Jets vs. Patriots Round II: 12 Pack Of Predictions

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Better late than never, here are 12 predictions for tonight’s showdown, which is arguably the most hyped Jets regular season game in franchise history — How long have we been waiting for this game by the way?

1. Tonight will be the night Mark Sanchez puts to rest any lingering questions about him as one of the best young quarterbacks in football. He has exceeded everybody’s expectations throughout the season and will continue his strong 2010 season by throwing for over 250 yards, 2 touchdowns, and not having more than one turnover.

2. Tom Brady is going to put together a stronger than usual performance against a Rex Ryan defense. The Jets secondary is getting his “A” game tonight. Brady will also throw for over 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns. However, he will throw his fifth interception of the season tonight.

3. Shonn Greene will lead the Jets in carries and rushing yards. LaDainian Tomlinson will be involved in the offense but primarily through the passing game. Tomlinson will have less than 10 carries but at least 5 receptions.

4. Danny Woodhead will have no more than 60 total yards of offense but will score a touchdown, followed by mass hysteria from Jets fans on Twitter.

5. New England’s leading receiver will be Aaron Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski. Darrelle Revis will spend the bulk of the night on Deion Branch and Wes Welker. Antonio Cromartie will either be covering one of the tight ends, Brandon Tate, or Branch.

6. Jerricho Cotchery will be reliable on punt returns, not muffing any but also not providing any big plays. He will grab at least three receptions in his return to the Jets offense.

7. BenJarvus Green-Ellis won’t have more than 45 yards rushing. The Patriots will be largely one dimensional on offense throughout this game.

8. Both teams won’t hesitate to use trick plays on offense or special teams. Keep an eye on for reverses, toss passes, reverse passes, surprise onside kicks, fake field goals, fake punts or anything along those lines.

9. Jason Taylor will record his fifth sack of the season tonight but overall the Jets will struggle to consistently get to Brady.

10. Mark Sanchez won’t be sacked more than once by New England’s weak pass rush.

11. Both field goal kickers will miss at least one very make-able kick tonight.

12. Your final score? I am taking the Jets 34-31 in a shoot-out and in one of the best games played of the 2010 NFL regular season. This will be a landmark win in the young Rex Ryan/Mark Sanchez era.

Monday Night Is What The Jets Drafted Sanchez For

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In week 2 of the 2009 regular season, the Jets overcame an embarassing 8 game home losing streak to the New England Patriots. It was an important moment in the then young Rex Ryan era, demonstrating the Jets would no longer be pushed around by their long superior divisional rival. Yet an even more aspect of that game was Mark Sanchez outplaying Tom Brady. The Jets rookie posted a 101.1 quarterback rating, while Brady struggled to a 53.1.

Finally, the Jets had hope at the quarterback position to duel against the Patriots eventual first ballot Hall of Famer. These hopes were severely rattled later in the 2009 regular season, when Sanchez hit a nasty mid-season slump and turned in an ugly…make that hideous 4 interception performance in New England en route to a 31-14 Jets loss.

So far in year two, the Sanchez of 2009 is nowhere to be found. The quarterback has grown by leaps and bounds and currently has an impressive 16 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, along with 2,472 yards passing. Even better, Sanchez again out dueled Brady again in a week 2 New England/New York match-up by throwing for 220 yards and 3 touchdowns compared to Brady’s 228 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.

Brady’s stat line in 2010 is All-Pro caliber, with 23 touchdowns compared to 4 interceptions (half of those against the Jets) and 2,703 yards passing. Beyond that, the guy doesn’t lose home regular season games. As a matter of fact, he has won 25 in a row. Yes, 25.

Yet, as we touched on earlier in the week, Monday night is a night for a changing of the guard in the AFC East. Part of that means, it is time for Mark Sanchez to go on the road and beat the Jets most bitter rival and their long haired, Uggz boot endorsing quarterback, who never loses in his building.

We drafted Mark Sanchez to back up Rex Ryan’s big talk on the offensive side of the football. This year he hasn’t disappointed but it would be a major step in his development if he could lead the Jets to a victory on Monday, which would take them one major step closer to becoming the new kings of the AFC East.

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Jets vs. Patriots Round 1: 12 Pack of Predictions

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1. Darrelle Revis’ hamstring doesn’t sound like it is going to be an issue on Sunday. Brodney Pool is listed as questionable and could be a game time decision.

Jets vs. Patriots Round 1: 12 Pack of Predictions

It wasn’t pretty for TOJ in week one in our 12 pack of predictions, let’s see if we can bounce back in week two with both our Jets and NFL picks:

1. The Jets are going to be looking to restore some confidence in Shonn Greene early in the game. I expect a heavy dose of #23 in the first quarter, as the Jets attempt to get him rolling.

