TOJ Roundtable Week 3: Jets/Raiders Predictions

Joe Caporoso: Read the 12 pack

TJ RosenthalJets Win if: The makeshift line holds up long enough for Mark Sanchez to work the short passing game. Sanchez will throw for 250 plus yards on the day the Jets will offset the loss of Nick Mangold with the addition of the “Wildcat” some Joe McKnight, and more unpredictability in the Jets run game as far as the point of attack is concerned. The Jets secondary will continue their hot start with another handful of interceptions. FINAL: 23-17 JETS

Raiders Win if: The loss of Mangold becomes too much for the Jets to overcome. Backup C Colin Baxter gets beat in crucial moments. The lack of confidence and mutual trust by the makeshift O line up leads to too many false starts. QB Mark Sanchez tries to do too much, and is picked off three plus times. The ground game remains pedestrian. Darren McFadden gashes a tired Jets defense that is on the field too long too many times. FINAL: 31-20 RAIDERS

Chris Celletti: The Jets need to be careful here. West coast trip, no Nick Mangold, two BIG road games coming up after, and Oakland’s home opener? To quote the great (kidding) Mike Francesa, It will NOT be easy. I think the Jets will be able to handle the Raiders’ offense for the most part, but will struggle to run the ball without Nick Mangold at center. The Jets should be able to exploit some mismatches on the outside with Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes, as long as Brian Schottenheimer has his head on straight. I think the Jets will be able to make enough plays in the passing game to get by, and will win in a game that is decided late in the fourth quarter.

Justin Fritze: Colin Baxter is not the name you want to hear today. The Jets will be forced to test the run and play action their way to two touchdowns. I see this one going to the wire in a 21-17 penalty filled game that will finally legitimize the Jets as one of the top 5 teams in the league. Dustin Keller will have a few good catches, look for Santonio and Plaxico to get involved early with a few shots down the field.

Rob Celletti: The superstitious side of me says that it’s a bad idea to keep picking the Jets to win every week, but this is part of getting used to the Jets actually being a team that should expect to win almost every single week.  And so I’ll take the Jets in this one, 23-13.  The consensus this week seems to be that the Jets should be able to throw for a bunch of yards on the Oakland secondary, and while proclamations like this usually lead to unmet expectations, I think it’ll happen.  The matchups just seem right, though I am worried about the makeshift offensive line’s ability to protect Mark Sanchez.  I think the Jets will contain Darren McFadden for the most part and force Jason Campbell into some turnovers by not only pressuring, but also confusing the quarterback with different coverage looks.  Campbell does have a huge arm, so the Jets need to be mindful of the deep ball.  The Raiders will move the ball but mostly be forced into field goal attempts.  The Jets will kick more field goals than you’d like to see, but will do enough to secure their 3rd victory of the year.

Check out the week 3 NFL highlights and picks

Jets vs. Raiders: 12 Pack Of Predictions

A rainy Friday…a perfect time to take an extended lunch break with the 12 pack. Remember to check out today’s video picks and highlights.

1. Darren McFadden is going to run for less than 100 yards. The Jets run defense has been solid ever since Rex Ryan took over and regardless of how well McFadden has been playing, the Jets will keep him contained no matter how many touches the Raiders try to get him.

2. Santonio Holmes is going to have a big day, especially if Chris Johnson spends extended time covering him. As a matter of fact, there is no reason Plaxico Burress won’t have a big day either. Look for the Jets starting WRs to combine for 150 yards of receiving and at least one touchdown. Derrick Mason will also be more involved than he has been in previous weeks.

3. The Jets will have a tough time running the football up the middle, which will lead to more outside handoffs for Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. I still don’t expect a big day from the running game but they will do enough to keep Oakland’s defense honest.

4. Mark Sanchez will have another turnover but will throw for over 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He will also rush for at least 20 yards.

5. The Jets defense will continue their early season turnover forcing spree and come up with at least one interception and one forced fumble.

