Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Wild-Card Weekend Edition

Joe Caporoso with a 12 Pack of Jets observations and NFL Predictions heading into Wild Card Weekend

Last week we wrapped up our New York Jets predictions for the season. Against the spread, we went 10-6 and on wins and losses we came out to 8-8. However, similar to the Jets front office we believe that is an ascending 8-8 and we are headed in the right direction. Here is a collection of predictions for Wild-Card Weekend and a few off-season thoughts on the Jets…

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Turn On The Jets – Wild-Card Weekend NFL Picks

THe TOJ staff gives their picks for WIld-Card Weekend

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The Race for Steak continues. Only 11 games to go… 

CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Rob Celletti (137-112-7)

2. Chris Gross (129-120-7)

3. Mike Donnelly (129-122-5)

4. Chris Celletti (126-124-6)

5. Joe Caporoso (114-135-7)

Joe Caporoso

Last Week (12-4)

Cincinnati (+4) at Houston – This is a popular pick…almost popular enough to make me want to change it. However, Matt Schaub has never played in a playoff game and has looked generally mediocre the final month of the season. The Texans defense has started to slip due to injuries and they lack weapons in the passing game outside of Andre Johnson. Beyond that, they are terrible on special teams which is a key ingredient in allowing any upset to happen. The Bengals are quietly very good on defense, good enough to think they will be within 3 points and maybe steal a win.

Green Bay (-8) vs. Minnesota – There is nothing comfortable about betting against Adrian Peterson. Yet, sometimes it is as simple as Christian Ponder in Lambeau in January. What happens if this game gets to 21-7. How does Minnesota come back?

Baltimore (-6.5) vs. Indianapolis – Hate to go against Chuckstrong but the Ravens will be motivated for the last home game of Ray Lewis’ career. They have been far from impressive down the stretch but this is a veteran, playoff tested team who will be playing at home against a rookie quarterback surrounded by a ton of inexperienced players. Andrew Luck has been terrific but remains prone to turnovers. Look for the Ravens to take advantage of that and both win and cover.

Seattle (-3) at Washington – The best game of the weekend. Seattle has a far superior defense which will be the difference here. Robert Griffin III is clearly not at 100% right now, which means Washington won’t have enough to overcome Seattle’s pass rush and the playmaking ability of Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. Also Seattle has a nice special teams advantage with Leon Washington returning kicks and punts.

Mike Donnelly

Last Week (11-5)

  • Houston (-4) over Cincinnati 
  • Green Bay (-8) over Minnesota
  • Baltimore (-6.5) over Indianpolis 
  • Washington (+3) over Seattle 

Rob Celletti

Last Week (8-8)

  • Cincinnati (+4) over Houston
  • Green Bay (-8) over Minnesota
  • Indianapolis (+6.5) over Baltimore
  • Washington (+3) over Seattle 

Chris Celletti

Last Week (9-7)

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  • Cincinnati (+4) over Houston
  • Green Bay (-8) over Minnesota
  • Indianapolis (+6.5) over Baltimore
  • Washington (+3) over Seattle 

Chris Gross

Last Week (8-8)

  • Cincinnati (+4) over Houston
  • Minnesota (+8) over Green Bay
  • Baltimore (-6.5) over Indianapolis 
  • Seattle (-3) over Washington 

TOJ Wild Card Weekend Reaction

TOJ with reaction to wild-card weekend and some early thoughts on the divisional round match-ups

A collection of thoughts from wild-card weekend, most importantly starting with…No more of this! Spare us!

Between this commercial, the rumors of Brian Schottenheimer returning as the New York Jets offensive coordinator, and watching the Giants continue to win…aren’t we suffering enough right now? I know you miss our Jets in the playoffs America, I can tell because the 10 people I watched the game with couldn’t stop referencing the Jets and their enduring hate for them. Beyond that, NFL Countdown still spent a healthy 15 minutes talking about them. Anyway, I am ranting…

Five Things I Learned From Wild Card Weekend

1. Marvin Lewis Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Hold A Challenge Flag You might have thought he would have learned from the mistakes he made in the 2009 playoffs against the Jets but he didn’t. Nobody does a better job of wasting timeouts and challenging meaningless plays than Lewis and he kept it up this past Saturday. The Bengals looked like the better team early in the game but everything turned on J.J Watt’s interception. Cincinnati isn’t ready to overcome that type of punch in the gut on the road. Houston buried them in the second half, thanks to a power running game, an overwhelming defense, and a well managed game by T.J. Yates.

2. This Isn’t Madden, Mike SmithSomething about the quarterback sneak, twice on 4th and 1, behind a smaller center, when you have your power running back not involved didn’t feel like it made sense. The Falcons were smacked around on both sides of the ball but could have kept it competitive by making a play in a few big spots, which they just couldn’t do.

