Before You Criticize The New York Jets, Think About The Source

The New York Daily News and Manish Mehta should be facing criticism and scrutiny…not the New York Jets

If you have never watched the television show The Wire, I recommend it highly. In the fifth season, they focus on the degradation of the print news media by focusing on a journalist called Scott Templeton. In a bid to drive attention to his articles, Templeton exaggerates quotes and uses fake sourcing, while frequently hiding behind the guise of “anonymous” sources. The New York media has their very own Scott Templeton covering the Jets. His name is Manish Mehta and his employing paper is, The Daily News. 

Today the football world is up in arms about the “cowardly” Jets for trashing backup quarterback Tim Tebow. How dare they not put a name on it? There is one quoted player in the article, guard Matt Slauson, who confirmed today the quotes were taken “so many months ago, he can’t even remember it”…something confirmed by Rex Ryan.

Now, let’s do a thought exercise…

You are a beat writer for the New York Jets for a print newspaper. You work in a dying medium and industry. A quarterback controversy sells newspapers. You are dying for a quarterback controversy…practically begging for it…even charting every single pass thrown by both quarterbacks in training camp. You do this despite it being abundantly clear that there is no quarterback controversy. There never has been. This reality is now setting in because despite Mark Sanchez being awful this year, he still hasn’t been pulled for Tim Tebow yet. What if it never happens? What if Tebow leaves New York before ever starting a single game? Now you are desperate, desperate enough to dust off some old quotes from your anonymous sources for a front page story. These quotes weren’t necessarily taken recently or taken in any context related to anything that is occurring right now, but what the hell right?

Look at the quotes in this article about “Tebow” and add some hypothetical context to them –

“He’s terrible” – Defensive Starter – This literally could have been said by any Jets starter since Tebow burst on to the scene in the NFL at any point, in any context. It could have been said before Jets/Broncos last year. It could have been said by Aaron Maybin after he was cut (he has been announced as a starter at Jets games before). It could have been said by anybody at anytime. 

“Hell, no!” another starter said. “You got to keep defenses honest. You just can’t line up in the Wildcat all the time. That won’t work.” – This could very well be a quote taken from Calvin Pace talking about the Wildcat back in 2009. It could have been taken from any player over the summer when asked if they want to run a traditional offense or a Wildcat and then they responded with this answer. It could have been taken from Darrelle Revis last year before the Jets/Broncos game

“We can’t win running that shit” – One player 

“Nobody wants him to be the starter” – One member of the team

“We don’t look at him as a quarterback. He’s The Wildcat Guy” – Another starter

How many times after the Tebow trade and throughout the summer have we heard members of the New York Jets say something like this? Maybe one or two million times, I lost track. Like here. Or Here. Or Here. Think about how easy these quotes could flow from any Jets player asked in the past 6 months about Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, and then they could be construed into what is above –

“Yes, we support Mark, we all want him to be our starter” = “Nobody wants Tebow to be a starter”

“Tebow is an athlete, he is going to help us in The Wildcat. Mark is our quarterback” = “We don’t look at him as a quarterback. He’s The Wildcat Guy” 

You can make these deductions when the quotes seem a little too perfect. It is easy to make them sound that way when you cherry pick from everything members of the team have said the past year or so.

If I was Rex Ryan? I’d deny The Daily News access to Florham Park. Lock them out. Let’s see if ESPN or the New York Post breaks any of these same stories. If they do, the Jets are the problem. If they don’t, you know who the problem really was.

Before you trash the entire Jets locker room and Rex Ryan. Re-read the article you are criticizing them over and think if it is really the most sound piece of sports journalism you have ever seen.

