Closer Look At Jets Longshot Hope For Playoffs

A closer look at the Jets week 17 pipe dream of making the playoffs

Don’t lie to yourself and say you aren’t doing the following – looking at the Jets current scenario, looking at the AFC playoff field and talking yourself into them getting in, knocking off Houston in the first round, and then repeating what they did last season to New England. Just so you know, you are a crazy person, but hey you are in the company of one on this site right now:

First off, the Jets need to beat the Dolphins, a tall task considering how well Miami has been playing and how generally awful the Jets have looked the past two weeks. They play at 1 PM.

Second, also at 1 PM Houston hosts Tennessee. The early word is that Houston will play their starters and treat this game like any other despite it being meaningless for them, which is obviously good news for the Jets. It makes sense for them to want to avoid heading into the playoffs on a 3 game losing streak and to keep a division rival out of the playoffs. Yet, considering the Texans have just lost to the Panthers and Colts, who knows if they can even beat Tennessee if they try to?

If the 1 PM games end and the Jets are still alive, you should be feeling pretty good. You have to expect Baltimore to beat Cincinnati to avoid losing out on a bye. Then they need either Oakland to lose to San Diego or Denver to lose to Kansas City. The AFC West has been a complete toss-up all season and either of those games could go either way.

Here is how I rank the likelihood of the different games breaking the Jets way on Sunday, with the 1st being the most likely —

1. Baltimore beats Cincinnati

2. San Diego beats Oakland

3. Kansas City beats Denver (Did you watch Denver lose by 26 to Buffalo last week? Yikes).

4. Jets beat Miami

5. Houston beats Tennessee

Wait It Out: A Brief Explanation Of The New 49ers

Justin with a look at the NFC playoff picture, in particular the 49ers

I put in a call to a cousin in Vegas yesterday to see the odds on the 49ers winning the Super Bowl. After wearing out welcomes on both coasts he settled, as it were, at the doorstep of hell.

He was stuttering, trying to get the words out like a man with serious terror closing in from all sides. “The front office boys are saying 9 to 1, but anyone with a real pulse on the thing know its realistically somewhere around 20 to 1. Alex Smith is rumored to be seeing between one and three psychoanalysts at any given time. He’s made of glass…he’s gonna finally crack if they make the playoffs…Harbaugh hedged his bets on a jumpy horse and the thunderclouds are rolling in”.

And so that’s how its gonna go down. NFC championship. Packers vs. 49ers. It’s gonna come down to a game winning drive. 4th and goal to get to the Super Bowl. Here it is. Alex Smith in search of his ultimate redemption. And then it happens. The whole defense blurs into one yellow and green streak. He stands up, staring at the crowd. Finally, exhausted, he drops to his knees and gets down into the act of worship. The last drop of water falls onto the head of the tortured man. Too much. Too soon.

Screw it. At least they’re gonna get there. That’s after Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith send Matthew Stafford to the hospital for the 3rd time in 3 years. That’s right. Most people like to think about the Montana/Rice 49ers. Those people also like to eat fig newtons and read the sunday newspaper.

We don’t have time for that in the new NFL. We want to see people get hit. We want to see quarterbacks and running backs get plastered every time they get into a power run formation. Or spread em out, no protection. That way no one’s going to even attempt a half hearted chop block on a double inside blitz.

Go watch the tape from the 49ers/Steelers game. That’s what defense should look like. Slot killing safeties, Pro Bowler on the defensive line, and two of the most freakish linebackers in pro football. Aldon Smith has a 7’2 wingspan and Patrick Willis lifts weights until they close the gym.

John Harbaugh, to put it bluntly, is the kick in the balls the 49ers have needed for about 5 years. Putting all these ex 85 Bears players in head coaching gigs is assuming they’ll all become these defensive gurus just like Buddy Ryan. It didn’t work. Leslie Fraser is in the middle of a meltdown in Minnesota, Singletary is out of a job, Ron Rivera is the a few bad Cam Newton performances away from being a lame duck head coach and Jack Del Rio is further evidence of the defensive coach as head coach gone awry.