6. Antonio Cromartie won’t get the opportunity to return any kicks this week as Sebastian Janikowski will be kicking them out of the end-zone.

7. Rookie third round pick Kenrick Ellis will be active for the first time this Sunday.

8. Jason Campbell won’t throw for more than 225 yards and will be sacked at least twice. Bart Scott will continue his early season tear with another sack. Kyle Wilson will grab his first NFL sack.

9. Dustin Keller will be kept out of the end-zone for the first time this season.

10. Oakland will get off to a strong start in their first home game of the year but the Jets will weather the early blows and go into halftime with the lead.

11. Jeremy Kerley will gain some type of offensive yards this Sunday.

12. A tight game into the fourth quarter will turn into a two possession Jets victory, 27-17. Eat another hot dog, Sanchez…3-0 and heading to Baltimore.

Week 3 Must Win? Yes, For Jets

The term “must win” is thrown around far too often in the NFL, yet I am going to take the same liberty many others take with it and proclaim the Jets “must” win their upcoming week 3 road game against the Oakland Raiders.

We aren’t blind, the following two games are on the road against the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. Nobody is more confident in this team than myself but coming off a long trip to Oakland, I think any realistic person would sign up for a split of those games. A win in Oakland would allow the Jets to come out of their most difficult three game stretch with a 4-1 record facing two home games, a bye week, and a very manageable final nine games that includes games against the Chiefs, Broncos, Giants, Dolphins, and two games against the Bills. (Yes, I am aware Buffalo is better this year but the Jets will appropriately be favorites in both of their match-ups).

Oakland is an improved football team but let’s not go crazy. They are a substantial cut below the Ravens and Patriots. They beat the Broncos in a tight game to start the season and then blew a large second half lead against Buffalo. Darren McFadden is a beast but the Jets know a thing or two about stopping the run and Jason Campbell doesn’t have the weapons in the passing game to handle Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Oakland’s defense is tough on the run but highly susceptible to the pass, as they were shredded apart by Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. If you can’t cover Stevie Johnson and David Nelson, you can’t cover Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller, never mind Plaxico Burress.

If the Jets consider themselves an elite team in this league they will handle business this week. If you want to win the AFC East there is no room for losses at Oakland. It is going to take 12 or maybe even 13 wins to take the AFC East this year, which makes the margin for error razor thin. It is time for this team to win their division, get a bye and a host a playoff game. You want that to become a reality? Don’t lay an egg to the Raiders this week.

New Jets Leave Perfectionists Rooting With Short Term Memory

We hear and see the complaints every day. From Twitter, to sports talk radio, to general conversations on the street: These Jets, despite two straight trips to the AFC championship game and a fast start in 2011, are still seen by some Jets fans with the glass half empty. A distinction must be made though, between being angry about a miserable football team and concerned over the details that turn a very good team into great.

The current NY Jets are not a flawless football team. They are a very good one, with some great players and units that can knock opponents out given the matchup. The Jets of today are a far cry from their predecessors. Guys who let windy days in Shea Stadium swirl wins into inexplicable losses. They are not the Jets of Giants stadium either, ones who turned hope by exit 16W into tragic endings that ruined once promising seasons.

Nowadays, Jets fans seem to be most unhappy with the fact that third year QB Mark Sanchez is not Tom Brady yet. That Shonn Greene has not become Walter Payton. That the Jets don’t score enough, or early enough. That the front four is not the Steel Curtain. What is missing from many of these arguments is the inclusion of one simple fact. The one that acknowledges that Rex’s Jets win. They win the trap games that the Same Old Jets would lose. They win on the road. They win in the playoffs. They come from behind. They win games they shouldn’t win, not vice versa. Yes, the Sanchez’s and Greene’s must improve, but they don’t have to wind up in Canton in order for the Jets to get where they want to go.