2. Along a similar line, expect a couple of short, safe throws (slants or hitches) to Braylon Edwards on the first or second drive to get him into the flow of the game. He needs to get a couple of catches under his belt early to get going, if he is going to have a big game.

3. No matter what approach the Jets take towards Wes Welker, he is going to rack up catches. The key is going to be limiting his yards after the catch and not letting him consistently beat them on third down. I think the Jets defense will do a halfway decent job and hold Welker to something along the lines of 7-8 catches for 75-80 yards.

4. Inactives – Calvin Pace, Patrick Brown, Vladimir Ducasse, Kellen Clemens, Joe McKnight, Jeff Cumberland, Howard Green, Kenwin Cummings

5. Mark Sanchez will play more aggressive (there is no way he can play any less aggressive) which will benefit the Jets by producing more yards and points but hurt them because he will throw his first (and maybe second) interception of the season at some point.

6. The Jets will bring in David Clowney to send him off on a few fly routes as a decoy. If the Jets go up top, it better be to Braylon Edwards or Dustin Keller down the seam.

7. Jerricho Cotchery always…always kills the Patriots, so while I think Edwards will get going early, it will be Cotchery who is the primary go to guy throughout the game.

8. New England will recognize early they can’t run the ball on the Jets and embrace being completely one dimensional on offense. Expect a ton of spread sets with Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandon Tate getting plenty of playing time.

9. The Jets won’t be as aggressive coming after the quarterback, as they recognize the need to roll coverage wherever Darrelle Revis isn’t. You won’t be seeing a ton of Kyle Wilson in one on one situations, unless it is against Brandon Tate or one of the tight ends.

10. LaDainian Tomlinson will be productive as long as the Jets keep his touches in the 10-15 range.

11. Darrelle Revis will do what he usually does when he covers Randy Moss, yet if Moss gets a crack at Antonio Cromartie…expect to see some yellow on the field.

12. I will pick the Jets against the spread (+4.5) but I am not picking them to win this game. They didn’t show enough last week to make me believe they could score enough points to beat the Patriots. I think the defense will be up to the task for the second week in row and while I think the offense will improve, they won’t do quite enough to secure a victory. I am taking New England 20-17…prove me wrong, Sanchez. Greene and Schottenheimer.

Other NFL Picks (Lines from Bet US)

  • Kansas City (+1) vs. Cleveland
  • Green Bay (-14) vs. Buffalo
  • Baltimore (-3.5) vs. Cincinnati
  • Pittsburgh (+6) vs. Tennessee
  • Detroit (+7.5) vs. Philadelphia
  • Tampa Bay (+4) vs. Carolina
  • Atlanta (-7) vs. Arizona
  • Dallas (-7.5) vs. Chicago
  • Minnesota (-6.5) vs. Miami
  • Oakland (-3.5) vs. St. Louis
  • Seattle (+3) vs. Denver
  • Houston (-4) vs. Washington
  • San Diego (-7) vs. Jacksonville
  • Jets (+4.5) vs. New England
  • Indy (-6) vs. Giants
  • New Orleans (-7) vs. San Francisco

Some OCNN/Droid Love

TOJ recently moved into the 21st century by trading in his flip phone for a Droid, which enables me to constantly express my Jets frustration through Twitter and Facebook, hence why I have no problem with the following plug for Motorola and their work with Darrelle Revis and OCNN:

Throughout the preseason, and expected to continue throughout the regular season, Revis and the OCNN team will continue their insider coverage of hot news and tips. Being backed by Motorola, they athletes/new-age-journalists are provided with access to the latest and greatest Motorola devices starting with the wildly popular Droid X, which will allow these stars to break news across multiple platforms.  With an HD camcorder and integrated social media networks, they can go anywhere and swiftly issue high quality reports.  In addition, the DROID X will allow photo sharing on numerous online mediums which will give fans an inside perspective to wherever these players go.

Jets vs. Patriots Round 1: Game Breakdown

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1. Apparently the Jets didn’t have their best practice today, which led to Rex Ryan forcing players to do push ups on defense after they made a mistake and the offense to keep repeating the same play until they got it right. It is kind of hard to believe the Jets could come out with a bad practice after their performance last week but we’ll see what happens on Sunday.

2. Brodney Pool sounds like he is going to be a game time decision…I hope he doesn’t end up being Lito Sheppard part two. Calvin Pace is expected back by week 4.

3. Braylon Edwards did a good job of handling the unwarrented criticism from Joe Namath and Shonn Greene sounds like he has the right mentality heading into week two. Again…we’ll see.

Jets vs. Patriots Round 1: Game Breakdown

Offense: How about completing a pass over five yards or gaining more than a first down per quarter? In all seriousness, it will be very interesting to see the type of game plan the Jets come out with on Sunday. Are they going to re-commit to Shonn Greene and the ground and pound approach, or are they going to turn Mark Sanchez loose on a questionable Patriots secondary? Perhaps they can imitate a normal NFL offense and find a productive combination of both. I do know this, the Jets need Shonn Greene to have at least 15 carries. The less time Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and Randy Moss spend on the field, the better. Give LaDainian Tomlinson the 11 carries he had last week but supplement them with an adequate workload for Greene.

