Halfway There: Jets Destroy Chiefs, Move Closer To Playoffs

The New York Jets destroyed the Kansas City Chiefs and thanks to some help moved much closer to a playoff spot

The real drama so far today didn’t take place inside MetLife Stadium where the New York Jets steamrolled the Kansas City Chiefs, 37-10. It took place in Cincinnati, where T.J. Yates produced a game winning touchdown drive in the final seconds to give Houston a victory and in Tennessee where the Saints defense held at the end of the game, to escape with a 22-17 win. The Jets took care of their business and received the help they need. It will only take either a Green Bay win over Oakland (they are up 14-0 as I type this) or a Chicago win over Denver to control their playoff destiny.

Let’s talk about that business that the Jets handled today. Offense? They went right down the field on the first drive for a touchdown and tacked on three more in the first half to make this one a laugher by the time the teams hit the locker room after the second quarter. It is December, when the games matter more, so you know Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene were bringing their “A” game. Sanchez went 13/21 for 181 yards with 2 touchdowns and also tacked on 2 rushing touchdowns for good measure. Greene continued his recent tear, rushing for 129 yards on 24 carries with another touchdown. He also added 58 yards receiving.

You have to give Brian Schottenheimer credit for the game plan today, which made good use of the screen game and his running backs as receivers. LaDainian Tomlinson added 50 receiving yards and a touchdown. Dustin Keller was involved early with 4 first half receptions and Santonio Holmes caught his 7th touchdown of the season. The only complaint could be on a pair of first half sacks allowed. The offensive line must be more consistent, with the Eagles and Giants pass rush on the horizon.

On defense. There isn’t much to it. The Jets completed dominated an inept Kansas City offense. They finished with five sacks, a safety and an interception. Unfortunately, the interception came at the price of liking losing safety Jim Leonhard to an ankle injury for the rest of the season. This will be a difficult injury to overcome, considering how reliable he is on punt return and his knowledge of the defense at safety. It will be on Jeremy Kerley to step up as a punt returner and not muff any kicks and on Brodney Pool and Eric Smith to handle an extended roll on defense.

Thanks to a timely 3 game winning streak. The Jets are a 6-1 team at home and will now very likely sit in complete control of their destiny when it comes to making the playoffs. What else can you ask for at this point of the year, considering some of the losses they have suffered this season?

Thoughts On The NFL Playoff Picture

TOJ breaks down the NFL playoff picture heading into week 13

A look at the NFL playoff picture with only five games remaining in the season…

AFC

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

I don’t think anybody in their right mind expects Houston to stick around as the top seed or even get a first round bye with the carousel of T.J. Yates, Kellen Clemens, and Jake Delhomme at quarterback. However, they should hold on for their division title and probably even the number three seed. What a dream match-up that would be for the number six seed (certainly if it happens to be our Jets). Considering their tie-breaker advantage and how the remaining schedules look, Baltimore should win the AFC North with Pittsburgh taking the top wild-card seed. The battle for last wild-card spot should go down to the wire. The Jets have the advantage in terms of schedule, but Cincinnati is a better team right now and Denver has God on their side.

NFC

  1. Green Bay (11-0)
  2. San Francisco (9-2)
  3. New Orleans (8-3)
  4. Dallas (7-4)
  5. Chicago (7-4)
  6. Atlanta (7-4)
  7. Detroit (7-4)
  8. Giants (6-5)

I would expect the top four seeds to remain the same, just based on schedule and how those teams are trending. Atlanta is the favorite to get at least one wild-card spot as they should finish at a minimum of 10-6 with a remaining schedule of: Houston, Carolina, Jacksonville, New Orleans and Atlanta. The Giants look to be free-falling as usual. Even without Jay Cutler, Chicago should be able to reach 10 wins with Minnesota, Seattle, and Kansas City still on the schedule. Detroit still has to play New Orleans and Green Bay and looks to be falling off.

I’m Coming Home: Halfway Through NFL Season (NFC)

Justin breaks down the NFC at the mid-point of the season. Who are the real contenders?

If the playoffs started today, the Bengals would lead the AFC in wins and get a home playoff game. Take a few moments to breathe, loosen your tie, and try and remember that there are 4 divisional games remaining for the Bengals, 2 of which are against the Ravens, and 2 of which are against the Steelers. The Bengals will win none of those games, if not for only the fact that both the Ravens and Steelers playoff chances hinge on divisional wins against the shakiest team in the hardest division of the AFC.

Enough hating on the Bengals….for now.

