Throwback Thursday – Jets at Titans, December 23, 2007

This week’s “Throwback Thursday” looks at Jets vs. Titans back in 2007, when Chad Pennington led the Jets into Tennessee for a loss

Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about great Jets games in the past against their upcoming opponent. (Word to not take seriously in that last sentence: “great”)

When I scoured the all-time box scores in the Jets-Titans/Oilers history, I realized that the Jets have only lost once to the Titans since they moved from Houston. Before that, the Oilers absolutely OWNED the Jets, delivering them crushing losses late in seasons and in the playoffs. I have faint memories of this season-ending debacle in 1994, where the playoff hopes of the 8-7 Jets were dashed in a 24-0 loss by backup QB Cody Carlson. In a must-win, the Jets got beat by a guy who sounds like a lax bro. So Jets.

But since they became the Tennessee Titans, it’s been almost all Jets. Remember in 2008, when Brett Favre led the 7-3 Jets into Nashville and beat the undefeated Titans, enrapturing the city in Subway Super Bowl talk? Then in 2009 the surprising 2-0 Jets, behind rookie head coach and rookie QB Mark Sanchez, beat the Titans 24-17 to improve to 3-0 as Jets fans streamed out of Giants Stadium and took to the streets proclaiming “FINALLY, WE HAVE A FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK!!!” Gee how perfectly that all worked out.

However, since we like to revel in self-pity here as Jets fans and on Throwback Thursday, I of course am going to focus on the one loss in Jets’ history against the Tennessee Titans. That came on December 23, 2007. Before we get to it, let’s set the scene…

Billboard No. 1 Song in the U.S.: “No One” by Alicia Keys. How appropriate! That is, if you watched the 12/12/12 Sandy Relief concert last night, where Alicia Keys killed a slowed-down version of this song, the weird “Put your cellphones in the aiiiiiir!” bit notwithstanding. And how about our beloved ass-fumbling QB making making an appearance in Adam Sandler’s “Hallelujah, Sandy Screw Ya” song? Vintage Sandler, by the way. If the recent epic failures of “Jack and Jill” and “That’s My Boy”, coupled with last night’s hilarious song isn’t proof that Sandler should stop making movies and go back to making comedy music albums, I don’t know what is. 

No. 1 Movie in the U.S.: “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”. Is there a bigger injustice in the world than the fact that the current “Oscar for Best Actor” count is Nicolas Cage: 1, Leonardo Di Caprio: 0?  Tell me if you can think of one, because I can’t.

Jets Record Before: 3-11

Titans Record Before: 8-5

The 2007 Jets were absolutely horrific. Injuries, instability at the quarterback position and iffy skill position players put the Jets behind the eight ball from the get-go (sound familiar?!). Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens both started eight games apiece. Despite being injured and playing on a flawed team, Pennington actually put up decent numbers. He threw for an average of 196 yards a game, completing 68% of his passes with 10 TDs and 9 INTs. Can someone please explain to me how 2007-Chad Pennington, with his right arm being held together by paper clips and twine, could throw for the same amount of yards per game than a healthy Mark Sanchez? This should be grounds for Tony Sparano’s firing in and of itself. Wait, you’re telling me that in 2008, Pennington revived his career and led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and a division title under Sparano?! Nothing in my life makes sense anymore.

So in Week 16, Pennington led the Jets into his home state of Tennessee, hoping to hand the playoff-seeking Titans a death blow. Much like I would expect this Monday’s game to be, this one was a defensive struggle (a.k.a: lower than C-SPAN on the Excitement Meter). The first five drives of the game ended with punts. On the Jets’ third possession, Pennington was intercepted by Reynaldo Hill, giving the Titans good field position on the Jets’ 40. They converted it into the game’s first score, a four yard run by Chris Brown (the middling NFL running back, not the Worst Man in America pop star).

After a boring first quarter, Brown’s touchdown seemed to open the game up, if only for a few moments. The Jets responded with what was probably their best drive of the 2007 season. They took over on their own 23, picked up a first down and got to their own 41, setting up a 2nd-and-7. Pennington connected with Jerricho Cotchery for a 48-yard pickup, getting the Jets in scoring position. Two plays later, Pennington and Cotchery hooked up again, this time a 9-yarder for the game-tying touchdown.

