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.

Jets vs. Pats: Scary Thoughts On Patriots Tight Ends & 2010 Draft Class

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The biggest concern for the Jets this Monday night is slowing down New England’s two rookie tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. I say this because of how awful the Jets have been at defending the tight end throughout the year and how productive the two players have been, including a 100 yard performance from Hernandez in week two against the Jets.

Wes Welker is obviously dangerous in the slot, but the Jets can move Darrelle Revis over to him in key third downs or even have him track Welker for the bulk of the game. Deion Branch has been very good since coming over from Seattle but is nothing Antonio Cromartie can’t handle. It is Gronkowski and Hernandez who really have the potential to keep the New England offense on the field, chewing up yards and racking up points.

The two tight ends are part of an impressive rookie class the Patriots have assembled, which is even more disconcerting considering how the Jets 2010 draft class is looking so far.

Look at the comparison –

New England

  • Corner – Devin McCourty – 61 tackles, 5 INTs, 12 PDs
  • Tight End – Rob Gronkowski – 25 receptions, 310 yards, 6 TDs
  • Tight End – Aaron Hernandez – 36 receptions, 462 yards, 3 TDs
  • Linebacker – Brandon Spikes – 54 tackles
  • Punter – Zoltan Mesko – 43.7 yards net average
  • Linebacker – Jermaine Cunningham – 26 tackles, 1 sack

Jets

  • Corner – Kyle Wilson – 20 tackles, 4 PDs
  • Guard – Vladimir Ducasse – Inactive every week but one
  • Running Back – Joe McKnight – Normally inactive, 4 carries, 12 yards
  • Fullback – John Conner – 2 receptions, 9 yards

Let’s be honest, to this point Wilson, Ducasse, and McKnight have all been major disappointments. Drew Coleman has outplayed Wilson all season, who has struggled both at corner and punt returner. Ducasse was easily beaten out by Matt Slauson in training camp for the starting guard job and is the team’s 3rd backup OL behind Wayne Hunter and Robert Turner. McKnight…well, what can you even say about him? At least we have The Terminator leading the way for years to come at fullback.

You have to give the Patriots credit for putting together a strong group of selections in 2009. The last time I checked they have about 49 picks in the first 3 rounds next year, so we can only hope they will go back to drafting the Chad Jacksons and Laurence Maroneys of the world.

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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

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

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

Are The Jets The Team To Beat In The AFC East?

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…for some reason we lost 2 fans in the past 2 days. I don’t think I offended anybody recently but who knows, all I know is we need somebody to make up for those 2 and we need to add a few more this week.

2. Good post today by Rich Cimini on who the Jets may be interested in for this year’s draft. #29 is a hard spot to project but Jared Odrick of Penn State has been a popular choice because of the Jets age and lack of depth on the defensive line. Yet, if Dez Bryant somehow falls to #29 or in the near proximity of it, it is hard not to see Mike Tannenbaum grabbing such a big name guy with such big time potential. Personally, I would rather see them take Odrick or another defensive lineman/outside linebacker instead of a receiver but you have to admit Bryant is an exciting possibility…and please, no Taylor Mays…we don’t need Vernon Gholston 2.0 at safety.

3. Nice quote from Calvin Pace in a Sporting News interview about playing for the Jets and their fans:

“When I signed with the Jets two years ago, I thought about that, and if that would help me do well. The people here are passionate, and you get really excited playing for the tem. That J-E-T-S chant gets you pumped up. It’s 24-hour football for these fans.”

4. As you can see at the bottom of the article, we have a new episode of TOJ TV. Our producer got a new camera and thought it would be fun to put together a movie trailer documenting how I began working for the site. I am saving all my football analysis for the upcoming Podcasts, which will world premiere on April 15thwith a draft preview, off-season review edition. TOJ TV can now fully embrace its role as entertaining videos related to being a Jets fan instead of a spot for analysis.

Are The Jets The Team To Beat In The AFC East?