Let’s look at the playoff picture in its entirety, starting with the NFC. The Falcons notoriously took Julio Jones in the first round and gave up two draft picks. That will come to be one of their best draft moves for the next 5 years. While the Falcons are currently ranked as the 7th best team against the run, that will probably bump up to the 15th by the end of the season. The Falcons defense has two first round picks at defensive line, one at linebacker and one at defensive back.
There is a formula to the Falcons that makes it one of the potentially greatest offenses in the league. They have their big power running back with Turner, their safety valve in Tony Gonzalez, and two of the top 15 receivers in the NFL. Roddy White and Julio Jones will be huge threats in the second half of the year, especially anywhere indoors.

The problem for a defense facing the Falcons in the second half of the year is that they understand how to roll their three headed dye with precision. If you get double coverage on either receiver, check down to Gonzalez, if Gonzalez has double coverage, find one of three on the outside, and if the defense drops 2 deep and man coverage on both receivers, run it up the middle. Packers have more explosive receivers, Bears have a better running back, but no one has a tight end as good as Gonzalez unless you count Hernandez and Gronkowski for the Patriots as one unit.

The only issue I have with the Falcons is the fact that they have only one quality win this year. Philly? No Vick. Colts? No Manning. Detroit? My feelings on Detroit are mixed, and I think they have a few more losses throughout the year as people start to pick up on how to stop Calvin Johnson and confuse a still relatively inexperienced Matthew Stafford.

Moving on. As I described previously, I have mixed feelings on the Lions. They have flash on defensive line and at receiver, but I don’t think they have enough experience to dig themselves out of a hole against a playoff team when the weather gets cold and Matthew Stafford is asked to find guys that aren’t Calvin Johnson. Next year? Sure, Lions easy playoff team. This year, I still can’t see them getting out of the first round of the playoffs, even though they have three first round picks on their defensive line and the 6th ranked pass defense halfway through the season.

The Saints. Next to Green Bay, the Saints have the best offense in the league. In fact, I would call the Saints the Big Brother to the Packers, if only because of experience in the playoffs. Are they a better overall offense? That depends on if you consider the running game as important as the passing game. The Saints easily have the best tandem at running back in the NFC. Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram is the best 1-2 potential, and there is simply no argument against the potential of Mark Ingram as a power running back in the second half of the season if he can stay healthy.

The Giants, despite the strange tendencies of their offense to be able to run the ball, pass the ball, and then not be able to do those things in the same game, still have the best defensive line/linebacking core in the NFC. This despite the fact that Goff and Sintim are on IR for the rest of the season. If they can get a shutdown corner with Prince Amukamara, then the Giants defense will be able to get nearly as insane as the Jets do in terms of blitz variety and amount of guys they can send to rush the passer.

Someone completely out of their mind may assume the 49ers are the second best team in the NFC. That sort of proclamation can easily be countered by looking at the number of quality wins they have. Philly? Didn’t have their team together yet. Lions? A team so up and down you never know what you’re gonna get. They will face the Giants, Ravens and Steelers, and most likely lose 2 out of 3 games there. Those defenses will show everyone that they are at least a 4 loss team.

Where will I give the 49ers credit? For finally utilizing the pieces that should have been walking all over the NFC West for the past 3 years. Mike Singletary was a great player. He was a below average coach and the turnaround by Harbaugh is most likely split credit between the coach and the division.

Look at what they’ve had. Justin Smith is a 2 time Pro Bowler. Patrick Willis is a 4 time Pro Bowler who will be the only linebacker to be mentioned in the same sentence as Ray Lewis. Vernon Davis averages 12.7 a catch and has over 29 receiving touchdowns as a tight end. They had pieces, and the fact that the 49ers took a defensive back in the third round and the sixth round while grabbing another linebacker in the first round makes it clear that Jim Harbaugh is going to have the perfect mix of youth and experience on defense. The fact that they did not take a quarterback in the first round may have been the best decision by the front office in years.

The Green Bay Packers have caught that Patriots bug of luck mixed with insanely efficient quarterback play. Cullen Jenkins? Gone. Nick Barnett? Gone. Nick Collins? Out on injured reserve. They get Jermichael Finley back, resurrect the youth of Donald Driver, and sling it to Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Greg Jennings in no particular order. They’ve got their future linebacker tandem of Hawk and Matthews for another 7 years and the secondary is stacked with young value talent. The only thing more terrifying than this year’s Packers is what next years Packer’s will look like when Randall Cobb finds his role at receiver and their two tight end draft picks (5th and 7th round) start to see more playing time.

