New York Jets Defensive Film Breakdown: Week 6

Chris Gross breaks down the New York Jets defensive film against the Indianpolis Colts

The New York Jets week 6 dominating performance of the inferior Indianapolis Colts was surely the best collective defensive effort of the season. From top to bottom, the Jets were sound in all facets of their defensive play. The defensive line, without two key players in Sione Pouha and Kenrick Ellis, played their best game of the season against both the run and rushing the passer, the linebackers looked surprisingly rejuvenated and fast, and the secondary continued to impress even without their All-World leader Darrelle Revis. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine put together a brilliant game plan that clearly had Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck flustered and frustrated by the 4th quarter.

For this week’s defensive film breakdown, we will again format as we did last week, highlighting the game’s top performance, followed by the normal breakdown order. Let’s jump right into it because there is a lot to discuss.

Week 6 Top Defensive Performers:

Aaron Maybin – We have been extremely critical of Aaron Maybin in this column all season long, but it is time to give credit where credit is due. Maybin was very exceptional this past week, easily playing his best game of the season. Although the box score will not show it, Maybin was finally a serious factor in the Jets pass rush this week. We have knocked the former Buffalo Bill thus far this year for not working any pass rush moves into his arsenal, but simply running past the quarterback on a consistent basis. This week, Maybin finally worked in some variety of moves to his rushes, and it payed off tremendously.

On Antonio Cromartie’s first interception of Andrew Luck, Maybin worked a fantastic inside move that the opposing tackle was clearly not expecting, forcing Luck to run out of the pocket and make an off balance throw. Yes, Cromartie made a very nice play on the ball, but make no mistake, this play would not have happened if not for the efforts of Maybin.

Here, Maybin has Colts left tackle, and former first round pick, Anthony Castonzo completely off balance, as he tries to lunge at back to the inside, where Maybin clearly beat him.

As a result, Luck is forced out of the pocket, making an off balanced throw, with neither of his feet on the ground. With no leg drive behind his throw, Luck cannot put the necessary zip on the ball, and misses his target, resulting in the Cromartie interception.

Although Maybin only had half a sack in the box score, he was partially responsible for Muhammad Wilkerson’s strip sack in the 4th quarter.

On this play, Maybin came in on an inside loop stunt which he timed and executed to perfection. The key on these stunts is to sell the initial outside rush, to get the tackle to bail out, then come underneath, across half the length of the line, and establish pressure up the middle. As shown here, Maybin is right in the face of Luck, causing the rookie quarterback to make a decision – either take the sack, or scramble and try to make a play. Luck chooses the latter and the result is as follows.

Luck moves to his left, only to find the grasp of Wilkerson who gets credited with the sack and forced fumble. However, if not for Maybin’s perfectly executed stunt, this play would have not been made.

If Maybin can keep this level of play up, the entire pass rush will be boosted. The way he elevated the play of those around him this past Sunday should be very encouraging to Jets fans. If he does this on a consistent basis, all of a sudden the Jets go from a team that struggles to rush the passer to a team that poses a legitimate threat in that area.

Quinton Coples – As great as Muhammed Wilkerson played this past week, Quinton Coples was the best defensive lineman on the field for the majority of the game. In a full time role, Coples saw a lot of time not only at defensive end, but as a defensive tackle as well, similar to how he was used during his college career at North Carolina. What makes Coples so effective in being constantly moved around is his natural ability as a pure defensive lineman. Not only is he extremely athletic and powerful, but at 6’6″ tall, he has tremendous length, which he is beginning to use very effectively.

Coples demonstrated effective swim moves, push/pull technique, and the ability to get excellent separation from the offensive line. When the rookie uses his hands effectively, his reach is so long that it makes it just about impossible for any opposing offensive lineman to get into him enough to make a block. In doing this, Coples dictates exactly what he wants to do on any given play, making him extremely dangerous to an opposing offensive line.

