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

Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 14 Viewing Guide

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First a few updates:

1. Obviously the big news of the day is that Kellen Clemens is going to start this Sunday against Tampa Bay. Sanchez didn’t practice today and Rex Ryan announced the decision at his press conference today. Apparently, Sanchez is angry with the decision but in reality this is the right move for the long run. He is a rookie and there is no reason to throw him out there at 80-85 percent with no practice. Let him get three more days of rehab over the weekend and come back at 100 percent for the final three weeks. The bottom line is that the Jets should be able to beat the 1-11 Bucs with their backup quarterback. All I know is that the Jets may set a record for rushing attempts this Sunday, Ryan can talk all he wants about having confidence in Clemens but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene both get 20 plus carries. Overall, I agree it is better to be overly cautious with your franchise quarterback…so let’s pretend it is 2007 and try to excited about Kellen Clemens taking snaps.

2. It looks like Kerry Rhodes is going to start this Sunday. I am not sure why he got his job back but apparently he is back with the base unit, although Rex Ryan insists Eric Smith will still see plenty of time. A friendly Turn On The Jets reminder to Kerry Rhodes…you need to use your arms to tackle.

3. Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery, and Larry Izzo were all limited in practice today. I wouldn’t bank on seeing Strickland or Lowery suit up.

4. A few notes from Sanchez’s press conference today: He basically reaffirmed his belief that he could play Sunday and his frustration with the decision. However, he said understood where Ryan was coming from and that he was confident in Kellen Clemens playing well. He also said there is no doubt at all that he will play next week against Atlanta.

Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 14 Viewing Guide

For at least another week, the Jets playoff pipe dream remains alive thanks to a victory over Buffalo, a shocking Pittsburgh loss, a Baltimore loss on Monday night, and a few other somewhat favorable outcomes. Here are what games to keep an eye on this weekend and who you should be rooting for, preceded by the current AFC standings:

  1. Indianapolis (12-0)
  2. Cincinnati (9-3)
  3. San Diego (9-3)
  4. New England (7-5)
  5. Denver (8-4)
  6. Jacksonville (7-5)
  7. Miami (6-6)
  8. Baltimore (6-6)
  9. NY Jets (6-6)
  10. Pittsburgh (6-6)
  11. Houston (5-7)
  12. Tennessee (5-7)

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6) At Cleveland Browns (1-11) – If you decide to pass on watching NBC Must See TV and the trainwreck “Jersey Shore” (which completely disgraces my state and ethnicity) on Thursday night, turn in to the Steelers and Browns on the NFL Network. Can Eric Mangini and former Jets legends Eric Barton, Hank Poteat, Jason Trusnik, Chansi Stuckey, Abram Elam, CJ Mosley, and David Bowens knock off the slumping defending champs? If Pittsburgh can lose at home to Oakland to the Bruce Gradkowski/Louis Murphy connection, why can’t they lose in Cleveland? Let’s go Mangini…let’s play some consistent, fundamental football in all three phases of the game because that is always a function of winning.

New York Jets (6-6) At Tampa Bay Bucs (1-11) – Can the Jets avoid the traditional late season loss in a bad spot to a really awful team? Let’s keep it entertaining for at least another week.

Miami Dolphins (6-6) At Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5) – Tough call here. I have been torn most of the week on who to root for in this game. I have decided to go with Miami. Why? Here is my scenario: the Dolphins win and the Jets win putting both of them and the Jaguars at 7-6. My man Vince Young beats the Dolphins in week 15 and the Jaguars lose to the Colts on Thursday night in football in the last game of the year Indy plays with all their starters the full game and Jacksonville continues their tailspin by losing in New England the following week. Miami beats Houston in week 16 by closes the season with a loss to Pittsburgh to finish 8-8. This allows the Jets to lose in Indy, which will inevitably happen if Peyton Manning plays into the second half and creep in with a 9-7 record if a few other things break their way…complicated? I know. The bottom line is that the best thing here would be a tie. The Jets are helped in some ways and hurt in some ways regardless of the outcome.

