NFL Week 13 Recap, Jets News and Notes

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First a few updates:

1. As you can tell from all the sweet white boxes with red x’s in the corner in my last few articles and the lack of pictures in today’s article, there are still technical problems with the site. I am trying to work them out ASAP.

Jets News and Notes

1. The Jets had an abbreviated practice today, which was closer to a walk through than anything else. However, Mark Sanchez didn’t take part. Rex Ryan said he has been going through intense rehab and that he still is optimistic about him suiting up this Sunday. I would expect him to be limited in Wednesday’s practice. If he is going to start, the Jets will want him out there for the installation of the game plan. Sanchez will be wearing a brace on both legs for the rest of the season. It will be interesting to see how he responds from his first somewhat serious injury as a pro and how the knee will affect his play.

2. Rex Ryan didn’t say if Eric Smith or Kerry Rhodes would start at safety. It would be hard to justify giving Rhodes his job back after his quiet performance against Buffalo. I don’t know who taught Rhodes how to tackle but whomever they are was incorrect in showing him that you tackle by throwing your shoulder into the ball carrier with your hands at your side.

3. The Jets caught some breaks yesterday in their bid for a playoff spot. It should be a wild final four weeks in the AFC. Everybody needs to put on their Aaron Rodgers jersey tonight and pull hard for the Packers to knock the Ravens down to 6-6. I will break down in more detail what the Jets need to happen this Sunday to help their playoff hopes in my Wednesday article, “Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 14 Viewing Guide.” It is still a long shot but the Jets are very much alive, especially if the Packers take care of business tonight.

4. The Jets are currently ranked #1 in the NFL in both rushing and total defense…usually those type of rankings equal a division lead, not a 6-6 record.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – Maybe now everybody will stop saying the Patriots are an elite team in the NFL, since the only road game they have won this season was against Tampa Bay in London. The reality is that Bill Belichick has made some stupid decisions the past few weeks, including trying to convert a 4th down against Miami instead of taking a field goal that would have put New England up by two possessions. New England is an average team this season, which makes it more of a shame that the Jets couldn’t tackle Ted Ginn Jr…or stop Jacksonville in the 4th quarter…or avoid 6 INTs against Buffalo…or tackle Ronnie Brown on Monday night…and on and on. It is going to make me sick if the Patriots go 9-7 or 10-6 and win this division.

Miami Dolphins – I hate Miami and I hate giving them credit but that was a big time win for them and a big time performance by Chad Henne. How do you get blown out by Buffalo and throw three interceptions and then come back and beat New England and play like a franchise quarterback…that is the state of the NFL and the AFC East this year. They have a huge game in Jacksonville this weekend, which at first glance is a tough game to decide who to root for if you are a Jets fan. A closer look at both team’s schedule confirms that we should be pulling for the Jags because they are likely to lose their next two after Miami (against Indy and in New England). If Miami does win, we are going to need some AFC South help from the Titans and Texans against the Fins in the following two weeks. (I find it very hard not to discuss the 200000 playoff possibilities all the time, but I am trying to save it for Wednesday).

Buffalo Bills – We can only hope they can contribute to the Patriots meltdown by beating them up in Buffalo in a few weeks, which is something I wouldn’t be shocked to see happen. The Bills should have beat New England in week one and they are always tough in their building…not in Toronto in front of 80,000 uninterested Blue Jays and Maple Leafs fans.

Other NFL Observations

Has anything more improbable this season happened than Bruce Gradkowski driving Oakland down the field in Pittsburgh with under two minutes to play to steal a victory, bizarre stuff, this is the defending champs we are talking about…Yes, I giggled like a school girl watching Brett Favre play like crap last night and throw two interceptions, hopefully this a sign of things to come…I still can’t believe Washington found a way to blow that game against the Saints…Good win for the Giants, who continued to prove that Dallas will never win an important game with Wade Phillips and Tony Romo leading the way…Good weeks for my Super Bowl picks, as the Chargers and Eagles each racked up another win…How can we convince Jim Caldwell to rest Peyton Manning against the Jets in week 16?