Except Mike Nugent’s extra point was BLOCKED. The Titans remained up, 7-6, and Cotchery’s touchdown catch would be the Jets’ last points of the day.

Gang Green seemed poised to take the lead on their next possession, but Pennington was picked off in the end zone by Keith Bulluck. After THE NUGE missed a 51-yarder late in the second quarter, the Jets only had FOUR total possessions in the second half. Those went like this: Punt, Punt, Punt, and on their final drive, Pennington was sacked on fourth down, giving the Titans the ball and the ability to run the clock out. Somewhere along the way, Tennessee picked up a field goal so the final score read Titans 10, Jets 6.

Pennington actually had a pretty good day despite the two bad picks, finishing with 264 yards on 26-of-32 passing. 154 of those yards went to Cotchery. For some perspective, Stephen Hill has 163 yards in the last five games he’s played. But once he learns how to catch, watch out everybody.

This time around, the Jets are the ones clinging to their playoff lives and the Titans are the ones playing spoiler. If Monday’s game plays out just like the 2007 barnburner did but the Jets end up on top, Rex Ryan will be one happy man. As will all of Jets Nation.

Turn On The Jets Week 11 Best Bets: Or Worst Bets?

Chris Celletti with his weekly Best Bets for Turn On The Jets

Week 10 Record: 1-2

Season Record: 11-18-1

Week 10 Record in Race For The Steak Picks: 10-3

For this week, I think it’s apropos to rename this piece “Worst Bets”, considering what happened last week with my picks. In the 13 games your Turn On The Jets staff picked from Week 10 of the NFL season, I went 10-3. The three games I did not get right were the Bears over the Texans, the Chargers covering against the Bucs and the Giants over the Bengals. If you recall (I’m sure my picks are ingrained in your mind), I picked the Bears and Chargers in my Best Bets from Week 10, and so desperately wanted to choose my Giants pick because I thought that game was a foregone conclusion. Then Eli Manning turned all Mark Sanchez on us.

Before we get to my picks for this week, I wanted to weigh in on a  few things, as I’m wont to do in this space:

-People have to stop with the “Poor ol’ Timothy Tebow!” shtick. Please. Yeah, he’s a good guy. He doesn’t deserve to wake up one day to see his teammates trashing him in the “media” – regardless of if the story is true or not. But let’s not get all worried about how unfair this whole thing is to Tim Tebow. Newsflash: the world of pro sports is a tough business. People love you, people hate you, the media is horrible, the fans are horrible, etc. But I don’t feel like I need to worry about the feelings of a guy who has won two National Titles in college, a Heisman trophy, was a first round pick in the NFL, is a MILLIONAIRE, and is dating Camilla Belle. I’m supposed to feel bad for this guy because of a fabricated news story that said that some teammates think he sucks? Excuse me if I felt worse for Chad Pennington when the home crowd cheered him getting injured and replaced by Jay Fiedler.

But the Jets only have themselves to blame for the mess they’re in, and I for one am glad in a way that the Tebow thing is blowing up. In a perfect world, this would be the wake up call Woody Johnson needs to learn that it’s not good to try and be Jerry Jones, and just hire competent football people (read: NOT Mike Tannenbaum), and let them run the show. Sadly, I don’t see that happening, because Woody Johnson is a horrible owner.

Along with many on this site, I’ve been a big time defender of Mark Sanchez (I would love to see him coached by Bill Cowher), but I would bench him on Sunday if the Jets had a viable backup (I don’t know, maybe someone like Drew Stanton? That name just popped into my head, I really have no idea why). They don’t. The worst possible thing that could happen to the Jets is to insert Tebow and win a few fluky games like the Broncos did last year, enough wins for the coaching staff to think that he could be the long-term solution at QB. Thankfully it doesn’t look like it’s going to go that way, and that’s a good thing. I have no idea who is going to be the Jets’ QB next year, but I know it shouldn’t be Tim Tebow.