Harbaugh’s philosophy as a head coach was not exactly evident at Stanford, where he arguably had the best quarterback in the country. After examining a season full of 49ers highlights though, a few things are evident.

Harbaugh wants his defense to rely on the linebackers for pressure and the defensive backs to ballhawk, knowing full well most throws are going to get rushed. Theres not too many DB blitzes or zone blitzes. Keep it simple.

On offense it’s a steady mix of running plays,(counters, dives, off tackle) a cross between a spread and a west coast offense. Nothing too predictable. Nothing repeated. Let the other team take risks and make a short field.. Stop the run. Easy in theory. However, no rushing touchdowns allowed in 14 games speaks for itself.

NFL Playoff Picture: Week 17

TOJ with a look at the NFL playoff picture heading into week 17

Down to the final week of the NFL season, there are only a few things left to be shuffled out before wild-card weekend, most of which is seeding. Every single team below, outside of Green Bay, is playing in a game with some kind of playoff implications this weekend –

AFC

  1. New England (12-3)
  2. Baltimore (11-4)
  3. Houston (10-5)
  4. Denver (8-7)
  5. Pittsburgh (11-4)
  6. Cincinnati (9-6)
  7. Oakland (8-7)
  8. Tennessee (8-7)
  9. Jets (8-7)

New England needs to win to wrap up the number one seed. Baltimore needs to beat Cincinnati to avoid sliding from a number two seed all the way to down to a number five seed. By all reports, Houston is going to play all out this weekend to avoid going into the playoffs on a three game losing streak and to keep divisional rival Tennessee out (good news for the Jets). Denver plays Kansas City and Oakland plays in San Diego in two games that are complete toss-ups, if both teams win or lose, Denver takes the AFC West. Pittsburgh will play hard against Cleveland, as they actually still have an outside shot at the number one seed. The Jets need to win and hope three separate teams help them.

NFC

  1. Green Bay (14-1)
  2. San Francisco (12-3)
  3. New Orleans (12-3)
  4. Giants (8-7)
  5. Detroit (10-5)
  6. Atlanta (9-6)
  7. Dallas (8-7)

Winner of Giants/Dallas takes the number four seed. If Detroit loses and Atlanta wins, they will drop to the number six seed and a likely first round beatdown at the hands of New Orleans, who can only move up to number two if San Francisco slips up this week against St. Louis.

Your Weekly Mark Sanchez Defense

Another reality check on Mark Sanchez’s progress

We will keep this short and simple for those who believe Mark Sanchez has “regressed” in year three and think the New York Jets need to consider a different option at quarterback next year.

Completion Percentage

  • 2009 – 53.8%
  • 2010 – 54.8%
  • 2011 – 56.9 %

Touchdown Passes

  • 2009 – 12
  • 2010 – 17
  • 2011 – 23

Touchdown Runs

  • 2009 – 3
  • 2010 – 3
  • 2011 – 5

Fumbles

  • 2009 – 10
  • 2010 – 9
  • 2011 – 9

Passing Yards

  • 2009 – 2,444
  • 2010 – 3,291
  • 2011 – 3,009

Interceptions

  • 2009 – 20
  • 2010 – 13
  • 2011 – 13

Keep in mind Sanchez has had an offensive line that has got progressively worse since his rookie year, had his top three receivers shuffled every season, and is dealing with questionable play-calling at best…

NFL Playoff Picture: Do or Die Time

TOJ with a closer look at the NFL playoff picture, where week 16 could make or break a number of teams

It is amazing how many teams remain relevant in the playoff race in both conferences, with 11 of the 16 teams in each the AFC and NFC still having a realistic shot of making the post-season. This weekend should end hopes for many of those teams, so it will be interesting to see who rises to the occasion in a big spot and who falls off as a contender.