By the end of the season, look for the 49ers to win their division easily, sneak in at 11-5, and lose at home to either the Lions or the Saints. The one thing I think can happen is the rematch of Falcons/Packers in the divisional round. If the Giants play the Packers I think they’ll be able to get to Aaron Rodgers, but only for a half. He will exploit the middle of the field and keep the pass defense on their toes. The Packers are much harder to scheme for than the Patriots. There has been a torch passed, whether people are willing to admit it or not.

So Let Us Not Talk Falsely Now…The 40 Day Crawl Towards Salvation

Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter…

Revelation 1:19

The NBA playoffs are the most exciting, stressful, and complex playoff format in sports. It is like a long drawn out chess match, except it is awesome… and not chess. When the playoffs start, something happens to people. We become mean, we literally rub people’s noses in their team’s loss. Even today I told my boss, “The Spurs CAN be swept.” How about that for a statement? It is theoretically possible that the best basketball team according to regular season record CAN be swept by the eight seed Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. HA!

Villains, upstarts, heroes, sidekicks, one man bands, (basketball) threesomes and true teams: the playoffs have it all. In the East you’ve got the “wisdom of the ages” in the Celtics, the three “super-villains” in the Heat, the Magic who seem to literally revel in the halo of Dwight Howard and forget to actually play basketball at certain points in a game. the Knicks..ahh Jesus Christ how do I describe the Knicks?

Jets fans help me out…

The Knicks like to score when it doesn’t really matter (in the first half) and can’t hold a lead for longer than 5 minutes without crumbling faster than a paper mache chair at a Golden Corral in Roanoke, Virginia.

Then you’ve got the Pacers, who seem like a half decent basketball team trying to save the “soul” of the sport (see also Tyler Hansbrough….WEIGHT ROOM!), the Bulls who are led by what seems like a basketball player/gymnast with a Byronesque last name in Derrick Rose, the Hawks who seem to fall apart all over the place during the regular season yet have enough chemistry and 3/4 stars to always make things interesting, and finally the 76ers who I really don’t care about.

See note below.
Sorry Philadelphia, but I still hate your baseball team, and your sitcom. But do please beat the piss out of the Mets whenever you have a chance. Thanks.

I live in New York, which means I hate almost every Western Conference team just out of pure spite. How’s the weather in LA? Sunny and 65. San Antonio? Sunny and 75. New Orleans? Sunny and 80. New York? 45, and raining/hailing/thunderstorms…

When the Knicks lose, you go back to your studio apartment and lay in the dark like a psychopath. When LA loses a playoff game, fans can go out and get drunk on the beach, even go for a swim in the Pacific by the pale moonlight. Maybe they even swing on down to Tijuana and go on a bender until sunrise, at which point they’ll call their agent and whine for 45 minutes about a life change, simultaneously speeding off to the spa in Arizona for a few days of painkillers, peace and quiet. I hate the west.

That is except for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who I would literally crawl across the nation to watch. There is not much to do in Oklahoma City, so they play basketball. Friday night? Basketball. Saturday? Basketball. When Kobe Bryant calls your two best players “bad motherf*ckers”, you’ve arrived.

Keep in mind, males do not physically mature until the age of 26, so the fact that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have another 4 years of physical maturation ahead of them should scare anyone in the Pacific timezone. Add a Kendrick Perkins, who I prophecy will be missed sorely when it comes down the stretch for the Celtics, and you’ve got a big, fast, scoring at will three.

We will see strange things during the playoffs. The guard will certainly change in some way. Dwight Howard may finally make his mind up to rid himself of the small man with a mustache in 2012. Kobe Bryant may become Nietzsche and find the will to power. LeBron may be vindicated. The Mavericks may yet again be the most secretly made fun of team in the NBA, especially when your owner acts like he is some sort of basketball genius when he really isn’t. 10,000 hour rule Mark. I’m sure you’ve read all that Malcolm Gladwell BS. The Celtics or the Lakers will finally fall for good, and if they don’t pick up a Chris Paul or a Dwight Howard sometime soon it will mark the end of an era. Especially if they survive long enough to make it to the finals. A traveling man once said “I’ve been on the road so long, I don’t even know which way is home”.

New York Jets Playoffs Scenario Week 14

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The Jets clinch a playoff spot this week with the following

1) A Jets Win + SD loss or tie + JAK loss or tie

2) A Jets Win + SD loss or tie + IND loss or tie

3) A Jets Tie + OAK loss or tie + SD loss + IND loss

Schedule

  • Indianapolis At Tennessee – Thursday, 8:20 PM
  • Oakland At Jacksonville – Sunday, 1 PM
  • Kansas City At San Diego – Sunday, 4:15 PM