Coples continues to be extremely agile in his pass rushes, particularly when lined up on the inside where he is a complete mismatch against slower offensive lineman. However, what very few realize, is just how powerful he is against the run. On a play in the 1st quarter, in which Muhammad Wilkerson stopped the ball carrier for a loss of one in the backfield, Coples forced the play back into Wilkerson with a tremendous push on the opposing offensive guard. Take a look:

As you can see, Coples has the opposing guard about 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. The back (who is right behind the guard) is forced to cut back to the other side, where Wilkerson is in hot pursuit. Without this push by Coples, the back is likely never forced to cut back across the field, thus never giving Wilkerson to opportunity to make the tackle for loss. Great cohesiveness by this unit demonstrated on this play, as was the case throughout the entire game.

Rex Ryan – Ryan was ranked as a top performer for his game plan last week against Houston, something he topped this week against the Colts and their rookie quarterback. Ryan mixed up fronts, coverages, personnel, and most importantly, blitzes, particularly, the blitz that resulted in Antonio Allen’s first career sack, one of the greatest demonstrations of schematics and execution that one will ever see in a defensive arena.

As shown below, Allen lines up on the slot receiver, showing anything but blitz.

At the same time, cornerback Isaiah Trufant is lined up over the center showing an inside blitz. The alignment here makes it nearly impossible for a rookie quarterback to expect a blitz to be coming from where Allen is currently lined up. However, at the snap of the ball, Allen comes hard off the edge, while Trufant bails out to compensate for what would have been Allen’s man.

The complexity of this blitz is why it is so successful. Luck could have never expected the Jets to attempt to get Trufant all the way back to Allen’s man from where he was lined up, but that is exactly what they did. Unsuspecting that pressure is coming from his right, Luck cannot avert the blitz in time, and the play results in Allen’s first career sack. Extremely gutsy call that clearly paid dividends.

With his top two nose tackles inactive for this contest, Ryan also did a tremendous job of mixing up his defensive fronts to compensate for the lack of a true nose guard. At times, the Jets did show a traditional 3-4 look with various players lined up at the nose including Mike DeVito and Wilkerson. However, since neither of these players are truly effective at the position, Ryan adjusted to his personnel greatly.

Here, Ryan comes with a very creative scheme up front. From left to right, the personnel is David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson, Calvin Pace, Quinton Coples, and Aaron Maybin. With virtually no one lined up in the middle, the Colts offensive line gets an unfamiliar look here both in terms of alignment and personnel, causing great confusion amongst this unit and their rookie quarterback. Excellent job by Ryan in recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the players he had available on Sunday.

Since losing Darrelle Revis, Pouha, and most recently Ellis, Ryan has become extremely innovative in his schematics. For the second week in a row, we have witnessed how impressive of a defensive mind Ryan truly is.

Defensive Line:

Muhammad Wilkerson – Statistically, Wilkerson played his most complete game as a Jet with 7 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a tipped pass. New York continues to rely on Wilkerson to be their jack of all trades on the defensive front, a role he is beginning to become much more comfortable with. Throughout the course of the game, Wilkerson saw time at the 0, 1, 3, and 5 technique, and was effective at each position. We have discussed his sack above, but one particular play that really stood out was Wilkerson’s tackle in the backfield in the second quarter. On the play, Wilkerson split an aggressive double team by the Colts guard and tackle, to stop the run for a gain of only one. It was an impressive display of strength, explosion, and leverage.

Wilkerson is slowly becoming the man of many roles for the Jets, which speaks volumes to how the defensive coaching staff grades his talent and ability. Wilkerson is beginning to mature as a leader on this defensive front through both example and poise, something that, considering his tremendous talent level, is an excellent sign for this group. Moving forward, New York has to feel good about its young group of defensive lineman.

Mike DeVito – DeVito was solid as usual for Gang Green. He was forced to fill in at the nose at times due to injuries to Pouha and Ellis, however, as we have previously discussed in this column he is not necessarily a good fit in that position. Still, DeVito surely held his own, and remained the usual blue collared, run stuffing defensive tackle Jets fans have grown to love. As for his pass rush ability, DeVito still proved to be very ineffective in this area. Fortunately, Ryan and company are beginning to seriously limit his reps in passing situations, which will both keep him fresh for first and second down, and allow someone else, like Aaron Maybin to get the necessary reps during those situations.

