Throwback Thursday: Jets vs. Jaguars, September 25, 2005

Chris Celletti with a look back at a Jets/Jaguars game in 2005 and a needed rant on how Jets fans treat their quarterback

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”)

The Jacksonville Jaguars have only been around for 18 seasons, but our beloved New York Jets have faced them quite often despite the teams being in different divisions. This Sunday’s mammoth matchup will be the 11th all-time meeting between the two, including playoffs, so there were a bevy of choices for this week’s Throwback Thursday. There were some real gems in there, like the 2006 41-0 Jags victory, or the 1999 16-6 Jags win – but we’re not going to go back to 1999 and subject ourselves to any more Rick Mirer memories, because one look back at Rick Mirer in a Jets uniform is one far, far too many.

There’s one game in Jets-Jaguars lore that makes almost too much sense to take a look back at in this current time. Before we get there, let’s set the scene:

Jets vs. Jaguars – September 25, 2005 – Giants Stadium

At the time…

Billboard No. 1 Song in the U.S.: “Gold Digger” by Kanye West f/ Jamie Foxx. It’s good that Kanye doesn’t want to deal with with a chick who’s going to be super expensive and high maintenance and all.

No. 1 Movie in the U.S: “Flightplan” starring Jodie Foster. The IMDB description reads:

“A claustrophobic, Hitchcockian thriller. A bereaved woman and her daughter are flying home from Berlin to America. At 30,000 feet the child vanishes and nobody admits she was ever on that plane.”

“Hitchcockian”! Who knew Peter King wrote descriptions for IMDB. This movie made over $223 million. This should be the test for whether or not the U.S. economy is in good shape. Make a horrible movie starring Jodie Foster and if it makes $223 million, we’re doing just fine thank you.

Jets Record Before: 1-1

Jaguars Record Before:  1-1

The 2004 season ended like so many others in Jets history; they ripped your heart out of your chest and used it as a pinata. If you’re a real Jets fan you don’t even need to be reminded, but I’ll do it for you anyway DOUG BRIEN YOU SUCK. In between the 2004 and 2005 seasons, the body of Jets’ starting quarterback Chad Pennington continued its Civil War, as the battered QB underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. He was the unquestioned starter heading into the 2005, but the Jets brought in veteran Jay Fiedler as his backup. Pennington got off to a rough start in 2005 but the Jets were 1-1 heading into a Week 3 battle with the Jaguars.

The Jaguars took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter on a touchdown pass from Byron Leftwich to Ernest Wilford, but the Jets responded with a 9-play, 80 yard drive that was capped off with a one yard TD plunge by Jerald Sowell. But the third quarter is when things got really interesting at Giants Stadium.

Sometime in the period Pennington was sacked twice in a row, and after the second one came up visibly hurt, hanging his previously-injured right arm limp at his side as he came slowly towards the sideline. I remember this vividly because I was in the building, and it’s not easy to forget what happened next. As the struggling Pennington came towards the sideline, clearly hurting, cheers started cascading down from the Jets “faithful”. The fed-up mob of “fans” were cheering the fact that their quarterback – who had brought them within a field goal of the AFC Championship game less than eight months earlier – was hurt. In came Fiedler, who was clearly going to save the day and lead the Jets and their fans into a decade-long glory period with multiple Super Bowl titles, plentiful food and naked chicks abound. You know, sort of like Greg McElroy.

Well Fiedler played a few snaps and injured HIS right shoulder, which got awesome-if-you-just-give-him-a-chance third stringer Brooks Bollinger warming up on the sidelines. But Pennington fought through and made his way back to the field, and the Bollinger-era would have to wait until a little later in the season.

The Jets took a 14-10 lead in the 3rd on a defensive touchdown, a 33-yard fumble recovery by James Reed. The teams went back and forth; Josh Scobee kicked a field goal and Fred Taylor scored a TD for Jacksonville, and Mike Nugent kicked a field goal to cut the Jags’ lead to 20-17 late in the fourth. Afterwards, Jacksonville receiver Reggie Williams fumbled and David Barrett recovered at midfield and brought the ball to the Jags’ 21, setting up a chance for the Jets to snag a victory late. On third and goal from the seven, Pennington appeared to have won the Jets the game and given a big double middle finger to the crowd, hitting Wayne Chrebet in the end zone. But the play was reviewed and Chrebet was judged to have bobbled the ball, and the Jets had to settle for a game-tying field goal.

On to overtime we went, and the teams traded interceptions before the Jets punted the ball away to the Jaguars from their own end zone. On third down, Leftwich hit Jimmy Smith for a 36-yard winner. 26-20 Jaguars, and the Jets’ poor 2005 season was off and running.

Pennington’s statline was downright awful. Shield you eyes, kids: 9-of-19, 76 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs. With a slow start to the season, it was pretty clear that the Jets’ QB wasn’t healthy and likely tried to rush back because he knew if he didn’t play and either Fiedler or Bollinger did, the Jets would go something like 4-12. Well, the Jets went 4-12.