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

  1. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings (12-0) – Business like victory over the previously red-hot Titans.
  2. New Orleans Saints (12-0) – Amazing victory over Washington, keeps undefeated hopes alive.
  3. Minnesota Vikings (10-2) – Wow, they looked bad last night…was it an aberration or a sign of things to come?
  4. San Diego Chargers (9-3) – Tough games approaching on the schedule.
  5. Cincinnati Bengals (9-3) – Running away with the AFC North.
  6. Arizona Cardinals (8-4) – Don’t sleep on the defending NFC Champs…they can play with anybody.
  7. Philadelphia Eagles (8-4) – Their offense is a big play machine…huge game in the Meadowlands this Sunday night.
  8. Denver Broncos (8-4) – Fought off their 4 game losing streak with two impressive wins.
  9. Green Bay Packers ( 7-4) – We are pulling for you tonight.
  10. New York Giants (7-5) – Big plays led to big win over Dallas, who they own.
  11. Dallas Cowboys (8-4) – With upcoming games against San Diego and New Orleans…here comes the meltdown.
  12. New England Patriots (7-5) – Battling Dallas for the league’s weakest division leader.
  13. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5) – Up by 4 with 5 minutes to go…thank you very much #1 ranked Jets defense.
  14. Baltimore Ravens (6-5) – Do us all a favor, and come out flat tonight and don’t give the ball to Ray Rice too often.
  15. Miami Dolphins (6-6) – Thanks for beating New England, but it is time to start losing again.
  16. New York Jets (6-6) – Have to take care of business this week and hope to continue to receive help.
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6) – You lose to Oakland…at home? Let’s go Mangini and the Browns on Thursday.
  18. Tennessee Titans (5-7) – Take care of Miami in week 15 for us.
  19. Atlanta Falcons (6-6) – Things have gone south quickly for the dirty birds.
  20. Houston Texans (5-7) – Speaking of going south quickly.
  21. San Francisco 49ers (5-7) – I said even teams with a weak playoff pulse would be ranked…case and point.
  22. Seattle Seahawks (5-7) – See 49ers.

Pats Lose to the Fins

Raiders Shock Steelers

Jets vs. Bills: Game Breakdown

Bills 

 First a few updates:

1. The official injury report for tomorrow lists Lito Sheppard, Donald Strickland, and Robert Turner out. Tight End Matthew Mulligan has been moved to the active roster to replace Justin Miller, who was released last week.

2. Darrelle Revis was named AFC Defense Player of the Week for his performance against Carolina. A well-deserved honor for the league’s best cornerback.

Jets vs. Bills Game Breakdown

Jets_vs_Bills_74cfOffense: The Jets ran for over 300 yards the last time they played Buffalo so it would be a safe assumption that Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene, and Danny Woodhead will be very active tomorrow night. Buffalo needs to prove they can stop the run before the Jets stop turning around and handing the ball to Jones. One quick thing for Brian Schottenheimer, can we stop with the toss play? I swear the Jets run toss two times every game and lose 5 yards on it both times. Jones and Greene are north and south runners, give them the ball up the middle. After watching game tape this should be the easiest game plan Schottenheimer ever put together: Hand the ball off early and often.

When the Jets do need to throw the football, I wouldn’t mind seeing them take a couple of shots down the field. The Jets were about as conservative as possible last week and eventually Buffalo is going to put enough people in the box, where the offense is going to need to put one up for Braylon Edwards. Dustin Keller has been doing a great job in the intermediate passing game the past few weeks but with how well the Jets run the football, they should be able to make the defense pay with big plays in the passing game. Jerricho Cotchery was quiet last game, so don’t be surprised to see the Jets try to get him involved early.

Defense: There is alot of talk about the emergence of the Bills down field passing attack led by Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, the Jets got an answer for the suddenly woken up Terrell Owens and that is Darrelle Revis. I am more concerned about Lee Evans matched up with Lito Sheppard. Evans hurt the Jets in their last meeting but Sheppard is coming off his best game of the season and appears to finally be getting healthy. I would still like to see the Jets role the coverage to help against Evans. Revis can handle Owens one on one.

Fred Jackson has been moved into the starting line-up for the Bills and is a dangerous back. The Jets defensive line has played surprisingly well in the absence of Kris Jenkins and needs to keep it up against Jackson and the Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a mobile quarterback who escaped a few sacks against the Jets last time. They need to bring him down when they get a chance. I would like to see Bart Scott make a few big plays. David Harris and Calvin Pace have made their share in the past few weeks, so let’s see Scott get a few. Hopefully, Kerry Rhodes will use coming off the bench in a primetime game as motivation and put together another big game.