3. This Tebow Thing Really Makes No SenseAfter the three blowouts by the favorites, we all should have seen the overtime upset by the underdog coming. Tebow played the game of his life against Pittsburgh, can he do it two weeks in a row?

4. Calvin Johnson Is A MonsterIt is a shame that such a great game by him went to waste. He should spend some time in the off-season teaching his defensive backs how to catch, because if they could, this could have been a different game.

5. People Love Comparing This Giants Team To The 2007 TeamWe have heard it about 8 million times in the past few weeks, so much that it is starting to feel like they are favorites this Sunday against Green Bay.

I do admit the Giants should be confident heading to Green Bay and that it should be a tight game. Yet, don’t forget that this is Aaron Rodgers under center, not Brett Favre, the killer interception won’t be coming from him. Jason Pierre-Paul has already guaranteed a win, but somehow I don’t think the defending champs at 15-1 will be laying down too easily at home.

In the other games, unless Joe Flacco lays a complete egg, I can’t ese Houston winning in Baltimore. Jets fans, who else would you be rooting for right now in the AFC besides the Ravens? The Jets are built on the same formula as them, you want to see it work. Beyond that, I think we’d all vomit at the thought of another Patriots Super Bowl appearance or seeing Tebow come out of the AFC. When it comes to Saturday, you have to root for Denver and hope their magic doesn’t run out at the hands of Brady and Belichick.

In San Francisco, I think too many are caught up in the game being outside. It is supposed to be good enough weather this weekend and unless a rain storm hits, I feel better with Drew Brees, in the middle of an epically good season from him, than I do against Alex Smith in his first playoff game.

By the way, we were all reminded this past weekend how much the Jets miss Jerricho Cotchery. Derrick Mason just retired by the way, Mike Tannenbaum.

Wildcard Winners Each Offer Jets A Lesson

TJ on what the New York Jets should have learned from watching, instead of playing, this past weekend

The Jets having been officially knocked out in week 17 technically means that they just missed the playoffs this season. They certainly didn’t “just miss” being a threat in areas they hoped to thrive in over the course of 2011 though. Wildcard weekend’s winners each showcased a piece of what the Jets thought they would possess themselves, as they made their way into year three of the Rex Ryan era last August.

Arian Foster and Ben Tate exemplified what a “Ground and Pound 2.0 ought to look like. Powerful, fast, dangerous and unrelenting. This wasn’t 3.5 yards and a cloud of dust. This combo was a brutalizing pair against the Bengals. Foster and Tate were running downhill the minute the second half began. Similar to the way Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene would in 2009, but with more explosiveness. The Jets must continue to employ Ryan’s beloved mantra, but look for ways to add to it, with outside speed and some tank like force inside.

In the Saints in thrashing the Lions 45-28, the plethora of choices that Drew Brees (who thrived after ending his connection to QB coach Brian Schottenheimer in San Diego.. cough, cough) has to work with, were the template for what the Jets tried in their own pedestrian way, to achieve when they came out as a pass happy three wide bunch to start the year. Spread out and fast paced.

The Jets like most of the teams in the NFL, will never match this weaponry. However, they can try and learn from the Saints tempo in and out of the huddle, from play to play. Crisp. Quick. With purpose.

The Jets muddling along has to stop. Too many false starts by the offense comes as a result of being out of rhythm, a step slow, and not in control of the pace of play, when they hit the line of scrimmage.

The Giants front four allowed their offense time to get into a rhythm against the Falcons, even though it was an odd 2-0 Atlanta lead for much of the first half. The Jets don’t have this knockout outside pass rush prowess up front. At all.

Yes Mike Devito, Sione Pouha and Co. are stout against the run, but this is a quarterback’s league nowadays. Strike some fear into the opposition’s signal caller and an entire 53 man team can seem alot more imposing.

Big Blue’s QB Eli Manning is as poised as he has ever been this year as well. We know the Manning Mark Sanchez comparison is an unfair one based on experience, but Sanchez should be studying how calm Manning works under duress in the pocket. How accurately he delivers third down throws with his arm, while his legs remain composed.

Tim Tebow works miracles. We know that. The Broncos collectively follow him though. They play with heart and passion and unity. The Jets failed to exude this external desperation throughout the course of their 8-8 disappointment. Perhaps this was due to the fact that internally, Gang Green owned a sense of entitlement, after two straight trips deep into January.

A more humble disposition and collective belief in each other might be the antidote to the Jets malaise going forward. It certainly has been for John Fox’s crew who appear overmatched on a weekly basis on paper, yet find themselves heading to the AFC divisional round anyway.

Hopefully the Jets took away something from a voyeuristic distance from this first playoff weekend. There was alot to be gained simply from watching.