But it’s obvious why this game is so appropriate to look back on with the Jets’ current mess and the toxic atmosphere surrounding the team. I should have taken the cue in 2005 being in that stadium that Jets fans were capable of anything. If last Sunday, Mark Sanchez got hit low and had to limp off the field on one leg, and you DON’T think that the majority of MetLife Stadium would have erupted in joy, well I’ll give you a few bucks so you can go buy a clue.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with fans booing players for poor on-field performance. Actually, few things make me madder than people who say “When your team is down is when you should support them the MOST! Puppy dogs and ice cream!” You pay a lot of money for your seats, and when you go to a game and a player plays awful, boo them all you want. But what is it about Jets quarterbacks that bring out the worst in some of these people? What the hell did Mark Sanchez or Chad Pennington ever do to you that you’d actually cheer for them when they got hurt or root for them to fail – which again, there WILL be Jets fans doing this Sunday, don’t kid yourself. You want to know what Pennington said after this game, with the Jets heading to Baltimore to face the Ravens and their vaunted defense?

“They’ll have to cut it off for me not to play.”

Maybe I’m just as bad because in 2008, when Pennington brought the Miami Dolphins into Giants Stadium and beat the Jets to win the division, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there was a part of me that was happy. At the very least I felt great for Pennington, who gave a lot of Jets fans what they deserved after the way they often treated him.

All the Jets fans who thought Pennington wasn’t good enough to lead the Jets to victory ended up being right. They didn’t win with Pennington. Those who don’t think they’ll ever win with Sanchez will likely end up being right too. But they didn’t win with Vinny Testaverde, or  Brett Favre, or Ken O’Brien or Boomer Esiason. But when those feelings of rage you get when you see Mark Sanchez start creeping up on Sunday, just remember 2009 and 2010, and remember the names like Rick Mirer, Brooks Bollinger, Frank Reich, Kellen Clemens and Browning Nagle.

You’re a Jets fan. It’s been worse. And there will be times when it is much, much worse than having Chad Pennington or Mark Sanchez.

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 13 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets, including an argument for the New York Jets to fire Rex Ryan

Week 12 Record: 1-1-1

Season Record: 13-21-2

Let’s go back, briefly, to my pick from last week’s Falcons/Buccaneers game. I’ll just copy and paste it verbatim because it’s glorious:

“Falcons -1 at Buccaneers: I think the Falcons win this game, and to me, if they win it they’re going to cover a one point spread.

/Watches in dismay as the Falcons win by 1″

Just in case you guys forgot, the Falcons won 24-23. YAY.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me respond to Chris Gross’ excellent, well-thought out and researched piece defending Rex Ryan by naming him the Captain of Team Pro Rex, while countering and calling myself the Captain of Team Anti Rex. I’ll use this space to state my case as to why I’m just not a big Ryan fan, even though I’m like most Jets fans and fell in love with the guy in 2009.

Chris used mainly numbers to justify that Ryan is coaching a collection of players that simply aren’t good enough, or at least very much below the average of their opponents at basically every position on the field. There’s no arguing that, and I would never ever argue that Rex isn’t getting the full potential out of this lot of crappy players that the Jets have assembled in 2012. No team is going to win a lot of games giving major reps to guys like Edmond “Clyde” Gates, Chaz Schilens, Austin Howard, Matt Slauson, and, in 2012 at least, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas. The Jets do not have playoff talent, so I don’t expect Rex to lead this team to the playoffs.

Do I expect better than four wins at this point in the season? Maybe. But I certainly expect the team to be more competitive on a week-by-week basis and not get blown out five times, thrice at home. That, I believe, is largely on the coach. It’s my opinion that teams in the NFL, a league designed so that every team can win every week, don’t get blown out consistently if they have a truly great coach on the sideline. Regardless of the talent on the roster.

Now, Mike Tannenbaum deserves every ounce of blame he gets for the Jets’ being the way they are this year. He doesn’t deserve to be the GM of this team anymore. But you cannot simply blame Tannenbaum and nobody else, and that includes Rex Ryan. It’s not like Rex went on vacation all offseason and parachuted into Florham Park in mid July and was like “Woah, Tanny, what the hell is this? This is who I have to work with?” It’s impossible that Rex has NO say whatsoever in the personnel on his team. I understand that there are salary cap implications and the like, but you can’t tell me that Rex Ryan couldn’t go to Tannenbaum right after last season and say “Mike, I can’t go into next year with these four linebackers. And we need a better right tackle. And a fullback. And a…” and you get the point. And if he doesn’t have any say, at all? If it’s literally that he just shows up and coaches the guys he’s given, well that tells you all you need to know about the Jets organization.

What this also brings up is a question I often ponder, and that’s whether coaches make players or players make coaches in the NFL. I think there are strong arguments either way. Bill Belichick did not have great success as a head coach before going to New England and having Mo Lewis deliver Tom Brady into his lap. There’s no doubt that Brady, or any great quarterback, can hide the shortcomings of a head coach. But I personally think there are more examples of “system” players, guys that can thrive in the right situation, if used correctly and maximized by the coaching staff.

My favorite example in this case is Victor Cruz. I respect the hell out of Cruz, and I’m in no way trying to say that the guy lacks talent or anything. You don’t put up record-setting seasons like he did last year if you’re not any good. But football is the ultimate system sport. Tom Coughlin is an offensive coach, a wide receivers coach by trade, and I have a tiny feeling that he knows exactly what hes doing in terms of utilizing Victor Cruz. I look at someone like Jeremy Kerley or Randall Cobb, and I’m honestly not so sure that there’d be that big of a drop off if the Giants replaced Cruz with one of those guys. Maybe they wouldn’t put up numbers that were as gaudy, but it’s not like Cruz makes the Giants an 11-win team where they’d be a seven or eight win team with Kerley or Cobb. That’s because Tom Coughlin is a great coach – and it definitely doesn’t hurt having a top quarterback like Eli Manning either.

