NBA Finals: Don’t Forget That Dallas Won

A collection of some of the best clips today on the Dallas Mavericks winning their first ever NBA Finals…and remember that yes, Miami did lose and it was a beautiful thing to watch them flame-out, but don’t forget to give Dallas the credit they deserve in the middle of all your Miami/LeBron hating.

Jason Whitlock thinks it is time to blow up the big three – A knee jerk reaction without question and I don’t think for a second that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, or Chris Bosh are going anywhere. Whitlock describes LeBron’s performance as “putrid” and James as a “national laughingstock and late-night punch line.” It is hard to argue with that right now, there is nothing more frustrating for people who the love the sport of basketball to watch the most talented player on the planet play with zero effort and heart when it matters the most.

Adrian Wojnarowski gives Dirk Nowitzki his due – The story of this playoffs should really be Nowitzki and everything he did right, not James and everything he did wrong. The emotion shown by Nowitzki as he left the floor in the final seconds was a beautiful sports moment. He has stuck it out in Dallas, through plenty of rough times and in the end managed to take his team and his franchise to a title with an epic post-season run.

It is good to see in basketball, a team…not whatever you would call the Miami Heat…win the championship. The team that played the game right way, beat the supremely talented one. The high-school team with a group of seniors that had played together their whole career and were desperate to win a trophy for their town knocked off the AAU team playing for college scholarships.

I am randomly a huge DeShawn Stevenson fan from back when I lived in DC and was happy to see Soulja Boy beat Jay-Z

The NBA could be about to head down the same road of the NFL

Overall, a great playoffs for the NBA, capped off by a great Finals. Keep an eye out for Justin’s reaction here at TOJ in the coming days, along further commentary from myself and upcoming draft coverage.

These videos are certainly fun to watch today…

NBA Finals Preview and Prediction

TOJ’s NBA Finals preview at Gunaxin. Can Dirk Nowitzki and company save us from suffering through a Miami title?

Five other observations and predictions for the NBA Finals…

1. A key factor in this series is how much DeShawn Stevenson, the Mavericks starter who usually barely plays 15 minutes a game, can slow down Dwyane Wade or LeBron James if given the chance. Most people are assuming he will cover Wade considering the job he did on him during the regular season (2 points in 30 minutes) but if LeBron starts going off, will they slide Stevenson  over? Don’t forget the old Stevenson/LeBron beef from the 2008 playoffs, when Stevenson was on Washington and LeBron was on Cleveland which was big enough to pull in both Jay-Z and Soulja Boy.

2. How much longer can the unexpected renaissance of Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion last? Dallas is going to need Kidd to continue to spread the floor with his three point shooting and outplay the Mario Chalmers/Mike Bibby combination the way he should. Marion will be part of the committee thrown at slowing down LeBron and needs to continue with his surprising offensive contributions to compliment Dirk.

3. Will Dirk Nowitzki still have what Udonis Haslem did to him in 2006 floating around in his head? Yes, the supporting cast is obviously important but the only way Dallas is beating Miami’s big three is if Dirk remains on the level he has been this entire post-season. He needs to play like an all-time great to pull off this upset, especially with the tear LeBron has been on.

4. Even if the previous comments may not indicate it, I do think Dallas will sneak this series out in seven. They have that “team of destiny” feel and I think they will get revenge for what happened in the 2006 Finals. Dirk will remain at the level he has been this post-season and I think the supporting cast will hit enough big shots. Beyond Dirk, Dallas is a collection of former all-stars (Kidd, Marion, and Peja Stojakovic) with one final shot at a ring and I think they will answer the call in a big spot. Miami is going to get their titles eventually, I just don’t think it will happen in year one.

