Turn On The Jets NFL Week 7 Best Bets: Changing the Approach

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets. Where should you put your money this weekend?

Week 6 Record: 2-1 (Respectable!)

Season Record: 7-10-1 (Getting there!)

Underdogs are killing it in the NFL this season. It started early and most chalked it up to the usual early-season parity and also those weirdos who were pretending to be refs. But funny thing is that it’s kept up. Last week, underdogs were 12-2. The only two favorites that covered? Your New York Football Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and I had ’em both. Yippeee!

So this week I’m going to do something a little odd, which is pick three dogs and hope I get them right. Underdogs cover or outright win every single week in the NFL, and chances are with the way things are going that three will win this week. Hopefully I nab them. Let’s call it Changing the Approach, and I’d like to offer a little bit of advice to a billion dollar operation who should try the same thing: The New York Yankees.

The Yankees, the Bronx Bombers with all their power and all their home runs and questionable starting pitching just got swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. They went 3-6 in the postseason, while batting a historically-inept .188. Their starting pitching, outside of C.C. Sabathia in Game 4 against the Tigers, was incredible. Delmon Young drove in six runs in the sweep, the Yankees scored six themselves. Alex Rodriguez’s world came crashing down, Derek Jeter’s ankle exploded into 19 pieces, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson looked like they were actually trying NOT to hit the ball, and …well, you get the point.

At least the Red Sox finished last.

But this has to be the wake up call the Yankees needed. When you look back at the 2009 postseason, when the Yanks won their 27th World Series, you now have to count it as an outlier. For all the years the Yankees went into the postseason worried sick about their starting pitching, it’s almost always been the offense’s sputtering that sent them home. The theme has always been the same: horrible with runners in scoring position, no productive outs, no stealing of bases/pushing the envelope, way too dependent on the long ball, and A-Rod sucking. This season, all of that rued its collective ugly head, but it went to epic proportions. If the Yankees finally realize that they need to be a more versatile offensive team and make changes to that end this offseason, the 2012 postseason might be the best thing that ever happened to the franchise. If not, we’ll likely be saying the same thing next year.

What the Yankees need to do is change the approach. Look, A-Rod will most likely be back next season. If they can get rid of him, they will, and they should, but we’re going to assume he’s back. And that’s fine, really. He just has to be the full-time DH next season, and see if he can give the Yankees 500 healthy at bats. Nick Swisher will be gone. He’s been a good regular season player, but it’s time to move on. He somehow makes Postseason A-Rod look like Ted Williams, which is amazing.

But what the Yankees can’t do is replace Swisher with another home-run-seeking guy. They already have power in the lineup with Robinson Cano and yes, A-Rod. Russell Martin will likely be back, who will chip in 20 homers or so (he just needs to be way better as an average hitter). Where the Yankees can make big, meaningful moves towards youth and versatility is in left field/right field, third base and center field. If I’m Brian Cashman, I’m shopping Granderson this offseason. The Yankees just don’t need a guy who is going to hit 43 home runs but hit .220 and strike out 200 times. They don’t need Adam Dunn, which is what Granderson has become. Another team will take him. Guys like him have value on some teams. The Yankees aren’t one of those teams.

If I’m the Yankees in 2013, I bring back Ichiro Suzuki on a one year deal and stick him in right field. Brett Gardner plays every game in center field. I get a younger, versatile left fielder and a similar player for third base. It almost doesn’t even matter who. Just someone who can hit .270, play decent defense, bunt, steal, and most importantly, someone who isn’t just looking to mash the ball into the seats every at-bat. The rest of the infield stays the same. A rotation of Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda (who should also be brought back on a short deal), and perhaps Michael Pineda and Andy Pettitte is good enough, as was proved this October.

But if the Yanks write a blank check to Josh Hamilton and stick him in right or left field, I have a feeling that they’ll be cleaning out their lockers at about the same time next season. It’s not that Hamilton isn’t a great player, he’s just not the type of player the Yankees need. They have enough of those already. They need some more versatility, some more youth and speed, and they have ample opportunities to add that this offseason.

Now, onto the picks:

Ravens +7 at Texans

I think we can chalk this line up to ZOMG Ray Lewish is hurt the Ravens are toast! The Texans haven’t looked great for the past six quarters. The Jets did a good job against them in the second half in Week 5, and the Packers wiped them in Week 6. I guess you could say that the Texans are due to play a good game, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to have an easy time with the Ravens. This just smells like a field goal game to me. I think you take seven points with the Ravens against anyone in the NFL.

Redskins +6.5 at Giants

The Giants went 0-2 against the ‘Skins last season. They always seem to struggle with them. I could also see this being a little bit of a let-down game for the G-Men, coming off a big road win at San Francisco last week. For some reason I just have visions of RGIII running all over the place, keeping this a dogfight to the end.

Cardinals +6.5 at Vikings

Chances are this will be a really low scoring game, with two good defenses going head to head. Generally, those types of games are close all the way through. I actually like the Cards straight up in this one, so give me the 6.5 points.