Special Teams: I think we will see Brad Smith as the primary kick returner from now on. Jerricho Cotchery has been good on punt returns but I still worry about him getting hurt back there. Buffalo is traditionally solid on special teams and has never been averse to trick plays.

Please don’t ever think every italian guy from North Jersey is  like this…I don’t even own hair gel…I swear.

Jets Make Fans Suffer: TOJ TV Episode 7 – Shutting The Site Down Part 1

First a few updates:

1. Expect to see Sione Pouha, Howard Green, and Mike Devito splitting reps at Kris Jenkins old spot on Sunday. There will also be increased presure on Marques Douglas and Shaun Ellis to pick up their play against both the run and the pass.

2. We will have a post tomorrow and Saturday with some final notes on the Jets/Raiders match-up, along with a look at the rest of their scheudle to show just how important Sunday’s game is and some disturbing stats for the Jets through 6 games.

Jets Make Fans Suffer: TOJ TV Episode 7 – Shutting The Site Down Part 1

The Jets continued losing has become too much to handle for Jets fans, especially with how confident we were last Sunday heading into a home against the hapless Bills. Where does the Jets season and TOJ TV go from here? Check out part 1 of “Shutting the Site Down” (A James Corbett Production)

Five Final Thoughts on Jets/Dolphins Monday Night Game

First a few updates:

1. Jerricho Cotchery and Damien Woody are both expected to be in the starting line-up tonight. Cotchery may not be at 100 percent, so it will be interesting to see if the Jets spell him occasionally with Brad Smith and David Clowney. On defense, the good is news is that Calvin Pace is back. The bad news is that Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland won’t be playing again…fortunately, Miami’s starting receivers are better cast as #3 and 4 receivers.

2. Peter King dropped the Jets down to #8 in his Power Rankings and picked the Dolphins to win tonight, as are more people than I expected. The Jets are only 1 point favorites despite having a 2 game better record…we shall see tonight.

3. You have to love Paplebon choking in the 9th and the Red Sox getting swept out of the playoffs, the same day the Yankees swept the Twins and the same day the Patriots lost. Watching all those depressed/confused faces in Fenway, I have to say things are starting to feel right in the sports world again.

4. Congrats to Eric Mangini for getting his first win in Cleveland, despite his quarterback going 2/17 for 23 yards with an INT. I am 90 percent confident I could have replicated those stats, if I was under center for the Browns yesterday. Chansi Stuckey must be crying himself to sleep looking at pictures of Mark Sanchez.

Five Final Thoughts on Jets/Dolphins Monday Night Game

1. Back to Basics – The Jets need to run the football tonight, early and often. Expect to see Thomas Jones and Leon Washington have their stats look similar to the way they did in the Houston game. Also, don’t be shocked to Shonn Greene get a series in each half. The Jets offensive line has something to prove tonight.

2. When We Do Throw – The Jets will take at least one shot down the field to Braylon Edwards tonight who racked up his only three 100 yard efforts last year in primetime. It will be a message to upcoming defensive coordinators about the new capabilities of this offense. I am going to predict Edwards ends up with 4 catches for 62 yards. Also keep an eye on Dustin Keller, because the Dolphins linebackers and safeties aren’t good in coverage…remember what Dallas Clark did to them a few weeks back.

3. Mismatch – I wouldn’t start Chad Henne on my fantasy team tonight. The guy is going to be in for a rough night facing a Jets pass rush bolstered by Calvin Pace and a Jets secondary that should be able to handle the Dolphins receivers even without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland. Ronnine Brown might throw for more yards than Henne tonight.

4. It All Comes Down To – The Jets ability to stop the run. If Miami can’t move the football on the ground, they have no chance to even remain competitive tonight. However, if Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams get going the Jets could be in for a long night.

5. Bury Them – The Jets can basically bury the Dolphins with a win tonight by opening up a 3 game lead over them. I hate to pencil in victories but the Jets get the Bills and Raiders the next two weeks, which means they can open up even more space throughout October.