New York Jets – Thoughts On Kahlil Bell and Aaron Maybin

A few quick thoughts on the New York Jets decision to sign Kahlil Bell and release Aaron Maybin

A few quick thoughts on the New York Jets decision to sign running back Kahlil Bell and release outside linebacker Aaron Maybin, only because it is a rarity when GM Mike Tannenbaum makes two smart decisions in one day –

1. If given the proper opportunity, Kahlil Bell is going to be a strong addition to this roster. He is an immediate upgrade over Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight. He arguably could even be an upgrade over Shonn Greene. (Go look at Greene’s stats outside of the outlier Colts game this year and then come back to me). Why am I so excited about Bell? Predominantly from his body of work over the final five games last season when he saw extensive playing time for the Chicago Bears. Here are his game logs from those weeks –

  • Vs. Kansas City – 4 carries, 34 yards
  • At Denver – 9 carries, 40 yards, 5 receptions, 24 yards
  • Vs. Seattle – 15 carries, 65 yards, 5 receptions, 43 yards
  • At Green Bay – 23 carries, 121 yards, 4 receptions, 38 yards
  • At Minnesota – 17 carries, 54 yards, 5 receptions, 28 yards

I actually saw the Denver, Seattle and Green Bay game in their entirety and was thoroughly impressed with Bell. He was one of the backs I was hoping the team would bring in this past August after the Bears let him go. Unfortunately Mike Tannenbaum decided to wait until week 11. Bell is an excellent receiver out of the backfield, has good quickness and is much more explosive than Greene. I am not exaggerating when I am saying that he should be immediately receiving 7-10 carries starting this week and then work towards a playing time split with Greene. In the long term, he could be this team’s number two back when they find a legitimate number one back.

2. Credit Mike Tannenbaum for not waiting until the end of the year for cutting his losses with Aaron Maybin who was an enormous disappointment this season. Many (including myself) believed that with a full year in Rex Ryan’s defense, he would develop another pass rush move and remain a big weapon on defense. In eight games, he didn’t record a single sack and only came up with one tackle. Simply put, Maybin is a one trick pony who failed to develop any other skills. There was no point of keeping him around if he couldn’t get to the quarterback. It is smarter to give reps over the final seven games to Marcus Dowtin and Ricky Sapp to see what they can do.

However, the Jets media relations/community outreach had another disastrous handling of a situation today. They actually sent Maybin to a charity event for the team and then called him while he was there to inform him he was cut. Not a classy move at all. They did something similar with John Conner a few weeks back. Who is making the decisions in these departments?

New York Jets Offense – A Failure From Top To Bottom

The New York Jets offense is abject failure from top to bottom

The New York Jets offense has sank to 30th in the NFL. We are now talking Blaine Gabbert bad. When you are this incompetent, it is a failure of their entire unit and really of the entire organization. Consider this reality: through nine games there is ONE player on the entire Jets offensive roster who has exceeded expectations this year – Jeremy Kerley. Everybody else has performed below any type of realistic expectations for them individually this season and that includes the coaching staff and front office.

As always let’s start at the top. Woody Johnson forced Tim Tebow on to this roster despite his coaching staff having no grasp on how to use him. The Jets wasted cap space on an unproductive (in their system) distraction. Mike Tannenbaum (culprit #1 for the Jets failures as an organization right now) didn’t improve the running back position despite lacking a lead back and depth. He also ignored the evident shortcomings at right tackle and guard. Finally, he failed add necessary veteran depth at both tight end and wide receiver. This team needed a capable veteran at both positions…not Jeff Cumberland and Chaz Schilens.

Next on the list is Mark Sanchez who is trending away from “maddeningly inconsistent” into “simply awful.” Sanchez has completed less than 50% of his passes in 5 of the Jets 9 games this year. He has thrown an interception in every single game except for two of them. His record as a starting quarterback in his previous 12 games is 3-9, with only 1 road victory. The Jets have failed to develop him properly by giving him a below average quarterback coach, switching his top three wide receivers ever year, letting the running back depth deplete, the offensive line talent decline and of course the Tebow circus but that doesn’t give him a pass for this level of play. There is excusably average because of a lack of talent around you and then there is the interception he threw in the red-zone yesterday (in case you forgot, he ignored Stephen Hill on the backline and threw it 3 seconds to late towards Dustin Keller).