Detroit Lions (2-10) At Baltimore Ravens (6-6)Daunte Culpepper will be making the start in this game. I vote that he decides to throw it back to the old school, mistake Calvin Johnson for Randy Moss and lead the upset charge. One thing about the Ravens, they get called for pass interference on every other pass attempt so maybe the Lions can keep it close.

Denver Broncos (8-4) At Indianapolis Colts (12-0) – The best thing that could happen here is that Indy could run it up on the Broncos like they always seem to and throw the Broncos into a self-doubting tailspin. This tailspin carries over to the following week where they lose to sudden juggernauts Oakland Raiders, followed by another loss to the Eagles and what do you have? Another Denver December meltdown.

Carolina Panthers (5-7) At New England Patriots (7-5) – The best way to attack the Patriots is through the air. Throwing the football isn’t Carolina’s strong suit, even with Matt Moore now in at quarterback. The only way I could see this game even being close is if Steve Smith makes 5 or 6 ridiclous catches and Bill Belichick continues to refuse to kick field goals or punts on 4th down.

Kellen Clemens Starting For the Jets in 2007…Wow, I don’t miss Justin McCariens

NFL Week 11 Recap/Jets vs. Panthers First Look

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First a few updates:

1. The big story being reported out of the New York media today is how Rex Ryan will be more hands on with the Jets offense and Mark Sanchez. Hopefully, a person the size of Ryan constantly in Sanchez’s ear about protecting the football will make him think twice before he launches another ball off his back foot into double coverage. Ryan also said yesterday he felt disrespected by the Pats bombing it up to Randy Moss with 30 seconds left despite being up 17. Was it a classless move? Sure it was, but what else would you expect from New England? The Jets and Pats are rivals. For all the talking the Jets have done this year, this is no time to be complaining about feeling disrespected.

2. The Jets fell to number 22 in ESPN’s Power Rankings. Remember when they were the #5 team? It is hard to believe that it was during this season.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – Unless they have a colossal meltdown, the Pats should cruise to the AFC East title. I am not sure if they are good enough right now to pull out a victory in New Orleans, but beyond that I think will roll through the rest of their schedule.

Dolphins-Patriots-Football2__1222089553_3355Miami Dolphins – Somehow, someway the Dolphins are right in the thick of the AFC wild card race. Unlike what was expected for the AFC this year, there is plenty of mediocrity battling for the #5 and #6 playoff spots. If the Dolphins can avoid a slip up against Buffalo this week, they will have a chance in upcoming games against Houston and Jacksonville to put themselves in great position to play in January. I am already having nightmares about a Miami/New England first round playoff game.

Buffalo Bills – I am fascinated to see how the NFL Network is going to promote the upcoming Jets/Bills Thursday night game, “Watch Mark Sanchez and his 19 interceptions lead the 4-7 Jets into Toronto to play Ryan Fitzpatrick and the 3-8 Buffalo Bills”…oh boy.

TOJ Top Twenty

  1. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings – I am giving them the bump up to #1 because of recent impressive victories over New England and on the road at Baltimore.
  2. New Orleans Saints – If they beat New England on Monday night, 16-0 becomes a reality.
  3. Minnesota Vikings – All I can do now is hope for a Brett Favre flameout in the playoffs.
  4. San Diego Chargers – About to run away from the suddenly hapless Broncos in the AFC West.
  5. New England Patriots – Another chance to show they are an elite team this Monday night.
  6. Arizona Cardinals – Putting together a very impressive season to follow up their NFC title.
  7. Cincinnati Bengals – A loss to Oakland? Really? Fortunately for them the Steelers couldn’t beat the Chiefs.
  8. Philadelphia Eagles – They finally won a close game.
  9. Dallas Cowboys – Ugly ugly win but if they can handle Oakland on Thursday, they will be 8-3 heading into a huge game against the Giants.
  10. Pittsburgh Steelers – Who would have thought Pittsburgh would be battling for a wild card spot?
  11. New York Giants – They should be able to handle the fading Broncos on Thursday.
  12. Green Bay Packers – I would love them to get another shot at Minnesota in the playoffs.
  13. Jacksonville Jaguars – Let’s see if they can handle a West Coast trip and being a playoff contender.
  14. Baltimore Ravens – Huge game Sunday night against the Steelers.
  15. Tennessee Titans – Could they actually finish over .500 after starting 0-6?
  16. Atlanta Falcons – Soft remaining schedule could help their playoff run.
  17. Miami Dolphins – I am hoping it is too little, too late for the Dolphins but unfortunately it may not be.
  18. Houston Texans  – They can’t win a big game.
  19. Denver Broncos – Could they actually finish below .500 after starting 6-0?
  20. Carolina Panthers – Good news for their fledgling playoff hopes…the Jets upcoming on the schedule.

