this year and if the Jets can get after him (see Aaron Maybin), they should be able to force him into mistakes.

Keep in mind Buffalo’s passing attack is built on timing and quick releases. The Jets have the corners in Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson to play a physical man to man press with should disrupt the timing of Buffalo’s plays. Stevie Johnson isn’t doing anything on Revis and there is no reason Cromartie shouldn’t be able to handle David Nelson. The safeties and corners all need to have a hand in slowing down Fred Jackson as a receiver out of the backfield.

Special Teams: Two excellent units facing off against each other here, as it will be exciting to watch Joe McKnight and Brad Smith duel on returns. Nick Folk has been perfect this season at kicker, which is surprising and scary as you feel he is due for a big miss.

Epitaph To The 2011 New York Jets Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NFL Week 3 Review: Not Buying Early Hype

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

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

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

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

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

3. Week 5 Games to look forward:

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

NFL Week 2 Review

1. With the amount of praise being lavished on the New England Patriots the first two weeks of the season, you would think they already have the Super Bowl wrapped up. I am not going to question how impressive their offense has been because it looks like a machine. Yet, if you watched their game against San Diego, you know how many opportunities the Chargers had to win that football game. If Mike Tolbert had his head on straight, they could have very well stolen that game and it isn’t like they ran the pathetic Miami Dolphins off the field the week before either. New England has the best offense in the league. Their defense is average. They are a beatable football team and we know the New York Jets know that better than anybody.

2. Kansas City Chiefs Todd Haley might soon be working for a Canadian online pharmacy with how unpopular he is becoming and how awful his team is performing. The Chiefs are a lifeless bunch who has been humiliated the past two weeks. How is it possible that this team won the AFC West last year? With superstar running back Jamaal Charles now out for the season and an upcoming game with San Diego, it is hard to see an improvement on the horizon.

3. Unbelievable how the Tennessee Titans could go from losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars to beating the Baltimore Ravens the following week. It was pretty apparent the Ravens were still hungover from their stomping of Pittsburgh the week before. However, the Titans could be a sneaky contender in the AFC South, considering how wide open that division is. Kenny Britt is playing as well as any wide receiver in the NFL right now. Matt Hasselbeck has the ability to win big games at quarterback and overall their defense is solid. They do still need to find a way to get Chris Johnson going however.

4. Drew Brees. Matt Ryan. Josh Freeman. Cam Newton. The NFC South is going to be fun to watch for a long, long time. It is truly remarkable how quickly Newton has become such a dynamic NFL player. Freeman is a younger Ben Roethlisberger, who is incredibly clutch. Brees is Brees. Ryan is coming off an impressive comeback win and is one of the league’s best young quarterbacks.

5. Week 3 games to look forward to –

  • New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles – Always an entertaining rivalry, let’s hope Mike Vick finds his way back to the field so we can see this game at full strength.
  • New England at Buffalo – Let’s see how much of a contender Buffalo really is.
  • Green Bay at Chicago – A rematch of the NFC Championship Game.

NFL Week 1 Review

It is too early to throw around Power Rankings, so here are 5 observations from week 1 of the NFL

1. The Colts are a one man organization. They haven’t drafted well in recent years. They have done nothing in free agency in recent years. The competency of their coaching staff, including Jim Caldwell, is questionable. When you latch all your success on to one individual it is poor management. Peyton Manning is gone and isn’t coming back this year. It looks like the Colts are ready to tuck their tail between their legs and become a 4-12 team. It sure wouldn’t hurt to have a guy like Rex Ryan being your head coach in their situation to put a little fire into that lifeless bunch who was whipped by Houston.

2. Nobody likes poking fun at our uptight neighbors more than me, but the New York Giants were truly awful in week one. When are they going to improve their special teams? How will they overcome their injuries on defense with such questionable depth? Is Eli Manning really good enough to carry a team with mediocre surrounding talent? The Giants need to take advantage of an easy start to their schedule, beginning with their home opener versus the Steven Jackson-less Rams or they will be looking at a 5-11 season.

3. It isn’t very often you see the Pittsburgh Steelers manhandled the way they were on Sunday. It will be interesting to see how each team responds to such a surprising week one outcome. I would still bet they will be battling for the AFC North title into the final weeks of the season. One other comment on Pittsburgh, it is a little sad to see Jerricho Cotchery still injured and eventually coming back into a #5 receiver role on the Steelers behind Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and Antonio Brown.

4. I won’t go crazy with Buffalo hype because I don’t think Kansas City is good. Yet, the Bills will be a fun team to watch and should flirt with a .500 record this season. The Jets two games against them this year won’t be gimmes by any stretch of the imagination. New England and Miami set defensive football back about 100 years on Monday night. Then again, the Jets did almost allow 400 yards, so I shouldn’t say too much. Yet, seriously New England…you are going to let Chad Henne throw for over 400 yards on you?

5. A few games to look forward to this week –

  • Philadelphia at Atlanta – The Mike Vick show comes back home, while the Falcons badly need a win.
  • San Diego at New England – Good barometer for the Chargers early in the year
  • Green Bay at Carolina – Should be fun to watch Cam Newton off his 400 yard performance against the Champs.

Where Do New York Jets Fit In AFC East?

Despite two straight appearances in the AFC Championship Game, the New York Jets have fallen short of winning their own division under Rex Ryan. Their regular season divisional record (6-6) under him also leaves plenty to be desired. Even though in recent years wild-card teams have reached the Super Bowl, it would be nice to see them finally host a home playoff game and potentially get a bye week.

Some people will say the Jets are the favorite to win the AFC East this year, considering they knocked the Patriots out of the playoffs last year. Some people will say it is still the Patriots division to lose since they have won it the past two years. Miami remains a few levels behind both teams as they struggle to get over the hump of being a sub .500 team. Buffalo is currently in rebuilding mode but can be a dangerous match-up in any given week.

Free agency will shake up the rosters of all four teams but likely not enough to change perceptions about where they stand as contenders heading into the regular season. New England could look to add a wide receiver who can be a consistent deep threat for them on the outside, who isn’t named Randy Moss. They will also be looking to add pass rushers and thus could be battling with the Jets to sign players like Matt Roth or Manny Lawson. There is still an issue for the Patriots on how to deal with guard Logan Mankins, who isn’t going to accept the franchise tag again kindly.

The Dolphins have been rumored with a wide range of names at the skill positions. At quarterback, there has been talk about Carson Palmer, Vince Young, and Matt Moore all being brought in. At running back, Reggie Bush’s name has been floated around the past week and Ahmad Bradshaw has publicly stated his interest in the Dolphins. They could also make a run at DeAngelo Williams, as they are set on improving the production of their backfield.

Buffalo has formally handed off the starting quarterback job to Ryan Fitzpatrick. They will now hope he can grow with Steve Johnson at receiver, Fred Jackson at running back, and that CJ Spiller can contribute something this year. On defense they still have work to do to support first round pick Marcell Dareus on the defensive line and a young secondary with some talent. Linebacker Paul Posluszny is a free agent and rest of the position remains weak for the Bills.

The Jets have the talent and experience to win the division this year, even if they suffer losses in free agency. However, 11 wins wasn’t enough to get it done in 2010 so they are going to need to improve their divisional play and avoid any late season letdowns like they had last year.

New York Jets divisional match-ups in 2011

  • Week 5 at New England
  • Week 6 vs Miami (Monday night)
  • Week 9 at Buffalo
  • Week 10 vs New England (Sunday night)
  • Week 12 at Buffalo
  • Week 17 at Miami