5. It is too bad this series won’t be on TNT. You can’t beat that studio show.

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #12

 weekly 12 pack is back, with no specific theme…just a bunch of random thoughts, links, and videos…enjoy it, you jabronis

1. If you aren’t excited about the NBA Playoffs, you should be. I can’t think of a better way to get through your NFL Lockout frustation then by enjoying the next couple of months of basketball. Yes, the draft will be fun but we have the 30th overall pick in the first round and no second round pick. Am I excited about improving our defensive line depth? Absolutely, but the only downfall of being a consistently very good team is that you don’t have much draft day drama.

2. How much does the lockout suck by the way? Do you know at this time last year, the Jets had already signed LaDainian Tomlinson, Brodney Pool, traded Kerry Rhodes, released Thomas Jones, signed Nick Folk, and traded for Antonio Cromartie?

3. If I had to guess today, the Jets will take Phil Taylor in the first round, draft a safety in third round, and in rounds 4 through 7, add a corner, receiver, offensive lineman, and outside linebacker

4. Get excited for New York City playoff basketball returning

5. If I was Braylon Edwards publicist, I certainly wouldn’t want him calling his DUI “BS” …doesn’t exactly sound like he learned much from the incident. Regardless, he does sound much more interested in returning to the team than Santonio Holmes does. When the new CBA is finalized, I am fascinated to see how Mike Tannenbaum approaches re-signing these two, never mind Antonio Cromartie and Brad Smith.

6. Interesting that the Jets decided to work out TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, who some people think could sneak into the first round. Clearly the Jets front office is trying to create more interest in acquiring their 30th overall pick, although I don’t know who is going to buy it. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jets trade down, which will be sure to piss off all those Jets fans who attend the Draft on Thursday night.

7. Over the past two days, I have written pieces on three of the Jets four draft picks last year, Vladimir Ducasse, Joe McKnight, and Kyle Wilson. It is essential to the Jets 2011 success that these players begin to reach the potential the team drafted them for. Ducasse needs to develop into the starting right tackle, McKnight needs to become a contributor on offense and special teams as a returner, and Wilson needs to rise up to the challenge of being a starting corner if Antonio Cromartie doesn’t come back.

8. Sounds like all that Randy Moss talk was just a smokescreen to piss off Santonio Holmes…I wonder if Bart Scott talking about how the Jets would welcome Chad Ochocino was to…

9. Did I tell you how excited I was for Knicks playoff basketball?

10. Follow TOJ’s ongoing draft preview at SB Nation…

11. Very interested to see how New England handles their 120 draft picks this year, their defense, offensive line, and receiving core could all use a boost. I also wonder if Miami will officially throw in the towel on Chad Henne by drafting Ryan Mallett.

12. Enjoy your weekend…go New York, go New York, go…

For The 2010 Jets, 12 Is The Number

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The Jets made it to the AFC Championship Game the hard way in 2009. They went on the road and pulled off two upsets as a wild-card, built momentum and eventually ran out of steam in the second half in Indianapolis.

We have seen wild-card teams win Super Bowls in recent years, most notably the New York Giants who ripped off three straight road victories before upsetting the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

However, considering the way the AFC looks like it is breaking so far and the 5-1 start the Jets have got themselves off to, there is no reason a minimum of 12 victories shouldn’t be the target for this team. The easiest road to the Super Bowl is getting yourself a bye and then hosting two playoff games, and this Jets team is built to do that. Look at the rest of their schedule:

Week 8 vs. Green Bay – Originally this appeared to be a much tougher match-up but the Packers have been decimated with injuries and could very well come into this game at 3-4. Beyond that, they have a long trip out to the Meadowlands off an emotional prime-time game against Brett Favre, while the Jets will be fresh off the bye week. There is no reason the Jets shouldn’t handle business against this one-dimensional offense, with Darrelle Revis and Calvin Pace likely very close to, if not, 100 percent.

PhotobucketWeek 9 at Detroit – The Lions are frisky for a 1-5 team, which means this could be a dangerous game. Yet in reality, the Jets are going to be 8 – 10 point favorites and need to handle business against a team they are far superior to in the talent department. Darrelle Revis/Antonio Cromartie vs. Calvin Johnson? Should be fun to watch.