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

Shameless plug here – I’ll be ringside this Saturday when boxing debuts at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, on assignment for SBNation New York. Does that mean I probably shouldn’t make a gambling prediction for one of these fights? Yeah, but whatever. Of course, in typical boxing fashion, Saturday’s main event between super-exciting Danny Garcia and grizzled vet Erik Morales is in doubt because Morales probably failed a drug test, but there are other good fights on the card for boxing nuts. One I’m looking forward to is Randall Bailey against Devon Alexander for Bailey’s welterweight crown. Bailey pulled a shocking victory out of nowhere in his last fight against Mike Jones, flooring Jones in the 11th round after being out-boxed the previous 10. Bailey is never out of any fight, because he’s one of boxing’s toughest one-punch punchers (check YouTube for some highlights). Alexander is wildly talented but his toughness has often been put into question. The fight presents a compelling dynamic, and I’m going to say Bailey pulls the upset and retains his title. He’s at +450 to do so, so this would be another fairly big upset for Bailey.

Turn On The Jets Talks With Pats Propaganda – Jets/Patriots Preview

Joe Caporoso talks with Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda about the upcoming match-up between the Jets and Patriots

I had the opportunity to talk with one of our favorite writers behind enemy lines, Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda, to preview the upcoming New York Jets/New England Patriots showdown. Here is our conversation –

JC – What is the issue with New England’s secondary and is it a solvable problem this season? Is it actually as bad as it is being hyped up to be?

MD – Really the only issue, and it’s a glaring one, is that they cannot stop the 20+ passing plays. They’re giving up almost 6 per game. It really just boils down to that, and it’s maddening because they’ve been the worst in the NFL at it for two seasons and just can’t seem to get it fixed. Now injuries have played into it somewhat. When Russell Wilson heaved the 46-yard game winning TD last weekend it was two rookies that were on the back end. But things weren’t especially better when it was starters Steve Gregory (out since week 4) and Patrick Chung (dinged at the end of the game).

JC – Are you surprised by some of the game management issues that are arising, particularly with two Hall of Famers like Belichick and Brady leading the way?

MD – Yes, there have definitely been some head scratching moments this year, like last week’s debacle at the end of the first half, where they took an intentional grounding with one second left inside the 10-yard line that basically cost them the game in the long run. They should’ve just kicked the field goal when they had the chance with 6 seconds left.

There are a couple factors contributing. With Josh McDaniels back and his aggressive/often unconventional style, and the Pats trying to execute at such a fast pace it has led to some of the miscues, but ultimately I think they’ll be okay in the long run. There’s no question they’re still trying to lock down their identity and I think that has played into it as well. Sometimes they’re unstoppable, other times they seem to be going backwards. They need consistency and with that the game management stuff will take care of itself.

JC – Can you talk about how New England has rebuilt this offense to be a dual threat with their newly found power running game?

MD – Honestly I don’t think they have much of a straight up power running game as some might think, and we saw that against the Seahawks last week.  What they excel at is running on nickel and dime defenses, and once their passing game that’s when their run game is most dangerous.

Now there’s no question Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead and Brandon Boldin are still a more dynamic group than they’ve had in some time, but so far we’ve only seen them dominate the run game situationally, when teams are on their heels and overly concerned with the passing attack. Whether they can consistently move the ball on the ground to run the clock out and seal a win, when the opposition knows they’re trying to run, remains to be seen. This includes short yardage situations too. And we’ve already seen a ton of negative plays that were rare in recent history. Make no mistake, you’ve got to stop the passing game first and foremost.

JC – If you were the Jets how would you attack the New England defense? The New England offense?

MD –  For the Jets offense you have to take some shots down the field. There’s no weaker link than the Patriots back end. They’ve been effective in stopping the run every week, with Brandon Spikes really being the tone setter there, and they’re a good tackling team for the most part as well. The short pass and ground attack is less effective so far this year than it has been in year’s past.

But if you look at Seattle’s game plan, they stuck with their ground game even though it wasn’t dominant and took a lot of play action shots down the field, especially on early downs. The Jets have some ammo to keep the Pats defense off balance, I’m sure Rex has been saving something Tebow-y just for New England. Those plays that confuse or put the Pats on their heels will open up the long balls down the field. But the difficult thing, and most key part, is not throwing interceptions on those deep shots. Simply put if Sanchez and the offense have one turnover or less they’ll be in the game until the end and then they just have to make the clutch plays. The Patriots defense lives or dies by turnovers, if you give them two or more New England will probably win.

For the Jets defense it’s all about patience. There will probably be a couple drives where the Patriots run no-huddle and look unstoppable. You just have to weather those storms and continue to force them to execute for 60 minutes. Because they’ve got a habit of going stone cold during crunch time. I know Rex loves to mix things up a lot, but the Pats no-huddle will make that difficult, so I’d say stay in base and simplify the calls so they can get in quickly. If the Jets go DB heavy the Patriots will not hesitate to run so they’ll have to be prepared for that as well.

Obviously they must try to confuse Brady’s reads as much as possible, and when the Pats offense goes no-huddle they must be prepared. So much of the damage New England does in the no-huddle is because teams are not lined up, don’t have the call, or simply gassed. You can’t give them anything easy. Make them work for it till the end and it’s entirely possible they won’t make the clutch plays in the clutch moments.

JC – Prediction for the game, how many wins the Patriots finish with and how many wins the Jets finish with?

MD – Well hey, I’m biased but even when I do my best to be non-biased I like the Pats in this one. They’re always tough coming off an embarrassing loss, even moreso at home. I’d expect them to bring their A-game this week.