PhotobucketIn terms of the Jets passing game, Brian Schottenheimer must get Mark Sanchez going with some simple slants and hitch routes to get his confidence going. New England has traditionally had a tough time stopping Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller, so don’t hesitate to get the ball out to them on first down or take a shot down the field on a second medium or second short. Schottenheimer needs to improve his play calling and Sanchez needs to play with more confidence. Last season at home, he put together an excellent second half against the Patriots because he wasn’t scared to attack down the field to Cotchery and found a good rhythm.

The only positive thing about the Jets offense heading into this week is that there is nowhere to go but up.

Defense: Stop Wes Welker. I can’t stomach watching this guy run all over the field, converting every third down and putting together another 15 catch performance. The Jets need to move Darrelle Revis around and have him split his time between Randy Moss and Welker, while the other should be matched up on Cromartie with safety help, hopefully from Brodney Pool. Force somebody else to beat you. If Brandon Tate has a monster game or one of the rookie tight ends produces, than so be it but don’t let Welker and Moss do what Anquan Boldin did last week. New England can’t run the football on the Jets, period. They are going to be completely one dimensional, yet they can get away with it if the Jets are stubborn about blitzing 8 and manning up their three corners.

Lost in the massive overreaction to the Jets week one loss, was just how good their defense truly played. It is kind of funny how many people are just assuming New England is going to come out on the road and drop a 35 spot on the Jets. It isn’t happening. The Patriots will move the ball but the Jets defense will keep them in the game.

Speical Teams: Keep it up from last week. Nick Folk earned some confidence with a 3/3 performance and Steve Weatherford probably played his best game as a Jet. I would prefer if Jim Leonhard handled the punt return duties for now. Kyle Wilson is swimming enough on defense, without him having to worry about punt return. Brandon Tate took a kickoff back for a touchdown last week, so the Jets should proceed with caution when kicking to him.


Jets vs. Patriots Round 1: First Look

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1. The Jets have signed defensive tackle Howard Green, to help fill the gap left by Kris Jenkins. Green was a decent role player for the Jets last season.

2. In a somewhat surprising move, the Jets cut WR/RB Danny Woodhead and brought back David Clowney. Why would the Jets sign a vertical threat at receiver when they never throw the ball over 5 yards?

The Opponent: The defending AFC East champions and bitter rival of the Jets, New England is coming off a very, very impressive 38-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite questions about their running game and youth on defense, the Patriots are equipped to have arguably the best passing offense in the NFL. Tom Brady isn’t coming off major surgery anymore, Wes Welker looks 100 percent back from his injury, rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski have been impressive, along with second year receiver Brandon Tate, and of course there is that Moss guy. However, New England can be beat through the air and did allow Carson Palmer to throw for 345 yards last week. Unfortunately, it appears the Jets haven’t mastered the forward pass yet.

New England Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Tom Brady – 25/35, 258 yards, 3 TDs
  • Running Back: Fred Taylor – 14 carries, 71 yards
  • Running Back: Kevin Faulk – 3 carries, 23 yards
  • Running Back: Sammy Morris – 1 carry, 2 yards
  • Running Back: BenJarvus Green-Ellis – 5 carries, 22 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Randy Moss – 5 receptions, 59 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Wes Welker – 8 receptions, 64 yards, 2 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: Brandon Tate – 4 receptions, 36 yards
  • Tight End: Aaron Hernandez – 1 reception, 45 yards
  • Tight End: Rob Gronkowski – 1 reception, 1 yard, 1 TD
  • Left Tackle: Matt Light
  • Left Guard: Dan Connolly
  • Center: Dan Koppen
  • Right Guard: Stephen Neal
  • Right Tackle: Sebastian Vollmer

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Gerard Warren
  • Nose Tackle: Vince Wilfork – 3 tackles
  • Defensive End: Mike Wright
  • Outside Linebacker: Rob Ninkovich – 4 tackles
  • Inside Linebacker: Gary Guyton – 2 tackles, 1 INT
  • Inside Linebacker: Jerod Mayo – 12 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Tully Banta-Cain – 2 tackles, .5 sacks
  • Corner: Devin McCourty – 5 tackles
  • Corner: Darius Butler – 8 tackles
  • Safety: Patrick Chung – 16 tackles
  • Safety: Brandon Merriweather – 7 tackles

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski – 1/3 FGs
  • Punter: Zoltan Mesko – 43 yards per punt
  • Kick Return: Brandon Tate – 46.0 per return, 1 TD
  • Punt Return: Brandon Tate – 1 for 4 yards

PhotobucketKey PlayersWes Welker has killed the Jets every time he has played against them. They might have Darrelle Revis to stop Randy Moss, but they need somebody else to stop Welker…how about a double team, Rex? Jerod Mayo is New England’s top linebacker and Vince Wilfork is a monster at nose tackle. Tom Brady is obviously Tom Brady.