PhotobucketA popular topic this off-season has been debating the question of whether the Jets or Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC East in 2010. On November 22nd 2009, this question would have been a no-brainer. New England took advantage of an awful Mark Sanchez performance and whipped the Jets 31-14. It seemed like the Patriots would be rolling to another division title and run at a Super Bowl while the Jets were headed to another year without the playoffs. However, over the last 6 weeks the Jets finished strong with a 5-1 record, while New England only went 3-3 down the stretch. In the wild-card round of the playoffs, the once mighty Patriots were completely humiliated on their home field by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14, while the Jets pulled out a gutsy win on the road against the Bengals 24-14. The Jets then followed that performance up with a 17-14 upset in San Diego, before eventually falling to the Colts by 13 in the AFC Championship Game. Is the torch ready to be passed?

So far this off-season, the Jets have had more than turnover than the Patriots. They added Antonio Cromartie to replace the ineffective Lito Sheppard, signed LaDainian Tomlinson to back up Shonn Greene instead of giving the job to the recently more effective Thomas Jones, and replaced the underachieving Kerry Rhodes with Brodney Pool. They let special teamers like Wallace Wright and Marques Murrell walk but recently signed special teams standout Lance Laury to help fill the gap left by them. It also appears Jay Feely and Marques Douglas won’t be back and the Jets are yet to fill the holes left by them…I don’t count Nick Folk and Mike DeVito as filling their spots properly.

New England has concentrated primarily on hanging on to their own players. They have brought back Leigh Bodden, Vince Wilfork, and Tully Banta-Cain on defense. On offense, they did let Chris Baker and Ben Watson walk at tight end but recently signed Alge Crumpler to fill the spot and also brought back Kevin Faulk and Stephen Neal.

Where does that leave the two teams right now? On offense, New England probably isn’t getting back Wes Welker until sometime in October and who knows when he will be back to 100 percent. Make no mistake, Welker is the Patriots most dangerous playmaker and important receiver, not Randy Moss who appears to be in decline. Also, spare me with the Julian Edeleman can be just as good as Welker in New England’s offense talk because regardless of Edeleman’s stats when Welker was out, here is what Tom Brady did without Welker in the lineup:

  • Vs Baltimore – 23/42, 154 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
  • Vs Jets – 23/47, 216 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
  • Vs Atlanta – 25/42, 277 yards, 1 TD

PhotobucketOutside of a good game against a crappy Atlanta secondary, Brady could barely complete 50 percent of his passes without Welker in the lineup and had two of his worst games of the year when he didn’t have him as a safety valve. New England is still currently thin at receiver because Edeleman is injury prone (he missed 4 games last year) and Sam Aiken or Isaiah Stanback can’t handle major reps. They also have questions at running back because after a big rookie year, Laurence Maroney has been a bust who can’t hold on to the football. Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris are both ancient and can’t stay healthy and Kevin Faulk is nothing more than a third down back, although a good one at that. Beyond that, Tom Brady didn’t have his best year last season but considering the injury he was coming back from was still very good, until he had a meltdown in the playoffs. New England’s offensive line isn’t what it used to be but still remains one of the better units in the league.

On defense, the Patriots were pretty good last year. They finished #11 in total defense but laid an egg in the playoffs and were embarrassed a few times, including a dreadful performance on Monday Night against the Saints and when they choked away a big lead to the Colts in a Sunday Night game (no shame in that because the Colts also shredded up the Jets in the AFC Championship game and came back from a double digit deficit). Jerod Mayo was a disappointmentin his second year and they remain very average in the secondary. If you take Leigh Bodden’s stats away from the second Jets game when Sanchez gift wrapped him three interceptions, I don’t see how you could claim he is a legit number one corner and the rest of their corners are journeyman unless Darius Butler develops. New England’s front still has talent but you could run on them.

When I look at the Jets compared to the Patriots, I think they compare very favorably. The Jets have a superior offensive line, substantially more talent at running back, a better tight end, and a better #2 receiver until Welker makes it back to 100 percent. Yes, I would take Jerricho Cotchery over Julian Edeleman, Sam Aiken or anybody else they currently have to trot out there. The Jets don’t have somebody at receiver with the talent of Randy Moss but fortunately when we play them, we have Darrelle Revis to completely take him out of the game. Obviously, the Patriots have an advantage at quarterback but Brady is going to struggle against the Jets pass rush or any defense with a quality pass rush without Welker as a safety valve and a good running game to rely on. The Jets have a better all-around defense right now than New England. They are better at corner, linebacker, and with Jenkins back compare well with them on the defensive line.