AFC

  1. New England (11-3)
  2. Baltimore (10-4)
  3. Houston (10-4)
  4. Denver (8-6)
  5. Pittsburgh (10-4)
  6. Jets (8-6)
  7. Cincinnati (8-6)
  8. Tennessee (7-7)
  9. Oakland (7-7)
  10. San Diego (7-7)
  11. Kansas City (6-8)

With games left against Miami and Buffalo, New England has all but wrapped up home-field throughout the playoffs. Pittsburgh ends the season with the Rams and Browns, which will keep pressure on Baltimore to win their last two to clinch the AFC North title and the second seed. Houston had a tough loss last week and unless the Ravens slip up will end up being the three seed. All four teams remain alive in the AFC West and at this point I think San Diego might be the most dangerous one if they get into the tournament. The battle for the number six seed will likely come down to the Jets and Bengals, both of whom face 7-7 NFC teams this weekend, with the Jets hosting the Giants and the Bengals hosting the surging Cardinals.

NFC

  1. Green Bay (13-1)
  2. San Francisco (11-3)
  3. New Orleans (11-3)
  4. Dallas (8-6)
  5. Atlanta (9-5)
  6. Detroit (9-5)
  7. Seattle (7-7)
  8. Chicago (7-7)
  9. Giants (7-7)
  10. Arizona (7-7)
  11. Philadelphia (6-8)

Green Bay is still safe as the number one seed, while the number two remains a toss up. Both New Orleans and San Francisco have tough games this week, against the Seahawks and Falcons respectively. The NFC East is wide open and it is crazy to think that Philadelphia still has a somewhat realistic shot to sneak into the playoffs as a division winner. Atlanta and Detroit only need to win one more game each to clinch a playoff spot but the Lions have San Diego and Green Bay the next two weeks. If they lose out, it could open the door for a team like Seattle or Arizona to somehow sneak in.

Why Should You Have Confidence In The New York Jets?

Why in the world should anybody have confidence in the New York Jets at this point?

It would be easy to find the prospect of the New York Jets winning another football game this year or a playoff game down the road laughable after watching them play yesterday. It would be laughable only if you haven’t watched the NFL this year or in recent years.

People will say the New York Jets haven’t beat a good football team all season and that their two three game winning streaks this year were a result of a low level of competition. Only that “awful” Washington team they beat by two touchdowns just manhandled the New York Giants for the second time this season. The “terrible” Kansas City Chiefs team just ended the Green Bay Packers quest for perfection. The “pathetic” San Diego Chargers just destroyed the Baltimore Ravens and have now won three games in a row. Any win the NFL, particularly this year, is a quality win and the Jets have eight of them.

The prospect of it “not being worth” the Jets even making playoffs because they won’t be able to beat anybody when they get there couldn’t make any less sense. Did anybody watch the Jets beat a 14-2 New England Patriots team last January, who beat them 45-3 a couple of months before that game? Did anybody see the Seattle Seahawks knock off the New Orleans Saints last January?

Who in the AFC is so unbeatable that the Jets can’t make noise in the tournament? Houston, who’d they play in the first round if the season ended today is starting a rookie fifth round quarterback and lost to Carolina yesterday. Baltimore is fresh off getting blown out by the Chargers. New England…anything goes in a rivalry game. Pittsburgh has looked far from unbeatable all season and is dealing with a banged up Ben Roethlisberger. The AFC is wide open.

The Jets aren’t a great a football team. They might not even be a good football team. They are a slight cut above average at 8-6. Yet, they were thoroughly average at 7-7 before they beat two teams who basically laid down for them to enter the 2009 playoffs where they pulled off two straight road wins. Last year, their 9-2 record turned into a 11-5 final record as the Jets were very average down the stretch.

If you think back, it made no sense to think the Jets could get within a half of the Super Bowl the past two years but they did. There is never ending cycle of things that make no sense which occur in the NFL and that was on perfect display yesterday.

All that matters right now is beating the New York Giants, another average football team in a league full of them, the Jets have done it eight times already this season and there is no reason they can’t do it again on Saturday.