Calvin Pace – Pace played quite solid yet again. Still struggling to get to the quarterback, he does have a natural ability to set the edge and not allow anything to get outside of him, something that he certainly does the best among everyone at his position on this roster. During the first quarter, on the Colts’ first attempted end around, Pace took a bad step and was beat to the outside by the tackle.

At the left of the screen here, Pace can be seen in poor position as he is seemingly sealed by the tackle, thus losing the edge and giving the back room to run around. However, Pace continued to work toward the sideline, despite being beat on the initial step. The best defense for an edge player when they are sealed is to drive the blocker as far as they can toward to side line, in order to string the play out as long as possible, and allow the help to come from the inside. Well, this is exactly what Pace does on this play, and it works to perfection, as he eventually turns the play back inside, allowing Wilkerson to make the tackle for no gain.

This is textbook recover technique from Pace, who continues to be this team’s best edge player against the run.

Daniel Muir – Muir played with an excellent energy level, and certainly did not look like someone who was just signed off the street. He did get driven off the ball a few times, but other times he did a great job holding his own against the double team. He is also very active with his hands and feet in his pass rush. Although unsuccessful, he repeatedly worked a surplus of pass rush moves against the Colts offensive line. For the capacity in which he was signed, you have to be very impressed by the effort Muir put forth on Sunday. He is playing like someone who is hungry to keep his spot on the roster, regardless of who returns.

Damon Harrison – Harrison saw limited action this week, with Muir getting more reps as the last tackle worked into the rotation. He continues to prove to be very raw, but demonstrates great power. With some coaching, down the road, Harrison can certainly be a very effective role player in this league.

The linebackers – Excellent effort across the board from the linebackers this week. Bart Scott and David Harris both looked faster than they have in the first five weeks, and both did an excellent job in their run reads and defending lead blockers. Scott even broke up a pass, which was a phenomenal demonstration of awareness on his part. With his back to the ball, Scott recognized the target’s eyes and arms reacting to the pass, and stuck his arm out where he thought the ball might be coming from, swatting it away before the receiver ever had a chance. There are still some coverage issues with these two, but for the most part they were very improved in this area this past week.

DeMario Davis’s reps continue to increase, and you’d have to think that by mid-season he will be seeing at least half of the defensive snaps per game. His speed is above and beyond anyone else’s at the position, and he continues to play with great tenacity. He looks a bit tentative at times, perhaps because he does not yet have a full grasp on the system, but he is seemingly becoming more comfortable each week.

The Secondary – As a unit, this group played very well. Kyle Wilson put together his most complete performance to date through a strong display of coverage, open field tackling, and the ability to shed blockers. Anontio Cromartie continued his dominant play in the absence of Darrelle Revis, recording an interception in his second consecutive game. Ellis Lankster was hot and cold. On some plays, he was in perfect position and showed great reaction to the ball, while on others his technique was poor, and he lacked awareness. Still, an overall above average effort from Lankster this past week.

The safeties played quite good again as well. LaRon Landry got caught trailing a couple times in coverage, but his physicality against the tight ends was spectacular this week. On one particular play, Landry lined up in the box directly on Colts Tight End Dwayne Allen. Landry jammed him hard at the line, then laced him as soon as the ball touched his hands. What he may lack in pure coverage ability, he certainly makes up for with his physical level of play.

As discussed above, Antonio Allen executed one of the greatest timed blitzes you will ever see, which is an area where we expected him to succeed in in our full draft evaluation. Yeremiah Bell was solid again, but sometimes showed a tendency to give too much of a cushion between himself and the first down marker.

Josh Bush and Isaiah Trufant also saw time this week. Both did not do anything spectacular in terms of making plays, but neither did anything that hurt the team, which is very positive. The more experience these youngsters can get in fulfilling their responsibilities, the better.

Sunday’s game was a very complete defensive effort. Each unit complemented each other very well, and the cohesion of this defense is really starting to take shape, even in the absence of the leagues best defensive back. Rex Ryan has gotten back to his roots as a defensive mastermind. All of these things will need to continuously improve moving forward, but make no mistake, New York should be very encouraged by the product they put on the field against Indianapolis.