Week 10 at Cleveland – The Mangini Bowl. Cleveland can be a tough place to play, yet I think plenty of Jets will be up for this game against their former coach.

Week 11 vs. Houston – I love this match-up for the Jets. The Texans are a finesse team that does not match up well against them, as we already saw last year. Beyond that, the Jets get them at home. Yes it is a few weeks away but this feels like a nice double digit smack down.

Week 12 vs. Cincinnati – The Jets back on Thanksgiving, looking to make up for their debacle against Dallas a few years back. I am not sure why I should think the Bengals can come into the Meadowlands and win this game, considering how the Jets played them last year and the fact that Cincinnati has pretty much sucked so far this season.

Week 13 at New England – The Jets get an extra three days to prepare for this game, which will likely go a long way to determining who wins the AFC East. Prime-time. December football. It doesn’t get much better than this. Jets fans are already panicking about Danny Woodhead racking up 150 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.

Week 14 vs. Miami – Good to get Miami at home this late in the year. The Dolphins feel like a .500 team to me right now, so hopefully the Jets can do some serious damage to their playoff hopes this week.

Week 15 at Pittsburgh – Oh boy. Doesn’t this feel like a battle of a couple 11-3 or 12-2 teams for the AFC’s number one seed? Santonio Holmes coming back to Pittsburgh. A couple of powerhouse defenses. This game has to be flexed to Sunday night, right?

Week 16 at Chicago – I am already having visions of Wayne Chrebet getting flipped on his head and fumbling to clinch a killer loss. Regardless of the Bears 4-2 record, I just don’t think they are that good and will either be right at or below .500 coming into this game. What is the over/under on the number times Jay Cutler is sacked this week?

Week 17 vs. Buffalo – We should be seeing some Mark Brunell and Kellen Clemens this week.

When you look at this collection of ten games, it is hard to see the Jets not putting together at least a 7-3 record. 12-4 should be good enough for a bye week in the AFC but may not be good enough for a number one seed unless the Jets can take care of business in Pittsburgh. Does it make me a delirious homer to think there is a somewhat realistic shot the Jets could win 13 games this year?

A 13 win Jets team? Times really could be changing.

Why The Jets Are The Real Deal

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As the NFL season inevitably inches closer, more and more skepticism about the chances of the Jets having a successful season are becoming present. Fans of the team are reverting back to their usual pessimism. NFL analysts are nitpicking reasons to avoid picking the Jets as a serious contender. Giants fans can’t understand why nobody is talking about their team, leading to them arguing the Jets will be a let-down, have a tough schedule, can’t win with Sanchez, can’t overcome losing Faneca and Jones and on and on. Patriots and Dolphins fans feel the same way. Everybody in New England thinks the world is sleeping on Brady and Belichick, as if that was possible. All the fans in Miami are convinced Chad Henne is the next Dan Marino after the epic run he took the team on last season. I guess it was an impressive 7-9 season.

Anyway, you may hate the confidence the Jets carry themselves with. You might be tired of hearing Rex Ryan talk or seeing Darrelle Revis in those Nike commercials. Unfortunately for you though, the Jets have the talent to back up their words and outside of the team with Peyton Manning under center, they are the favorites to win the AFC. Here is why the Jets are the real deal:

PhotobucketLet’s start with the easiest part, the Jets have the best defense in NFL. They had the best defense in 2009 and substantially improved it over the off-season. You can start in the secondary where the two weak links of the league’s number one ranked passing defense (by 30 yards I might add), were replaced. Antonio Cromartie will take over for Lito Sheppard opposite Darrelle Revis, giving the Jets arguably the best pair of starting corners in the NFL. Kerry Rhodes is now gone and Brodney Pool will take his place. Anytime you can replace a matador with somebody who can tackle, it helps the situation. Dwight Lowery has been moved into the number four cornerback spot, with rookie first round pick Kyle Wilson now becoming the nickel back.