Sunday’s 32-3 win over Jacksonville was the perfect example of how some fans and media experts now expect artistry, not just W’s. The Jets led 15-3 at the half. During the halftime show, CBS’s Boomer Esiason noted first and foremost that Sanchez needed to pick up his play. An opinion that summed up much of what we read from Jets fans using social media at that time.

Boomer was right that Sanchez had made a few poor decisions, ruining some drives and overall field position. However, the score at the half wasn’t even THAT close. In fact, aside from the fear of a long Maurice Jones Drew run or two in the second half, or an unforgivable mistake by the Jets, the Jaguars lacked the firepower to win that game. A notion that was obvious from the start for those who dedicate Sundays to watching football. By the third quarter when the lead ballooned to 29-3, it should have come as no surprise to anyone.

The Jets are not perfect. In fact they are beatable, should certain elements combine within a game that leave them too far back to pull of a comeback that many now wait around expecting, as if it is some birthright. If you’ve lived through the tough times of the early 70’s, the late 80’s and the Kotite era though, you might see all of the critical talk that surrounds the Jets lately as overkill. If so, it would be hard to argue with you.

Being perfect is not a championship requirement. Winning consistently is. A Super Bowl can be won as a result of many different key strengths. Some have done it through the air. Others on the ground, or with a smothering defense. In the modern day NFL, the Jets and GM Mike Tannenbaum are doing THEIR winning via late game toughness, a plethora of All Pro players, and a flexible scheme based defense. That’s the Jet way. Their own way.

In the very least, the Jets have finally achieved what they have failed to do in the past as a franchise. They’ve put themselves in position to compete for the Vince Lombardi trophy on a yearly basis. They’ve also become interesting. This thanks to Rex Ryan.

The bar on the field has been raised, especially by Rex himself who links the notion of “Super Bowl ” and the “Jets” every chance he gets. His players have in turn, fed off his energy. Some have even become outspoken themselves. Owner Woody Johnson sees the theater in allowing players to express themselves and has chosen not to edit them as a result.

If Ryan’s boasting about titles, and the Jets new brash demeanor has helped cause expectations for the Jets to soar nationwide, it can at least be taken with a grain of salt by the fan base. Ryan has from the start, been part entertainer, part salesman ,while spending the majority of his time leading his teams to wins. The players love playing for him and speak openly about how much they love being a Jet. Imagine that.

We bet if you were to travel in a time machine back to ask fans of the past with bags over their heads if they’d be ok with the chance to win it all given the current culture of the Jets, they’d take it in a second. No, they’d take it in a nanosecond.

This Jets team has to be better. There is no question about it. We write about who must pick it up on the Jet Report page on a weekly basis. Still, the disapproval by many who bleed Green and White for what is happening now, and has transpired here over the past two years, is hard to understand. Maybe for those who are unhappy with HOW games are WON, it’s simply a case of forgetting truly how far this franchise, once a laughingstock, has come.

2-0 is a record that many talented Jets teams of the past would have failed to achieve. Something somehow, would have simply gotten in the way for those Jets clubs. Games that were supposed to be won on paper like Sunday’s matchup against the Jags, would have slipped away. Not for the “New” Jets though. When push comes to shove, they take care of business most of the time now. There is no reason to settle for being almost Super, but let’s not forget the fact that things have been pretty great around here lately either.

Initial Reaction: Brutal Beatdown – Jets Roll 32-3

They won’t use this game film to teach offensive football, especially on the Jacksonville side but the Jets beat up on a severely inferior Jaguars team today, winning 32-3. The primary story of the day was quarterback Luke McCown’s general awfulness, along with the domination from the Jets defense, who recorded four interceptions, a safety, and two sacks. Antonio Cromartie had a hell of a bounce-back performance with two interceptions and two big kick returns. Muhammad Wilkerson recorded the safety on his first ever NFL sack.

You never felt for a second that Jacksonville had a chance in this game, despite the Jets offense being frustratingly inconsistent. After a brilliant first drive that ended in a Santonio Holmes touchdown, Mark Sanchez struggled throwing two interceptions. He did put together a nice second half drive ending in a Dustin Keller touchdown, as the Jets tight end finished with 101 yards receiving. However, you would like to see better than 17/24, 182 yards, with the 2 interceptions.