I’m sure there are instances in which Ryan has gotten more out of certain players than other coaches would. Maybe Muhammad Wilkerson wouldn’t be half the player he is with the Jets than if he were on half the other teams in the NFL. I don’t think Rex is an incompetent football coach, and this brings me to my next point that I’ve always feared with Rex, and that he’s a great defensive coordinator but an average-at-best head coach. There are a lot of signs that this is the case, from poor clock and game management, to the fact that he admitted that this season, his FOURTH AS A HEAD COACH, that he’s going to more offensive meetings and getting more involved on that side of the ball than ever before. I’ve never played football on any level, so maybe I’m naive and this is just how head coaches work, but if that’s the case then that’s asinine. You’ve always gotten the sense with Rex that his defense was all important, and the offense was just the other side of the ball. Which brings me to my last point, one that I think is the most relevant in today’s league.

I think that the type of football Ryan wants to play is archaic. That’s my opinion. The league has changed over the past 10 or 15 years, and you need to change with it in order to be successful. The worst thing that ever happened to Rex Ryan was being on the Ravens’ staff in 2000 when they won the Super Bowl with an all-time defense, a good running game and an otherwise pretty bad offense, with a middling quarterback and receivers. He’s trying to recreate that with the Jets, but it’s 2012 and that doesn’t work anymore. Look at the teams that have made and won the Super Bowl over the past few seasons. New England constantly wins 13 games and goes deep into the playoffs despite having one of the league’s worst defenses nearly every year. The Giants’ defense has patches every season where you think “they cannot win with this”, yet they do. The Colts, for years, had Peyton Manning and a bad defense, yet they won a Super Bowl and went to another. The Saints, the Packers…these are the types of teams that win in the NFL these days.

What all of those teams have in common is great quarterbacking, and that’s not something the Jets have. But it goes beyond that, and it’s about the culture of those teams and how they’re built. It’s not about punching someone in the mouth and giving up 10 points. It’s not about running the ball to control the clock and keep the other team’s QB on the sidelines. All those successful teams we just mentioned didn’t have shut down defenses, they had defenses that could make big plays at big times. They had the ability, and most importantly the desire and were designed to, put up a lot of points and hit big plays. Watching the Jets over the past three-plus seasons, I don’t get the vibe it’s just that the Jets can’t play offense this way, it’s that they don’t want to. Too risky. Too much potential for turnovers. Well if your defense is so great, how about picking up the offense when it inevitably turns the ball over? I’m sorry, you don’t hand-pick Tony Sparano to run your offense if you want to succeed in the NFL in 2012.

This is not even to get into the idea of Ryan’s boasts, the ridiculousness that constantly surrounds this team, etc. I honestly don’t even believe in that stuff too much. That’s the type of thing that is all well and good when you’re winning, and is a disaster when you’re losing. I have no problem with that.

And I honestly hate that I feel this way because I did love Rex Ryan when he took over in 2009. It felt like he changed the culture of the Jets, but I think the past two seasons are a clear indication that he really didn’t. He merely turned the Jets from a team that nobody bothered paying any attention to into to one that people love to point and laugh at and root against. Either way, they aren’t winning. At one point, us Jets fans thought that we had our coach in Herman Edwards, in Eric Mangini, when those guys surprised us early on by bringing us to the playoffs. I think Rex is a better coach than both of those guys, and I really hope that we don’t look back on him the same way we do those guys.

I fear, however, that we will.

Oh yeah, the picks:

Jaguars +6 at Bills, 49ers -7 at Rams, Jets -4.5 vs. Cardinals

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 5-6-1): Boxing Bet Alert: Miguel Cotto vs. Austin Trout. I like Cotto at -230 to win, and under 9.5 rounds at +220.

 

Turn On The Jets Week 12 Best Bets: Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets, including a needed rant on the state of the Jets

Because anytime you can name your sports column after a MeatLoaf song, you have to do it.

Week 11 Record: 1-2

Season Record: 12-20-1

I named my column so for two reasons. The first is quite simple, that at this point I’ll take two out of three of my Best Bets picks every week for the rest of the season. If that happens, I’d finish below .500 at 24-26-1. At this point I’d take that, just like the Jets would probably sign up for a 7-9 finish to this season. Thus, we’re at my second reason for why I named my column as I did.

I had the joy of ringing in the holiday season at MetLife Stadium last night, which means that I was there to see the Jets’ 2012 season come crashing down. When the Patriots scored 21 points in less than a minute, I thought to myself that this was as bad as I’ve seen the Jets play, as an entire team, maybe in my life. Yes, that includes the 4-25 stretch under Rich Kotite, the Brooks Bollinger games, the Neil O’Donnell games. Not only are the Jets 4-7, they’ve been thoroughly outclassed five times this year. Five times! Even the Jacksonville Jaguars keep games close – they were in it late against the Packers at Lambeau and took the Texans to overtime recently. At this point, the Jets are incapable of staying in a game with a good NFL team, which is inexcusable with the way this league is structured.