Injuries – The Jets will still be without Calvin Pace, while Sione Pouha steps in the starting lineup for the rest of 2010 for Kris Jenkins. Brodney Pool should be back at safety. Julian Edelman missed week one with a foot injury.

Key Storylines – Must win for the Jets to avoid falling 0-2 and two games behind the Patriots…Darrelle Revis vs. Randy Moss…Can Mark Sanchez, Brian Schottenheimer and the Jets offense figure out how to get a first down…Who will stop Wes Welker.

Highlights of Patriots Week One Win

The AFC East Is Going To Be One Hell Of A Race

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I don’t have a problem saying the Jets are the favorite to win the AFC East. The Jets finished the season much stronger than the Patriots and Dolphins, along with having a better overall off-season than both teams. When you look at the roster of all three teams, the Jets have the most overall talent. Yet, that is obviously no reason to write off the defending AFC East Champs, New England, along with their Hall of Fame coach and quarterback or a talented, improved Miami team. The AFC East should be a three team horse race that isn’t sorted out until December, sorry Buffalo.

Let’s look at the arguments of the three contenders for a division title in 2010, along with what could hold them back.

New York Jets – The argument for the Jets starts with their defense. They have the best one in the division and the best one in the NFL. Whenever you play defense the way this team does, you are going to be competitive week in and week out. Last year’s defensive depth chart has been supplemented by Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Jason Taylor, Brodney Pool, and a healthy Kris Jenkins, which is a scary thought for opposing offenses. On their offense, Mark Sanchez made strides in last year’s playoffs and should carry that over into his second year. He will have better chemistry with Braylon Edwards after having a whole off-season to work with him and he was given another major weapon with the addition of Santonio Holmes. Regardless of how much they contribute running the football, LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight will provide good pass catching options out of the backfield to help Sanchez.

The questions about the Jets start with the two second year players they will be relying on to carry their offense, Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene. Sanchez needs to make the previously mentioned strides so he isn’t throwing 20 interceptions to 12 touchdowns. Greene still has to prove he can be a lead back for an entire season. The Jets may miss Thomas Jones in a big way, especially if LaDainian Tomlinson is as washed up as he looked in 2009. They will need a young player to step in for the departed Alan Faneca at left guard and it remains to be seen if/when Darrelle Revis will join the team.

Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins are built in a similar mold to the Jets. They want to run the football and play an aggressive, physical defense. Their defense was inconsistent and struggled heavily against the pass in 2009 but they are banking on their young secondary improving and new additions to their front seven to lead to improvements. Karlos Dansby will boost the linebacker core. They expect Cameron Wake and rookie Koa Misi to lead their pass rush. First round pick Jared Odrick should be a quality addition to their defensive line rotation. On offense, Miami finally added a number one receiver by trading for Brandon Marshall, who is one of the most explosive players in the NFL. Chad Henne has the arm strength to push the ball down the field, which should create more running space for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams,

PhotobucketThe Dolphins young corners still have to prove they can slow down opposing passing offenses, especially when they are facing players like Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Santonio Holmes. They have already loss Phillip Merling for the season, which hurt their defensive line depth and they are going to miss Joey Porter and Jason Taylor to an extent. On offense, Ronnie Brown is never healthy and they don’t have a number two receiver to put opposite Marshall. Despite the world being ready to send him to Canton, Henne still has to prove he can lead a team to the playoffs and throw more touchdowns than interceptions in a season.

New England Patriots – Brady and Belichick, which means the Patriots always have a shot. Randy Moss and Wes Welker (who it appears will miraculously be ready for the start of the season) aren’t half bad either. The Patriots passing game will be able to put points on the board consistently and Belichick will get the most out of what they have on defense. New England’s defense still has quality talent at all three levels with Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and Brandon Merriweather.

The Patriots lack of a running game could hold them back in 2010. Simply put, they don’t have a number one back. They will also be relying on a bunch of young players in their passing game outside of Moss and Welker, like Brandon Tate, Aaron Hernandez, Taylor Price, and Julian Edeleman. Their secondary has question marks and will also be relying on a collection of young, unproven players. Overall, their defense isn’t an elite unit anymore. The Patriots are coming off an absolute woodshed beating from the Ravens in their building to end the 2009 season, it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from that.

