Sanchez Led The Way Before The Light Began To Fade

TJ on Mark Sanchez coming up with yet another clutch performance

Sanchez this, Sanchez that. Say whatever you want about Mark Sanchez. The elite quarterback who had the 21-10 lead with the ball  in the third quarter, lost. The one who is always under fire for not “progressing,” won.

Mark Sanchez, against the elite QBs in the AFC is now: 3-3 against Tom Brady, 2-0 against Phillip Rivers, and 1-1 against Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning.

The third year franchise signal caller has alot of improving to do. With his consistency, his footwork, and his ability to be resourceful earlier in games when the team is struggling to move the ball.

However, he steals wins late in games more than he hands victories over by making dumb mistakes down the stretch. His decision making hardens when the going gets tough. Add four playoff wins during his first two years to the equation as well.

The Jets are now 4-3. It is essential that Sanchez continues to develop. The Jets DON’T need however, to teach Sanchez how to win. While his imperfections have prevented him from being a statistical killer to this point, maybe it is time for the detractors to finally accept what Mark Sanchez in two and a half seasons HAS brought to the Jets. Leadership.

On Sunday down 21-10 in the third quarter, when the season felt like it was once again, hanging in the balance, Sanchez began to show off HIS biggest attribute. With two of his three TD passes to Plaxico Burress coming in the second half, key scrambles, and third down completions, the Jets quarterback found a way to help navigate the Jets out of the darkness and into the second half of a season now filled with promise and hope. Just minutes before much of the light in a season that began with Super Bowl aspirations, began to fade.

TOJ Week 7 NFL Picks

TOJ with his week 7 NFL Picks. What are the best bets for this weekend?

Season Record: 47-40-2

Last Week: 7-5-1

Week 7 NFL Picks, lines courtesy of BetUS

  • Tampa Bay (+1) vs. Chicago
  • Washington (+3) vs. Carolina
  • Jets (+3) vs. San Diego
  • Seattle (+3) vs. Cleveland
  • Tennessee (-3) vs. Houston
  • Denver (PK) vs. Miami
  • Atlanta (+3) vs. Detroit
  • Kansas City (+4.5) vs. Oakland
  • Pittsburgh (-4.5) vs. Arizona
  • Green Bay (-11.5) vs. Minnesota
  • New Orleans (-13.5) vs. Indianapolis
  • Baltimore (-10) vs. Jacksonville

New York Jets: Wins Are Good, Right?

Rob Celletti wonders what it will take to keep New York Jets fans happy

It is a funny game they play in the National Football League.  Sometimes, the post-game discussion and analysis is even funnier.

This past Sunday, the New York Giants won an important home game against the upstart Buffalo Bills.  A 24-24 nailbiter turned on a late red zone interception by the Giants’ Corey Webster, setting up a game-winning field goal for Big Blue.

On Monday morning, the New York media heaped praise upon Tom Coughlin’s team, and rightfully so.  The Giants were feeling “Super” (wink, wink) at 4-2 heading into their bye week, and Eli Manning was praised as an elite quarterback, despite not throwing a touchdown pass in the Giants’ victory (and nearly being intercepted to kill the eventual game-winning drive).

On Monday night, at the very same stadium, the New York Jets won a game by 18 points, against a division opponent that always challenges and plays them close.  Similarly, this game also turned on a red zone interception, complete with a highlight film 100-yard run-back, the only moment which garnered a significant reaction from the lifeless MetLife Stadium crowd.  Darelle Revis’ goal-line interception righted the ship for the Jets, who settled in for an eventually comfortable, if imperfect 24-6 victory.

But if you picked up a newspaper, logged onto a blog, or listened to a sports-talk radio show on Tuesday, you’d have thought the Jets lost.  The main talking points hadn’t changed much from what they were when the Jets were mired in a 3-game losing streak: the quarterback was inconsistent, the running game was not explosive, the defense gave up too many yards.

Isn’t winning supposed to be fun?

I am aware that the Buffalo Bills are a much better football team than the Miami Dolphins, who are probably now considering full tank-mode so they can draft Andrew Luck.  But my point in comparing the two scenarios is to bring to light just how asinine and absurd some of the post-game analysis of the NFL truly is.