Jets vs. Panthers First Look

jake_delhommeThe Opponent: Let playing out the string commence…the Jets begin a three game streak against sub .500 teams this week with a home game against Carolina in the “Interception Bowl.” Jake Delhomme (14) and Mark Sanchez (16) have combined for 30 interceptions this season. The Panthers are coming off a 12-4 season but have disappointed in 2009 with a 4-6 record. Similar to the Jets, they can run the football and play some defense but are limited by a turnover prone quarterback. I do know this, I would be starting both Thomas Jones and DeAngelo Williams on your fantasy football team because there should be plenty of handoffs in the Meadowlands on Sunday. Last Thursday night, Carolina lost 24-17 at home to our beloved Dolphins, due to Ricky Williams running all over them…like I said it is time to hand the football off.

Key Players: Steve Smith is one of the league’s premier big play receivers but has struggled in 2009 because of inconsistent quarterback play. Fortunately, the Jets have Darrelle Revis to handle him and Carolina doesn’t have Wes Welker on the other side of him. DeAngelo Williams is their lead back and is also a big play threat with breakaway speed. Jonathan Stewart is very involved as the #2 running back with over 500 yards and 6 touchdowns. He provides a more bruising, inside running style. On defense, Julius Peppers is having another strong season with 7 sacks. Jon Beason is one of the better linebackers in football and Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall are a talented pair of corners.

Injuries: I would expect Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery, and Vernon Gholston to miss another week. Strickland has a head injury. Lowery has a bad ankle sprain and Gholston has a hamstring/he’s not that good and the Jets coaches need an excuse to bench him issue.

Dolphins/Panthers Highlights

Jets vs. Titans: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode III

First a few updates:

1. Another week, another round of trash talk. Here is what Titans fullback Ahmad Hall had to say about Bart Scott, “I don’t like Bart; Bart don’t like me. He knows that. We had a good battle last year and he knows what he is going to get from me and I know what I am going to get from him. So it is what it is. You’re going to see us fighting all day. It is serious to me. I wouldn’t fight the guy or nothing like that – unless he wanted to fight. I don’t like the guy. He just runs his mouth all the time, even when he is not doing anything in the play. He is a talker and I just like guys that go out there and get their job done. Bart Scott is talking to everybody – he is talking to fans, he is talking to whoever listens to him. I think he runs his mouth a little too much and needs to just come out there and play. I went out there on a lead play (last year) and knocked his helmet off and he is still talking mess.” Keith Bulluck also said the Titans plan on rattling Mark Sanchez and leaving New York with their first win of the season. Alot of yapping from a team who is 0-2 and lost to the Jets by 21 in their own building last year.

2. Mark Sanchez is being listed on the injury report as a full participant in practice with tendinitis in his knee. Let’s not panic here, the Jets were just fined for not listing Brett Favre on the injury report last season and I think the Jets will go out of their way to list any type of ailment the rest of the season. Sanchez is going to start on Sunday and should be fine.

3. Donald Strickland and Lito Sheppard are both out this Sunday, meaning Dwight Lowery will start, with Drew Coleman sliding into the nickel role. Ahmad Carroll and Marquice Cole will be the backups. The Jets brought in free agents Corey Ivy and Justin Miller for a visit today, which could mean Strickland or Sheppard will be out for more than a week…not good with the Saints coming up next week.

Jets vs. Titans: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode III

Enjoy some footage from inside the stadium during the Jets victory over the Patriots, including the raucous celebration by the fans after the game, and some anti-New England chants.

