TOJ Week 7 NFL Picks and Ramblings

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How about 8-4 last week? Let’s see if TOJ can keep rolling…

Lines From BetUS

Pittsburgh (-3.5) vs. Miami – I firmly believe Pittsburgh is either the best or second best team in the NFL, while Miami is en route to a 7-9 or 8-8 record. Big Ben is going to have a big day against a suspect Miami secondary, while Chad Henne is due for a few bad interceptions after a solid performance last week.

Atlanta (-3) vs.Cincinnati – Atlanta had a major let down last week, but the Bengals just aren’t a very good football team right now. What ever happened to Carson Palmer?

Kansas City (-9) vs. Jacksonville – Todd Bouman? The Jaguars have to be the worst 3-3 team in NFL history, right?

Tennessee (-3) vs. Philadelphia – I am taking the better conference in what should a hard fought, physical game.

Washington (+2.5) vs. Chicago – Sadly, these are both serious playoff contenders in the NFC.

Cleveland (+13.5) vs. New Orleans – You have to like what Colt McCoy showed in his first start. They will keep this one interesting.

Baltimore (-14) vs. Buffalo – Oh boy.

Carolina (+3.5) vs. San Francisco – As bad of a game this is, it would still get better ratings than the World Series.

Seattle (-6.5) vs. Arizona – Max Hall isn’t ready to play in Seattle just yet.

New England (+1.5) vs. San Diego – Why the hell is New England an underdog?

Denver (-8.5) vs. Oakland – Denver is a much better 2-4 than Oakland.

Minnesota (+2) vs. Green Bay – Making the NFC North even more confusing.

New York Giants (+3) vs. Dallas – Goodnight Dallas.

TOJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

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TOJ’s week 7 edition of the NFL Power Rankings, followed by some general NFL observations…as always feel free to comment on my stupidity

The Top Two

1. New York Jets (5-1) – I am giving them the leap to number one because I believe if they played their best game against Pittsburgh’s best game right now, they’d win in a close one.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) – They should really get rolling now with Ben Rothlisberger under center but didn’t look as dominant as I expected against the Browns who were giving a rookie quarterback his first start.

Just A Cut Below

3. New England Patriots (4-1) – Impressive win against the Baltimore Ravens, who never put them away. Yet if I read one more story about how happy Deion Branch is to be back in New England and how everybody there loves him, I’m going to throw up.

4. Baltimore Ravens (4-2) – You can’t be blowing 20-10 leads that late in the game. Fortunately for them, they have a bye week this week aka they are playing Buffalo.

5. Indiannapolis Colts (4-2) – As long as Peyton Manning is under center, they are the favorite in the AFC South. Austin Collie is having one hell of a year too by the way.

Best Of NFC…I Guess

6. New Orleans Saints (4-2) – If you had to bet on one NFC team going to the Super Bowl right now, it’d probably have to be New Orleans especially if they continue to run the ball like they did last week.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) – The Eagles have a problem that many teams in the NFL wouldn’t mind having. Let’s get see if they can beat a physical Tennessee team to get some momentum going.

8. Atlanta Falcons (4-2) – Laid a complete egg against the Eagles on the road.

9. New York Giants (4-2) – They have a golden opportunity to completely bury the Dallas Cowboys this Monday night.

Looking Like A Playoff Contender

10. Tennessee Titans (4-2) – A physical (dirty) team that can play defense, run the football, and has some weapons in the passing game.

11. Houston Texans (4-2) – They are a finesse (soft) team but can put up some points and have found a way to win close games this season.

12. Kansas City Chiefs (3-2) – They lost a couple of tough games in a row but still remain 1 1/2 games up in the AFC West, where nobody wants to win a game.

13. Washington Redskins (3-3) – You would have liked to see Donovan McNabb handle business on that final drive at home against the Colts.

14. Miam Dolphins (3-2) – Never easy to win in Green Bay. We’ll see how legitimate they are this week against the Steelers.

Not As Good As Their Record

15. Seattle Seahawks (3-2) – They actually won a road game. Perhaps with Marshawn Lynch on the roster and Mike Williams playing like he did at USC at receiver, they could find some consistency on offense.

16.. Chicago Bears (4-2) – Never a good sign when you can’t beat a mediocre Seattle team at home.

17. Green Bay Packers (3-3) – A little low? Maybe, but I am not sure they can overcome the mass of injuries they sustained. They are also playing sloppy, inconsistent football.