They also have the benefit of playing the second place schedule instead of the first place schedule next year. Basically, that means they get the Texans and Broncos instead of the Colts and Chargers, yes it is only 2 games but in a likely close race, that could help the Jets. It would remiss not to mention the Patriots are set up much better for the draft than the Jets. New England has three second round picks, a higher first round pick than the Jets, and five seventh round picks. We have to wait and see how the Patriots could improve through the draft since they have missed more than a few recent selections.

PhotobucketRight now, I do think the Jets are the team to beat in the AFC East. By the end of the season, they were the best team in the division and I think when you factor in the return of Kris Jenkins and Leon Washington, their roster has improved from last year. Even though he is showing signs of slipping from his untouchable genius ways, Bill Belichick will still have New England in contention next year, and they remain the Jets primary challenge for the division title. What about Miami, you ask? Karlos Dansby was a nice addition even though they overpaid for him, but I don’t think they have done enough yet to move from a 7-9 team who was a Danny Woodhead keeping his outside contain on kickoff and Bart Scott tackle away from being 5-11. (Can you tell I am still bitter about those losses?) What about Buffalo? I don’t know let me see who wins the quarterback battle between Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and then I will let you know.

TOJ Movie Trailer

Randy Moss Is A Slouch While On Revis Island

Grading Out The Jets/Patriots Game

Jets Patriots Football

First a few updates:

1. Leigh Bodden is not a New York Jets receiver…just needed to update Mark Sanchez on that in case he happens to stumble across this website…anything I can do to help.

2. With the Jets playing out the string (something I will write about more throughout the week) I am going to move towards a little extra general NFL writing, with the discussions of the NFC/AFC playoff races, weekly picks on important games, etc. I will still have my normal amounts of coverage on the Jets because there is plenty of negative stuff to be written, but there is no reason to ignore the 16-20 teams still battling for position in January.

3. Rex Ryan’s press conference today: Donald Strickland got a concussion and will be out for awhile. Dwight Lowery has a high ankle sprain and will be out for a few weeks. Ryan said he will be more hands on in terms of monitoring Mark Sanchez and drilling into his head the importance of protecting the football. He also admitted he needs to be more hands on in general with the rest of team outside of the defense.

4. The stats and game highlights were updated…proceed with caution.

Grading Out The Jets/Patriots Game

Quarterbacks: (F) Just absolutely awful is the only to way to describe how Mark Sanchez played. The first two interceptions were bad enough but then somehow the Jets battled back to make  it 24-14 and have the ball in Patriots territory and what does Sanchez do on the first play of the drive, completely overthrow Jerricho Cotchery (or underthrow Braylon Edwards) I couldn’t even tell and is intercepted…then the Jets defense stops New England again and Sanchez scrambles around in the end-zone and when there is clearly no play to be made, instead of throwing it away he throws it right to Brandon Merriweather…awful. The guy has no respect for the football. The last interception he threw to Merriweather was comically bad, little league stuff. The worst part is that he just doesn’t seem to get it…he isn’t learning from his mistakes and he has this weird smug attitude after the game, which doesn’t seem to recognize how bad he is actually playing.

Sanchez is playing like he knows the Jets won’t pull him because they have nobody to turn to. He is stubbornly refusing to protect the football and is showing no fundamental idea of how to play quarterback at the NFL level. If he doesn’t show any improvement over the last 6 weeks, the Jets may be staring at the reality that they whiffed on two straight first round picks. Note, how I said that if he doesn’t show any improvement in the 6 last weeks…they may have to face that reality. The kid obviously has some talent but let’s see him learn and grow over the 6 last games or it could be ugly here for awhile.

Running Backs: (B) Thomas Jones is one of the few Jets who showed up to work on Sunday and put together another solid game. He is earning a new contract. Shonn Greene has been a ghost since his breakout game against Oakland.

Wide Receivers: (C-) Jerricho Cotchery played a very good game, as he usually does against the Patriots. Braylon Edwards had a big third down drop early in the game and also probably should have pulled in another deep ball. David Clowney had a drop early in the game also.