The Song: Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z f/ Alicia Keys

Scouting the AFC East: New England Patriots

First a few updates:

1. I decided to double post, because I had a good weekend and I feel bad about not posting on Friday or Saturday which is a bad job by me. All of these graduation parties are killing me.

2. Losing 2 out of 3 to the Nationals and Marlins…terrible job by the Yankees, just terrible.

Scouting the AFC East: New England Patriots

Along with the positional analysis articles, I am going to take a look at each of the AFC East teams in the next week and how the Jets stack up against them, continuing today with the New England Patriots.

2008 Record: 11-5

2008 vs. Jets: The Jets and Patriots split last year, with both teams winning their road games. New England beat the Jets at the Meadowlands 19-10 in week 2 and then the Jets won an OT thriller in New England 34-31 in week 11. In their first meeting, Wes Welker had 7 catches 72 yards, while Randy Moss was quiet with 2 catches for 22 yards (credit Darrelle Revis). Thomas Jones was solid in week 2 with 70 yards on 17 carries, while Leon Washington only had 2 carries despite gaining 28 yards. The Jets sacked Matt Cassell four times in their September meeting, while New England got to Brett Favre twice. In week 11, Thomas Jones had 104 yards on 30 carries with a touchdown. Leon Washington scored two touchdowns, one receiving and one on a kick return. Jerricho Cotchery had a big night, with 5 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Welker had 7 catches for 108 yards and Randy Moss had 3 catches for 26 yards, although he had the game tying touchdown as time expired in regulation.

2009 Additions: On offense they added declining veterans Fred Taylor, Joey Galloway, and Greg Lewis. They also added tight ends Chris Baker and Alex Smith. On defense, they acquired cornerbacks Leigh Bodden and Shawn Springs and signed linebacker Tully Banta-Cain. In the draft, their highest selection was safety Patrick Chung in the second round, they also selected cornerback Darius Butler in the second round and receiver Brandon Tate in the third round.

2009 Losses: Cheap shot artist Rodney Harrison retired. Matt Cassell and Mike Vrabel joined the Chiefs. Ellis Hobbs was traded to Philadelphia. Receivers Jabar Gaffney and Kelly Washington left in free agency. Linebackers Roosevelt Colvin and Junior Seau also are gone.

Why the Jets Should Be Worried: New England is probably the team to beat in the division as of right now. If Tom Brady is back to his normal self, he is the best quarterback in the NFL. Randy Moss and Wes Welker are the best starting duo of receivers in the league. The Patriots offensive line is always very good and they have a deep group of versatile running backs. Bill Bellicheck will always have his team ready to go with a creative scheme. Their front seven will be difficult to deal with. The Jets haven’t beaten New England at home since 2000.

Why the Jets Can Handle New England: The Patriots have a suspect secondary and are generally starting to get old on defense. Tom Brady is coming off major knee surgery and it remains to be seen whether he will be his old self. They are counting on declining veterans Joey Galloway, Fred Taylor, and Greg Lewis to be major contributors on offense. The Jets have won in New England two of the past three years and outside of the home opener in 2007, have been in every game with them the past few years. They did a good job running the ball on them last season and did a decent job at getting to the quarterback.

Prediction: The Patriots should have one of the best offenses in the league and will always have a good defense with Bellicheck calling the shots. I think the Pats will be a double digit victory team again in 2009 but won’t run away with the division as some people are predicting. I can see them being anywhere from 10-6 to 12-4. In terms of the Jets, I think it is reasonable to believe the Jets can manage a split against them this season and they will need to if they have any hopes of winning the division.

2009 Games: Week 2 at New York Jets, 1 PM Kickoff. Week 11 at New England, 4:15 PM Kickoff.

Ten Reasons the Jets Will Make the Playoffs

First some updates from OTA’s today, which were open to the media:

1. Mark Sanchez had a rough day. Rex Ryan characterized his first week as being good (Tuesday), bad (Monday), and ugly (today). He struggled in the two minute drill, only going 1-4 and getting sacked once. Despite looking sharp in individual drills, his 7 on 7’s and team drills were filled with mostly incompletions and interceptions. The defense was all over him, often taunting him about holding the ball too long and hanging his receivers out to dry. He also apparently has been hearing plenty about his GQ photo spread. I wouldn’t panic too much about a rough practice in May, Sanchez is a rookie going against a very talented defense that is running a complex scheme, the guy will be fine.