Outside of the improvements in the secondary, Jason Taylor was signed from Miami to enhance the Jets pass rush. The Jets did occasionally struggle against the run in 2009. However the return of All-Pro nose tackle Kris Jenkins should provide help, along with having the previously mentioned Rhodes now doing photo shoots and missing tackles in Arizona. Beyond that, the Jets will now be in the second year of Rex Ryan’s system. Calvin Pace, David Harris, Bryan Thomas, Darrelle Revis, Eric Smith, Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, Shaun Ellis, and anybody else who played a substantial role in their first year of Ryan’s defense in 2009 will be that much more comfortable this season.

When you look at the additions and subtractions made to the Jets defensive depth chart and their familiarity with the system in year two, it is hard to argue the unit won’t be better in 2010. This should be a scary thought for the rest of the NFL, considering how good they were in 2009.

On offense, you could question Mark Sanchez all you want. His regular season statistics justify thequestioning. However, don’t ignore that he won two road playoffs games in his rookie year and played a terrific game on the road in the AFC Championship Game. Also, consider if the Jets could manage an AFC Championship Game trip with him throwing 20 interceptions to 12 touchdowns, what they could do if he makes the likely year two improvements.

PhotobucketThe Jets have questions at running back. Shonn Greene has to prove he is a lead back but he certainly looked the part down the stretch in the regular season and in the playoffs. At worst LaDainian Tomlinson can catch the ball out of the backfield and be a quality goal-line back. Outside of that, the Jets offense is stacked. Even without Alan Faneca, who was awful in pass protection last year by the way, they still have a top five offensive line in the NFL. At receiver, they have three guys capable of being a number one. They have an athletic tight end, who can stretch the field and is a mismatch against most defenses.

What about the competition in the AFC East? What did New England do to make sure they aren’t run off the field by teams like Baltimore again in 2010? Who is their lead running back? Is there defense any good? Who is filling for Wes Welker until he comes back? Will Welker get back to 100 percent this season?

Is Brandon Marshall enough to improve Miami from a 7-9 team that was two Ted Ginn Jr led victories against the Jets away from being 5-11? Can Ronnie Brown ever play a full season? Can Chad Henne win a late season game? Who is going to catch passes for the Dolphins when Marshall is safely locked away on Revis Island?

Yes, I think the Jets talent backs up their words. They do have the best corner and center in the NFL, along with one of the best tackles (D’Brickashaw Ferguson), guards (Brandon Moore), defensive tackles (Kris Jenkins), and linebackers (David Harris). It is always a good sign when people like Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Antonio Cromartie are in your second tier of talented players. It is also positive when you can sign players like Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson be backups.

You can make excuses about why the Jets won’t be good in 2010 or you can just accept that they are going to be one of the best teams in the NFL and right in the mix for a Super Bowl. It would probably be better to make up your mind now instead of changing your story mid-season.

“DARRELLE REVIS!”

Pre-Draft Thoughts On The AFC

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First a few updates:

1. I will be catching up on the “2010” Draft Section today, www.thejetsblog.com has been ripping through those potential prospects the past few days. Speaking of the draft, Clemson OLB Ricky Sapp is visiting today. As I said yesterday, he could be a target for the Jets at #29 or they could trade back a few spots and look to grab him. Here is a look at his highlight tape:

2. Tim Graham had a few interesting pieces up on his AFC East Blog today, one of which discussed the teams that passed up Rex Ryan as a potential head coach…I must say I am happy that Buffalo decided to stay with Dick Jauron these past few years instead of hiring Rex and now they are stuck with Chan Gailey. He also discusses the potential of Syracuse receiver Mike Williams, who I am familiar with because I covered Syracuse football for Fan University during my undergraduate years. I absolutely agree with the assessment given by the scout in Graham’s article, Williams is a first round talent and he is going to be available in the mid-rounds because of questions about his character. He could be a guy the Jets take a risk on if they don’t end up adding a receiver in round one or two, who turns into an absolute steal.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…because we are only 2 fans from 250 and you want the honor of being #250.