18. Arizona Cardinals (3-2) – They are right in the thick of things in the NFC West, then again so are the 1-5 49ers.

19. Tampa Bays Bucs (3-2) – As bad as a 3-2 team gets.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) – As bad as a 3-3 team gets.

Frisky

21. St. Louis Rams (3-3) – Impressive win against San Diego considering how they lost to Detroit the week before.

22. Minnesota Vikings (2-3) – Amazing how much they could be in it, if they can take care of Green Bay this week.

The AFC West Is Brutal…Bengals Aren’t Much Better

23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) – A team supposed to built around their defense, that can’t stop anybody and a team that is supposed to have a high power passing attack that has a suddenly crappy quarterback.

24. Denver Broncos (2-4) – Thank you Renaldo Hill.

25. Oakland Raiders (2-4) – Just when you thought you could go an entire season without watching Kyle Boller play.

26. San Diego Chargers (2-4) – Thank you for destroying my three team tease this past weekend…and for LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie.

Bad Football Teams, Still Competitive

27. Dallas Cowboys (1-4) – They always find a way to lose.

28. San Francisco 49ers (1-5) – Still alive in the NFC West, where 7-9 just might equal a division title and home playoff game.

29. Detriot Lions (1-5) – As far as 1-5 teams go, they aren’t half bad.

30. Cleveland Browns (1-5) – Colt McCoy showed there might be hope for the future.

Cover Your Eyes

31. Carolina Panthers (0-5) – Doesn’t matter if Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen are throwing interceptions and getting sacked.

32. Buffalo Bills (0-5) – They can’t win more than 2 games this season, can they?

PhotobucketAFC East – I think the Jets are going to have a tough time pulling away from the Patriots. The December 6th match-up between the two teams is going to go a long way to determining the division winner. Prior to the season I thought Miami would be the Jets main competition, however I think they are going to catch a beat down from Pittsburgh this week and be a .500 team the rest of the season.

NFC East  – This division couldn’t be anymore wide open. The Giants always beat Dallas and will likely bury them for good this Monday night, leaving them to battle with Philadelphia and Washington. The Eagles seem like the favorite right now, with either Vick or Kolb under center but you’d like to see more consistency on both sides of the ball from them and particularly their offensive line.

AFC North  – It will be fun to watch the Steelers and Ravens slug it out for the division title down the stretch, while the other team will likely land a wild-card. I can’t take the Bengals seriously as a contender because of how bad Carson Palmer has played.  I wonder if Eric Mangini will still be the Browns coach when the Jets come into town.

NFC North – Another wide open division. It feels like the Bears will eventually fall out of it, which leaves the Packers and Vikings to fight it out. 9-7 might be good enough to take this division title.

AFC South – I am more sold on the Titans as the Colts primary competitor for a division title. Houston just isn’t physical enough to win big games in November and December.

NFC South – The Saints and Falcons will be a division race that goes right down to the wire. Tampa Bay isn’t sticking around as a competitor for the division title but could be in the wild-card mix, since you could see a 8-8 team making the playoffs in the NFC.

AFC West – Everybody is still involved in the divisional race here. I wouldn’t be shocked if Denver ended up taking it as a 9-7 team, considering they weathered the tough part of their schedule.

NFC West – Just a bunch of inconsistent, mediocre teams with questions at quarterback. At least the Rams have their franchise guy under center, but he is a rookie so it remains to be seen how he plays down the stretch.

As of right now, it really is a shame that the NFC and AFC West have to send a team to the playoffs. I am having nightmares of a wild card weekend featuring the 8-8 Bears at the 7-9 Rams, followed by the 8-8 Chiefs hosting a playoff game.

TOJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

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We were due for a good old-fashioned power rankings article, heading into week 6 here is what TOJ is thinking, feel free to vehemently disagree:

AFC Power Houses

1. Baltimore Ravens (4-1) – They beat the Jets on the road and Pittsburgh on the road. For some reason Cincy has the their number, yet the Ravens are a well-balanced team who can beat you in a variety of ways now.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) – Pretty damn impressive to be 3-1 without Ben Rothlisberger. They could be the most complete football with him back in the line-up.