The supporting cast around Sanchez is the worst in the NFL right now. Austin Howard is not a starting NFL right tackle. Matt Slauson is not a starting NFL guard. Brandon Moore is at the end of career and is a shell of the player he was in 2009 and 2010. Even Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson have been good but not at the level of play we’ve seen them reach before. Jason Smtih plays 15 reps per game on this team, at tight end! Think about that. Shonn Greene is a backup running back masquerading as a starter. Go take away the stat line from the Colts game and then look at his stat line this year (122 carries, 406 yards, 3.3 YPC and 2 TDs). Not good enough. Stephen Hill isn’t ready to be a starting NFL wide receiver yet but the Jets don’t have a capable veteran to split his reps. Dustin Keller is inconsistent at tight end. Did I miss anything?

This unit needs to be gutted. Tony Sparano gone. Matt Cavanaugh gone. Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller, Matt Slauson, Austin Howard…let them walk in free agency. Mark Sanchez is probably coming back because of his contract and because what is the other option? They aren’t taking a quarterback in the first round. You want to go sign Michael Vick? What are the other options? Take your free cap space, take your draft picks and find yourself a new starting running back, two new starting offensive lineman and a new tight end. If you can find a taker for Santonio Holmes contract (they won’t) then trade him. Start from scratch and hope Stephen Hill develops in year two the way Jeremy Kerley did.

The Jets have officially regressed to the end of the 2005 season when they were starting Brooks Bollinger, Cedric Houston, Justin McCariens and Doug Jolley. The good news? They made playoffs in 2006. We needed something optimistic in this article, right?

No Huddle – New York Jets Brutal Loss (Again) Edition

TJ Rosenthal goes No Huddle after another brutal loss by the New York Jets

Another brutal loss in what was a winnable game against the Seahawks. Now the once desperate Jets are on life support. Here are a few parting thoughts before the club flies home back East, while leaving hope in Seattle.

1 – The Game And Season Most Likely Ended Here

When Dustin Keller false started in a 7-7 game on the goal line in Tebow time, the Jets were cheated out of more than a big one score lead in a defensive battle. They lost a chance to see if Tebowing might have provided a unique spark. Perhaps even more plays for the odd but energy based playmaker.

The Jets needed to win in any way possible. The following play, a Mark Sanchez end zone INT, sent #6 into his too familiar mental hole, and left the Jets again wondering who, if anyone, was piloting the plane.

2 – Post Game Quotes From Cro and Sanchez: Baffling and Telling

Antonio Cromartie telling those in favor of a QB change to “kiss my ass” after the loss was a loyal and noble act. It also is a decision that will be out of his hands After all, there are tickets to sell at Met Life and curiosities for many of us to pursue. Can Tebow lift another team in miraculous fashion? We all wonder.

Mark Sanchez alluding to being affected by the constant shifting in and out in his post game presser may explain part of his skittish play this season. We know he has few weapons. Something else is bothering him though. It’s not physical either. His body language shows uncertainty even before kickoff. Maybe Tebow’s shadow is part of it.

3 – Welcome Back Defense

Finally, in week 10, we saw a Jets defense that attacked a QB, slowed down a top notch RB, hit hard and plaued confidently all day. Kyle Wilson got beat early and the unit sagged due to fatigue late, but overall the effort was what many expected the Jets defense to put forth all year. Better late than never. Nice work fellas.

4 – Now, We Enter Uncharted Airspace

The Jets are 3-6. They have few dependable weapons on offense and a QB controversy on top of a QB consistency problem. This season has the potential to fly itself into Rich Kotite era territory if the locker room begins to divide in any way. Could that happen? Recent history will tell you, its possible.