New York Jets Week 6 Grade Report – High Marks

The grade report for the New York Jets week 6 trouncing of the New England Patriots

Quarterbacks (A) – Easy to laugh at a (A) for a 82 yard passing day for Mark Sanchez. However, he didn’t need to do anymore. He completed 60 percent of his passes, moved the chains when he needed to and hit two touchdown passes into tight windows. Most importantly, there were no turnovers. New England’s secondary is awful, particularly down the middle against the deep ball so the game-plan will be more aggressive next week and Sanchez needs to respond. That Tebow guy had a nice conversion on a 3rd and short.

Running Backs (A+) – Shonn Greene played his best game since the 2009 playoffs, racking up over 160 yards and 3 touchdowns. Most importantly, he broke tackles and made a few people miss. He ran decisively and showed better vision than in previous weeks. Joe McKnight also ripped off a 61 yard run. It sounds like despite an ankle injury, he will be able to play this week. Bilal Powell saw limited action and dislocated his shoulder. He will likely be out a few games.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends (A) – The entire group made contributions. Stephen Hill caught all three of the passes thrown to him, including one for a touchdown and two for first downs. Jeremy Kerley had three more catches. Chaz Schilens converted a pair of third downs and even Jason Hill pulled in a short touchdown catch. Dustin Keller had a nice game blocking of all things while Jeff Cumberland continued to struggle in that role and also dropped a pass.

Offensive Line (A+) – A long overdue dominating performance from the Jets frequently maligned offensive line. They pushed the Colts all over the field and imposed their will in the running game. Sanchez was also given a clean pocket and only sacked once on the day.

Defensive Line (A) – Signs of life from the pass rush. Muhammad Wilkerson was all over the field, finishing with 7 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a tackle for a loss and a pass defensed. Quinton Coples recorded 1.5 sacks, making him already that much better than Vernon Gholson (as Mike Tannenbaum breathes a sigh of relief). Mike DeVito deserves praise for holding down the fort at nose tackle with Sione Pouha and Kenrick Ellis out.

Linebackers (B) – A quiet day overall from this unit but they performed in the running game. Demario Davis is starting to see extended playing time and looks active rushing the passer. Bart Scott and David Harris only combined for 5 tackles, a rarity.

Secondary (A) – Antonio Cromartie continued his All-Pro caliber season pulling in another interception and slowing down Reggie Wayne. Rookie Antonio Allen recorded his first career sack. LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell were active in the running game and combined for an impressive 17 tackles. A quiet day for Kyle Wilson, which is a good thing.

Special Teams (A) – Another week, another converted fake punt. Well-designed by Mike Westhoff and well executed by Tim Tebow and Nick Bellore.

Coaching (A) – Rex Ryan deserves credit for building this team back up after they were embarrassed a few weeks ago by San Francisco. They are headed in the right direction and appear ready to be a factor in the increasingly wide open AFC. Tony Sparano executed the type of game plan he talked about all summer on offense and Mike Pettine’s defense had their best game of the year.

 

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.

Turn On The Jets Week 6 Fantasy Football Preview

Mike Donnelly with his weekly fantasy football preview. Who should you bench and who should you start?

It’s been five weeks of fantasy football so far, and I think that’s a fair amount of time to really start judging pre-season rankings. So, before we get to this week’s recommendations (which you obviously want to read since I killed it last week. Just ignore the part where I was down on Demaryius Thomas and Stevan Ridley.), I’d like to run down my top 5 hits and misses from the preseason. Unlike many of the “experts” out there who take themselves far too seriously (hi, Evan Silva!), I have no problem owning up to my misses, just as I thoroughly enjoy patting myself on the back for my good calls. For the record, in my pre-draft column, I bought and sold 33 players. By my count, 14 were great, 9 were terrible, and 10 would be graded as “incomplete” so far. Let’s run down the best and worst.

Great Calls, If I do Say So Myself

3 QB’s– I’m lumping these three together, because they all pretty much go hand in hand. I bought Ben Roethlisberger and sold Cam Newton and Michael Vick. Roethlisberger has performed as a top 5 fantasy QB so far since his team has absolutely no run game, and plenty of receivers to throw to. Newton on the other hand has been an absolute disaster, and while I didn’t predict this big of a decline, I never would have drafted him as a top 4 QB as many others did, and I certainly wouldn’t have predicted him to win MVP or be the #1 quarterback and overall top scorer. As for Vick, well, he is finally close to accomplishing his goal to become the man with the most fumbles of all time. Well done, Mike!