2. Kellen Clemens had a decent day and a good overall week. He dropped in a 25 yard touchdown pass to Brad Smith during redzone drills and led the first offense to a field goal during their two minute drill. Clemens isn’t going down without a fight and to his credit has remained helpful and supportive towards Sanchez despite their competition.

3. Rex Ryan was angered by the high amount of dropped passes by his receivers today. Somebody needs to step up and fill Laveranues Coles’ shoes. Jerricho Cotchery has been good, as expected but another receiver is going to need to step up, so far Chansi Stuckey appears to be leading the pack as the #2 receiver. The defensive backs were the most impressive position group today, with Darrelle Revis standing out as usual and Ahmad Carroll having a strong day.

4. The ongoing theme of these OTAs has been how the defense has been ahead of the offense. You have to expect this with a young quarterback and Thomas Jones/Leon Washington MIA. Danny Woodhead ran with the first team again, since Shonn Greene sat out today with a minor hamstring injury.

5. Ryan praised the progress of Vernon Gholston, Jamaal Westerman, and Kareem Brown. Gholston is taking advantage of participating in these OTAs, which he missed last year. Westerman was a college defensive end who has already worked at both inside and outside linebacker for the Jets and Brown is apparently making strong progress at tight end, despite a drop today.

Ten Reasons the Jets Will Make the Playoffs

After yesterday’s negative article, let’s take a more positive look at next season:

1. Defense Wins – Everybody knows you need a good defense to play into January. The Jets already had a very good defense last season and only got better with the addition of Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, and Lito Sheppard. Rex Ryan will put a more aggressive scheme in place that will take advantage of the Jets personnel, notably Calvin Pace, Kerry Rhodes, and Vernon Gholston who excel attacking the quarterback.

2. Running Wins – Let’s assume everything gets settled with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington in the next few weeks. The Jets have the potential to have the best rushing attack in the AFC, with two pro-bowl RBs, and rookie Shonn Greene. Beyond that, they have a very good fullback in Tony Richardson and one of the better offensive lines in the league. The Jets should be able to hand the ball off 35 times a game and be able to wear out opposing defenses.

3. Winning Attitude – Rex Ryan has changed the culture around this team. They are no longer a passive, reactive team with no notable emotions or personality. Ryan is encouraging a confident, talkative team that will play with some swagger on the field. The Jets won’t be a team that sits back and lets the other team dictate to them anymore.

4. Match-Up Problems – Despite how thin they are wide receiver and tight end, the Jets have two match-up nightmares on offense with Dustin Keller and Leon Washington. Keller shredded up the Patriots and Titans last year because they simply had nobody who could cover him, and Washington is a threat to score a touchdown anytime he touches the ball. He has the ability to play running back, fullback, split end, and in the slot.

5. No More Brett – The Jets will be better off without Brett Favre’s 22 INT’s and the constant side-show that he brought to the team. Yes, Sanchez and Clemens are inexperienced but they won’t throw 20+ interceptions this season, which will improve the Jets overall turnover ratio.

6. Mad Backers – Bart Scott leads a deep and talented group of linebackers who should anchor the Jets defense. He should also help the learning curve for David Harris, Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, and Vernon Gholston because of how familiar he is with the system. Scott and Harris should feed off of each other and Kris Jenkins in front of them, making it difficult for teams to run the ball.

7. Schedule Is Manageable – The Jets schedule isn’t as easy as last season but it isn’t as hard as everyone is making it out to be. Houston, New Orleans, Oakland, Jacksonville, and Tampa Bay all missed the playoffs last season. The Jets should be able to manage a 4-2 record in their division, because I believe Miami will be down from last year and that the Jets match-up well against New England and Buffalo.

8. Big Man – Rex Ryan’s defense should be easier on Kris Jenkins, allowing him to two-gap less and showing more 4-3 looks. If Jenkins could be healthy down the stretch, it will make a huge difference for the Jets run defense.