AFC East Battle

Scouting The AFC East: New England Patriots

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Scouting The AFC East: New England Patriots

Our first look at the teams who share the division with the Jets and how they match up with them heading into 2010:

PhotobucketOffenseTom Brady didn’t have his best season in 2009 after returning from ACL surgery, however he still was one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL and should be better in 2010 with a full year after the procedure under his belt. However, it remains to be seen when Brady’s top target, Wes Welker, will return from his knee injury and how effective he will be. Randy Moss was either hurt or just being lazy for long stretches of last season. The Patriots are hoping young receivers like Julian Edelman, Brandon Tate, and Taylor Price will adequately fill in for Welker until he returns and then become productive slot receivers behind him and Moss. Torry Holt was also signed this off-season but I don’t know how much he has left in the tank. It could be Joey Galloway 2.0 for the Patriots. At tight end, New England drafted two guys known for their pass catching ability in Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and signed veteran Alge Crumpler for blocking purposes.

The Patriots have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL, although it isn’t as dominating a unit as it used to be. Their biggest problem on offense is the lack of a number one running back or even a back who can stay healthy. Laurence Maroney has been a disappointment and you have a better chance of seeing Rex Ryan beat Santonio Holmes in a 40 yard dash than seeing Fred Taylor or Sammy Morris make it through a full year without getting injured.

You have to feel confident about how the Jets match up against New England’s offense in 2010. They did a good job of getting to Tom Brady last season and that will only be aided by the addition of Jason Taylor. Wes Welker killed the Jets in 2009 but they now have Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson to throw at him instead of Dwight Lowery, Lito Sheppard, or Drew Coleman. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets let Darrelle Revis match up on him and let Cromartie cover Moss. The Jets don’t have Kerry Rhodes at safety anymore, which means Laurence Maroney shouldn’t be running anybody over on our defense this season.

PhotobucketDefenseYes there is still talent on the New England defense and they are still coached by Bill Belichick but they aren’t the same type of unit they were in years past. They maintained their personnel from 2009 despite their struggles against both the run and pass. First round pick Devin McCourty should help at corner and Darius Butler has some potential but overall the New England secondary isn’t a scary group. They are going to have a tough time matching up with Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, and Santonio Holmes (in the second meeting). They have always had a tough time covering Dustin Keller and that shouldn’t change this season either.

Mark Sanchez threw away the game the Jets lost to New England last season. If he can protect the football, the Jets should be able to run the ball against the Patriots and pick their spots down the field. Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren are still a handful up front but Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore can hold their own. I am sure Belichick will scheme up ways to attack Vladimir Ducasse but hopefully the Jets are prepared to counter his moves.

Special Teams – McCourty will be a big addition for the Patriots on special teams on all of their return and coverage units. Stephen Gostkowski is a quality kicker. However the Patriots did have their struggles with the Jets on special teams last season.

Overall – When you look at the Jets roster compared to New England, the only glaring advantage for the Patriots is at the quarterback position which is a testament to the work done by Mike Tannenbaum. The games against New England will always be a battle but the Jets have showed over the past few years they can beat them at home and on the road. I think the Dolphins will be the Jets top challenge for an AFC East title but the Patriots won’t be far behind.

Jets vs. Patriots 2009 Highlights

Who Is The Team To Beat In The AFC?

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also subscribe to the newly created YouTube page. I am happy to say our comment issue has been resolved as you can see, so any comment you leave on an article will be promptly posted.

2. Just a reminder that the Jets rookies report to training camp on July 29th in Cortland, New York. The veterans report on August 1st. The first episode of Hard Knocks is August 11th. The first pre-season game is August 16th against the Giants.

Who Is The Team To Beat In The AFC?

As training camp rapidly approaches let’s look at the four divisions in the AFC and what teams are most likely to come out of them and compete for a playoff spot and a Super Bowl.

AFC East

Favorite – I know it is shocking that the writer for Turn On The Jets is going to say the Jets are the favorite to win the AFC East, yet at the end of last season they were the best team in the division and they had the best overall off-season. Nobody is saying they are going to run away with this thing. It is going to be a dog fight with both the Dolphins and Patriots (likely more with the Dolphins). However, the Jets have the most overall talent on their roster and were less than a half away from a Super Bowl appearance last season. The addition of Antonio Cromartie, Brodney Pool, Jason Taylor, Kyle Wilson, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Santonio Holmes is only going to help that cause, along with the continued growth of Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene. Their defense will also improve from the familiarity the eight returning starters will now have with Rex Ryan’s system.

Primary Competitor – I am going with the Dolphins over the Patriots in this spot. Brandon Marshall will help give them some much needed balance on offense and a legit big play threat. Karlos Dansby and Jared Odrick were solid additions to their defense. However, I’m still not sold on their defense as an overall unit yet and I don’t know if Ronnie Brown can stay healthy or if Ricky Williams has another year like last season left in him. They also lack a proven option opposite Marshall at receiver, so when he loses himself on Revis Island, who will Miami turn to?