The wild card is Sanchez and the deep ball. If the Jets can get a couple long scores, not turn the ball over, move the ball a bit on the ground, and keep it close until the 4th quarter it could be anybodies game.

Let’s go Pats 24, Jets 13.

At this point I like the Pats at 12-4. Jets 9-7.

MD – The Jets have had a season of injuries like none I’ve seen before. Who are some of the players that might be unknown to Patriots fans but have been elevating their play in the absence of so many starters?

JC – On offense, Jeremy Kerley has stepped into being the offense’s top playmaker. He is averaging over 17 yards per catch and has shown a consistent ability to create big plays down the field. The Jets receiving core gets a ton of flak for lacking talent but that isn’t a fair assessment. Outside of Kerley, Chaz Schilens has been a capable possession receiver and a healthy Stephen Hill has big play potential. He already has three touchdowns, despite missing 2 and 1/2 games.

On defense, Patriots fans know Antonio Cromartie obviously but he has taken his play to a different level in the absence of Darrelle Revis. The past three weeks have been the best I’ve seen Cromartie play since joining the team and he seems to have embraced a leadership role in the secondary.

MD – Is this a make or break year for Mark Sanchez? Has he progressed or regressed as a quarterback?

JC – Considering the structure of his contract, he will likely be back next year unless the bottom truly falls out on the season and his performance. Even the staunchest Sanchez apologist would have to admit he has regressed since the 2010 season. There have been flashes of strong play but the inconsistency has been maddening. The last two weeks have been baby steps in the right direction after a disastrous game against San Francisco. We have seen some of Sanchez’s best work against the Patriots since his career started, so hopefully he can keep building positive momentum.

MD –  How have the defense and offense evolved this year, if they have? What kind of team are the Jets trying to be? Is ground and pound really accurate?

JC – Ground and Pound needs to go as an expression (which is why we changed the tag-line on our site haha). Prior to last week, the Jets had been dreadful running the football and stopping the run, along with having a non-existent pass rush. We saw strides in the right direction beginning the in second half against Houston and then carrying over to the Indianapolis game. On offense, they are still going to be run heavy but do take more shots down the field than they did under Brian Schottenheimer. On defense, Rex Ryan seems to recognize his base defense’s shortcomings and has slowly been getting more creative with his schemes and integrating younger players into more playing time.

MD – Name a player on offense and a player on defense that will be key to the Jets chances of knocking off the Patriots.

JC –  Offensively, it has to be on Sanchez to hit his throws down the field. The Jets have the players on the outside who can beat the Patriots secondary deep (Hill, Kerley and yes even Cromartie) but Sanchez must be accurate. Defensively, they must knock Tom Brady off his mark and get him rattled early in the game. Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples are their best natural pass rushers and both must make an impact early and often.

MD – If you were the Patriots where would you attack the Jets offense and defense? What can be exploited?

JC –  The Jets still lack speed at linebacker in a big way. I would be running to the outside heavily with RIdley and Woodhead, along with looking to hurt the Jets in the screen game. If the Jets try to match up the Patriots tight ends in man coverage with their safeties, it should be a match-up Brady can take advantage of as well. On defense, I would make Sanchez beat you. Bottle up the running game and force him to hit throws down the field into tight windows and hope he throws a few interceptions.

 

New York Jets Week 7 – Game Plan Thoughts For New England

A few thoughts on how the New York Jets could game plan for the New England Patriots

The New York Jets head to New England this Sunday in a pivotal AFC East game between a pair of 3-3 teams. Despite having the same record, the Jets find themselves as 10.5 point underdogs. New England is a better team but the Jets have beat the Patriots in the past when they had less talented rosters than them. This is another “kitchen sink” game where Rex Ryan and the coaching staff needs to put together a creative game plan that doesn’t hold back any gadgets or surprises. How can the Jets give themselves a chance to pull off the upset?

Offense – New England is extremely weak in their secondary, giving up an inordinate amount of 20+ yard passing plays. Their corners and safeties have a difficult time playing the ball in the air and both position groups are generally lacking on talent. The Jets are going to have to take their shots down the field. This is the type of game they drafted Stephen Hill for. This is the type of game you give Antonio Cromartie another shot to run a pass route or two. Jeremy Kerley should be able to do some damage down the seam. Of course all of that is irrelevant if Mark Sanchez cannot be accurate with his deep passes. This is a big test for Sanchez. Can he take advantage of a weak secondary? In the past Sanchez has played some of his best games against New England (and some of his worst) – but he does have over a 100 quarterback rating in 4 of his 7 games against them. The Jets need “Good Sanchez” in a big way on Sunday.

Obviously the Jets can’t be one dimensional. They need a productive running game to open up play action passing down the field. Without Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, that much more pressure will be on Shonn Greene to perform. Nobody is expecting him to duplicate last week’s performance but if he could give the Jets a solid 20 carry, 85 yard performance it will go a long way to helping their passing game out. Powell and McKnight’s absence could also lead to a bigger role for Tim Tebow.

I had an interesting conversation with Steve Hunter of Sports Geek, where he mentioned the possibility of using a “surprise” Wildcat that utilized Tebow in a hurry-up offense. New England uses their hurry-up to prevent defenses from subbing and allowing them to take advantage of team’s nickel personnel with their running game or their base personnel with their passing game. If the Jets started a series with Sanchez at quarterback and Tebow at one of the running back spots, they could move to a hurry up and alternate in plays where Tebow lines up quarterback before New England has a chance to substitute or react. This also wouldn’t be a bad game to allow Tebow to take a shot down the field, considering the Patriots vulnerable secondary.