9. Opportunities – David Clowney never got a chance last season to build on a monster pre-season, but with Laveranues Coles now in Cincy he should receive plenty of reps to flash his deep speed and big play ability. Dustin Keller should also get more chances with Chris Baker in New England. Hopefully, Brian Schottenheimer will exercise some common sense and give Leon Washington more touches this year.

10. C’mon Now – We have to be due for finding the right coach and right quarterback, don’t we?

Ten Reasons the Jets Won't Make the Playoffs

First a few updates:

1. The Jets signed their sixth round draft pick Matt Slauson to a contract, although the terms were undisclosed. They also released cornerback Tyron Brackenridge.

2. According to Drew Rosenhaus and his Twitter account, Thomas Jones will be attending Jets OTA’s beginning next Wednesday. There has apparently been progress in their discussions, but we’ll see what the situation is when Jones arrives in Florham Park next week. Ideally, Jones and Leon Washington will have a week of practice under their belts before mandatory practice starts on June 9th.

3. David Clowney has a site over at: www.davidclowney87.com which provides some interesting updates about the Jets OTA’s and the ongoing receiver battle. Jay Feely’s twitter account complimented the Jets offense for their past practice on Monday and said Chansi Stuckey was the player of the day…we’ll take any update we can get until media availability on Thursday.

4. An NBA Minute – Kobe and Carmelo are going to be fun to watch this Western Conference Finals. You forget how good of a scorer ‘Melo can be, but he was awesome last night. Kobe simply carried the Lakers to a win, his supporting cast isn’t as good as advertised. I still like Denver in 7.

Ten Reasons the Jets Won’t Make the Playoffs

I did recently proclaim the Jets would be a playoff team next season but let’s play devil’s advocate for a little while and look at reasons why they may not make the playoffs in 2009. I will of course follow this article tomorrow, with ten reasons why they will make the playoffs next year:

1. Too Young at Key Spots – An inexperienced quarterback and a first year head coach can’t be expected to navigate the Jets through the AFC East in to a playoff spot. Rex Ryan sounds great but we don’t know anything about his in game management skills yet or how our quarterback will respond in close games.

2. Not Enough Weapons – Jerricho Cotchery is a very good number two receiver, not a number one. Behind him, they have a group of inexperienced players who have never been full time starters. They are thin at tight end, and are one injury away from starting Bubba Franks or a converted defensive lineman, in Kareem Brown.

3. Lack of Depth on Offensive Line – If the Jets have one injury to any of their five starters, a highly inexpierienced player will be asked to step into a full time role. Can they maintain a strong rushing attack with Wayne Hunter or Robert Turner up front?

4. Contract Issues – Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are both currently unhappy with their contracts. Will this affect their play or serve as a distraction to the rest of the team? The Jets may struggle if rookie Shonn Greene is asked to handle too many carries.

5. Lack of Depth on Defensive Line – Marques Douglas and Mike DeVito are career backups who will be splitting reps at a starting defensive end spot. There isn’t much behind them at the end position or much behind Kris Jenkins at the nose tackle spot.

6. Difficult Division – The Patriots were 11-5 last year without Tom Brady behind center and he now appears to be fully healthy. Buffalo added Terrell Owens to an already dangerous offense and Miami has Bill Parcells running the show, which means they always have a shot. It is going to take at least 10 wins to even threaten for a wild card spot this year.

7. Tough Schedule – The Jets have to face the NFC and AFC South, both of which were very strong divisions last year. The Colts, Titans, Falcons, and Panthers were all playoff teams and the Bucs, Saints, and Texans were all .500 or better.

8. Chemistry Issues – The Jets will be adjusting to two new starters in the secondary, Lito Sheppard and Jim Leonhard. Sheppard has injury concerns and is coming off his worst season ever and Leonhard has never started for an entire season.

9. B-Schott – Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is coming off a very average year, where he struggled to find any consistency with his play calling and was often too conservative. Will he able to create enough points with an inexperienced quarterback and receiving core?

10. Punter? – Yes, I am reaching for reasons here all the way down at number ten but the Jets currently don’t have a punter on their roster with any NFL experience. We saw last year on San Diego how much of a difference a good punter could make.