In The Mix – I am not counting out Tom Brady and Bill Belichick but the Patriots are looking like a 8-8 or 9-7 team to me right now. What did they do this off-season to make sure they don’t catch a swift beatdown from teams like the Ravens in 2010? Maybe I am putting too much stock in one game but I am not exactly worried about the additions of Torry Holt or Alge Crumpler. They have some young players with potential on offense who could step up but their defense isn’t what it used to be and is lacking on overall talent. Also, their offensive line isn’t the brick wall it used to be and they still don’t have anybody who is anything near being called a lead running back.

Circling The Wagons…In Basement – Trent Edwards. Brian Brohm. Ryan Fitzpatrick. The 2010 Buffalo Bills, everybody. I am sorry but who are their receivers beside Lee Evans and who is going to block for their UFL collection of quarterbacks and actually high quality trio of running backs?

AFC North

Favorite – The Baltimore Ravens have the potential to be scary good this season, if Joe Flacco can play more consistently and take advantage of the additions of Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth. Ray Rice is a superstar in the making and you know their defense will be good. So yes, week 1 is going to be a hell of a test for the Jets and a potential preview of the AFC Championship Game.

Primary Competitor – Don’t sleep on the Cincinnati Bengals this year. Many people are picking them as the team least likely to return to the playoffs but they can run the ball, play defense, and had a good off-season. Antonio Bryant is a major upgrade over Laveranues Coles at receiver opposite Chad Ochocinco Johnson and the selection of Jermaine Gresham in the draft gives them a much needed pass catching tight end. They also swept the Ravens last year.

In The Mix – Let’s see what kind of job Byron Leftwich does holding the fort down until Ben Rothlisberger returns and how quickly Rothlisberger can get acclimated after he returns. Pittsburgh can survive the subtraction of Santonio Holmes because Mike Wallace is going to be a very good player but is their defense going to improve from last season, especially at the end of games?

Fun Times In Cleveland Again – Those poor Cleveland fans. I can’t imagine having to root for the Indians, Browns, and Cavs for the next few years.

AFC South

PhotobucketFavorite – The Colts are the favorite for the division and the conference until somebody knocks them off. Peyton Manning might complete 80 percent of his passes this year with Antony Gonzalez returning to support Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, and Dallas Clark. You can ask the same questions we always ask about their defense and running game but chances are they are going to be right there competing for a first round bye again.

Primary Competitor – I hate drinking the Texans kool-aid because everybody hypes them up every season and they never seriously challenge for a division title or make the playoffs. This roster has plenty of talent and maybe if their kicker can make a meaningful attempt this year, they can finally break through and play football in January.

In The Mix – Chris Johnson is the most electric playmaker in the NFL and Vince Young is always capable of making his share of big plays. Beyond that, Jeff Fisher is a great coach which means the Titans will be right in the mix for a playoff spot in 2010. I don’t know if they can make the jump to compete with the Colts for a AFC South title though.

Actually Not That Bad – The Jaguars somewhat exceeded expectations last year and added a few quality pieces to their defense. They are far from the doormat the Bills, Browns, and Chiefs and should be competitive in the division. They will likely finish last but could still win 7 or 8 games.

AFC West

Favorite – The Chargers should take advantage of playing in a weak division and roll to another division title. Hopefully, they bring their run defense into the New Meadowlands for a playoff battle against the Jets.

Primary Competitor – They don’t really fit the category as a competitor but I think the Oakland Raiders will end up in second place in this muddled division. Jason Campbell will bring much needed stability to the quarterback position and Michael Bush has the potential to be a quality lead back. Their defense has talent at all three levels with Richard Seymour, Rolando McClain, and Nnamdi Asomugha. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the NFL’s punchline win 8 games this year.

In The Mix – I am not really sold on any moves the Denver Broncos made this off-season and don’t see how they improved from the 8-8 team they were last season.

Poor Thomas Jones – I still wish Thomas Jones was on board with the green and white this season instead of playing for the Chiefs, who likely struggle to win 5 games this season.

As of today, if I had to list the order of probability of AFC teams making the playoffs (not a power ranking, just the likelihood of team making playoffs):

  1. Colts
  2. Chargers
  3. Ravens
  4. Jets
  5. Bengals
  6. Dolphins
  7. Patriots
  8. Texans
  9. Titans
  10. Steelers
  11. Raiders
  12. Jaguars
  13. Broncos
  14. Browns
  15. Chiefs
  16. Bills

Saturday Afternoon Thoughts On Jets Rivals

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Another beautiful overcast day here in Whitehall, Pennsylvania and since I am looking for an excuse to procrastinate on filling out job applications, let’s get to some Saturday afternoon thoughts on the Jets rivals.

Patriots – Could this be the year the Patriots finally fall off? I amazed when people talk up the off-season they had and discuss them as a top 5 or 6 team in the league. I am pretty sure I saw a team that was falling off as the 2009 season ended, capped with a blowout loss in their building in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Yes, they still have Brady and Belichick which means they are going to be competitive week in and week out but beyond that, what else has New England done this off-season to make you think they are improving on their 10-6 record from last year, instead of getting worse?