Basically, the Jets need to get creative to manufacture points because New England is going to score their share. You aren’t winning this game with anything less than 24 on the board.

Defense – As previously mentioned, New England is going to gain their yards and score their share of points. The key is going to be, how many times can the Jets force the Patriots to settle for a field goal instead of letting them get in the end-zone? And can they force New England into a couple of turnovers? The Jets can’t allow the Patriots to rip off huge chunks of yardage. They have to make them work on long drives and hope they press eventually and Brady throws them an interception or Stevan Ridley coughs up a fumble.

New England thrives in their no huddle because they take advantage of a team’s inability to substitute and then gash them with their running game when they have personnel on the field to defend the pass. This is what makes having the personnel to run a “big nickel” that much more important. Rex Ryan seems to recognize that and smartly brought up hybrid safety/linebacker Antonio Allen last week and now this week has brought up another hybrid in Marcus Dowtin. These are the type of players you need to defend the Patriots, guys with coverage skills but who have the ability to play in the box and make tackles. Considering Eric Smith’s injury, look for extended reps for Allen and for Dowtin to be thrown right on the field like Allen was last week. At linebacker, Demario Davis should see a big chunk of Bart Scott’s playing time because of his speed and coverage skills.

Safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell were brought in to help slow down the Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. They can’t match them in man to man coverage and it may be a good idea to give Antonio Cromartie a few shots on them in certain situations. However, they have the ability to get physical with them in the box and re-route or delay their routes in hopes of throwing their timing with Brady off. It will be imperative that Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Aaron Maybin generate a pass rush because Brady is a different quarterback when he is getting frequently hit.

Special Teams – If Joe McKnight doesn’t play, Antonio Cromartie will be the primary kick returner and he is always capable of ripping off a big return. Jeremy Kerley remains dangerous as a punt returner as well. Any points generated from special teams would be a huge bump in a game where the Jets are trying to pace themselves with the Patriots offense. I have a tough time seeing the Jets executing another fake punt because you know New England is going to be waiting for it. Let’s see how creative Mike Westhoff can get.

New York Jets – Can They Remain A Factor In Mediocre AFC?

Can the New York Jets remain a factor in the increasingly mediocre AFC?

In case you haven’t noticed, the 2012 AFC is a breeding ground of mediocrity. Through six weeks, only two teams are over .500 (Baltimore and Houston, both at 5-1) and there are seven teams sitting at 3-3. Beyond that, you have eight teams under .500, including five teams who are already at least two games under. Let’s take a quick, semi-serious look at the flaws with every team –

Houston (5-1) – They just lost Brian Cushing for the season and were stomped out in their own building by the Green Bay Packers. They barely scrapped by the Jets as they were acclimating about 6 new players to full time roles. When has Matt Schaub ever won an important game? Seriously, name one.

Baltimore (5-1) – No Lardarius Webb (a huge on field loss). No Ray Lewis (a huge locker room loss). Terrell Suggs still not all the way healthy and Haloti Ngata is banged up. They are almost entirely reliant on their offense right now. Is Joe Flacco really on that level yet? He has shown signs but did also only score 9 points against the Chiefs who couldn’t beat 11 sobbing Jason Whitlocks right now.

Jets (3-3) – Of course, I am listing them before all the other 3-3 teams not based any specific criteria just because this is a Jets website after all. I won’t go into the Jets flaws here because I do that every single day and night (check for our articles later today!)

Patriots (3-3) – Marquice Cole might be the best player in their secondary right now. Also they manage their games like you would if you played your little brother in Madden. Basically, you have Belichick and Brady keeping a Joe Biden sh*t eating grin on their face until they get an intentional grounding and a 10 second run off before the half so they can’t kick a field goal…and then lose by 1 point.

Denver (3-3) – You can’t fall behind 3 touchdowns and win every week because you can’t play Philip Rivers and Norv Turner every week. Their running backs are awful and their defense is criminally overrated (trust me, I know a criminally overrated defense when I see one…look at the team I cover).

San Diego (3-3) – Can’t wait until they finish 8-8 and somehow bring back Norv, their GM and Rivers for one more run! Remember, insanity is the definition of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.

Buffalo (3-3) – Mario Williams is the most overpaid player in football. Their defense is thoroughly atrocious  They are a lock to go 1-5 in the AFC East. Oh and their fans will be seeing this sign on their way to games in a few years…

Miami (3-3) – Not sold on the Tannehill-Hartline love fest yet. Despite beating powerhouses like Oakland, St. Louis and Cincinnati who promptly turned around and got whipped by 0-5 Cleveland. Also Reggie Bush is inevitably going to get hurt.

Cincinnati (3-3) – AJ Green is a fantasy God-send. Seriously, he is more consistent than intense stomach pains after a meal at PF Changs. Unfortunately, Andy Dalton has never beat a team over .500 in his life. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is not a lead back and their defense has taken a major step back.

Pittsburgh (2-3) – Outside of their passing game, they don’t do anything particularly well any more. Their defense is old and slow. Calvin Pace, Eric Smith, Bryan Thomas and Bart Scott would fit right in.