Tight Ends: (B) Dustin Keller made a few tough catches over the middle is starting to become consistently involved in the offense. There were no penalties on Ben Hartsock which is always a positive for him.

Offensive Line: (B) They put together a good all around effort. Thomas Jones ran for 100 yards and Sanchez was only sacked a couple of times.

Defensive Line: (C) Great game by Shaun Ellis. Marques Douglas forced a fumble and Mike DeVito also was active. However, Laurence Maroney still got a decent amount of yardage.

Linebackers: (C) Quiet games from Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas. David Harris did his job for the most part. I am not sure why the Jets had him in coverage in Wes Welker on some plays…yikes. Bart Scott hit Brady a couple of times but didn’t make any big plays.

APTOPIX Jets Patriots FootballSecondary: (D) Darrelle Revis is a great football player. Jim Leonhard is a tough, above average safety beyond that the Jets secondary is straight garbage. Kerry Rhodes should be benched. I would be thrilled if we could trade him to Cleveland (probably the only team who would take him) for a 3rd or 4th round pick. Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland are always banged up. Drew Coleman was helpless in the slot against Welker. Dwight Lowery is also now hurt and is an average corner even when healthy.

Special Teams: (A) Nice blocked punt by Eric Smith. David Clowney and Dwight Lowery showed something on kick returns.

Coaching: (D) They were completely out-coached by New England, who clearly adjusted to the Jets blitzing scheme. There was also no adjustment to slow down Wes Welker.

The Mark Sanchez Interception Show

Jets vs. Patriots Part II: Game Breakdown

jets2

First a few updates:

revisINT_tn1. The notoriously New England biased, Jets hating Pro Football Talk (unfortunately it is still a good site worth visiting for general NFL news) has published a couple of articles working to discredit the job Darrelle Revis did on Randy Moss in week two. Revis expressed frustration with the Boston media yesterday about Moss and Bill Belichick’s claim that he had safety help over the top and that is why Moss was held to 4 catches for 24 yards. As I pointed out yesterday, Revis has owned Moss over the Jets past four meetings and as you can see in this lovely picture to the left Revis jumped over Randy Moss and pulled an interception out of his hands in week two, by himself without the supposed safety help. Do the Jets have a safety over the top in most coverages? Yes, it is very rare to run Cover 0 in the NFL. It is a safety’s job in most coverage’s to play centerfield or be responsible for half of the field. It doesn’t mean that Moss was double teamed and Revis doesn’t deserve credit for shutting him down. How come Randy Moss can have 12 catches against the Bills or 175 yards receiving against the Colts with 2 touchdowns but against the Jets is never a factor? The same reason Andre Johnson is leading the league in receiving but might as well been inactive when he played the Jets, because Darrelle Revis has been the best cover corner in NFL this season. I look forward to another 35 yard receiving performance from Moss and another slew of excuses from him, the New England coaching staff, and Pro Football Talk.

By the way, I actually love watching Randy play most weeks despite hating New England and almost always side with receivers in these type of disputes but you have to give credit due when it’s due.

2. Mark Sanchez apologized for his scripted press conference and admitted he still has plenty to learn about being a NFL quarterback…well, obviously. The key for the man formerly known was Sanchize is to protect the football this week and make the Patriots pay for stacking the box, which they no doubt will.

3. Apparently Thomas Jones took the floor at a players only meeting and gave an impassioned speech about this week being the Jets last chance and that if they lose they need to face the reality that major changes could be coming this off-season. Jones is a respected guy in the locker room and one of the few players with Super Bowl experience, so hopefully he caught everybody’s attention. Most of us didn’t expect Jones to be back next year but with Leon Washington’s injury, and the type of season he is having. I would be surprised not to see him in a Jets jersey in 2010. Speaking of Leon, he has been back around the team facility and spoke a little bit to the media stating confidence about a healthy return in 2010.

4. A few highlights from Rex Ryan’s press conference today: He cited Danny Woodhead and Justin Miller as having exceptional practices, with Woodhead imitating Wes Welker and Miller making a bunch of plays on defense. Overall, he said the team had one of its better practices in weeks. Vernon Gholston and Jim Leonhard missed practice again today. Shaun Ellis and Brad Smith were limited but expected to play. Darrelle Revis, Brad Smith, and Jerricho Cotchery have all taken reps returning punts but it remains to be seen who will actually be back there. Ryan expressed some concerns about using Cotchery or Revis in anything more than a fair catch role.