3. New York Jets (4-1) – Offense should keep improving with Santonio Holmes getting into rhythm with Mark Sanchez and the defense will be better with Calvin Pace back full time. Maybe that Revis guy will eventually contribute also…

The Best In The NFC

4. Atlanta Falcons (4-1) – You have to go with the Dirty Birds as the NFC’s best so far, right?

Contenders Still Plenty Of Questions

5.  New England Patriots (3-1) – It will be interesting to see how their offense adapts without Randy Moss. I can’t take them serious as a major threat to the Jets until their defense improves.

6. Indinappolis Colts (3-2) – They have a ton of holes and injuries but Peyton Manning will keep them in the thick of things.

7. New Orleans Saints (3-2) – They are a few plays away from being 0-5. You can’t be losing to rookie undrafted quarterbacks in their first start.

The Best Of The Mediocre

8. Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) – Yes, I am putting them here because they remind of a certain team in 2009 who could play defense and run the football but couldn’t throw at all. Fortunately, the Jets quarterback was a rookie last year. Matt Cassel just sucks.

9. Washington Redskins (3-2) – If they didn’t choke away a huge lead to the Houston Texans, they’d be 4-1. How the hell did they lose like that to the Rams?

10. Chicago Bears (4-1) – Are they the worst 4-1 team in recent memory?

11. Green Bay Packers (3-2) – An unbelievable avalanche of injuries and a complete lack of running game will make the NFC North race very interesting.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) – If Mike Vick can get back on the field and start producing the way he was, the Eagles will win the NFC East.

13. Tennessee Titans (3-2) – A physical (dirty) team that nobody is going to want to deal with down the stretch.

So Damn Confusing

14. New York Giants (3-2) – They went from looking like a 4-12 team and talk of Tom Coughlin being fired to arguably the best looking team in the NFC. Who knows what’s next? By the way, Hakeem Nicks is a beast.

15. Houston Texans (3-2) – They have been thoroughly average since beating down the Colts in week one.

16. San Diego Chargers (2-3) – The slow starts are getting tiresome. They can throw the ball to Antonio Gates, but not much else. Thank you for Antonio Cromartie and LaDainian Tomlinson by the way. Ryan Matthews is doing just a terrific job of filling in for him.

17. Tampa Bay Bucs (3-1) – I am not quite sure how this team is 3-1 but they are. It will be very interesting to see how they play New Orleans this week, in front of 129 somewhat excited fans.

18. Arizona Cardinals (3-2) – About as up and down as you can get.

19. Miami Dolphins (2-2) – You aren’t showing much as a contender in your division when you lose back to back primetime home games to your top two rivals.

20. Seattle Seahawks (2-2) – They should be 7-1 at home and 1-7 on the road.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) – This comment is blacked out.

22. Denver Broncos (2-3) – Who would have thought a Kyle Orton led team would be known only for their passing?

Laughably Disappointing

23. Dallas Cowboys (1-3) – Wade Phillips looks confused.

24. Minnesota Vikings (1-3) – Grab your elbow again, Brett.

25. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) – Carson Palmer kind of sucks these days.

Just Not Good

26. Oakland Raiders (2-3) – Kind of feisty this year, but overall they are still the Raiders.

27. St. Louis Rams (2-3) – At least they have hope for the future.

28. Detriot Lions (1-4) – They are one of the better 1-4 teams in recent memory…so they have that going for them.

29. Cleveland Browns (1-4) – Peyton Hillis has been pretty good. Good luck to Colt McCoy in Pittsburgh this week.

Just Terrible

30. San Francisco 49ers (0-5) – Everybody in San Francisco needs to shut up…you are what your record says you are.

31. Carolina Panthers (0-5) – They should abandon the forward pass.

32. Buffalo Bills (0-5) – So happy they are in the AFC East.

NFL Week 15 Recap/Jets vs. Colts First Look

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First a few updates:

1. I really enjoyed Rex Ryan completely changing his tune in his Monday press conference…pretty funny stuff going from the “we are completely done..we suck” to the “hey are probably we going to the playoffs and we are going to fight like hell” attitude.

2. The game highlights section has been updated.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – I have had enough of hearing the Tom Brady/Randy Moss/New England storylines. Why does the 10thbest team in the NFL get the most coverage? Randy Moss didn’t dominate on Sunday, he had 70 yards receiving. Tom Brady went 11/23 for 115 yards with a INT…wow pro bowl stuff right there. The only reason New England won’t be one and done in the playoffs is because the NFL has already penciled them in to the Saturday night wild card game and they are planning to dump 19 feet of snow on the field. I can already see something like Jacksonville vs New England on Saturday night in a blizzard with the Pats running it up.