Blame The Horse That Kicked You: Looking At The NFL’s Worst Teams

Justin takes a look at the NFL’s worst teams and how they can make some type of improvement next year

“What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”
― Christopher Hitchens

Everyone likes to watch the Colts suffer. After years of stomping out the AFC South, the Colts are showing the inherent weakness of putting an almost inhuman load on the franchise quarterback. Save for an aging Freeney and Mathis, the Colts have become a hopeless one sided team that can’t even rip off a few wins in a 16 game season.

Next year, a few things are readily apparent. Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter will be gone, Reggie Wayne is probably going to get traded for a draft pick or a younger, bigger target for what many can only assume is going to be Andrew Luck. Here is where the confusion begins. What if the Colts don’t drop Manning and trade the first pick for 2 first rounders and 2 second rounders? They can easily get two receivers and two defensive backs, but do they want to build a team or create a show? The NBA knows a lot about shows and the season hasn’t even started yet. The Thunder are a team. The Knicks are a show.

Before getting into the intangible insanity that is the Colts franchise, let’s squash a few glaring weaknesses with logic and sympathy for the devil. The offensive line, where the Colts drafted both a first and second round pick, can only do so much after being used to having a guy behind center do all the hard work for them. Changing protections etc. Two rookie lineman without Peyton Manning spells disaster for anyone not in the shotgun. Two rookie defensive backs (5th and 6th round respectively) aren’t enough to ail a defense completely out of their element.

If Peyton does come back, look for 4 down lineman and a linebacker blitz early and often. As of right now, the Colts have Drake Nevis (3rd round pick out of LSU) out on IR, a 1st round pick in Jamaal Anderson, a 1st round pick in Tyler Brayton, and a 1st round pick in Jerry Hughes all between Freeney and Mathis. This unit should be equal to the Giants in terms of pure pass rush, but when you have no linebackers of any value, and an almost laughable secondary, things backfire easily. Lineman don’t cause turnovers.

There are others. Dallas Clark could be gone. Joseph Addai could be gone. It could be a complete overhaul, take no prisoners, house clearing sort of stuff. That hideous factory of a stadium will glow red with anger. Luck could very well be steering a ship lost at sea. Coordinators fired. Assistants gone. There is nothing to show that this team even cares, so why not clear house and get some people on the cheap if Manning is going to be gone anyway?

The line on the draft as of now is that the Colts are going to take Luck, an offensive lineman, and most likely another cornerback. Will it help? Sure. But there’s going to be trouble getting free agents if they aren’t sure of the plan. Veterans will ride with Peyton, young players will want to jump on board with Luck. The Colts can go stay in the present or bet on the future, but they can’t do both.

The Rams are an ugly franchise. Sure the uniforms aren’t Colonel Mustard yellow anymore, but nothing looks sadder than Sam Bradford chucking a few straight into the ground while hobbling around like a 70 year old one legged sailor. Their 4th round receiver is out on IR, McDaniels is running the same sort of fruitless, clever pass happy offense that got him booted out of Denver, and he very well could become a head coach next year. Sensing a theme yet? Bad teams don’t have a defined method of winning. Patriots pass. Ravens run. Texans run and play action. The Rams should run. Problem is they have a weak offensive line, and almost all mock drafts have them picking Matt Kalil out of USC as the 2nd overall draft pick. Their secondary is paper thin and a guy like Jayron Hosley could at least give them a dual threat corner/kick returner that could help the struggling offense. The defensive line is too reliant on Chris Long and they need a big free agent linebacker pickup or grab someone high in the 3rd round.

Cadillac Willians is a stop gap solution so they could use a running back to lighten the load of Steven Jackson. With that said, here comes the trump card. If the Rams want to create a show, they will grab Justin Blackmon and make a top 10 receiving core with one draft pick. 29 year old Mark Clayton is a first round pick. Pettis and Salas are 3rd and 4th round rookies respectively. Brandon Lloyd at 30 is the veteran, and Blackmon would be the intermediate threat in his rookie year. It would be the welcome return of the spread no huddle, and at least they would put up more than 11.8 points a game. Again, show or team.