I, like many Jets fans, became enamored with Rex Ryan when he took over in 2009. Even then you could criticize his boasts, his X’s and O’s, his game management, but what we all thought he did was what we have been waiting for our whole lives – he changed the culture of the Jets. We all have to admit that we were hoodwinked, and had the blindfold over our eyes in 2009 and 2010. The culture has not changed at all. These are the same New York Jets. This is Pete Carrol, this is Al Groh, this is Herm Edwards, this is Eric Mangini, and yes, this is Rich Kotite. This is, unfortunately, Same. Old. Jets.

So what do you do when your team is not only this bad but this disillusioned? You gut it, and gut it now. As far as I’m concerned, I won’t be satisfied heading into next training camp unless two out of these three people are gone: Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum. So again, here, I’ll take two out of three.

Admittedly this is unrealistic. If Woody Johnson has the stones to fire Mike Tannenbaum – something he has earned – whoever the new General Manger is would likely want to bring in his own head coach, which means that Rex Ryan would be gone, and whoever the new coach is would probably want his own quarterback, which means Sanchez would be gone. And given that Johnson apparently loves Tannenbaum and Ryan, and Sanchez is owned a ton of guaranteed money next year, chances are they’ll all be back next season. Wonderful.

On to the picks:

Raiders +8 at Bengals: The Raiders defense is awful but they do put up a lot of points. This line seems a tiny bit high for me, and I like the chances of a backdoor cover given the Raiders can hit big plays.

Falcons -1 at Buccaneers: I think the Falcons win this game, and to me, if they win it they’re going to cover a one point spread.

/Watches in dismay as the Falcons win by 1

Ravens (Pick) at Chargers: John Harbaugh vs. Norv Turner? That’s a whitewash.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record 4-6-1)

Let’s go with an NBA Player Prop, something we haven’t done at these parts yet this season. I went on over to Bet US and looked for a Jeremy Lin prop ahead of tonight’s Knicks-Rockets game, and to my dismay there were none. I really, really wanted to take the under on anything they would have presented to me re: Lin (note: I’d be handing you free money, Bet US). Well, they’re giving me an over/under of 24.5 points for Carmelo Anthony. You know where I’m going with this one.

Turn On The Jets Week 10 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets

Week 9 Record: 2-1

Season Record: 10-16-1

Why do the Giants always look like such a good bet? It’s like every single week I look at them and I’m like “Yeah of course they’re covering that.” Look at this week, -3.5 against the Bengals? Really? I feel like the Giants win this game by four points or more 99% of the time. So am I going to go with them as one of my three highlight picks this week? Not a chance. Moral of the story is, no matter what, you just can’t rely on your rival when you need them. Not only would a Giant cover last week against the Steelers have given me a 3-0 record for the week, it would have helped out the Jets, ever so slightly, in their grave playoff hopes. So I won’t go with the Giants this week. This means the Giants will win by 17 points.

Conversely, my go-to look every week is towards the Jacksonville Jaguars. Of course they played in the useless Thursday night game, and I write my Best Bets piece for Friday, so this week I couldn’t rely on them.

That got me thinking about on these Thursday night games. This year’s full-season Thursday night slate is proof that NFL is immune to it’s own stupidity and selfishness. The Thursday night games have been AWFUL. Absolutely, horrifyingly terrible. And it’s no wonder why. Football players are supposed to have five, six days off between games, and it’s showed in almost every Thursday night game this year. On top of that, by guaranteeing every team in the league be featured, we’re consistently seeing terrible teams every Thursday.

But the immunity of the league is proven when you go on social media on Thursday nights, and of course in the television ratings. I didn’t watch a single snap of Colts-Jaguars last night. I’m admittedly not a total crazy football nut as some other people, and because of that, Colts-Jaguars does absolutely nothing for me. But when I went on Twitter last night, I saw people complaining about the game. This has been a trend every Thursday night this season. You hop on social media and see things like “Oh my god, this is horrible football!”  There’s an easy solution to this: nobody is forcing you to watch Thursday Night Football.

Don’t give me that you just love football so much that it doesn’t matter who plays or how miserable the game is, you watch it no matter what. That’s stupid. Basketball is my favorite sport to watch, I love both the NBA and college ball. The other day, Sixers-Hornets was on ESPN. I didn’t sit there and watch all 48 minutes because I love basketball. I watched Nick Young clank three contested fadeaways in a row and saw Greivis Vazquez chuck an outlet pass into the ninth row and said “Yeah, no thanks.”

So next Thursday when you sit there watching the Bills and Dolphins sling crap around on your TV for three hours, realize that you probably wasted some valuable time. You could have been doing something productive with your life, like playing video games, posting political statuses on your Facebook page, or best yet, writing a column about how bad the Thursday night NFL games are.

On to the picks:

Broncos -4 at Carolina – The Broncos did well for me last week and I like this line just right where it is, thank you.

Bears -1.5 vs. Texans – The weather could be bad on Sunday night in the Windy City, which I think favors the Bears. Their defense is just too good right now.

/Really wants to take the Giants. GAAHHHHH

Chargers +3 at Buccaneers – I really can’t explain my choice here. This is just a bad sporting event in general.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 3-5-1)

Last week I didn’t believe the Knicks would beat the Heat to start their season and I was gladly wrong. I’ll take it. The Knicks have been so impressive early on. Carmelo Anthony is scoring – of course – and rebounding and playing defense. Ray Felton and Jason Kidd are helping zip the ball around on offense, finding open guys. J.R. Smith looks like the Sixth Man of the Year. Ronnie Brewer (Ronnie Brewer?!) is draining threes. Kurt Thomas is fouling the living hell out of people. God I love Kurt Thomas. Steve Novak was only 2-of-8 in the last two games. Huh? GET WITH THE PROGRAM, STEVE.