4. Eric Allen of www.newyorkjets.com compiled this list of players visiting Florham Park this week as the Jets prepare for the draft:

  • OT Anthony Davis – Rutgers
  • RB Montario Hardesty – Tennessee
  • CB Kareem Jackson – Alabama
  • RB Ryan Matthews – Fresno State
  • CB Devin McCourty – Rutgers
  • DL Jared Odrick – Penn State
  • DT Cory Peters – Kentucky
  • OL Maurkice Pouncey – Florida
  • CB Patrick Robinson – Florida State
  • OLB Ricky Sapp – Clemson
  • TE Micky Shuler Jr. – Penn State
  • S Major Wright  – Florida

Pre-Draft Thoughts On The AFC

A quick look at where all the teams in the AFC currently stand heading into the draft:

Division Title Contenders

New England Patriots – As I covered in my team to beat in the AFC East article, the Patriots haven’t had a very active off-season but are overloaded with draft picks and remain the primary competition to the Jets for a division title. They still need help at running back, in the secondary and need somebody to step up to fill the void of Wes Welker until he returns from injury but with Brady and Belichick they remain a playoff caliber team.

Baltimore Ravens – Regardless of the season the Bengals put together last year, I see the Ravens as the team to beat in the AFC North. The only thing holding them back last year was the struggles of their passing game. However, I think Joe Flacco will play better this season than he did at the end of last year, especially with the addition of Anquan Boldin. Beyond that, if they get something out of Donte Stallworth they could have a real strong three wide set with Boldin, Stallworth, and Derrick Mason. On defense they added Cory Redding to their line rotation but still could use some help at corner.

Indiannapolis Colts – Peyton Manning = double digit victories and most likely another AFC South title. They will be also be getting Anthony Gonzalez back at receiver to add to Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, and Pierre Garcon.

San Diego Chargers – They remain the best team in their division. However, they need to find more balance on offense and improve their running defense.

PhotobucketNew York Jets – I do think the Jets defense will be even better in year two under Rex Ryan and with the addition of Antonio Cromartie. On offense, Mark Sanchez should keep improving and allow them to have a very good chance to overtake the Patriots for the division title.

Pittsburgh Steelers – If Ben Rothlisberger’s legal situation is under control, it is hard not to expect to see the Steelers battling for that AFC North title again. They made some smaller moves like adding Antwaan Randle El, Arnaz Battle, Larry Foote, and Will Allen which will improve their overall depth and special teams.

Cincinnati Bengals – I know the Bengals won the AFC North last year but for some reason I have tough time seeing them repeat as champs. They faded down the stretch last season and aren’t going to sneak up on anybody this year. However, Antonio Bryant was a nice addition on offense and they can run the ball and play defense so I could be wrong.

Playoff Contenders

Miami Dolphins – Miami hasn’t done much this off-season outside of adding Karlos Dansby to their defense. They are still weak at receiver and have Ronnie Brown coming off a serious injury. Regardless if they keep running the football the way they did last year and the defense continues to improve they could be back over .500.

Denver Broncos – They haven’t done much this off-season except add a potential quarterback controversy by bringing in Brady Quinn. Also when they trade Brandon Marshall they will be getting rid of a headache but losing their top playmaker on offense.

Houston Texans – Every single year everybody says this is the year the Texans will make the jump to being a playoff team and every year they fall just a little short. Yes, they have plenty of talent but when are they going to win a big game? Every time they have a chance to make a move towards being a playoff team, they lose. They also have questions at running back since Steve Slaton can’t hold on to the football.

Tennessee Titans – If Vince Young plays the way he did after he took over for Kerry Collins for a full season, the Titans could be back in the mix as a threat to the Colts for the division title.

Jacksonville Jaguars – A young team who overachieved a little bit last year. They are stuck in a tough division but will be a difficult match-up on a weekly basis. Aaron Kampman should improve their pass rush.