Indianapolis (2-3) – They won’t win more than 2 games on the road this season. No matter how many “LOOK AT THE POISE!” articles on Andrew Luck are written, he is still a rookie working with a suspect supporting cast.

Cleveland (1-5) – Most accurate description of a sports city possible –

Oakland (1-4) – If the Raiders traded two 7th round picks for Carson Palmer they would have overpaid. Nevermind what they actually paid for him.

Tennessee (2-4) – Matt Hasselbeck is still better than Jake Locker, which isn’t a good sign for the long term health of this franchise. Chris Johnson. (Nothing else needs to be added).

Jacksonville (1-4) – Are we surprised it looks like they overpaid for Laurent Robinson and that Blaine Gabbert is still awful? Would they still take Tebow for a 3rd round pick?

Kansas City (1-5) – Brady Quinn! Peyton Hillis! Dontari Poe! Jonathan Baldwin! BOOOO!!!!!!!

So where do the New York Jets fit into this cluster of mediocrity heading into week 7? Fortunately, in the division they are off to a good start by being 2-0 where tie-breakers will be of enormous importance. They have played both San Francisco and Houston already while New England has played neither and Buffalo and Miami have only played one apiece. Their schedule for the rest of the season doesn’t make it implausible to think they could grab 9 wins in a conference where 9 wins could equal a division title and 8 wins could equal a wild-card spot.

Ultimately their success this year will depend on how the new parts acclimate to extended playing time. Rex Ryan appears to have recognized the shortcomings on his base defense and looks to be using more varied looks and personnel. The Jets need players like Quinton Coples, Demario Davis, Antonio Allen and Josh Bush to grow on the job while players like Antonio Cromartie, David Harris and Muhammad Wilkerson provide leadership and supply elevated levels of play that matches their talent.

On offense, Mark Sanchez needs to get the most out of his young group of receivers, starting this week in New England. We will get into this more tomorrow when we discuss offensive and defense game plans but the Jets must throw the ball down the field against the Patriots brutal secondary. This is the type of game they drafted Stephen Hill for and one that Jeremy Kerley, who is turning into a serious playmaker, should thrive in.

Obviously the running game must also remain effective. We have been harshly critical of Shonn Greene’s performance on this site in recent weeks because the film dictated that type of criticism. Greene broke out last week, thanks to better vision, a surprising amount of broken tackles, stronger run blocking and a weak run defense. Greene will shoulder a big load again this week and likely  next week while Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell are recovering from injuries. He must continue performing, to give balance to the Jets offense and open up the play action passing game. Proper use of Tim Tebow should also enhance a running game that has been struggling.

The Jets are facing a pivotal part of their schedule with two upcoming division games. They have an ability to take a stranglehold on the AFC East by winning their next two or an ability to dig themselves in a hole with losses in both. Realistically, a split should be the goal and would set them up well for a second half that features games against Jacksonville, Tennessee, Buffalo, St. Louis and San Diego at home in December.

This is a flawed team in a conference of flawed teams. There is an opportunity to create a little separation from the pack and gain a little respect with a win this week. Let’s see if the Jets are up to it.

No Huddle – New York Jets Very Much Alive Edition

TJ Rosenthal goes No Huddle on the New York Jets after their big win over the Indianapolis Colts. Are they ready for New England?

Brace yourselves folks. Everyone’s favorite circus act, the New York Jets, are in a first place deadlock and headed for Foxboro. Surprised? Don’t be. It’s the NFL, where anything can happen and the “next man up” approach can yield some new fresh, hungry ballplayers. Maybe these NEW 2012 Jets are beginning to gain some solid footing. A solid performance against Houston. A better collective one yesterday.

1 – Wait, was that…Shonn Greene?

Yesterday’s 160 yard, 3 TD version of Greene was the one that the Jets staff hoped to build the ground and pound around. Now the question is, ‘who is the real Shonn Greene?’

If it’s even half the runner we saw Sunday, not the guy who owned a 2.9 avg prior to kickoff, then the Jets may be able to hit some plays downfield using the play action as the season develops. Control teams on the ground too. Let’s hope his efforts weren’t a mirage, as much as a new starting point for himself and his run blockers up front.

2 – That’s How You Use Tebow

He threw a pass out of a punt formation. He charged forward for positive yards on first down. He had a shot carrying the rock by the goal line. Tim Tebow as a weapon, in our eyes, is beginning to take shape. Forget the idea that Tebow is going to take Sanchez’s job. With some targets back and a resurgent run game, we saw Sanchez the game manager do a fine job out there. Providing the offense an engine boost  on the fake punt, in the wildcat as a decoy and a ball carrier. THAT’S a weapon. Nice job 15.

3 – Do It Through A Strength In Numbers

The Jets offense lacks All Pro names at the skill positions. Where they can be successful anyway, is through a strength in numbers.

The backs: Bilal Powell had two nice runs before injuring his shoulder. Joe McKnight broke one big gainer before he hurt his ankle. Shonn Greene had a career day.

The receievers: The Hills had touchdowns. Chaz Schilens made plays. Jeremy Kerley has emerged as a playmaker. Dustin Keller is back.

Look, it’s not how it was first drawn up, with Santonio Holmes on one side. It can be effective though, if this unit grows in confidence. Yesterday’s performance helped in that department.

4 – Relax, It Was Just The Colts: Or Was It?