The main negative story out of this game was the Jets offensive line. Nick Mangold left in the first half with what is currently being reported as a high ankle sprain. He is expected to miss at least a few weeks. Undrafted rookie Colin Baxter came off the bench and struggled as anyone would expect him to. What was even more disconcerting, was how bad Wayne Hunter was for the second straight week. The running stats weren’t pretty again. Shonn Greene finished with 16 carries for 49 yards with a touchdown.

The Jets will now gear up for a rough three game road trip, starting in Oakland this week. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery from Nick Mangold and that the Jets front office still has Damien Woody’s number.

TOJ Roundtable: Jets/Jaguars Picks

Joe Caporoso: See the 12 pack.

Justin Fritze: Looking at this with the scientist’s eye, I notice a few things. The Jets defensive line should have a field day. 4 down lineman, 5 man rush should be sufficient. They’re going up against a bunch of scrubs, a 3rd round rookie out of Lehigh (Editor’s Note: again not thrilled with the shot at Lehigh), and a former first round pick in Eugene Monroe. Kenrick Ellis and Muhammad Wilkerson should see serious playing time, and the Jets can probably sit back and have some fun confusing Luke McCown, mixing up coverages, perhaps bringing the famed “cloud coverage” back and tee off from there.

What else do I like about this game? The Jaguars have nobody at linebacker. The Jets will have to run it to death, for one because they need to find out if Joe McKnight can be the change of pace they need, if Shonn Greene can tire a defense, and if Jeremy Kerley and the wild Hornfrog can create some confusion.  The Jets will also occasionally play action with Keller and take a few shots over the middle with Plaxico Burress as he outsizes all the Jaguars DB’s by 3 feet, give or take a few inches. I may be crazy, but I’m gonna go Jets over Jaguars by 6. Don’t ever count out the short man with a “bum knee”. Lot’s of Jets field goals.

Chris Celletti: I think the Jets get this done fairly easily…by Jets standards. I just simply can’t see them having too much trouble with the Jaguars’ offense and Luke McCown specifically. The Jets’ defensive strength is in their run stopping, and the Jaguars lean heavily on Maurice Jones-Drew. While MJD is one of the top runners in the league, the Jets should keep him in check. Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense won’t put up a ton off points, because I think Brian Schottenheimer and Co. will try to really pound the run and get Shonn Greene going. The Jets play an overall solid game, get a few turnovers on defense, and roll to a 24-7 victory.

Rob Celletti: I was originally going to pick the Jets to win in a close game, because as a Jet fan, I know not to get too confident in this team, especially when they’re favored by more than a touchdown.  But Jason Hill’s (who?!) comments today, calling the Jets’ defense “overhyped”, might light an early fire under the team and particularly their defense, so now I expect them to dominate.  Luke McCown is going to have a miserable game with less than 125 yards passing. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville’s only credible threat, will have a decent game, but not much of an impact.  The Jets will get back to a more balanced attack on offense and be able to dominate time of possession, holding the ball for around 35 minutes.  Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason and Shonn Greene will get in the endzone in a 27-7 Jets win.

TJ Rosenthal: Jets Win: If the Jets start fast and begin to show they are putting all phases together together Sunday, we see them winning 31-10. This scenario has Shonn Greene with a 100 yard day and a deep ball to Holmes or Burress for a TD. Keller will shine in this type of game as well. Maurice Jones Drew will cut the Jets lead to a harmless 21-10 at some point with a short yardage TD.

Jags Win: The Jags win 17-10 if the Jets continue to struggle on offense and come out of the gates slowly. The snails pace by Sanchez and co. will allow the Jags to settle in until they can find a few spots to pull off a big run or long completion in order to pull of the upset.