Don’t underestimate how much the Patriots will miss Wes Welker on offense. Any Jets fan saw the difference between New England’s offense with Welker and without him when comparing week 2 to week 11 last year. The Patriots still don’t have a number one running back but have instead decided to collect aging, injury-proned players and stay with perpetual disappointment Laurence Maroney. On defense, New England struggled heavily in 2009 and outside of drafting Devin McCourty in the first round, what have they done to improve? The Patriots look like an 8-8 team to me this season.

PhotobucketDolphinsAfter acquiring Brandon Marshall, I am starting to think the Dolphins will be the Jets main competition for an AFC East title in 2010. Yes, they still have some questions on their defense but Karlos Dansby and Jared Odrick will help them, and you know they can run the football. Marshall finally gives them a legitimate weapon in the passing game and Brian Hartline should develop into a decent number two receiver. The whole world seems ready to pronounce Chad Henne a franchise quarterback but let’s wait and see if he can win a big game first. I am pretty sure when the Dolphins had a chance to make the playoffs last season, he went 0-3.

Giants – Brandon Jacobs recently grabbed some headlines by claiming New York is still the Giants city because they won a Super Bowl recently. First off, Jacobs might want to worry about improving that ugly stat line from last season before he gets shipped out of New York, but second you can’t say that he doesn’t have a point. If I was a Giants fan or player, I would tire of reading about the Jets every single day considering they haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1969 or a division title since 2002. Yet, the NFL and the mainstream media is a what have you done for me lately business and the last thing in everybody’s memory is the Giants quitting and being embarrassed the last 2 games of the 2009 season, while the Jets had a run to the AFC Championship Game, followed by the Jets having a better off-season. Personally, I don’t root against the Giants the way I used to when I was younger and outside of annoying my friends who are all Giants friends, I don’t really concern myself with what they do. The two teams don’t impact each other this year, unless they are going to meet in a Super Bowl, which would be terrific.

Other TOJ Updates

– Keep the Facebook fans coming…we are at 356 right now and I’d like to hit 500 by week 1 of the pre-season. Unlike a site like The Jets Blog, TOJ is a one man show so I basically use the Facebook page as my version of The Jets Blog. I use it to aggregate everything a Jets fan should be reading on a daily basis, along with quick commentary on each links. I will also throw up some non-Jets related things occasionally, if the situation calls for it. Keep in mind I am also a Yankees and Knicks fan, and watch massive amounts of television and movies….because you know, I am an unemployed college student (at least for a few more months). You can also follow TOJ on Twitter (Turn On The Jets) and on the ESPN Jets Message Boards (WR09CB), Digg, and Ballhype (all the account information is in the “About The Author” section of the web site).

– Remember the other links at the top of the page…Turn On The Jets TV, 2009 Highlights, 2010 Schedule, 2010 Depth Chart, 2009 Stats, The Podcast which can be accessed here (http://web.me.com/turnonthejets/Site/Podcast/Podcast.html).

– We should have a new Podcast up in the next week or two.

– As we head into the Lost finale tomorrow, which means you will never have to deal with reading about the show at TOJ again, I leave you with my favorite scene from each season:

Season 1 – The Opening

Season 2 – Down The Hatch

Season 3 – We Have To Go Back

Season 4 – I Always Have A Plan

Season 5 – Jacob?

Season 6 – The Timelines Merge

Interesting AFC East Thoughts And Questions

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…I have been hovering near 300 fans on Facebook for awhile without getting over it, so let’s go now. I know you want that news feed filled with Jets links and witty commentary on your favorite team.

2. A recent SportsNation poll on ESPN.com that asked Jets fans to select what games they thought their team would win this regular season resulted in fans projecting a 15-1 season for the team. I like the optimism because I was getting tired of the post draft negativity, but 15-1 may be…just may be…a stretch. Right now I would project the Jets as a 11-5 or 12-4 team, which scares me because I have never projected them to be that good. It is a little weird to have such high expectations.

Photobucket 3. Thoughts on Lost Final Season, Episode 14 “The Candidate” – Wow…that is what I am talking about. When Lost is on it’s game like that, there isn’t a better show on TV…not even close. I am glad we can end any debate about Locke being the bad guy now. He clearly never had any intention to get off the island but his plan was rather based around getting the candidates to all kill each other. I can’t blame Sawyer for not trusting Jack after he got Juliet killed last season but c’mon now you have to listen to the chosen one (which Sayid confirmed Jack was before sacrificing himself). I will miss Sayid, who was undoubtedly my favorite Iraqi torturer. The Jin/Sun death was obviously sad but we can get along fine without them considering how their characters have been used the past 2 seasons. It was kind of funny how nobody mentioned Frank dying…how about some love for the pilot, who went out with the funny line before getting smashed with a door and drowning. The sideways stuff is getting better, especially with Jack and Locke switching roles. Next week should be crazy good as well, with the backstory of Jacob and the MIB.