Overall, the Rams are a good draft away from being a contender in the NFC West, which could easily become the 49ers for the next five years if the Rams don’t take some risks in the draft.
In a past article, I wrote about the syndrome of bringing in a veteran quarterback and holding off the need to get a future franchise quarterback. For every year you rely on that, two years will be washed down the tank. 2 years of Favre? 4 years of irrelevancy. The Vikings are currently in the midst of irrelevancy. Depending on the final shakeout, the Vikings and Rams could exchange second and third picks. They need offensive line help, as Steve Hutchinson is 34 and his best years are behind him. They could also use Blackmon to help out Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins in 3 receiver sets.

What the Vikings should really do is trade that pick and get some help at linebacker, cornerback and running back. Will they? If they want Adrian Peterson to be happy they will. Is Ponder the future? Will Joe Webb sub in at the wildcat on a regular basis? Let’s say they are. The Vikings have a few options. Take Blackmon, Brandon Thompson at defensive tackle, and grab an offensive lineman in the third round. The more conservative approach would be to get Matt Kalil in the first round, find the best defensive lineman available in the second round, and grab a guy like Nick Toon in the third round.

Some would say most efforts are futile in a division with the Lions, Bears and Packers. As we saw this year however, all teams can lose or gain three games from the last year.

The Buccaneers are not good. They aren’t even competent half the time. They have no one even worth mentioning at receiver, their defensive line should be the best in the league (McCoy and McCargo are both on IR), and their defensive backs should keep games close. They don’t. I want to give hope to Buccaneers fans and give them a few points worth mentioning next time someone rips their team, but they probably won’t help. Freeman is not the next great quarterback. Neither is anyone else from that draft class, but Freeman played at Kansas State, not Kansas City.

Unfortunately most mock drafts have them taking linebackers or defensive backs in the first two rounds. Look for a 4th or 5th round receiver and hopefully a free agent pickup next year from teams like the Giants or the Eagles. They need to get their defensive line sorted out in next year’s training camp as the ages of their lineman are 28, 23, 21, 23, and 30 respectively. The Bucs are the shining example of why rookies don’t start on defense.

From here on out it gets weird across the board. Nobody knows about the Jets, Giants, Eagles, Bears, Texans, Raiders, Chargers, etc. etc. Everyone is falling apart at the seams as the Patriots and Packers seem to be the head of their respective conferences. Teams are hurt, coaches have been fired, and the lame beginning of the bowl season gives me a thousand reasons to hate the BCS and lobby for a college playoff. Good luck San Francisco.

On To The Next One: Everything On The Line In Jets/Giants Game

You couldn’t have written a better script for this week’s Jets/Giants game

We didn’t learn anything we didn’t already know from the New York Jets loss today. Their right tackle is terrible. Their safeties can’t cover. Their playcalling is inconsistent. Their star players are inconsistent. It was disappointing to see Rex Ryan fail so miserably in coaching around his team’s deficiencies today, especially when he has excelled at it in the past.

Don’t we think it is time to maybe line up Antonio Cromartie or Darrelle Revis at safety or over the tight ends on certain passing downs? Isn’t that better than the status quo? Shouldn’t Wayne Hunter never be left one on one with elite pass rushers? Where is the help from the running back or tight end? But, I digress…

In the end there is a game with the New York Giants only six days away. The team we share the stadium with, who is every bit as average and inconsistent as the New York Jets are. In a script that couldn’t have been written any better for every football fan in the tri-state area, this game sets up as an elimination game. A one game playoff, with both teams hopes for the post-season hanging in the balance. A scenario that will make a win as enjoyable as any regular season one in recent Jets history and a loss as painful as any.

Both the Jets and Giants are fairly average and inconsistent football teams. The Giants secondary and linebackers are having awful seasons. They can’t run the football anymore and their special teams are still questionable. The Jets safeties and linebackers are having awful seasons. They can’t throw the football with any consistency and turn the football over like crazy. Yet, the Giants passing game is one of the most dangerous in the NFL and they still have a lethal pass rush. The Jets still have an ability to run the football, a terrific trio of corners, and a consistent ability to win close games.