Jets vs. Jaguars: 12 Pack Of Predictions

Nothing is better than the cold weather and a 12 pack along with it. It feels like football outside today, which is a beautiful thing.

1. Joe McKnight will receive at least three touches on offense, as the Jets reward him for his game changing special teams play last week. What he does with those plays will determine how much of a role he starts to have moving forward. Also look for John Conner to play more reps this week and a catch a pass out in the flat. His hands are an underrated part of his game.

2. After this game, still nobody will know who the hell Jason Hill is.

3. Luke McCown is going to have a rough time against the Jets defense. He will throw for less than 175 yards, be sacked at least 2 times, and have at least one turnover.

4. Maurice Jones-Drew will have a solid day at the office but won’t rip off the big run that will kill the Jets. He will finish with 22 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown.

5. Mark Sanchez won’t turn the football over this week and will throw somewhere between 25 and 30 passes.

6. Santonio Holmes and Eric Smith are both questionable to play this Sunday. Both will suit up but will have a more limited role than usual. Look for more action from both Derrick Mason and Jeremy Kerley on offense and for more Brodney Pool on defense than last week.

7. Plaxico Burress will have another big game, finishing with over 70 yards receiving and another touchdown. He will also be more involved in the first half.

8. For the first time in just about forever, the Jets will score a first quarter touchdown.

9. Antonio Cromartie will have a much better performance than last week, recording an interception and ripping off a big kick return.

10. Shonn Greene will rush for less than 80 yards but will have an improved yards per carry from last week. LaDainian Tomlinson will have at least 4 receptions.

11. Calvin Pace will record a sack for the second straight week.

12. The New York Jets won’t pull away in this one until the fourth quarter but will ultimately win 24-13. Hello 2-0.

Jets Fans Hate Blue And Gold Jerseys

It was announced today that the Jets will be wearing their blue and gold New York Titans throwbacks this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, here is some reaction via Facebook and Twitter –

@TurnOnTheJets: Jets wearing Blue and Gold New York Titans jerseys this week, thoughts?

@P_Rut5: i hate whenever the Jets wear anything other than Green at home, and this includes when they wear their normal whites at home

@CMSexton: Please no.

@Chrisp2213: Screw the old Titans jerseys. Give me some 80’s retro kelly green. Looks silly. Fan base with green, team blue/gold.

@JetsFanFlorida: DESPISE throwback Jerseys. Coming to game from Florida this weekend and GangGreen won’t be GREEN = Stupid! No one likes!

@ChrisMitro: no no no no no no yuck

@Chris_Leach_NYC: doesn’t make any sense…save it for the bills or something.. If so, go white jersey gold pants…

@ZazzyJets: As long as the offensive line improves, and we win, they can wear pink for all I care.

Initial Reaction: Still Got It – Jets Win Thrilling Opener 27-24

It was about as memorable as an opening night you could ask for, as the New York Jets pulled out a gutty, thrilling 27-24 comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys.

You can say what you want about this team but they understand how to win. They have a ton of heart and resiliency and it is foolish to ever count them out of a game.

It came from everywhere tonight. Plaxico Burress turning it on in the second half for 4 receptions for 72 yards, along with a beautiful touchdown reception. Mark Sanchez posting up 335 passing yards and distributing the ball around to Burress, Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, and LaDainian Tomlison who all also had big nights.

There was Joe McKnight coming up with a huge blocked punt that was returned for a score by Isaiah Trufant in what was the loudest I have ever heard a crowd at a Jets game. Mike DeVito forcing a Tony Romo fumble in the fourth quarter to keep the Jets alive. Darrelle Revis coming up with an interception to set up Nick Folk’s game winning field goal…and of course Folk hitting that game winning 50 yard field goal in what must have been a sweet moment of redemption, considering Dallas cut him.

It was a complete team win. The Jets are far from perfect and have plenty of issues to still work out but a win is a win and it was a hell of a way to start the season.