If you told us not to get too excited about beating a team with a rookie QB, BEFORE the Colts beat the Packers two weeks back, we’d have taken your advice. Look at the past three weeks in the NFL though. The Colts beat the Packers. The Texans barely get by the Jets. The Jets beat up the Colts and the Packers blow out the Texans. What that tells us is what we all already know; that it’s a week to week league. A win is a win. Period. Anyone can be beat so make sure you win the winnable games. After all, “On any given Sunday…”

5 – Give It Up For Rex Ryan

So much for the “hot seat” some idiots said Rex was on. How about giving it up for Ryan today instead?

Rex doesn’t warrant kudos for any old “Big Rex” bluster and camera grabbing quotes of bravado or motivation. He has earned it this go round by his simple ability to navigate. Ryan has weathered the storm of two major season ending injuries. Has held strong on his headline grabbing QB situation, despite the pressure to turn to Tebow. Has shown leadership as his Jets team has fought to survive through a tough early schedule and personnel rebranding. This in a media capital that never let’s his team breathe, even when the Jets AREN’T asking for attention.

The Jets are 3-3 and in a four way tie for first in the AFC East. 2-0 in the division. Even with a roster that included Holmes and Darrelle Revis, the situation might not be much better than it is right now.

Now the Jets get set for a week 7 battle in Foxboro against the Pats. Still in position to do all the things they set out to do, before week 1 kicked off.

Way to go Rex. Way to keep the  wings that looked rickety and tattered when the Jets plummeted at home 34-0 to San Fran in week 5, firmly attached to the plane. It’s a brand new season now. No, all is not perfect, but the AFC East is still for the taking though.

Ryan deserves some credit for that.

Initial Reaction – Return Of Ground And Pound, Jets Back To .500

The New York Jets got back to .500 by steamrolling the Indianapolis Colts behind a power running game

The New York Jets played the type of football game today that they talked about playing all summer. Behind a smash-mouth rushing attack and a suffocating defense, they steamrolled the overmatched Indianapolis Colts 35-9. Without question the story of this game was the much maligned (especially from this site) Shonn Greene having a career day with 32 carries, 161 yards and 3 touchdowns. Joe McKnight also chipped in a 61 yard run to help boost the Jets rushing total on the day to a gaudy 253 yards.

It didn’t leave much for the passing game to do. Mark Sanchez was an efficient 11/18 for 82 yards with 2 touchdowns and no turnovers. It was good to see rookie Stephen Hill back out there and contributing, as he caught his third touchdown of the season and had three receptions. The Jets used Tim Tebow in a sensible way, allowing him to convert a third and short from an empty formation and letting him run a few read options with Greene. He also converted another fake punt, his third of the season, hitting Nick Bellore for a 24 yard completion.

On defense, we finally saw signs of a pass rush. Quinton Coples finished with 1.5 sacks, the first of his career. Rookie safety Antonio Allen also had a sack in his Jets debut and Muhammad Wilkerson had a strip sack, his first of the season. Antonio Cromartie continued his All-Pro caliber season, keeping Reggie Wayne in check and recording his third interception of the season. The Colts were never able to establish a running game, finishing with only 41 yards on 17 carries.

It was an encouraging, confidence building win for the Jets against an inferior team. People who write off the Jets as one of the league’s worst teams and talk like their season is over, forget their ability to dominate teams like the Colts on their schedule and there are more like them on the way. They aren’t on the way this upcoming week though, as the Jets will travel to New England in a battle for first place in the AFC East. It will be a difficult task as always to slow down New England’s high power offense.

Regardless, the AFC is bunched together and it is going to stay that way. The Jets are 3-3. 2-0 in their division and 3-2 in the AFC. Their season is far from over and if they continue to improve, have the ability to be a factor in the AFC playoff race.

…And now it is Patriots week.

Turn On The Jets Roundtable Week 6 – Jets/Colts Predictions

The Turn On The Jets staff gives their predictions for Jets/Colts

Joe Caporoso – 12 Pack

Chris Gross – Jets 27, Colts 10 – The Jets are coming off consecutive losses at home to what are arguably the league’s two best teams. New York hasn’t lost three consecutive home games since Rex Ryan’s first year as head coach, back in 2009. Conversely, the Colts are coming off a very inspired, hard fought victory at home to the Green Bay Packers. Andrew Luck has looked quite sharp all year, relying heavily on veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne as his primary receiving option. However, Luck has yet to face a defense quite like Ryan’s unit, a task normally difficult to prepare for for any quarterback, especially a rookie, on the road. Look for the Jets to come out extremely aggressive, defensively, to try to hit and rattle the youngster early. Antonio Cromartie has been playing elite level football, and if he can continue his dominant play against Wayne, Indianapolis will need to rely heavily on Luck and their subpar running game.

Offensively, the Jets have looked anything but sharp since their week 1 blowout of the Buffalo Bills. However, since dominating Buffalo, New York has face 4 consecutive defenses ranked within the top 11 in run defense. Look for the ground game to finally get going this week, with Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell leading the way. Whether or not Greene deserves carries is certainly up for debate, but based on the vote of confidence he received from Rex Ryan this week, it looks like he will continue to get the majority of the load for Gang Green, at least for now.