SOLD: Steven Jackson & BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Steven Jackson fit into my “Draft no Rams” strategy, plus his age and declining production were major red flags. The Law Firm just isn’t a good player, and being the Bengals starting running back wasn’t a major draw for me. Plenty of people are kicking themselves for drafting these two.

BOUGHT: Brandon Marshall – I know, I know. Buying Brandon Marshall wasn’t exactly a bold move, but considering where others had him ranked and where I had him ranked, it was a good call. While many had him as a low end WR1, or even a WR2, I had him solidly inside the top 5, and that’s looking pretty good right now.

BOUGHT: Demaryius Thomas – Perhaps my favorite player heading into this season was Demaryius Thomas, Peyton Manning’s #1 receiver in Denver. While many people were high on him heading into the season, not that many had him inside the top 10. You know who did though? This guy!

SOLD: Steve Smith & Jordy Nelson – I packaged them up together in the column, and I’m packaging them together here because combined they barely equal one very good fantasy WR so far this year. Smith has faced massive double teams while playing with an underperforming quarterback, and Jordy Nelson has been a disaster. The league has figured out the Packers offense, and it turns out guys like Nelson just aren’t that good.

Well, This is Embarrassing..

BOUGHT: Shonn Greene – What can be said about Shonn Greene that hasn’t already been said on this site 500 times? (EDITOR”S NOTE – He is awful…just had to get that in one more time – JC)

SOLD: Adrian Peterson & Maurice Jones-Drew – Both of these guys had major question marks heading into the season. Peterson (torn ACL) has proven to be an absolute freak of nature with how his body healed so quickly, and MJD (holdout) came back and looked like he didn’t miss a beat, even though he’s playing with Blaine Gabbert as his QB.

SOLD: Roddy White – It’s not like I didn’t think White would be good, I just didn’t think he’d be a top 5 WR or even the top receiver on his own team. I had him in the 12-13 range in my pre-season column, and he’s absolutely proven me wrong. (So far. I still believe in Julio!)

SOLD: Victor Cruz – In fairness to me, I only sold him saying he’d take a back seat to Hakeem Nicks this year, and Nicks has missed the majority of the season so far. Like White, I thought Cruz would be good, just in more of a secondary role. 5 touchdowns in five weeks later and I’m starting to regret that call.

SOLD: Tony Gonzalez – Hard to pick between this and Shonn Greene as a worse call. Tony Gonzalez has absolutely lit the NFL up this year. One of my worst calls of all time.

Here are the week 6 Start and Sit One-Liners.

Mike Like’s…

QB Matt Schaub vs. GB – QB vs. Packers D = Great Start.

QB Philip Rivers vs. Den – Looking for this game to be a shootout with both Manning and Rivers lighting it up.

RB Mike Leshoure @ Phi – The Eagles have a good secondary and a bad run defense,  plus Stafford is banged up. Leshoure will get 20+ touches and be an RB1.

RB Darren McFadden @ Atl – You should never bench McFadden, but look for his big time run to start now as he starts to justify his draft position.

RB Vick Ballard @ NYJ – The Jets with their artifact linebackers can’t stop the run for crap.

WR Andre Roberts vs. Buff – Kevin Kolb loves throwing to Roberts and the Bills defense is an abomination. Plus, I have a friend who is going to sit Roberts this week despite really, really wanting to play him. He always makes the wrong choices, so this pick looks great.

WR Dwayne Bowe @ TB – Some “experts” have him ranked incredibly low this week because of Cassell’s injury. Maybe I missed something, but Matt Cassell stinks and Brady Quinn, in my opinion, is going to play better.

WR Jeremy Kerley vs. Ind – If you’re facing bye week or injury issues, the Jets new #1 receiver is a very solid option.

TE Dustin Keller vs. Ind – Mark Sanchez’s most targeted receiver is due to come back form injury this week, and you better believe he’s going to get a ton of targets.

It’s Not Your Week..