Miami Dolphins – Tough loss for the Dolphins who have decided to join the Jets in mediocrity at 7-7, thanks to their quarterback throwing three interceptions. I don’t see Miami getting in the playoffs, but if they do and play in New England in the first round, I will be watching LOST re-runs instead of that game.

Buffalo Bills – Why waste article space on this horrific franchise?

Other NFL Observations

How does Denver lose a game of that importance at home to Oakland? They are like the Jets with the December meltdowns…I am thinking Kansas City is regretting that Matt Cassell trade…Watch out, the Cleveland Browns are on a two game winning streak…The Giants/Redskins game was one of the least competitive football games I have ever seen…Yes, I am really enjoying the meltdown Minnesota is about to have, they are going to play themselves right into a first round exit, nice.

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

  1. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings (14-0) – Rest is always a good decision Jim Caldwell.
  2. San Diego Chargers (11-3) – Looking forward to that Colts/Chargers AFC title game.
  3. New Orleans Saints (13-1) – Still can’t believe they lost to Dallas.
  4. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) – Desean Jackson is a beast.
  5. Minnesota Vikings (11-3) – I guess Favre is the coach and the quarterback now, which will make it double sweet when their playoff run flames out.
  6. Arizona Cardinals (9-5) – Life is easy in the NFC West.
  7. Green Bay Packers (9-5) – Where Defensive POY Charles Woodson during those 503 passing yards?
  8. Cincinnati Bengals (9-5) – Better effort than I expected in San Diego.
  9. Dallas Cowboys (9-5) – Biggest win of Tony Romo’s career last Saturday night.
  10. New England Patriots (9-5) – Another AFC East title.
  11. Baltimore Ravens (8-6) – Huge game coming up in Pittsburgh.
  12. Tennessee Titans (7-7) – Won 7 of their last 8.
  13. New York Giants (8-6) – Still breathing in the NFC wild card race.
  14. Denver Broncos (8-6) – Lost to Oakland…really? About to lose in Philly.
  15. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-7) – Don’t see them winning in New England.
  16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7) – Huge game versus Ravens.
  17. Miami Dolphins (7-7) – Should handle Houston at home.
  18. New York Jets (7-7) – Received all the help in the world and couldn’t capitalize.
  19. Houston Texans (7-7) – The bottom of all the 7-7 teams.

Jets/Colts First Look

This whole thing comes down to how much the Colts starters will play. I expect the Jets to blitz the crap out of Manning in the first quarter and try to get some shots on him to convince Jim Caldwell to pull him, yet Manning coaches the team anyway so it might not matter. Can’t you see the Jets beating the Colts backups 20-10 in the fourth quarter, running their mouths like they always do, pissing Peyton Manning off who then decides to check himself back in and lead his team to a 24-20 victory? I can. Realize this, if the Colts starters play the whole game, the Jets can’t win.

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

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

NFL Week 1 Recap/Jets vs. Pats: First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets released cornerback Marquice Cole to make room for Shaun Ellis who is now reinstated and will be back in the starting line-up when the Jets play the Pats this Sunday.

2. The Jets made a nice little jump in ESPN’s Power Rankings from #23 to #16, giving them the week’s biggest improvement.

3. A few non-Jets things: The Yankees should be clinching that AL East title any day now and yes I believe they are the team to beat in the playoffs…Last week’s Entourage was a bit of a let down…But you have to be fired up about that new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm starting up this Sunday.

NFL Week 1 Recap

Wrapping Up Jets/Texans

Defensive Player Of The Game: David Harris/Darrelle Revis – It is impossible not to recognize both of them, which is why Rex Ryan gave them both game balls. Harris was all over the field and Revis shutdown arguably the best receiver in the NFL.

Offensive Player Of The Game: Mark Sanchez – Another easy pick, Sanchez looked like a seasoned veteran in his first career start. The tests only get tougher with the Patriots and Titans coming to town.