-The Knicks are for real. You can no longer just say “The Knicks are off to a good start.” Did people say that about the Spurs, who started 7-1? No. People just said “Of course the Spurs have a good record, they’re a good team”. The Knicks are a damn good team, and anyone who doesn’t think so just isn’t being fair. This isn’t to say the Knicks are going 82-0 (although they might!) or that they’re beating the Heat and winning a title. But they’re a good team, one of the league’s best, and it’s going to be a fun season at MSG.

-I wonder what the narrative would have been if Jeremy Lin was still on the Knicks and did what Raymond Felton did against the Spurs, outplaying Tony Parker and dropping 25 while leading the Knicks to a huge win, while Carmelo Anthony scored nine points.

Okay, on to the picks.

Broncos -7.5 vs. Chargers – I’ve went with the Broncos for two straight weeks and they’ve done good for me, so I’m sticking with them. I also took the Chargers last week, which was patently moronic.

Eagles +3.5 at Redskins – I know, I know, the Eagles are just as bad a mess as the Jets, and Andy Reid is all but fired, but this is the exact game the Eagles ALWAYS win. Of course they’re going to win Nick Foles’ first start! This is how the Eagles do. Remember all the times they won games with Ty Detmer? Same thing. Philly fans are going to overreact like the South after Obama’s reelection when Foles leads them to a win on Sunday, and it’s going to be glorious when they start 1-4 next year and Foles has a QB rating of 61.

Packers -3.5 at Lions – Pack have won four in a row, heating up at the right time. Watch out, NFC.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 4-5-1)

Let’s see if we can hit a 3-way NBA parlay (chances: highly unlikely). Hawks -2 at Kings, Jazz +1 at Sixers and Timberwolves -2 vs. Warriors.

Turn On The Jets – NFL Week 2 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his Best Bets for week 2 of the NFL Season

Week 1 Record: 1-2

Season Record: 1-2

I’m actually okay with going just 1-2 last week. It was your typical Week 1 craziness…the Eagles barely beat the Browns, the Saints lost badly at the Superdome, and that team in Green and White put up 48 points against everybody’s preseason darlings. Week 1 is impossible to predict. Now, it’s not like in Week 2 we know exactly what every team is like yet, but at least we have something to work off of other than preseason, which has once again been proven to be a total waste of time and worth almost zero attention.

As I look at the Week 2 schedule, it’s perfect for gambling because there are a lot of crappy games. No one outside of Ohio would voluntarily watch Bengals/Browns. The same can be said for Dolphins/Raiders and Bills/Chiefs unless you’ve been dealt the horrible hand of being a fan of one of those franchises, so naturally, I didn’t choose any of those games in my Week 2 bets. Even money isn’t worth sitting through that crap. — Here is where you will be betting on Top Bet in the NFL

Giants (-7) vs. Buccaneers

Much like the Packers at Lambeau on Thursday, the Giants return home after a tough opening season loss and are not going to fall to 0-2. I have never been a member of the Josh Freeman fan club, and don’t think I ever will be. The Giants’ d-line should be ticked off and will take it out on him. Plus, I really, really don’t want to see Greg Schiano return to New Jersey and score a big win, because Peter King and Harvey Araton will write  a combined 7,559 insufferable words about it on Monday. I don’t want that, and neither does Eli Manning. Giants, big.

Colts (+2) vs. Vikings

Blaine Gabbert threw for 260 yards against the Vikings last week again. Read that sentence again. Now put your money on the Colts and Andrew Luck at home.

Texans (-7) at Jaguars

Is this the halftime line? I know the Jaguars are at home and have a decent enough run defense to  keep the Texans’ running game in check, but how many points can Gabbert and Co. (that sounds like midwestern insurance company or something) score against the Texans? I’m not convinced they can put up 10 points all day and if that’s the case, the Texans only need a solid 20-24 to cover this spread.

Bonus Non-Football Bet Of The Week (Record, 0-1)

Not that anybody watched, but I was wrong about last week’s non-football bonus bet, as Andre Ward totally dismantled Chad Dawson in a 10th round TKO. Andre Ward is a name worth keeping tabs on though, because as Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather start to fade off in the boxing superstar sunset, Ward is the most likely guy to take over the throne.

This week I move to baseball. Is there anything more sure in sports these days than the New York Mets being a total waste of space? This is not exactly bold, but the Brewers are currently at -240 to win the weekend series between the two. Isn’t this free money?