QB Andrew Luck @ NYJ – Yes, Andrew Luck is awesome, but he’s playing in the windy Meadowlands and the Colts are coming off a dramatic big time win over the Packers. I’m expecting a big letdown performance here as Rex makes life difficult for the rookie.

QB Robert Griffin III vs. Minn – The Vikings have a very good defense and the Redskins have a very bad offensive line. Oh yeah, and RG3 had a concussion last week. There’s no way he plays up to the standard he set for himself so far.

RB Chris Johnson @ Pitt – Just want to make sure you aren’t thinking of doing anything stupid, like playing the worst player in the league.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw @ SF – The 49ers are not the Browns, Ahmad. You’ll see.

RB Rashard Mendenhall @ Tenn – Yes, Mendenhall could be a solid contributor down the stretch for your team, but he absolutely is not an RB1 like I’ve seen him ranked this week. Short week’s are tough, especially for players recovering from ACL surgeries.

WR Reggie Wayne @ NYJ – I’m not saying bench him like you would have if Revis was healthy, but expect low-end WR2 or flex type numbers this week rather than WR1. Antonio Cromartie is the real deal.

WR Jordy Nelson @ Hou – Jordy Nelson sucks, and the Packers offense is a mess. Plus remember my friend who is benching Andre Roberts? Yep, he’s starting Nelson instead. Beware!

TE Martellus Bennett @ SF – Bennett is banged up, and he’s going to be swarmed by Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis all day. Not a good combination.

New York Jets – Embrace The Youth Movement

It is time for the New York Jets to stop playing old, unproductive players who won’t be on the roster next year

The suggestion of playing young players over established veterans is often a sign of packing it in for the season in preparation for the future. In the case of the New York Jets, the movement towards younger players wouldn’t necessarily signal that. It would actually be a wise move not just for the future but for the 2012 season.

At linebacker, there is a zero percent chance Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace will be on the roster next year. They are currently ineffective at linebacker, considering the Jets are ranked 31st against the run and have 5 total sacks in 5 games. There is no logical reason not to immediately start giving Demario Davis at least 50 percent of Scott’s reps at inside linebacker. He is going to be the starter there next season so let him get experience now. In the meantime, he can’t perform at a much lower level than Scott, so you aren’t losing anything this season. At least you are gaining speed and more of a threat on blitzes, along with somebody who has some type of skill set in coverage.

On the outside, Pace is sluggish rushing the passer but remains valuable setting the edge in the run game. However, opposite of him the Jets should be rotating Bryan Thomas with both Garret McIntyre and Ricky Sapp. In particular, Sapp deserves an opportunity on passing downs. Aaron Maybin has been totally ineffective through five games. Similar to inside linebacker, how much more ineffective could a McIntyre/Sapp platoon be than Thomas and Maybin? They can’t be. Give them the reps and maybe a player like Sapp develops into a viable option for next season.

At running back, even though you never want to write off Mike Tannenbaum’s incompetence, Shonn Greene should not be back. He has been the least productive running back in the NFL through five games, so why continue to play him? It is physically impossible for Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight and Jonathan Grimes not to be better than him. Let the three young backs play all the reps and hope that one flashes enough to merit a roster spot as a complimentary back next year to whomever you add to be the primary back.

We touched on this earlier at wide receiver but the Jets are smart to avoid adding any veterans. It has become popular to lump all the Jets wide receivers together as a pile of garbage, which is both invalid and unfair. Jeremy Kerley is averaging nearly 20 yards per catch and has caught 15 passes on 23 targets, a highly respectable rate particularly in this offense. He is showing signs of developing into a very good receiver and is going to flourish from the extra reps this season. We knew Stephen Hill would be a project coming out of a triple option offense. He will take his lumps this year, mixed in with big plays. Let’s not forget he had 89 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns in his NFL debut. Hill was a legitimate 2nd round pick, not a reach. He has the skill set to develop into a big play receiver in the NFL, he just needs more seasoning. When he gets back healthy, give him all the reps he can get. Kerley and Hill could be the starting point of a quality group of receivers in future years.

It makes no sense to play veterans who won’t be on the team next year if they are completely ineffective. It may not be easy for Rex Ryan to sit players like Scott, Thomas and Greene but their play has earned them a spot on the bench and nowhere else.