The offense, again for the second straight year, can’t help the team. The special teams unit is now a mess. The two best players Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes are out for the season. If Rex Ryan loses the players, whose jobs remain safe and secure? Anyone?

We wonder whose names are written in stone on the untouchable list. This is not your run of the mill 3-6 team. This is one with an inability to score and an uncanny ability to create unwanted drama for itself during the week. A dangerous combination for a team whose collective flight is losing altitude at an alarming rate.

Let the blame games and the unnamed source hunting begin. Only Rex Ryan can prevent disarray and anonymous voices who may try to save their own jobs. Rex could be the last line of defense before 2012 makes it’s way down towards the landing strip of an ugly ending.

Initial Reaction – New York Jets Pop Warner Offense Gets Blown Out

The New York Jets offense no showed in a 28-7 blowout loss to Seattle

The New York Jets defense came to play today. This isn’t the most talented unit and they are lacking in many key areas. Regardless, they put forth a respectable effort and gave their team every chance to be competitive and win.

The offense? Putrid. Embarrassing. Pop Warner quality. The Jets had two weeks to prepare and their major revelation was bringing Tim Tebow in the game to throw a swing pass to Jeremy Kerley. The Jets actually ran it four separate times. There was mass confusion. Poor play calling. Terrible blitz pick up. Wide receivers who couldn’t get open. Dustin Keller false starting and dropping passes all over the field. And of course awful quarterbacking.

This game turned on a brutal red-zone interception from Mark Sanchez. Just an inexcusably terrible pass. And how many times have I written that sentence this season? Everything around Sanchez on offense is not good enough. Austin Howard and Matt Slauson aren’t capable starting NFL lineman. They are average at running back. They are below average at wide receiver (outside of Jeremy Kerley). However, Sanchez doesn’t get a pass for playing this mediocre. He is showing no signs of progressing and continually makes way too many mistaks. Simply put, he isn’t playing well enough to keep his job.

If the Jets had any other backup quarterback, the change would have been made by now. Clearly Rex Ryan and the rest of the staff has no faith in Tim Tebow to run their offense and they know once they switch with him, they are stuck with him for the rest of the year. Regardless to keep credibility in the locker room at this point Rex needs to make the switch. You can’t keep trotting Sanchez out there and scoring zero points every single week. Tebow isn’t the long term answer but at this point how much worse could the Jets offense get?

What we are watching now is unacceptable. Tony Sparano should be fired. Mike Tannenbaum should be fired. Fire everybody on the damn offense outside of Mangold, Ferguson and Kerley. Firesale time for the Jets.

Turn On The Jets Week 10 Roundtable – Jets vs. Seahawks Predictions

The Turn On The Jets staff gives their predictions for Jets vs. Seattle

Joe Caporoso – 12 Pack 

Chris Gross – Prediction: Seahawks 23 Jets 13 – The Jets enter week 10 heading into a hostile environment at CenturyLink Field. Seattle utilizes their 12th man like no other team in the NFL, making CenturyLink a nightmare for opposing teams. In order to keep it close, the Jets must be able tune out the roaring crowd, a daunting task for a team that has shown little mental toughness all season long. Offensively, Seattle will look to attack New York’s vulnerable run defense, and based on the play of this unit over the past few weeks, coupled with the fact that NT Kenrick Ellis is out yet again this week, there is no reason to believe that the Seahawks won’t be able to get Marshawn Lynch and company going for 130+ yards. Lynch will be keyed, allowing for Russell Wilson to take some shots deep. There is no serious threat to the Jets secondary in Seattle’s receiving corps, but look for the Seahawks to use a lot of play action, particularly if Lynch is ripping off anywhere between 4-5 yards per carry. If New York can slow “Beast Mode,” they should be able to keep Seattle’s offense in check throughout the game. However, with the way Lynch has been running, don’t expect this sub par run defense to be able to contain him for 60 minutes.