TOJ Wild-Card Weekend Picks

TOJ with his wild-card weekend picks. Who do you like?

After a very average season of regular season picks against the spread, I am ready to impart my wisdom on the wild-card round of the playoffs. If you have said before the season that I’d be settling in this weekend to watch T.J. Yates, Andy Dalton, and Tim Tebow play, I would have said you were as crazy as Rex Ryan when he decided to name Santonio Holmes captain. Oh well.

Final Regular Season Record: 124-120-5

Houston (-3) vs. Cincinnati – This should be an evenly matched, fairly low-scoring game. I do think the Houston running game will control the clock and Arian Foster or Ben Tate will break a big run at some point that will prove to be difference. Cincinnati made it into the playoffs without ever posting a truly impressive win, I do think this will be tight into the fourth quarter but they won’t be able to make the big play late to win this game.

Detroit (+10.5) vs. New Orleans – I do think New Orleans will ultimately win this game but it will be closer than most people anticipate. Detroit has the firepower to run up points in the dome and I think they will remain in striking distance until the fourth quarter, when Drew Brees will make a few plays that Matthew Stafford won’t.

New York Giants (-3) vs. Atlanta – A very evenly matched game, in which both teams should run up a good amount of points. The key to this game will be how well Atlanta can run the football in order to set up the play action passing game where they can hurt the Giants secondary with their big play weapons. Ultimately, in a game this tight I am going with the better quarterback, who is Eli Manning.

Pittsburgh (-8.5) vs. Denver – This game has 20-3 written all over it. Tim Tebow isn’t ready to beat this Pittsburgh defense.

Initial Thoughts On Wild-Card Weekend

Initial thoughts on the match-ups for wild-card weekend. Who are you rooting for?

Contrary to the beliefs of some New York Jets fans out there, the world and the NFL season did not end this past Sunday. The playoffs kick off this weekend, with a particularly weak AFC field that does make the Jets missing the playoffs sting a little more. Here is a quick look at the four games –

Cincinnati at Houston – Pretty bizarre to think that the Bengals are in the playoffs when most people ranked them as the 32nd best team in the league heading into the season. Remember how they looked in the pre-season against the Jets? Who would have thought? Regardless, they have a tough defense, a young quarterback who isn’t afraid to put the ball down the field, and a monster at receiver in A.J. Green. Houston is down to their third quarterback in rookie T.J. Yates and has struggled down the stretch. This game is a complete toss-up, yet Jets fans should be rooting for the Texans. Why? You want Pittsburgh (after they dismantle Denver) going to New England in round two to end our beloved Patriots season. If the Bengals win, they are heading to a blow out loss in New England, which nobody wants to watch.

Detroit at New Orleans – Even though we all remember picking the Saints to easily win wild-card weekend last year and watch them lose a shocker to Seattle, it is hard to imagine the same thing happening two years in a row. The Saints are nearly unbeatable in their dome and the Lions are one of the teams they smacked around in it during the regular season. Detroit’s only chance is to beat New Orleans at their own game in a shootout and I just can’t see Drew Brees coming up short here.

Atlanta at Giants – The best match-up of the weekend. Atlanta has the weapons to take advantage of a suspect Giants secondary with Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez but can they protect Matt Ryan, who has never won a playoff game, long enough so he can get the ball out? Eli Manning and Victor Cruz have turned into arguably the best big play combo in the league and will put up points on an inconsistent Falcons defense. This should be a high scoring, close game that comes down to the final possession.

Pittsburgh at Denver – Whether you want to embrace it or not, Tim Tebow is not a good NFL quarterback and the Broncos offense is a joke. The only way this game is close is if Denver’s defense puts together an epically good performance.

Super Bowl Odds Heading Into Wild Card Weekend

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It doesn’t take more than a few second of looking at ESPN to realize who the consensus favorite for the Super Bowl is: the New England Patriots. However, that doesn’t mean certain NFC teams aren’t receiving strong odds to win the Lombardi trophy.

When looking at Super Bowl Betting the defending champion New Orleans Saints are frequently the second highest favorite of odds-makers. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons aren’t too far behind. Interestingly enough, the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles who are being picked by many to come out of the NFC, offer tremendous value as Super Bowl picks due to their low odds at many betting sites.

In the AFC, despite the Patriots recent dominance there are many teams capable of making it past them. The New York Jets have beat them earlier in the season. The Baltimore Ravens knocked them out of the playoffs last year and the Indianapolis Colts are always a threat with Peyton Manning behind center. Finally, don’t forget about the Pittsburgh Steelers who have plenty of experience in big games.

If you are looking to be really risky, the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks are considered long-shot favorites to make it out of the first round, never mind make it to the Super Bowl.