Honorable Mentions: Jerricho Cotchery for being clutch on third downs and looking like a running back after the catch…Donald Strickalnd for making two impact plays in a limited role…Sione Pouha/Mike DeVito for filling for Shaun Ellis and not letting the D-Line miss a beat…Leon Washington for 120 total yards…The Jets offensive line…Steve Weatherford for bringing some stability to the punting position.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – Was it just me or did the Patriots look nothing like an elite team last night? I’m pretty sure I saw Buffalo physically dominate them for 58 minutes and then choke away the game in a manner that only the Bills could. Give Tom Brady credit for a strong finish and leading the game winning drive and to Randy Moss/Ben Watson for having big time nights. However, let’s be honest the Pats defense didn’t look good, they had no running game, and Brady looked a little shaky in the pocket. How often you think Rex Ryan will be sending the house next week?

Miami Dolphins – Welcome to reality Miami fans aka your 2009 season. I have been saying this for months, Miami has 6-10 written all over them, last year’s magical run is over and it is time for a tough schedule and a lack of talent to catch up with them. Chad Pennington won’t finish the season as their starter, and they will be 0-2 after losing to Indy this Monday night.

Buffalo Bills – Smart play, Leodis McKlevin…just brilliant. You really showed everybody what a game breaker you were last night by taking the ball out of the end-zone with your hands team blocking for you and then trying to fight for extra yards after getting lit up by Brandon Merriweather…awesome, real smart football. Beyond that, Buffalo was impressive and should be 1-0. How do you bench Fred Jackson when Marshawn Lynch comes back?

Five Teams That Impressed Me

  1. Philadelphia Eagles– Steam rolled the Panthers in their building, but better hope McNabb gets back quickly.
  2. Oakland Raiders – Put up a fight on Monday Night Football when everyone expected them to lose by 30.
  3. Buffalo Bills – See above.
  4. San Francisco 49ers – Big opening day win against the defending NFC West champs.
  5. New York Giants – Dominated the Redskins, don’t let the score fool you.

Five Teams That Looked Like Garbage

  1. St. Louis Rams – Absolutely no fight from this team, are they really that bad?
  2. Cleveland Browns – They are going to average about 10 points a game this year.
  3. Carolina Panthers – They aren’t going anywhere with Jake Delhomme, who looks like his confidence is shot after last year.
  4. Arizona Cardinals – What happened to that offense from last season?
  5. Miami Dolphins – The first of many losses for them this year.

Other Observations

Let’s see if the Vikings can win when somebody stops the run (if it is possible to stop AP)…At least on Sunday night I was happy we didn’t trade for Jay Cutler, 4 picks owch…The poor Bengals, they had become my 2nd favorite team after Hard-Knocks and they lose like that? (By the way, Laveranues had 1 catch and 2 drops)…Good effort by a young Jacksonville team to nearly upset the Colts…I’d still take Darren Sproles over LaDanian Tomlinson, regardless of what anyone says about him having some type of big bounce back year…Reggie Bush: 7 carries for 14 yards, glad we got #29.

Jets vs. Patriots First Look

The Opponent: Everybody’s pick to win the AFC East, Las Vegas’s favorite to win the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots are the team that every analyst and expert loves to love. The Pats were 11-5 last year without All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady who has now returned. New England looked less than impressive as they escaped with a week one victory because the Buffalo Bills choked in the final minutes. Regardless, they have won their last eight games in the Meadowlands against the Jets and have one of the league’s most potent offenses. Despite questions on defense, the Pats will be consensus favorites to beat the Jets this week as the media hypes up Rex Ryan’s quote that he won’t “kiss Bill Bellicheck’s rings.” If the Jets want to be considered serious AFC contenders, a win at home against the Pats would be a good place to start.

New England Patriots Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Tom Brady – 39/53, 378 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT
  • Running Back: Laurence Maroney – 10 carries, 32 yards
  • Running Back: Fred Taylor – 9 carries, 25 yards, 1 TD
  • Running Back: Kevin Faulk – 3 carries, 7 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Randy Moss – 12 catches, 141 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Wes Welker – 12 catches, 93 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Joey Galloway – 0 catches
  • Tight End: Ben Watson – 6 catches, 77 yards 2 TD’s
  • Tight End: Chris Baker – 1 catch, 7 yards
  • Left Tackle: Matt Light
  • Left Guard: Logan Mankins
  • Center: Dan Koppen
  • Right Guard: Stephen Neal
  • Right Tackle: Nick Kaczur