The key for New York’s offense once again lies with Mark Sanchez. Will Sanchez finally show some consistent leadership and tenacity, or will he come out petrified of Seattle’s vaunted pass rush forcing him to avoid stepping into his throws, missing target after target? The offensive line will need to be at its best and the Jets will likely provide help in pass blocking schemes, leaving an extra tight end or back in on anything greater than a 3 step drop. Shonn Greene will struggle to get going for anything more than 3.1-3.3 yards per carry, as he has a very limited supporting cast once again, so the play of Sanchez, his receivers, and the offensive line is crucial.
The Jets will do enough to keep it close for about 2 and a half quarters, with Seattle pulling away with a touchdown about half way through the fourth quarter. Sanchez will have opportunity to put the Jets in a position for a late comeback, however New York’s fate will ultimately be sealed by number 6 committing a turnover within 5 minutes left to play.

Mike Donnelly –  I touched on what I expect the Jets to do in my 2nd Half Preview Stock Watch. I think the Jets are going to play their best game of the season and win 20-16. Coming off their bye, these players and coaches know how important this game is if they’re going to make any kind of run in the second half of the season. I expect Mark Sanchez to play a very efficient — if unspectacular — game. The defense is where this game will be won, however. I’ve never been much of a believer in Russell Wilson and that hasn’t changed. The Jets are going to load up to stuff the run and come after Wilson in a big way. I have full confidence in Rex Ryan and his staff that he was able to fix some issues during their week off and add some new wrinkles that will make this defense start to look more like the dominant unit we all expected at the start of the season. Jets pull this one out, make everyone think they’re good again, then lose in comical fashion the following week. It’s all a very Jets thing to do.

Rob Celletti –  I’m not going to beat anyone over the head with logic or reason here. Instead, I’m going with my gut: I like the Jets to win this game.  I’m a believer in “due” and Seattle hasn’t lost a home game yet this season. NFL teams are usually energized after a bye week, so I expect a much better start from the Jets compared to what we saw two weeks ago. Russell Wilson is a rookie and I think the Jets have a good chance to force him into some mistakes, like they did to Andrew Luck (a better quarterback, in my opinion) a few weeks ago. I think the final score is close and the Jets pull it out, 19-16.

Chris Celletti – As I mentioned in our roundtable earlier this week, the most important matchup of this game, to me, is whether or not the Jets can keep Marshawn Lynch from running wild. You would think with some extra rest off the bye week the Jets’ defense should be fresh, but personally I just think that matchup favors the Seahawks too heavily and is going to prove to be too meaningful to this game. Although, I do fully expect the Jets’ pass defense to shut down Seattle’s passing attack with rookie QB Russell Wilson. If they can’t, it’s game over. Offensively, I don’t see how the Jets are going to put up too many points. This seems like a game where Mark Sanchez will struggle in, most quarterbacks do in Seattle. The Jets will need a big play or two on special teams in order to stay in this one late. Either way, I think Seattle defends their home, winning 23-16.

Turn On The Jets Week 10 NFL Picks

The Turn On The Jets staff gives their picks for week 10 of the NFL season

The Race for Steak continues. Note that last week’s record includes the most recent Thursday Night game –

CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Mike Donnelly (70-60-3)

2. Rob Celletti (69-59-5)

3. Chris Gross (66-63-4)

4. Chris Celletti (61-68-4)

5. Joe Caporoso (57-72-4)

Joe Caporoso

Last Week (9-5)

  • New England (-11) vs. Buffalo
  • Giants (-3.5) vs. Bengals
  • Tampa Bay (-3) vs. San Diego
  • Carolina (+4) vs. Denver
  • Titans (+6) vs. Dolphins
  • Raiders (+8) vs. Ravens
  • Falcons (-2.5) vs. Saints
  • Lions (-2) vs. Vikings
  • Jets (+6) vs. Seattle
  • Eagles (+2) vs. Dallas
  • 49ers (-11) vs. Rams
  • Bears (-1.5) vs. Texans
  • Steelers (-11.5) vs. Chiefs

Mike Donnelly

Last Week (3-11!)