Knicks -6 vs. the Mavs? In oh-so-eloquent words of Walt Clyde Frazier: YYYYYYYYYYYup!

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 8 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets. Who should you be putting your money on this Sunday?

Week 7 Record: 1-2 

Season Record: 8-12-1

In honor of Hurricane Sandy, Snowicane, The Frankenstorm – whatever you want to call that crazy thing we’re supposed to get early next week that’s supposed to turn New York City on its ear, I’m going to flip things around this week and start my piece off with my Bonus Non-Football Bet of The Week. I’m 3-4 on the season with these, but the game I’m going to pick this week is one that’s closer to my heart than any other pick I’ve ever made on this site – next Thursday’s season opener for the New York Knicks against the Brooklyn Nets, Round 1 of the New York-Brooklyn turf war. Now it’s way too early for the line for this game to have come out, but this pick is much more symbolic anyway. I’m taking the Knicks outright, whatever the moneyline is.

I guess its natural that the Nets are being overrated heading into this season. The shiny new arena, all the Jay-Z crap, a new name and all will do that for you. But let’s get one thing patently straight here – the Nets ARE being overrated heading into this season. Many people are picking them as a 50+ win team, saying they’re so much clearly better than the Knicks, and that they’re closer to the Boston Celtics than anyone else in the Atlantic Division. I’m here to tell you that that’s false, and that if the Nets were still the New Jersey Nets, playing in Newark, with those old uniforms, but had the EXACT SAME ROSTER – nobody would have them as a 50-win squad.

As a Knicks fan, I’ve watched enough bad defensive basketball to know how truly important defense is in the NBA. For years, the Knicks were an embarrassment on defense – last year that changed with the addition of Tyson Chandler. And all anyone who hates the Knicks wants to point out is how bad their stars – Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire are on defense. They’re not wrong in that criticism at all. So then why is everyone totally ignoring that the Nets have, without question, the worst defensive frontcourt in the NBA? Scour every roster and I dare you to find a starting center-power forward combination that would struggle to defend a potato and a desk chair on a pick and roll more than Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries.

The Nets are a good team, don’t get me wrong. They have a lot of talent and have a good coach in Avery Johnson. They’ll make the playoffs. But can we stop with waxing on and on about how great they’re going to be? This has reached insane levels – when the media is writing “ANDRAY BLATCHE REDEMPTION” stories, you know we’re on Mars with this whole thing. If the Knicks signed Andray Blatche, I can only imagine the crap they’d be getting. And if the Nets don’t win this year, I really don’t see how they’re going to improve from here on out. Like the Knicks, they’re pretty strapped with who they have. They signed Lopez and Williams to max deals and they traded for Joe Johnson and his crazy contract. Unless Lopez improves as a defender and rebounder in the coming years, I don’t see how they possibly get anywhere close to Miami.

And oh yeah, while I’m at it, how about we call Deron Williams what he is – an insanely talented top NBA player who has never won anything and bickered and pouted and drove a Hall of Fame coach to QUIT. Do people remember this? When Williams drove Jerry Sloan so mad that he quit in the middle of the season? Why is this ignored, but all people want to mention about Carmelo Anthony is that he was selfish and un-coachable and forced his way out of Denver? Why is Deron Williams allowed to have essentially done the same thing and gotten away with it? Okay, I’m done with the questions.

As for the game, I’m not going to go into crazy specifics as to why I think the Knicks will win. It’s one out of 82 games, they could lose by 40 for all I know. But if I’m New York (as long as Tyson Chandler is healthy), I run pick and rolls with Ray Felton/Jason Kidd and Chandler/Amare Stoudemire all night. Chandler is a marginal offensive player at best, but he should put up 40 points on 20 dunks.

Oh yeah, this is a Jets site – let’s get to my picks for this week.

Jets -2 vs. Dolphins 

The Jets absolutely have to win this game. They’re at home against a rookie quarterback – a situation they’ve done well in under Rex Ryan. New York’s defense has been a lot better as of late, so I don’t think the Dolphins will quite gash the Jets on the ground the way they did in Week 3. Also, the Jets are in a pretty good rhythm in the passing game (BUT HERP DERP SANCHEZ SUCKS YOU MORON LOLZ), and Miami’s pass defense isn’t very good. You’ll get my official prediction a bit later, but the Jets cover. Oh yeah they do.

Bears -7.5 vs. Panthers

I really like the way the Bears are playing right now; they’re a balanced offensive team, Brandon Marshall is quite possibly the best receiver in the league right now, and their defense is all-world. Even Jay Cutler can’t screw this thing up…yet. The Panthers on the other hand are a total mess. Teams have either figured out Cam Newton or he’s just not very good. It will take time to find that out for sure – like with all quarterbacks ahem ahem – but right now Carolina is one of the worst teams in the league. At home and on a roll right now, I like the Bears pretty big.

Saints +6 at Broncos

We know how bad the Saints’ defense is, but they’re still averaging almost 30 points a game. I just feel like anytime you give an offense like this an additional six points, you take it. This is likely going to be a wild, high scoring game. I don’t love the Saints outdoors, but I’m still going to take these six points and hope for the best.