5. Yes, new Turn On The Jets TV will be coming tomorrow but make sure you check out last week’s episode down at the bottom of this article.

Jets vs. Patriots Part II: Game Breakdown

Offensive Gameplan: The Jets started out slow in the first half against the Patriots in week two with a very conservative gameplan. Mark Sanchez was only 3/5 for 15 yards in the first half and the offense struggled on the whole by only producing 3 points. However, they came out on fire in the second half with Sanchez going 11/17 for 148 yards and a touchdown en route to a half where the Jets outscored the Pats 13-0. Jerricho Cotchery led the charge in the second half with 4 catches for 87 yards, without the support of Braylon Edwards on the other side of him. The Jets did a pretty good job of running the football in week two with Leon having 14 carries for 58 yards and Thomas Jones having 14 carries for 54 yards.

Patriots Jets FootballA key for the Jets this Sunday will be to score touchdowns and not kick field goals when they get in the red-zone. They settled three times against the Patriots in week 2 and with how much better the Pats offense is playing now and how much more inconsistent the Jets defense has been, that won’t be enough for a victory this time around. Braylon Edwards should offer some support as a red-zone target that the Patriots will have a tough time matching up against. Yet, overall I expect the Jets to rely heavily on Thomas Jones and their rushing attack. The problem is that Belichick is notorious for taking away what opposing offenses do best or their best weapon, in the Jets case Thomas Jones/their offensive line/running game is their best weapon. Belichick is going to say, “Mark Sanchez you find a way to beat me, I am going to stop the run and put the game on your shoulders.”

This game will be a hell of a test for Sanchez, facing a quality defense for the second time that has obviously broken down his tendencies from their first meeting. He must protect the football but it is going to take more than that for a victory. The Jets offense has to be able to make the Patriots pay for stacking up the box and taking away Thomas Jones. Jerricho Cotchery has been a Patriots killer and for the first time he has a big time receiver on the other side of him. The Jets have an advantage over the Pats seconday with Cotchery, Edwards, and Dustin Keller but it is on Sanchez to exploit that advantage.

*Sep 20 - 00:05*Defensive Gameplan: The Jets put together one of their most impressive defensive performances of the season in week two when they held New England without a touchdown. Tom Brady was under 50 percent passing and threw an interception, while Randy Moss was invisible. However, the Pats did find some success running the football but for some reason turned away from it in the second half. It will be interesting to see if they focus on running the football with the inconsistent Laurence Maroney or if they decide to spread it out and go for the Jets throat with a downfield passing attack mixed in with their traditional quick screens.

I am never concerned about Moss when the Jets play the Pats but I am losing sleep over what Wes Welker could do this week. Lito Sheppard has been terrible this year, especially at tackling. Welker is a guy who is going to catch a screen behind the line and turn it into a 18 yard gain over and over again unless the Jets sniff it out and swarm to the ball. I would expect to see every Jets defensive back active this week and plenty of them being rotated through as blitzers and guys playing underneath coverage on Welker or Kevin Faulk.

The Jets success against New England was mainly based on getting pressure on Tom Brady. Obviously, they need to get after him because if he gets comfortable in the pocket the Jets are dead. Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas and the rest of Jets linebackers have to generate a pass rush and when corners like Donald Strickland or Drew Coleman are sent after Brady, they need to make plays.

Special Teams Breakdown: It will be interesting to see who the Jets have returning both kicks and punts. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Justin Miller get another chance deep on kick returns and a rotation of some sort at punt return. Jerricho Cotchery and Darrelle Revis can be used in situations where you are looking for a fair catch because of their good hands, also don’t be surprised to see Brad Smith or Dwight Lowery get a shot.

An Excerpt From The Speech Thomas Jones Gave, Except He Turned Old, Italian, and White

A Look At Darrelle Revis and His Punt Returning Days

Better Late Than Never: Turn On The Jets TV: Bye Week Trip to AC