Top Five Keys For Jets/Cowboys

It is finally here. A game that so many have circled on their calendars from the minute that the 2011 NFL schedules became official. The Jets and America’s team. On the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy. Sunday night football on the first Sunday of the season. It doesn’t get any better than this in September. Here are our top five keys for the Jets as they take on the Dallas Cowboys.

SANCHEZ, YEAR THREE BEGINS: It seems obvious and easy to choose the Jets QB as the top key for any game. We do it here though to make a statement on the entire season. This is Mark Sanchez’s team now. He will be judged according to where the Jets end up. This week we’ll see how the “Sanchise” pulls together a WR corps that was revamped on the fly this summer. With the Jets it starts on the ground but it will only end up in Indianapolis if Sanchez takes the next step in 2011.

KEEP ROMO CONTAINED: Cowboys QB Tony Romo is most dangerous when his blocking breaks down. It is then that he breaks free, begins to improvise, and ultimately devastate. The Jets pass rush up front has provided little pressure this preseason. What they can’t do is compound that by allowing Romo to escape the pocket where he likes to sling it Brett Favre style, often times with downfield success. Even worse for the Jets, Romo has Jason Witten. The 2010 Jets had problems covering tight ends.

CROMARTIE VS BRYANT AND AUSTIN: You can already predict what Revis Island will look like on Sunday night. Barren. Deserted. The other side of the field though, will be the opposite. Balls will be flying like Juy 4th fireworks in CB Antonio Cromartie’s work area.

With the game breaking combo of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin coming to town, “Cro” can ill afford a night like the one he had last year in week one against the Ravens. A performance that featured constant holding and illegal contact calls, when he wasn’t getting beat. Cromartie can give up catches in front of him. He just can’t become an EZ pass toll booth for the Cowboys to race past at will.

KELLER AND WITTEN: Jason Witten is the template for how an All Pro tight end should perform and be employed in the passing game. Keller has been “emerging” since his rookie year. It is time for number 81 to be that weapon that the Jets don’t make excuses about anymore.

It ia always the same response from Gang Green regarding Keller’s lack of activity. The one that reads “Keller draws attention and therefore it is hard to force feed him the ball.” Does that mean that Witten grabs a hundred balls a year because he doesn’t draw attention? Hardly. The Jets need to stop talking about why Keller gets bottled up, and start making him the threat he has the ability to be.

SCHOTTY VS ROB RYAN: How entertaining and charming are the big loud Ryan brothers? We love them, they are great for football. We wish only the best for their father Buddy, who will be in attendance despite battling cancer for a second time.

Beyond their brothers natural media abilities, the Ryans are no nonsense on that field. The Cowboys new defensive coordiantor Rob made the Browns, that’s right the Browns defense, respectable last year.

Jets embattled offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has been, despite the clubs two straight trips to the AFC title game, the target of may die hards anger. This for his lack of faith in Sanchez and a seemingly lack of creativity in finding ways to get the Jets in position to score more points. Those complaints are not all warranted, yet can all be put to rest finally, if the offense begins to click consistently.

Schotty has weapons galore. The new personnel offense hasn’t gelled yet due to such limited time with each other, but the names on the backs of the jerseys are big ones. High profile ones. Potentially explosive ones. Coordinating means putting it all together. That is Schotty’s responsibility, one that will include an even greater scrutiny should the Jets stumble often on offense this season, like they have in the previous two.

We can guarantee what a Ryan run defense will bring. A Schotty offense? The Jets offensive “guru” has had to overcome game calling for a young, and often times mistake prone QB, on a team with an excellent defense that doesn’t need a scoreboard to light up in order to win. However, it is time to brand this unit. Time to blend the run game with what ought to be an emerging passing game.

For now two key questions remain: When if ever, will the veil come off of Sanchez? When does that blind mutual trust between OC and QB truly begin?  A stalemate in this one on one battle of the headsets will keep the Jets in the game. Anything less may leave the Jets at 0-1 and prepping for Jacksonville.