  • Patriots -12
  • Giants -3.5
  • Bucs -3
  • Panthers +4
  • Titans +6
  • Raiders +7.5
  • Falcons -2.5
  • Lions -2.5
  • Jets +6
  • Cowboys -2
  • 49ers -11.5
  • Texans +1.5
  • Steelers -11.5

Rob Celletti

Last Week (8-6)

  • Patriots (-11)
  • Bengals (+3.5)
  • Bucs (-3)
  • Broncos (-4)
  • Titans (+6)
  • Ravens (-8)
  • Saints (+2.5)
  • Vikings (+2)
  • Jets (+6)
  • Cowboys (-2)
  • Rams (+11)
  • Bears (-1.5)
  • Steelers (-11.5)

Chris Celletti

Last Week (8-6)

  • Bills
  • Giants
  • Chargers
  • Broncos
  • Titans
  • Ravens
  • Falcons
  • Vikings
  • Seahawks
  • Cowboys
  • Rams
  • Bears
  • Chiefs

Chris Gross

Last Week (9-5)

  • Patriots (-12)
  • Giants (-3.5)
  • Chargers (+3)
  • Broncos (-4)
  • Titans (+6)
  • Ravens (-7.5)
  • Saints (+2.5)
  • Vikings (+2.5)
  • Seahawks (-6)
  • Eagles (+2)
  • 49ers (-11.5)
  • Bears (-1.5)
  • Chiefs (+11.5)

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 10 – Jets vs. Seattle

12 predictions for the New York Jets week 10 match-up vs. Seattle

Gates? Greene? Howard? I’m getting the hell out of here…” – Mark Sanchez in above photo 

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is back to kick off your weekend. Personally, I am in an extra jovial mood this Friday. Outside of the Boomer and Carton shout out, they are serving free BBQ in my office today. Anybody can order free pizza or sandwiches, but free BBQ? That is a job well done by my company. When we eventually have official TOJ offices, outside of serving the logical 12 pack to accompany the article every Friday, we will also serve BBQ. Because nothing makes for more productive afternoons than weighing employees down with massive meals and alcohol. 

While I am food ranting, the top two snack choices for TOJ this season has been Hint of Lime Tostitos and Ken’s Honey Mustard Pretzel Bites. Any recommendations to knock them out of the top two spots? 

On to the predictions

1. The New York Jets special teams is going to play a very good all-around game and will make a play that directly leads to points. Frank Isola may disagree but Mike Westhoff is a Hall of Fame coach and I can’t see his unit tanking it for two weeks in a row. Both Antonio Cromartie and Clyde Gates have the speed to make a big play on kick return. Jeremy Kerley is explosive at punt returner and is due for a big one.

That feels like a hundred years ago, right? Let’s not also forget that this is the Jets so writing off a big return from Leon Washington would be foolish.

2. Russell “The Nicest and Smartest Man To Ever Play Quarterback in the NFL According To Every Analyst” Wilson is going to struggle against the Jets defense. Seriously. have you heard analysts talk about Wilson? It is a good thing Jim Nantz isn’t calling the game this week as I could see this occurring while I vomit up the previously mentioned Hint of Lime Tostitos. “Look at Wilson’s smile…look at his charisma…look at how intelligently he holds that football…his grace reminds me of a embracingly warm April afternoon in Augusta.” Put Wilson down for under 200 yards passing and a turnover.

3. Mark Sanchez is going to be sacked at least 3 times and the Jets are going to have at least two false start penalties. The Jets offense will also have at least one turnover. Anybody curious why Matt Cavanaugh is a working coach in the NFL still, anybody? In a perfect world him, Mike Tannenbaum and Terry Bradway will be selling insurance with Mark Brunell next November.