Turn On the Jets TV Episode V

Turn On the Jets TV New Commercial

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Midnight Miracle

AFC Power Rankings: Where Do the Jets Fit?

First a few updates:

1. It’s officially training camp week, with the Jets opening up this Friday in Cortland, New York. Later in the day, I will be posting an extended, comprehensive (two big time adjectives there) training camp preview. Also, I will finish up my positional analysis this week, with a look at the team’s linebackers and special teams. You can look back through the archives for my breakdown of all the other positions on the roster.

2. I will be appearing on a podcast on our site tomorrow around 11:30 to discuss the Jets, the link is http://ownersedge.fanball.com/fantasy_buffet.php

3. By the end of the week, I plan on making additions to both the TOJ Hall of Fame and TOJ Hall of Shame…thrilling stuff for everybody, I know. Also, I am stuck with the 5th pick in upcoming fantasy football draft and I am open to suggestions on who I should pick…Brees, Fitzgerald, Jones-Drew, Westbrook, Brad Smith, Wallace Wright?

AFC Power Rankings: Where Do the Jets Fit?

I don’t like to rank teams from 1-16, but instead separate them into different levels. With training camps starting up this week, here is how I see the AFC breaking down:

The Favorites

Pittsburgh Steelers – The defending champions are returning all of their major parts and should be right back at the top of the AFC North. Their defense should be one of the league’s best and if they can get something out of Rashad Mendenhall and Limas Sweed this year, their offense could be even more dynamic.

New England Patriots – They have the best coach in the NFL, a good defense, and potentially the best offense in football if Tom Brady is back at 100 percent. If the Jets want to win the AFC East, the road goes through New England (sorry Dolphins fans).

Indianapolis Colts – They were playing as well as anyone in football last year before getting bounced in the wild-card round to the Chargers. Even without Tony Dungy, they still have a quality defense and tons of weapons on offense, including first round pick Donald Brown, who should flourish in their system.

San Diego Chargers – They have as much talent as anyone in football, but can they put it together? Fortunately for them, the AFC West is a weak division and they shouldn’t have any trouble repeating as champs.

The Contenders

Baltimore Ravens – A great defense, a young quarterback who is only going to get better, and a dominant running game should equal another double-digit win total for the Ravens.

Tennessee Titans – I think they will take a big step down from last year’s win total. They sure didn’t feel like a 13-3 team last year, but maybe that’s just because I watched the Jets embarrass them in their home building. They got a shot for revenge in the Meadowlands in week 3, though.

Question Marks

Miami Dolphins – They have 6-10 written all over them this season and I’m not saying that as a biased Jets fan. The Wildcat won’t fool anybody this year and Chad Pennington has never put together two healthy, productive seasons in a row. Yet, they have a good defense and running game which will keep them competitive.

Buffalo Bills – There is a ton of talent at the skill positions but can Trent Edwards stay healthy and take his game to the next level? Can Dick Jauron get out of his own way?

New York Jets – I expect a great defense and a great running game but there is still question marks at quarterback, receiver, tight end, and depth on both lines.

Houston Texans – Every year everybody picks them to make a big jump but it never seems to happen. If Matt Schaub can stay healthy, their offense will be scary good with Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson making plays but they still have question marks on defense, as usual. The Texans will be a good test for the Jets in week one.

Bigger Question Marks

Denver Broncos – You don’t improve from 8-8 by going from Jay Cutler to Kyle Orton at quarterback.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Torry Holt will help them on offense, but unless David Garrard goes back to his 2007 form, the Jaguars aren’t going to be any better than they were last season.

The Basement Dwellers

Oakland Raiders – There is obviously talent on offense and some pieces on defense, but hasn’t that been the case on Oakland for the past few years? I’m sure they will go 5-11 but still find a way to beat the Jets.

Kansas City Chiefs – Matt Cassell isn’t going to look so good without Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and one of the best offensive lines in football.

Cincinnatti Bengals – If Carson Palmer can play a full 16 games, they could improve a few games from last season but that would only put them in the 6-7 win range.

Cleveland Browns – Have fun Eric Mangini, but hey they said the same thing about your Jets in 2006 and look what happened.

Jets Highlight of the Day: After spending another weekend of arguing with my friend’s about Leon Washington’s talent level, I decided to throw up some of his highlights, Give 29 a new contract:

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?