A lot of people made the point on Tuesday that if Revis’ pick-six doesn’t happen, there’s a strong chance the Jets don’t recover from a 10-0 deficit and lose the game.  First of all, there’s no way to prove that.  Secondly, how does the Giants game turn out if Webster doesn’t make his interception?  For that matter, how does any NFL game turn out if key plays don’t happen, or go the other way?  That’s what makes them key plays, right?

And really, that’s what it is all about in the NFL.  The salary cap makes it arguably the most competitive pro sports league in the world.  The “any given Sunday” cliche is one that actually holds true, especially in division games, where you always throw records out the window.  A lot of NFL games are decided by one or two plays.  The Giants were praised for theirs, the Jets were scolded.

Again, I’m under no illusions here.  I know the Dolphins are a lost cause, and that the Jets need to play much, much better football, especially at the start of games.  I’m not apologizing for what I think is a defense that has some holes personnel-wise and an offense that is being held back by their offensive coordinator.  But, the Jets won a game and are right back into their season now.  And oh yeah, they won by 18 points, thoroughly dominating their opponent in the second half.  People seem to have overlooked that.

Perhaps it’s a product of Rex Ryan’s change in the culture of the team, but it seems as though Jets fans are not satisfied with anything other than a 63-0 victory in any contest.  It has gotten a little absurd, quite frankly.  And if you think back to last year, the Jets weren’t exactly juggernauts, either, despite all of the good will an 11-5 season and a 2nd straight AFC Championship Game appearance created.  They needed 4th quarter comebacks and/or overtime to beat some below-average competition.  Their defense looked just as vulnerable last year (at times) as it does this year, especially on third downs and late in games.

People predicting a special season this year from the Jets were probably a bit misguided, which has led to an enormous amount of criticism – some justified, some not – of this .500 team so far.  But in the NFL, it often boils down to one or two plays in a close game.  The Jets aren’t currently great, but they’re probably not far off either.

New York Jets: From One Must Win To The Next

This week’s home showdown against the San Diego Chargers is a pivotal game for the New York Jets season

The New York Jets pulled out their must win last night against the Miami Dolphins, thanks mostly to playing the Miami Dolphins. This week the competition level steps up substantially as they prepare to face the San Diego Chargers at home, where the early line has them as an underdog. The Chargers haven’t been overly impressive in their 4-1 start, considering they won tight games over Minnesota, Kansas City, Miami, and Denver…all contenders in the “Suck For Luck” sweepstakes but wins are wins and the Chargers are a dangerous opponent, as we will get into throughout the week.

Currently at 3-3 with their bye week on the horizon, this stands as a pivotal game for the New York Jets season. Let’s look at the two paths —

Win

  • 4-3. Heading into the bye on a 2 game winning streak, making their 3 game losing streak a distant memory when they take the field on November 6th in Buffalo.
  • 2 weeks to prepare for the Bills, who will likely be 5-2 (they have a bye and play home versus Washington) and a single game ahead of the Jets in the AFC East and wild-card race.
  • An outside shot to catch New England remains, as the 5-1 Pats have a bye and then travel to Pittsburgh and host the Giants before coming to the New Meadowlands for a Sunday Night game versus the Jets. If the Jets beat San Diego and Buffalo, while New England loses one of those two. The Jets will be playing for a chance to pull even in first place in the AFC East.
  • An important tie-breaker with San Diego if they end up being a wild-card contender because Oakland takes the AFC West.
  • An important tie-breaker by improving their AFC record, as the Jets will likely be battling it out with 4 or 5 teams for a wild-card.

Lose

  • 3-4. Two weeks to sit on a home loss and for everybody to clearly state how the Jets are out of it and their season is over. Buffalo and New England licking their chops to truly bury their season.
  • Any small chance at an AFC East title is completely gone.
  • The Jets don’t have a tie-breaker with either Oakland or San Diego and have a 2-4 record in the AFC, hurting any tie-breaker chance they have.
  • Any facade of the Jets being a better home team this year disappears.

Which way will the Jets go?