4. Do you think Nick Mangold noticed the contract Jahari Evans just got from the Saints? Do you think David Harris noticed the contract Patrick WIllis just got from the 49ers? The Jets better be ready to offer up the money to keep the cornerstones of their offense and defense…okay maybe Revis is the cornerstone on defense but he is about to be a free agent too.

Interesting AFC East Thoughts And Questions

#2 Quarterback in the Division? – Tim Graham of ESPN.com addressed this question in his AFC East blog and properly selected Mark Sanchez as the second best quarterback in the division over Chad Henne. Here is a key part of his argument:

“While Sanchez got better as games became more meaningful down the stretch, Henne struggled. Heading into Week 15, the Dolphins had a wonderful shot at securing a wild-card berth. They finished with three straight losses. Henne threw three touchdowns and five interceptions.”

PhotobucketI couldn’t agree more. I am always amazed how much people talk up Henne as this player who is going to jump into greatness next year, while they are quick to question Sanchez as the Jets biggest potential problem in 2010. Yes, Sanchez struggled heavily at times last year but it was the guy’s rookie year and he was thrown right into the fire. In the end, he came out  of it to lead the Jets from 4-6 to the AFC Championship Game. Henne had a year to learn behind Chad Pennington and turned in a very average season last year. Stop talking about Henne like he lit the league on fire last season. He threw 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions and had a QB rating of 75.2. Beyond that, he had his team at 7-6 and lost out to three teams who missed the playoffs to finish 7-9.

Sanchez’s performance against the Bengals in the wild-card round on the road, in the fourth quarter against the Chargers in the divisional round on the road, and in the AFC Championship Game on the road are all more impressive than anything Henne has done in his career.

Well, at least we can’t debate Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the division and Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, or Brian Brohm are the worst.

Just How Bad Is Buffalo – Unfortunately for those upstate New York football fans, it is hard to see Buffalo winning more than 5 games this season. No quarterback. No offensive line. A questionable defense. A questionable hire at head coach and GM. Three other quality teams in the division. This is the recipe for a rough season. Yet, I am still terrified of the Jets traveling up there in week 4.

PhotobucketWhere Are Your Running Backs The AFC East is stacked with quality running backs. Even the previously mentioned Bills have two 1,000 yard rushers and the 9th overall pick in the draft, with Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. The Dolphins have Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. The Jets have rising star (I hope not to jinx him) Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson in the proper backup role, and Joe “Tums” McKnight. But what about the Patriots? Laurence  Maroney isn’t a #1 back. Fred Taylor is 650 years old and can’t stay healthy. Sammy Morris is 575 years old and can’t stay healthy. This normally wouldn’t be a problem in New England’s spread offense, but with an injured Wes Welker, their passing offense just isn’t that scary anymore. I could only say that because I know Darrelle Revis can take Randy Moss out of the game 1 on 1, and I like…make that love, matching up Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson on Julian Edeleman, Sam Aiken, or the old version of Torry Holt.

For No Particular Reason, Receiver Rankings

  1. Brandon Marshall
  2. Randy Moss
  3. Santonio Holmes
  4. Braylon Edwards
  5. Jerricho Cotchery
  6. Lee Evans

PhotobucketThis is obviously very, very debatable. I really hate putting Braylon in front of Cotchery but his physical talent is too hard to ignore…the guy had 17 touchdowns only a few season ago. What about Edwards and Cotchery in front of Lee Evans? The guy only had 44 receptions for 612 yards last year. I know his quarterbacks were crappy but Cotchery’s quarterbacks were crappy in 2007 and he had 1130 yards. Then again Evans had 1000 yards in 2008 with crappy quarterbacking and Cotchery didn’t with Favre back there…but then again Favre stunk the second half of the season. Evans is more physically gifted and more of a big play threat but Cotchery is more consistent…I don’t know, they are interchangeable. I feel good about 1-4, what is interesting is how sharp the drop off is after these 6. Look at this collection of players:

  • Torry Holt
  • Julian Edeleman
  • Sam Aiken
  • Brad Smith
  • David Clowney
  • Steve Johnson – That is Buffalo’s listed other started right now by the way.
  • Roscoe Parrish
  • James Hardy
  • Brian Hartline
  • Devone Bess
  • Greg Camarillo

How do you rate those guys? Holt has the best pedigree obviously, but how much does he have left in the tank? Brad Smith isn’t really a true receiver. Edeleman and Hartline showed flashes last year. Bess and Camarillo are steady guys, who are decent fits as #3 options. Everybody else is a journeyman.

And Yet Another Well-Made Highlight Video