Likely Basement Dwellers

Cleveland Browns – They have actually had a pretty good off-season thus far by bringing in some quality veterans like Sheldon Brown, Ben Watson, Scott Fujita, Chris Gocong and getting rid of their two ineffective quarterbacks. They also have a high amount of draft picks this year. Yet, how many games can they win with Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace behind center?

Buffalo Bills – No quarterback. A weak offensive line. Questions in the front seven of their defense. They are looking like the worst team in the AFC East by a few games.

Kansas City Chiefs – I feel bad that Thomas Jones is likely going to be stuck on a 5-11 team next year.

Oakland Raiders – It is always entertaining to watch what the Raiders do in the draft. They are assembling a nice All-Bust team on offense led by JaMarcus Russell, Darius Heyward-Bey, and Darren McFadden.

Mike Williams Highlights

Five Ways For The Jets To Flame Out In 2010

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First a few updates:

1. You know as of right now there isn’t a ton to update on, the draft section is updated and overloaded with potential prospects for the Jets in all seven rounds. The guys over at www.thejetsblog.com do a great job with their “Prospect Watch,” which is where the list of players came from in the “2010 Draft” Section, as you can see from all the links. They finish up adding prospects on April 4th at which point I will organize them by position and list their projected rounds (per TJB), and then we can wait to see if the Jets actually end up with any of these guys.

2. Even though Rich Cimini mentioned Dez Bryant yesterday as a potential guy for the Jets at #29 and I got myself all excited about it, it is pretty hard to see a guy with that much talent even falling into the 20’s. His physical talent is too great for that many teams to pass on, regardless of his off the field issues.

3. A big congratulations to the New Jersey Nets for getting their 10th win and avoiding having the worst record in NBA history.

4. Dustin Keller is beginning his career as a restaurant critic on the New York Times Fifth Down Blog here (http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/dustin-keller-i-eight-one/) even though he didn’t exactly pick an out of the way place for his first review (since he went with one of the best and well-know steakhouses in the City), it is still a good read and has me thinking about treating myself to a meal there when that TOJ check comes in this month.

Five Ways For The Jets To Flame Out In 2010

You may have noticed that I have been optimistic about the Jets chances in 2010. Even when I push aside my bias as a lifelong fan, I still genuinely believe the Jets will be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next year. However, this is the NFL and we know big expectations don’t always equal big things. It is difficult to maintain success on a year to year basis, so let me channel my Joe Benigno negative Jets fan inside of me and look at five ways the Jets could disappointin 2010 (by the way I consider anything short of a playoff berth next year to be a major disappointment).

1. Sophomore Slump – It is hard to say that if Mark Sanchez struggles next year that it would be a sophomore slump considering his regular season stats last season. However, we saw the quarterback Sanchez has the potential to be in the playoffs and if he can maintain that level of play the Jets are going to be a very, very tough team to beat. Yet, if he goes back to his performance in the middle of the season last year, when he was throwing 3+ interceptions every other game, the Jets are going to struggle to be anything better than the 9-7 team they were in 2009. The Jets remain a team built on their defense and running game, and even though the playbook should be opened up a little more, Sanchez must protect the football and not take unnecessary chances.

Photobucket2. Built To Last – The Jets have been extremely fortunate to have the same five guys start every game on their offensive line the past two seasons. They still lack solid depth across their front and if one or heaven forbid two of those five went down for an extended period of the time the Jets could be in serious trouble. The running game would suffer, which would put more pressure on Sanchez who wouldn’t be protected as well as usual…sounds like a recipe for disaster.

3. Lead Back Problems – This is Shonn Greene’s first year as a starter and a guy who will counted for 20 carries week in and week out. If Greene can’t stay healthy and can’t shake his fumbling problems, the Jets will be forced to rely on two guys who shouldn’t be getting more than 10 carries a game: an aging LaDainian Tomlinson and Leon Washington, returning from a major injury. Personally, I think Greene is going to be a 1300-1500 yard back this year but he has never done it before, so you never know.