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Ty Warren
  • Nose Tackle: Vince Wilfork
  • Defensive End: Jarvis Green
  • Outside Linebacker: Pierre Woods – 4 tackles, 2 FF
  • Inside Linebacker: Jerod Mayo
  • Inside Linebacker: Gary Guyton – 4 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Adalius Thomas – 1 sack, 5 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Tully Banta-Cain – 2 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Derrick Burgess – 1 sack
  • Corner: Leigh Bodden – 5 tackles, 1 pass defense
  • Corner: Shawn Springs – 6 tackles, 1 FF
  • Safety: Brandon Merriweather – 8 tackles,
  • Safety: James Sanders – 4 tackles

SPECIALS

  • Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski
  • Punter: Chris Hanson
  • Kick Return: Laurence Maroney
  • Punt Return: Wes Welker

Key Players: Obviously Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker are the Pats best weapons on offense. They have a deep group of running backs led by Laurence Maroney and their offensive line is consistently solid. On defense, they have a strong rotation at outside linebacker who all contribute to their pass rush. Brandon Merriweather is a rising star in the secondary.

Injuries: The Jets appear to be 100 percent healthy heading into this game, nobody will be inactive because of an injury. Pats middle linebacker Jerod Mayo was hurt last night and is questionable to play this week.

Early Story Lines: Pats have won 8 straight in the Meadowlands…Rex Ryan “kiss the rings” quote…Battle for early lead in AFC East…Darrelle Revis vs Randy Moss…The Jets defense getting after Tom Brady…Mark Sanchez vs Bill Bellicheck’s defensive scheme.

Good Luck Blocking Kris Jenkins

2009 NFL Predictions

First a few updates:

1. Now that I got my 40 Jets predictions in the books, I have to get my full NFL predictions out of the way so I can be ridiculed at the end of the season.

2. Normal in-season schedule for the site will look something like this:

  • Monday – Breakdown/Grades Previous Jets Game, All Sunday NFL Action, Monday Night Pick
  • Tuesday – A little more breakdown from previous game/begin to look ahead to next game
  • Wednesday – In-depth breakdown of upcoming game
  • Thursday – Key match-ups for upcoming game and more analysis
  • Friday – Video: Jets Prediction, NFL Predictions, Fantasy Predictions and more…
  • Saturday – Last second updates
  • Sunday – Quick instant reaction after game

I am also going to be deleting the TOJ of Hall Fame soon (tragic, I know) and be replacing it with “2009 Jets Stats,” which will be updated the stats throughout the season for all the players. Of course, the “Jets Game Highlights” section will also be updated each week with the new clips and the depth chart will always be changed accordingly.

2009 NFL Predictions

Drum Roll, please…

AFC East

  1. New England: 12-4
  2. New York Jets: 10-6 (Wild Card)
  3. Miami Dolphins: 7-9
  4. Buffalo Bills: 7-9

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 12-4
  2. Baltimore Ravens: 11-5 (Wild Card)
  3. Cincinnati Bengals: 6-10
  4. Cleveland Browns: 5-11

AFC South

  1. Indiannapolis Colts: 11-5
  2. Tennessee Titans: 8-8
  3. Houston Texans: 8-8
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars: 7-9

AFC West

  1. San Diego Chargers: 12-4
  2. Denver Broncos: 7-9
  3. Kansas City Chiefs: 5-11
  4. Oakland Raiders: 3-13

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles: 12-4
  2. New York Giants: 11-5 (Wild Card)
  3. Dallas Cowboys: 8-8
  4. Washington Redskins: 7-9

NFC North

  1. Minnesota Vikings: 10-6
  2. Green Bay Packers: 10-6 (Wild Card)
  3. Chicago Bears: 8-8
  4. Detroit Lions: 3-13

NFC South

  1. Atlanta Falcons: 11-5
  2. Carolina Panthers: 10-6
  3. New Orleans Saints: 10-6
  4. Tampa Bay Bucs: 5-11

NFC West

  1. Arizona Cardinals: 10-6
  2. Seattle Seahawks: 9-7
  3. San Francisco 49ers: 6-10
  4. St. Louis Rams: 4-12
  • AFC Champs: San Diego
  • NFC Champs: Philly
  • Super Bowl Champs: Philly
  • Offensive POY: Adrian Peterson
  • Defensive POY: DeMarcus Ware
  • NFL MVP: McNabb/Rivers/AP/Brady…can’t decide
  • Offensive Rookie: Hakeem Nicks/Jeremy Maclin/Knowshon Moreno….can’t decide
  • Defensive Rookie: Aaron Curry

Highlights 2008 NFL Season