Mark Sanchez also gets back two key players to his receiving corps in Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill. Keller’s presence alone should give Sanchez a nice feeling of security and confidence as he tries to lead this extremely young group of skill position players to victory. With key veterans like Santonio Holmes out, Sanchez needs to assume that leadership role and begin to make everyone around him better. Whether or not he has the ability to do that at this point still remains to be seen, but look for this offense to do enough to contribute to a double digit victory and get back to .500.

Mike Donnelly – I think the Jets whole season is coming down to this game against the Colts. If they lose this, we might as well start checking out the 2013 draft classes, because the Pats are going to steam roll our defense and then Miami is not going to be an easy game. There would be a pretty solid chance we’d be staring at 2-6 heading into the bye, and Rex Ryan knows it. That is why I fully expect this team to come out and play their best game since week 1 against Buffalo. The Colts are coming off a huge win at home against Green Bay and they are primed for a major letdown. They’re outside of their dome, playing in unfamiliar conditions, and as good as Andrew Luck is, he’s still a rookie, and Rex Ryan feasts as rookie quarterbacks. Look for the Jets defense to play very well, confuse Luck, and pull out the win 24-13. Oh, and since no Jets write up is complete without the obligatory Sanchez/Tebow mention, I think Sanchez is going to play very well and silence the critics for at least one week. Jets roll, and in my opinion, the 3 point spread is a gift. After all, Evan Silva has the Colts winning outright.. Just saying.

Chris Celletti – If you read my Best Bets piece, you know I think the Jets are going to win and cover the 3.5 pint spread. I think this is a good combination of the Jets being due to play a good overall, 60 minute football game and the Colts facing a little bit of a let down after an emotional upset win over the Packers last week. As I’ve previously stated, I think the Jets find some success on the ground against the Colts. I’m not saying Shonn Greene will end up with 100+ yards or anything, but I think the Jets as a team go for somewhere around 160 yards, with a good combination of Greene, Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight and Tim Tebow. Here are a few bold predictions, I think both Tebow and Antonio Cromartie score touchdowns – on offense. The Jets’ defense does enough to corral the Colts’ weak running game and confuse Andrew Luck into a few turnovers. As with any Jet game, it’ll be nervy in the fourth quarter, but a late Nick Folk field goal gets the Jets back to .500 with a 24-14 win.

Rob Celletti – Even though the Jets are on a two-game losing streak (which feels like four, considering the level of play the Jets displayed against Miami), it seems like things are starting to turn. The shock of losing Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes is starting to wear off. The defense showed some life in the second half on Monday vs. the Texans. And finally, the Jets face a defense that isn’t ranked in the top 10 in the NFL.

Yes, Andrew Luck is going to be a tough out, but the Colts are coming in off of a very, very emotional home win and are primed for a letdown. The Jets will be able to move the ball on the ground which should set up nicely for Mark Sanchez to finally get some opportunities on playaction. I think the offense will be able to produce 3 touchdowns, which should be enough. Jets 24, Colts 17

Turn On The Jets Week 6 NFL Picks

The Turn On The Jets staff gives their week 6 NFL Picks as the Race For Steak Continues

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

CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Mike Donnelly (43-33-2)

2. Rob  Celletti (36-38-4)

3. Chris Gross (35-40-3)

4. Chris Celletti (32-43-3)

5. Joe Caporoso (31-44-3)

Joe Caporoso

Last Week (7-7)

  • Browns (+2) vs. Bengals
  • Jets (-3) vs. Colts
  • Vikings (PK) vs. Redskins
  • Chiefs (+4.5) vs. Bucs
  • Falcons (-9) vs. Raiders
  • Ravens (-3.5) vs. Cowboys
  • Eagles (-3) vs. Lions
  • Rams (+4) vs. Dolphins
  • Patriots (-3.5) vs. Seahawks
  • Cardinals (-4.5) vs. Bills
  • Giants (+6.5) vs. 49ers
  • Packers (+3.5) vs. Texans
  • Broncos (+1) vs. Chargers

Mike Donnelly

Last Week (7-7)

  • Cowboys +3.5 @ Ravens
  • Bucs -4.5 vs. Chiefs
  • Browns +2 vs. Bengals
  • Lions +3 @ Eagles
  • Raiders +9 @ Falcons
  • Rams +4 @ Dolphins
  • Jets -3 vs. Colts
  • Cardinals -4.5 vs. Bills
  • Seahawks +3.5 vs. Patriots
  • 49ers -6.5 vs. Giants
  • Texans -3.5 vs. Packers
  • Broncos +1 @ Chargers
  • Vikings (PK) vs. Redskins

Rob Celletti

Last Week (8-6)

  • Browns (+2) over Bengals
  • Jets (-3) over Colts
  • Bucs (-4) over Chiefs
  • Raiders (+9.5) over Falcons
  • Ravens (-3.5) over Cowboys
  • Eagles (-3.5) over Lions
  • Dolphins (-5) over Rams
  • Patriots (-3.5) over Seahawks
  • Cardinals (-4) over Bills
  • Giants (+7) over 49ers
  • Packers (+3.5) over Texans
  • Vikings (PK) over Redskins
  • Broncos (-1) over Chargers

Chris Celletti

Last Week (7-7)

  • Bengals -2
  • Jets -3.5
  • Bucs -4.5
  • Raiders +9.5
  • Ravens -3.5
  • Eagles -3
  • Rams +5
  • Pats -3.5
  • Bills +4
  • Giants +7
  • Packers +3.5
  • Vikings PK
  • Broncos PK

Chris Gross

Last Week (10-4)

  • Bengals (-2)
  • Jets (-3)
  • Bucs (-4)
  • Raiders (+9.5)
  • Ravens (-3)
  • Eagles (-3.5)
  • Dolphins (-4.5)
  • Seahawks (+3.5)
  • Cardinals (-4)
  • Giants (+7)
  • Packers (+3.5)
  • Broncos (-1)
  • Vikings (PK)

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 6 – Jets vs. Colts

Turn On The Jets with 12 predictions for Jets/Colts in week 6

Big week here at Turn On The Jets as we added a new banner and an official new tagline to the site. RIP to the Ground and Pound…”Mission To Civilize” is here to stay. 