 

Turn On The Jets Interview With Kristian Dyer

Chris Celletti interviews Kristian Dyer of Metro New York about the state of the New York Jets

Chris Celletti had the opportunity to sit down with Kristian Dyer from Metro New York and Yahoo Sports to discuss the current state of the New York Jets. Make sure to give both Chris and Kristian a follow on Twitter –

CC – In your opinion, did Mark Sanchez do enough on Monday to hold on to his starting job?

KD – Loaded question. Sanchez didn’t necessarily do enough to hold onto his starting job, he just didn’t do anything to lose it which at this point is progress on his part. His showing against the Texans was adequate as he made a lot of mistakes and had a fourth straight game with a completion percentage under 50 percent. But he didn’t have the howler he had in Week 4 against the 49ers. Right now, the hope has to be that he develops into a quarterback who doesn’t lose games for the team. Turning him into a quarterback who can step up and take over games and win them might be a bridge too far given his development.

CC – Does Sanchez stand a chance with the current supporting cast?

KD – It isn’t an awful group but while he’s been bad, the ground game has been just as bad – if not worse. If he got some support from the backfield, maybe he can do well. I’ve been impressed watching Jeremy Kerley in training camp and practice. He can be one of the best wide receivers in the league if he continues to grow and mature and should become a favorite target of Sanchez. Stephen Hill is going to be a nice player down the road and with Dustin Keller coming back this week, things are looking up for the offense.

CC – Complete this sentence: “(Blank) should get the Jets’ most carries from week to week, because…”

KD – Is Jonathan Grimes a possibility? I think he can develop into a legitimate running back in the NFL. But among the primary candidates, I do think Bilal Powell should get the nod and like was the case in 2009, bring Shonn Greene in for the third and fourth quarter where his battering ram style can work against a tired defense. But we’ve seen that, for whatever reason, Greene’s style isn’t working right now. Time to give Powell some carries and up the number for Joe McKnight too.

CC – What has generally been a strength under Rex Ryan is now a glaring weakness, the Jets’ run defense. What’s happened?

KD – Teams have figured out the 3-4 but more than that, the lack of speed among the linebackers corps is being exploited. Once a running back gets into the second level, there is the possibility for a big gain because the linebackers are painfully slow on the Jets right now. Look at the 49ers game and see how many plays Mike De Vito made eight or 10 yards after the line scrimmage to see the lack of speed the Jets have among their linebackers. If your defensive end is making that type of a play that far back away from the line, you’re in trouble.

CC – Name the Jet who has most exceeded your expectations this season. Name the Jet who has disappointed you the most this season.

KD – I’ve been impressed with Damon Harrison, the nose tackle out of NAIA program William Penn. He was a project when he came to rookie camp but through hard work, he kept making progress. Harrison is a quick study, has lost lots of bad weight and has a good motor. He’s raw but he could grow into a solid pro. A good kid too with a great personality. In terms of disappointment, it has to be Sanchez at this juncture. He just hasn’t progressed. It would be easy to say running back Shonn Greene, but he wasn’t a first round pick and the No. 6 overall selection in his draft. He also doesn’t have the long term deal that Sanchez got this offseason. To whom much is given, much is expected and the Jets have given Sanchez an awful lot of support.

CC – The Jets are where most people thought they would be after Week 5, at 2-3. When all is said and done, how many wins do the Jets finish with?

KD – With Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes healthy, this could have been a 10-win team but I’m not sure if, right now, this team can do any better than crack the .500 mark. It’s a terrible emotional blow to lose your two biggest playmakers on either side of the ball. The team might max out at 8-8.

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 6 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his Best Bets for week 6 of the NFL season

Week 5 record: 1-2

Season record: 5-9-1

Before you scoff at my horrific record, please remember that I warned you how ugly this was going to be before the season. Also, I have picked 5 out of 15 games correctly, with one push, so it’s kind of like I’m currently batting .333 with a walk. Or something like that. Either way, at this success rate I should be batting clean up for the Yankees and earn a 7-year, $120 million contract this offseason. More on those awesome Yankees in a second.

A few quick things before I get to my picks:

-So now that the Colts beat the Packers last week, does this mean Mitt Romney is going to win in November? I feel partially responsible now if this happens.

-I can’t be the only person who pretends I’m a running back when I’m navigating my way through Port Authority, Penn Station or any crowded NYC street during rush hour, am I? It really is an art form, because if you don’t look ahead and pick out holes to hit, you’re really gonna end up like Shonn Greene – a.k.a. on your ass in no time. On Tuesday morning, I was pretending I was Arian Foster, weaving my way in and out of clueless commuters (Jets defenders) to find open space. I guess Monday was still fresh in my mind.

-Steve Novak is on pace for about 616/616 from three this year.

Okay, on to the lousy picks.

Jets -3.5 vs. Colts

I haven’t picked the Jets in any of my Best Bets columns yet, so I’m going for it this week. I actually think the Jets will get the running game going a little bit, which should help Mark Sanchez in what’s a crucial game for him. On the other side, Andrew Luck has a completion percentage that’s barely better than Sanchez’s, so I think the Jets’ defense will have a solid showing. We’re yet to make our official staff predictions, but here’s a teaser in that I think the Jets cover.

Bucs -4.5 vs. Chiefs

Brady Quinn on the road. Brady Quinn on the road. Brady Quinn on the road. BRADY QUINN ON THE ROAD.