It will be an angry, emotional game. The trash talk will be flying and technically has already been started by Rex Ryan before the season. This game is filled with plenty of big talkers who haven’t backed it up so far this year: Ryan, Antrel Rolle, Bart Scott, Brandon Jacobs…the list goes on. It will be fun on Saturday, and it can’t get here fast enough…

Talking With The Enemy – Jets/Eagles Preview

TOJ talks Jets/Eagles with Mike Burke from Birds Fan. Who has the advantage on Sunday?

TOJ talked with Mike Burke from BirdsFan.com this week to preview the upcoming New York Jets/Philadelphia Eagles match-up:

TOJ: Is the Eagles defense truly as bad as it is hyped up to be?

BF: I don’t think it’s as bad as it has shown personnel wise.  They had a guy in Juan Castillo making a transition from coaching the offensive line to calling the plays on defense.  He really hasn’t utilized his talent to its fullest. We’ve seen the unit play pretty well at times, they’ve just failed to do so consistently.  It’s really a shame because it’s essentially been a waste of a season for a team who was supposed to be in a “win now” mode. Hiring Castillo was clearly an experiment, and a decision Andy Reid made based on his personal loyalty to the guy.  It has backfired big time and been quite an embarrassment to the organization.

Don’t get me wrong though, there are definitely holes on this defense.  The Eagles lack of commitment to the linebacker position has never been clearer than this season.  Ask any fan what position they believe the Eagles should draft in the first round next year, and I can guarantee an overwhelming number will say linebacker. I really don’t think they’re as bad as they seem.  If they add an experienced coordinator next season and bring in a few players through the draft or free agency, I think the unit can be very strong.

TOJ: Assess Mike Vick’s performance this season on the whole and how he looked when he returned to action last week?

BF: This definitely hasn’t been Vick’s best season.  Last year, we saw how dominate Vick can be at times and also how much he can struggle.  This season has been more about struggles. He hasn’t played horrible overall.  His biggest downfall has been his decision making.  He has turned the ball over way too many times, especially in key situations. When we saw him early last year, he was extremely comfortable in the pocket.  You could literally see him progressing through all of his reads and delivering the ball to the open receiver with accuracy every time he dropped back.

This seemed to change at the end of last season, and I placed a lot of this on him losing confidence in his line.  They weren’t playing well, and he was getting killed.  It was hard to blame him. This season, the line has played a lot better, but he isn’t making the correct reads and that has killed the offense. Of course, now that I mention how well the offensive line has played, we have to reflect on last week’s game against the Dolphins.  Vick was returning from his rib injury, and at a time where he needed his offensive line to protect him, they failed to do so.

It was very disappointing.  The unit played very well throughout the season but had an absolutely awful showing.  Vick did what he could with the time he was given.  With the play of the defense, he did enough to get the win and that’s what counts.  It’s hard to take too much away from his individual performance based on how the line played.

TOJ: Do you want Andy Reid back next year?

BF: This is a tough one.  If you asked me a few weeks ago, I’d say absolutely.  Now, I’m not so sure.  I think my opinion has changed for a few reasons.  The biggest reason is probably the fact that I truly believe he will return next season no matter how I or any of the other fans feel. The other reason is based upon the rest of the league.  A lot of coaches have been fired already and more will be continue to be fired.  There is no chance that the Eagles would let go of Reid before the season ended.  At this point, they would be one of a large number of teams looking for a head coach.  Many other teams would have a head start and I don’t think they’re the type of franchise ready to settle for just anyone that’s available.

Reid has really done everything for this franchise but win a Super Bowl.  That’s devastating, but who out there will give the ma better chance?  Like I mentioned before, the Eagles are supposed to be in a “win now” type mode, and I think they will continue that next season.  Bringing in a new coach with new thoughts and plans doesn’t help that mentality. I think they need to bring in a talented defensive coordinator who can run the show on that end and utilize the talent they have.

TOJ: Prediction?