4. Marshawn Lynch will be productive but won’t destroy the Jets. Put him down for 85-105 yards and a touchdown.

5. Dustin Keller will lead the Jets in receptions and receiving yards. The Jets wide receivers are going to have a tough time getting open and Seattle hasn’t been great against tight ends this year. Look for Keller to be as productive as he was against New England a few weeks ago.

6. Quinton Coples will have his third sack of the season. It still won’t make Jets fans feel better about not having Bruce Irvin or Chandler Jones.

7. Bilal Powell will have 5 carries and 2 catches as he returns from an injury. Shonn Greene will finish with 75 yards rushing and 2 catches.

8. That Tebow guy will have 3-5 carries and throw a pass. He will run for a first down on 2nd and 2 with 5:04 left in the 2nd quarter and flex his muscles while yelling, this will prompt Twitter to explode for calls for him to stay in the game for his demonstrated leadership. The announcers will then also remind everybody that “TEBOW IS A JUST A FOOTBALL PLAYER! HE JUST PLAYS FOOTBALL SO MUCH!”

9. Golden Tate is going to have a big day working against Kyle Wilson. I can already see Tate with 6 catches for 115 yards and then blowing by Wilson for another long completion in the 4th quarter, except he happens to drop it. Wilson will then respond by wagging his finger at the Seattle sideline while they look at him with baffled faces.

10. Stephen Hill is going to struggle against Seattle’s aggressive cornerbacks. Don’t bank on him going over 40 yards receiving. Jeremy Kerley will make some plays from the slot and have a productive day.

11. Antonio Cromartie is going to shut down Sidney Rice and record an interception of Russell Wilson.

12. The New York Jets are appropriately heavy underdogs in this game but they will put forth a scrappy effort coming off the bye week. However, I don’t think they will have enough offense to steal one late against the Seahawks. I’m taking Seattle 16-13.

Predicted Game Outcome Record (7-1) 

Turn On The Jets Week 10 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets

Week 9 Record: 2-1

Season Record: 10-16-1

Why do the Giants always look like such a good bet? It’s like every single week I look at them and I’m like “Yeah of course they’re covering that.” Look at this week, -3.5 against the Bengals? Really? I feel like the Giants win this game by four points or more 99% of the time. So am I going to go with them as one of my three highlight picks this week? Not a chance. Moral of the story is, no matter what, you just can’t rely on your rival when you need them. Not only would a Giant cover last week against the Steelers have given me a 3-0 record for the week, it would have helped out the Jets, ever so slightly, in their grave playoff hopes. So I won’t go with the Giants this week. This means the Giants will win by 17 points.

Conversely, my go-to look every week is towards the Jacksonville Jaguars. Of course they played in the useless Thursday night game, and I write my Best Bets piece for Friday, so this week I couldn’t rely on them.

That got me thinking about on these Thursday night games. This year’s full-season Thursday night slate is proof that NFL is immune to it’s own stupidity and selfishness. The Thursday night games have been AWFUL. Absolutely, horrifyingly terrible. And it’s no wonder why. Football players are supposed to have five, six days off between games, and it’s showed in almost every Thursday night game this year. On top of that, by guaranteeing every team in the league be featured, we’re consistently seeing terrible teams every Thursday.

But the immunity of the league is proven when you go on social media on Thursday nights, and of course in the television ratings. I didn’t watch a single snap of Colts-Jaguars last night. I’m admittedly not a total crazy football nut as some other people, and because of that, Colts-Jaguars does absolutely nothing for me. But when I went on Twitter last night, I saw people complaining about the game. This has been a trend every Thursday night this season. You hop on social media and see things like “Oh my god, this is horrible football!”  There’s an easy solution to this: nobody is forcing you to watch Thursday Night Football.