Eagles -3 vs. Lions

I just think this is a god matchup for the Eagles, at home. Detroit is off to a bad start and the Eagles’ defense has been pretty good this season. As usual, if Michael Vick can avoid turnovers, the Eagles are a tough team to knock off. Remember last year when the Lions made the playoffs? That was fun.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record 3-2)

The Orioles are +175 to win Game 5. Of course the Orioles are going to win! Have you watched the Yankees recently? They’re reinventing how to play bad playoff baseball and feeding the appetites of those old time Yankee fans who yearn for the days of Bernie Williams and Scott Brosius and Paul O’Neill and guys who “played the right way” (whatever the hell that means). One reason I think the Yanks are done tonight is because they’re at home. How many times in the past 10 years have the Yankees lost big/deciding games at home, where all you heard was “it’s okay, we’re back at the Stadium”? A bunch come to mind: Game 6 in the 2003 World Series vs. the Marlins, Games 6 and 7 in the 2004 ALCS vs. the Red Sox, the 2007 ALDS against the Indians, and last year’s Game 5 vs. the Tigers. I hope I’m wrong, but I have a feeling you’ll be able to add Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS vs. the Baltimore Orioles to that list. Well, at least somewhere Jimmy McNulty and Bunk Moreland will be celebrating.

Turn On The Jets – NFL Week 5 Best Bets

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

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

Week 4 Record 1-2

Season Record: 4-7-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Green Bay -7 at Colts

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

Bills +9.5 at 49ers

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

Saints -4 vs. Chargers

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

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

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

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 3 Best Bets

Chris Celletti submits his Best Bets for week 3 of the 2012 NFL Season

Week 2 Record: 2-0-1

Season Record: 3-2-1

For this column’s purposes, I went 2-0-1 last week. I say that because when I actually put my money where my mouth was, by Sunday morning, the Giants’ line vs. the Buccaneers had moved to -7.5. When I wrote my Week 2 piece, it was at -7. We call that a push, you guys. But as always the moral of the story goes: Don’t bet on your crosstown rival. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you need to root for a team you usually loathe, it never ends well. So that was the lesson of Week 2 for me (that and “Always buy the point, ass-clown).” As for my two straight up wins, I still cannot figure out how the Texans were only a seven point fave against a crap Jacksonville team, and I loved the Colts and Andrew Luck getting points in their home opener (FYI: Foreshadowing alert!). As Mike Francesa might so eloquently say when he’s not catatonic: Bink, bink, boom…and now we move to Week 3.

Steelers (-3.5) at Raiders

All of us here at Turn On The Jets got a first hand view at the Steelers last week. With Rashard Mendenhall out, Pittsburgh has finally gotten with the times and become a throwing team. Ben Roehtlisberger has three very good wide receivers who can stretch the field and a dependable tight end, and they look like a team who is going to put up some serious points. Big Ben totally picked apart the Jets’ secondary last week – still a talented group even without Darrelle Revis. Oakland just got their asses handed to them by Miami. Also, “The Black Hole” is the most asinine feature of any sports stadium in the world. Right, because the Steelers – world class, insanely trained professional athletes –  are scared of a bunch of mouth-breathers who treat eight Sundays a year like Halloween. I hope the Raiders go winless at home for a decade.

Colts (-3) vs. Jacksonville

This is a meshing of my Week 2 victories in one: Colts at home vs. the Jaguars. Love it, bro. Consider me on the Andrew Luck train. He’s a soccer fan who can probably name at least 15 out of the 19 MLS teams. Good on you, sir, you have that in common with me and 1% of the American male population. Home teams have been covering at a pretty high clip so far, some of which might have to do with the replacement refs. I’m not backing off my stance with the Jaguars being one of the worst teams in the league. I picked them before the season as under 5.5 wins for the year, and an 0-3 start would get that future bet off to a promising start.

Broncos (+2) vs. Texans

I think this is going to be a really tight game, and I’ll go with the home team getting points. First off, everybody talks about the Houston Texans like they’re God’s gift to football. Yeah, they’re good. They might be really good. They’re not unbeatable. The Broncos have a solid enough defense to keep the game close, and I think we might see a Peyton Manning late-game drive to set up a winning field goal. I see this as a “can go either way” type game.

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

I know, last week’s bet that the Milwaukee Brewers would take their series against the LOLMets wasn’t the boldest of calls, but hey, I told you it was free money. And when the Mets took the first game of the series, we were hot water for a second there, folks. For Week 3 we move to the other football, and on Sunday morning before the NFL kicks off we have a classic English Premier League match between Fenway Sports Group’s latest shitshow, Liverpool, against Manchester United. Winning on the road in the Premier League is pretty tough, which is why Man U is +160 on the money line to do so (when you bet on soccer, with the prospect of ties, you get scenarios in which both teams are at “plus” odds like this). Much like the Red Sox, Liverpool is a mess. They’re winless through four Premier League matches and in 17th place. Maybe after Man U goes in and thrashes the poor Reds, John Henry will plant a story in the media that Brendan Rodgers is hooked on painkillers and Steven Gerrard and Pepe Reina are having pre-match Guinnesses and Fish and Chips. There isn’t a team and fanbase in the entire world more deserving of Fenway’s swift buy-and-destroy job than Liverpool. Good riddance.