BF: The Eagles offense struggled last weekend and a very talented defense is coming to town this week.  I’m not really sure why the offensive line struggled so much last weekend, but if it happens this week, the Eagles offense will struggle to do anything.  The Jets have talented corners so if they get a lot of pressure up front, Vick will have struggle throwing the ball.  I could very easily see this resulting in some turnovers.

In the end, I think the Jets defense will be too much.  Jets win 27-17.

BF: Mark Sanchez is one of those guys who just can’t seem to play with any consistency.  What are your feelings about Sanchez?  Do you think he could ever lead the Jets to a Lombardi trophy?

TOJ: I think Sanchez is one of the most unfairly criticized players in the NFL. If he was a religious man playing in Denver, he’d be lauded for his ability to win. The guy is 28-17 as a starter with 4 playoff wins already and hasn’t even played 3 full seasons yet. Yes, he struggles with his accuracy and decision making at times but he is a winner and players better the bigger the spot gets. I absolutely believe he can lead the Jets to a Super Bowl.

BF: The Jets sit in the driver seat right now.  How do you see the rest of the season playing out?  Do they make the playoffs? If so, how far do you think they can go?

TOJ: I think the Jets will ultimately find a way into the playoffs, probably as a 10-6 team. Once they are in, they are dangerous as we’ve seen the past two years. I think they can pull off an upset or maybe two but I am not sure they are equipped to get over the hump this season.

BF: How much of an impact do you see the loss of Jim Leonhard having on Sunday’s game? The rest of the season?

TOJ: It hurts, particularly in the punt return game. The Jets haven’t any consistency there except for Leonhard. On defense, they will miss his leadership but if Brodney Pool can stay healthy they should be okay.

BF: Muhammad Wilkerson, the Jets first-round rookie draft picked, used to play his home games at Lincoln Financial Field with Temple last season.  How has he performed for the Jets this season?

TOJ: Wilkerson has quietly put together a very good year. He is solid against the run and has got a decent push rushing the quarterback. I am not sure he will ever be a Pro-Bowl type player but will likely be a key piece of the Jets defense for years to come.

BF: On Sunday, where will the Jets have an advantage on offense? On defense?

TOJ: The Jets biggest advantage is their physicality and ability to play well in the fourth quarter. On offense, I expect Shonn Greene to have a big day going North and South on the Eagles. On defense, I think Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie can get DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin out of their game.

BF: Where will the Eagles have an advantage on offense? On defense?

TOJ: The Eagles speed on offense will be a big problem for the Jets, particularly from LeSean McCoy on the edges. On defense, Jason Babin could be a big problem for Wayne Hunter, the Jets inconsistent right tackle.

BF: What player could be a potential x-factor for the Jets on Sunday?

TOJ: Aaron Maybin. He is the only Jets player in the front seven with the speed to chase around Vick. If he can bring him down for a few sacks and force a fumble, it could be the difference in the game.

BF: Give me a score prediction.

TOJ: I think the Eagles will be leading the whole way, but the Jets will put together a big fourth quarter to escape with a 27-24 victory.

TOJ Week 15 NFL Picks

TOJ with his week 15 NFL picks. Who are your best bets?

Last Week: 6-10

Season Record: 100-100-5

Week 15 NFL Picks (Lines courtesy of BetUS)

  • Jacksonville (+12) vs. Atlanta
  • Dallas (-7.5) vs. Tampa Bay
  • Washington (+7) vs. Giants
  • Green Bay (-14.5) vs. Kansas City
  • New Orleans (-8) vs. Minnesota
  • Seattle (+3.5) vs. Chicago
  • Houston (-6) vs. Carolina
  • Indianapolis (+8) vs. Tennessee
  • Cincinnati (-8) vs. St. Louis
  • Detroit (-2.5) vs. Oakland
  • New England (-7.5) vs. Denver
  • Jets (+3) vs. Philadelphia
  • Arizona (-7) vs. Cleveland
  • Baltimore (-3) vs. San Diego
  • Pittsburgh (+3) vs. San Francisco
  • Miami (PK) vs. Buffalo