On to the predictions (5-0 in game picks so far here by the way…just saying) –

1. This will be the last time I ever predict Mark Sanchez to complete over 50% of his passes if he does not do it. But yes, for one last time…Mark Sanchez will complete over 50% of his passes and throw for over 200 yards. He will have a turnover but also throw two touchdowns.

2. Antonio Cromartie will hold Reggie Wayne under 60 yards receiving. Wayne will be a tougher match-up for Cromartie than Andre Johnson because of how the Colts move him around the formation and because he is quicker out of his breaks/a better route runner.

3. More so because of the Colts struggles on offense than the Jets defense, Indianapolis won’t rush for over 100 yards this week.

4. Shonn Greene will rush for over 3.8 yards per carry this Sunday, for the first and maybe last time this season.

5. Jeremy Kerley will catch his third touchdown of the season and lead the Jets with 75 yards receiving.

6. Dustin Keller will catch a touchdown and finish with 4 or more receptions.

7. Andrew Luck will throw for over 250 yards this week but also have a pair of turnovers to go with a touchdown pass.

8. The Jets special teams will make a play that directly leads to points.

9. Jonathan Grimes will get his first carries of the season this week.

10. Tim Tebow won’t play more than 10 total snaps on offense.

11. Nick Folk will continue his perfect season so far, knocking through 2 more field goals.

12. The Jets will snap their 2 game losing streak with an encouraging 20-10 win. Mark Sanchez will play well enough to keep his job another week, which is a good thing because he is guy you want under center against New England.

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 6 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his Best Bets for week 6 of the NFL season

Week 5 record: 1-2

Season record: 5-9-1

Before you scoff at my horrific record, please remember that I warned you how ugly this was going to be before the season. Also, I have picked 5 out of 15 games correctly, with one push, so it’s kind of like I’m currently batting .333 with a walk. Or something like that. Either way, at this success rate I should be batting clean up for the Yankees and earn a 7-year, $120 million contract this offseason. More on those awesome Yankees in a second.

A few quick things before I get to my picks:

-So now that the Colts beat the Packers last week, does this mean Mitt Romney is going to win in November? I feel partially responsible now if this happens.

-I can’t be the only person who pretends I’m a running back when I’m navigating my way through Port Authority, Penn Station or any crowded NYC street during rush hour, am I? It really is an art form, because if you don’t look ahead and pick out holes to hit, you’re really gonna end up like Shonn Greene – a.k.a. on your ass in no time. On Tuesday morning, I was pretending I was Arian Foster, weaving my way in and out of clueless commuters (Jets defenders) to find open space. I guess Monday was still fresh in my mind.

-Steve Novak is on pace for about 616/616 from three this year.

Okay, on to the lousy picks.

Jets -3.5 vs. Colts

I haven’t picked the Jets in any of my Best Bets columns yet, so I’m going for it this week. I actually think the Jets will get the running game going a little bit, which should help Mark Sanchez in what’s a crucial game for him. On the other side, Andrew Luck has a completion percentage that’s barely better than Sanchez’s, so I think the Jets’ defense will have a solid showing. We’re yet to make our official staff predictions, but here’s a teaser in that I think the Jets cover.

Bucs -4.5 vs. Chiefs

Brady Quinn on the road. Brady Quinn on the road. Brady Quinn on the road. BRADY QUINN ON THE ROAD.

Eagles -3 vs. Lions

I just think this is a god matchup for the Eagles, at home. Detroit is off to a bad start and the Eagles’ defense has been pretty good this season. As usual, if Michael Vick can avoid turnovers, the Eagles are a tough team to knock off. Remember last year when the Lions made the playoffs? That was fun.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record 3-2)

The Orioles are +175 to win Game 5. Of course the Orioles are going to win! Have you watched the Yankees recently? They’re reinventing how to play bad playoff baseball and feeding the appetites of those old time Yankee fans who yearn for the days of Bernie Williams and Scott Brosius and Paul O’Neill and guys who “played the right way” (whatever the hell that means). One reason I think the Yanks are done tonight is because they’re at home. How many times in the past 10 years have the Yankees lost big/deciding games at home, where all you heard was “it’s okay, we’re back at the Stadium”? A bunch come to mind: Game 6 in the 2003 World Series vs. the Marlins, Games 6 and 7 in the 2004 ALCS vs. the Red Sox, the 2007 ALDS against the Indians, and last year’s Game 5 vs. the Tigers. I hope I’m wrong, but I have a feeling you’ll be able to add Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS vs. the Baltimore Orioles to that list. Well, at least somewhere Jimmy McNulty and Bunk Moreland will be celebrating.