NFL 2012 Gambling Preview: Over/Unders, MVP, Super Bowl Bets

Chris Celletti kicks off his weekly NFL gambling column with a look at over/unders, MVP and Super Bowl bets

We are happy to welcome Chris Celletti to the TOJ writing staff for the 2012 NFL season. He will be contributing a weekly NFL gambling column every Friday. Make sure to give Chris a follow on Twitter and all the credit if you hit on any of these bets – 

So preseason is finally, finally over, which means the beginning of the NFL gambling season (unless you have a serious problem and have been betting on preseason games, which I’m sure about 85% of the NFL gambling population does, no questions asked). Each week during the regular season, I’ll give you three picks against the spread.

And let’s get this out of the way, here’s my disclaimer: I am in no way trying to pass myself off as any sort of gambling expert. I don’t study how lines move during the week because I have a job, a life and friends. I’m simply going to waddle up to my computer every Friday or so and look at that week’s schedule, pick three games, and give football reasons as to why. From time-to-time I’ll also throw in a non-football bet and other random thoughts that pop into my head. We’ll tally my record and keep a running total each week and see how horrifically I did at the end of the year, because we all know betting on football has zilch to do with anything football related. This is gonna be a fun exercise.

So since we’re still a wee bit off until the actual games kickoff, I thought I’d debut with some futures bets; a few team over/unders and MVP and  Super Bowl Champs bets.  As with my weekly picks to come, I plan on having a big old laugh when looking back on these in February when the season is over and Mike Tannenbaum takes over for Bill Polian as ESPN’s “Expert NFL GM”.

FYI: I get lines from Bovada.

Team Over/Unders:

Baltimore Ravens (10) – UNDER

My dad is a huge believer of “being due” in sports, and he’s passed that on to me. This ranges from everything like “Good god is Swisher OVERDUE for a homer” to “All the home teams have won on Wild Card Weekend so far, one of the road teams has to win”. It’s completely illogical and totally irrational, and yet I still believe in it. And to me, the Baltimore Ravens are due for a crap year. They’ve made the playoffs in all of John Harbaugh’s four seasons, which is a miraculous accomplishment given that Joe Flacco has been the starting quarterback for all of them. And of course it’s because of the Ravens’ defense, which to me is on its last legs. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are on the way out, and Terrell Suggs is hurt. Their schedule isn’t a murderer’s row but does include games with the Giants, Cowboys, Eagles and of course two with the rival Steelers. It’s just pretty hard in the NFL to have five straight winning/playoff seasons, especially with a quarterback like Flacco. I don’t expect the Ravens to be bad, but I can see 8-8.

Jacksonville Jaguars (5.5) – UNDER

This is the biggest dumpster of a franchise in the NFL and it’s not even close. Can you blame Maurice Jones-Drew for wanting out? The Jags and Jets should have pulled a Tebow-MJD trade, but the Jags would rather start Blaine Gabbert at quarterback than someone who, at the very least, would fill their stadium. Oh, wait, this is easy to figure out…their owner wants absolutely nothing to do with the city of Jacksonville. Additionally, the Jags have the NFC North and the AFC East on their schedule this year. It will take them until they’re the London Jaguars before they win six games in a season.

Denver Broncos (9) – OVER

It’s going to be close but I have the Broncos slightly over, probably by about a game or so. The competition in the AFC West will remain mediocre and Denver’s schedule isn’t too bad. And then there’s this: last year, this team won eight games and one in the playoffs with Tim Tebow at quarterback. This season, they made an itty-bitty upgrade at the position with Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning throwing with his left hand could win 10 games if he gets half the support Lefty Jesus got last year from this defense, special teams and running game.

NFL MVP

Eli Manning (18/1)

The Giants’ offense has a chance to be insanely good. If David Wilson is even a fraction as good as every Giants blogger has blabbered on about since April, and Ahmad Bradshaw stays healthy, can’t Elisha have a truly MVP-caliber season? With any semblance of a running game Eli should put up monster numbers throwing to Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Co. Of course for Eli to win the MVP, the Giants will need to have a big regular season, something many seem to think isn’t going to happen, but I do (and then they’ll promptly lose in the first round of the playoffs because that’s how the Giants do things). To me, there’s no reason at all why guys like Michael Vick, Arian Foster and Matt Stafford should have better odds to win the MVP than Eli.

Super Bowl Champs

New Orleans (18/1)

What the Saints will prove this year is that in the NFL, coaching doesn’t mean a whole lot when you have a great quarterback who runs your offense from the huddle/line of scrimmage. In 2009, The Colts went 14-2 (should have went 16-0) with Jim Caldwell as their head coach, and Jim Caldwell is about as aware of his surroundings as a deer that sprints across the Garden State Parkway . The only reason that Colts team was worth anything was because of Peyton Manning. The Saints still have that whether Sean Payton is on the sidelines or not because of Drew Brees, and Brees also still has plenty of explosive weapons to use. The whole bounty scandal will end up being good for them because it forced ax-murderer wannabe Greg Williams and his Transitions lenses out of town, and Nola replaced him with Steve Spagnuolo, a totally competent and Super Bowl winning defensive coordinator. Besides, defense means jack in the NFL these days, just ask last year’s Patriots. And then there’s the dome. The Saints are impossible to beat in that dome. If they can get to the Super Bowl, well, do you know where the Super Bowl is this year? Why take the Eagles at 11/1 (this is a joke, right?) or the Bears at 15/1 if the Saints are sitting there below them?

New York Jets (40/1)

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