Don’t give me that you just love football so much that it doesn’t matter who plays or how miserable the game is, you watch it no matter what. That’s stupid. Basketball is my favorite sport to watch, I love both the NBA and college ball. The other day, Sixers-Hornets was on ESPN. I didn’t sit there and watch all 48 minutes because I love basketball. I watched Nick Young clank three contested fadeaways in a row and saw Greivis Vazquez chuck an outlet pass into the ninth row and said “Yeah, no thanks.”

So next Thursday when you sit there watching the Bills and Dolphins sling crap around on your TV for three hours, realize that you probably wasted some valuable time. You could have been doing something productive with your life, like playing video games, posting political statuses on your Facebook page, or best yet, writing a column about how bad the Thursday night NFL games are.

On to the picks:

Broncos -4 at Carolina – The Broncos did well for me last week and I like this line just right where it is, thank you.

Bears -1.5 vs. Texans – The weather could be bad on Sunday night in the Windy City, which I think favors the Bears. Their defense is just too good right now.

/Really wants to take the Giants. GAAHHHHH

Chargers +3 at Buccaneers – I really can’t explain my choice here. This is just a bad sporting event in general.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 3-5-1)

Last week I didn’t believe the Knicks would beat the Heat to start their season and I was gladly wrong. I’ll take it. The Knicks have been so impressive early on. Carmelo Anthony is scoring – of course – and rebounding and playing defense. Ray Felton and Jason Kidd are helping zip the ball around on offense, finding open guys. J.R. Smith looks like the Sixth Man of the Year. Ronnie Brewer (Ronnie Brewer?!) is draining threes. Kurt Thomas is fouling the living hell out of people. God I love Kurt Thomas. Steve Novak was only 2-of-8 in the last two games. Huh? GET WITH THE PROGRAM, STEVE.

Knicks -6 vs. the Mavs? In oh-so-eloquent words of Walt Clyde Frazier: YYYYYYYYYYYup!

Five Second Half Keys For The New York Jets

TJ Rosenthal with five second half keys for the New York Jets

The 3-5 New York Jets have an embattled GM, a coaching staff searching for answers, and a fan base wondering where the talent and depth filled “Goddamn Snack” squads of 2009 and 2010 went. Gang Green must go 6-2 in order to have a probable shot at a postseason berth. Here are five keys needed in order to make it happen.

1 – The Quarterback Becomes The Leader

Mark Sanchez will be given every opportunity to remain the starter. If the Jets can’t rise on offense collectively, will Tim Tebow get the chance to elevate his teammates? The Jets desperately need leadership at the QB position in the second half.

2 – A Pass Rusher Is Found: Coples Anyone?

The Jets have to locate a pass rushing presence among it’s own front seven. Rookie Quinton Coples has recently begun to show signs of life. If he can take it to the next level, the Jets secondary can collectively settle in, and even choose to play the ball more often.

3 – Dustin Keller Emerges

This was yet again, supposed to be a breakout year for the eternally emerging tight end. A hamstring injury however, slowed him in the first six games. Keller has to become that All-Pro threat over the next eight games, in order to help open up the passing game outside.

4 – The Special Teams Unit Reawakens

What in the world has gone on with Mike Westhoff’s group over the past two games? A Jets special teams crew that has thrived under Westhoff, a true gem coaching in his final season, has suddenly gone south. Lately, monumental game changing plays have gone against a unit that is always heavily counted on. Despite their recent struggles, this area will still be a key part of the winning formula for the Jets down the stretch.

5 – 
The 2012 Jets Identity Finally Crystallizes

Who are these 2012 Jets? Good question. We hear all the time about who they want to be. They are not however, that dominant ground attack and feared defense that Ryan hoped they would turn into. Not yet at least. Add in the confusion surrounding Tim Tebow’s purpose (or lack thereof) in the offense, and you have an even bigger mystery. 

Let’s hope that the bye week helped the Jets assess who they ought to become the rest of the way based on what they truly are and can achieve. Any gadgetry and trickery that lends itself to the game plan is fine by us. A continued lack of honesty regarding this club’s identity on either side of the ball, is not.