4. Secondary Holes – The Jets are counting on Antonio Cromartie to fill the gaping hole opposite Darrelle Revis. If Cromartieplays like he did in 2007, the Jets will have the best corner duo in football. If he plays like he did last year, the Jets are going to have the same problems they did at times last season. Dwight Lowery remains the #3 corner and I don’t think he will be getting bumped into the starting line-up in a big spot after last year’s AFC Championship game. At safety, Brodney Pool needs to show he can stay healthy all year or Eric Smith needs to show he can handle a full time starting role.

5. Close Game Problems – The Jets lost on the last play of game two times last year to Miami, once to Buffalo, once to Jacksonville, and basically once to Atlanta. If the Jets could have been 3-2 in those games instead of 0-5, you are looking at a 11-5 team. If the Jets don’t learn how to win close games, they won’t win enough games to compete for a division title.

TOJ Movie Trailer

Who Are We Kidding, Shonn Greene Is Going To Be A Beast Next Year…Cromartie Better Learn To Tackle Though

Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 16 Viewing Guide

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets brought in former Bengals running back Chris Perry for a workout. I am not sure what the motivation is behind looking at him. Obviously, with Leon returning from an injury, Thomas Jones being at the end of his contract, and Shonn Greene having fumbling problems, running back will be an interesting position to watch this off-season.

2. I am really enjoying the diva Brett Favre revealing himself to be the selfish player he is. When the Jets don’t make the playoffs, you can bet I will be rooting for an early exit for the Vikings. Imagine the media storm that would rain down on a different player, if they refused to come out of the game when their coach pulled them?

Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 16 Viewing Guide

Ignorance is going to be bliss for me in week 16. This Friday I will be leaving for Italy and not returning until the following Friday. I will have my cell phone off and no access to computers, which will allow me to walk around for a whole week with the bizarre hope that everything broke the Jets way in week 16 and they will be playing for a playoff spot in week 17. When I return from the airport, I will have a DVD copy of the game waiting for me, then watch it and then look over all the week 16 scores.

Are the Jets still alive as of today? For some off reason…yes. Basically, here is what the Jets need:

  • The Jets must beat both Indy and Cincy.
  • Jacksonville must lose 1 of their last 2 (against New England or Cleveland).
  • Denver must lose 1 of their last 2 (against Philly or Kansas City).
  • Miami must lose 1 of their last 2 (against Houston or Pittsburgh).

Under this scenario, the Jets and Ravens would make the playoffs.

New York Jets (7-7) at Indianapolis Colts (14-0) – The playoff pipe dream likely comes to end when the Jets travel to Indianapolis to the face the undefeated Colts. I would expect the Colts starters to play most of the game and if it is close, to play the entire game. The Jets simply don’t have enough offense to win this game, unless Mark Sanchez finally decides to play like a NFL quarterback.

Jacksonville Jaguars (7-7) At New England Patriots (9-5) – We need our old friends in New England to take care of the Jaguars because in the scenario where the Jets beat Indy, you don’t want to be relying on Eric Mangini and the Browns to beat Jacksonville in week 17.

Denver Broncos (8-6) At Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) – The Eagles have been red-hot and should be able to handle the fading Broncos, who are only 2-6 after their 6-0 start.

Houston Texans (7-7) At Miami Dolphins (7-7) – I think if the Dolphins lose one of their final two, it will be the following week against Pittsburgh but there is no reason not to root for the Texans to knock them out this week.

Baltimore Ravens (8-6) At Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7) – The Jets have a tie breaker with Pittsburgh but not with Baltimore so root for the defending champs, who we will also need to beat Miami in week 17.

So your saying there’s a chance?

Jets vs. Falcons Prediction

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First a few updates:

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

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

Jets vs. Falcons Prediction

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

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

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

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

NFL Week 14 Recap/Jets vs. Falcons First Look

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First a few updates:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFC East Observations

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

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

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

Other NFL Observations

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

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

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

Jets/Falcons First Look

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

Jets/Bucs Highlights