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Tag:Pace
Posted on: October 5, 2009 10:16 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2009 10:26 pm
 

Jets v. Saints: Recap

So the Jets went down to New Orleans on Sunday to face their toughest competition to date and left with their first loss of the season.  They looked great on one side of the ball and horrific on the other.  It may have looked bad on Sunday but the immediate future looks good for the Jets.

The defense looked very strong against the high powered offense of the Saints.  They were able to hold QB Drew Brees to under 200 yards passing for the second game straight with no touchdowns.  In fact the Saints did not score an offensive touchdown until there was about six minutes left in the game.  Brees was never able to get into a serious rhythm against the Jets. 

The Saints marched down the field on the opening possession and the "bend but dont break" defense of the Jets held them to a field goal.  Brees only managed to throw for 190 yards, but most importantly he had no turnovers.  It was the Saints running game that gave the Jets defense fits on the afternoon. 

The Jets run defense, which had only been giving up about 82 yards per game on the ground, surrendered 153 yards to New Orleans, one of their worst performances over the past 2 seasons.  RB Pierre Thomas, who scored the only offensive touchdown for the Saints, racked up 86 of those yards himself. 

New York's defense did more than enough to win the game.  They only gave up 10 points to the Saints offense on the afternoon, the same offense that was averaging about 40 points per game over the first three games.  The defense just could not come up with the big play.  They had no interceptions on the day.  They did force the Saints to fumble twice but only recovered one of them.  The one that they did recover, they turned into a touchdown.

It was the Jets offense that cost them this game.  Rookie QB Mark Sanchez looked like a rookie for the first time on Sunday.  The Saints had Sanchez looking confused all day.  They forced the Jets QB to throw three interceptions and forced him to fumble which led to a touchdown for the Saints defense.  On the Jets first play of the second quarter, Sanchez took the ball on the Saints 15 yard line and fired a pass to TE Dustin Keller in the end zone.  Except it was picked off by S Darren Sharper on the 1 yard line and taken all the way back for a touchdown.  Instead of the Jets taking a 7-3 lead, they were down 10-0. 

Sanchez was confused all day and got limited help from anyone else on the offense, namely the running game.  Jets RB's Thomas Jones and Leon Washington were not able to get anything going against an improved Saints defense.  Combined, they only managed 65 yards on 17 carries.  Washington only was able to grab 4 of those carries.  He is a key to the Jets being successful this season and he needs to get the ball more than 10 times per game.  That was not to be on this afternoon.

The bottom line here is that the Jets lost to the better team on Sunday.  The Saints controlled the game on both sides of the ball.  Brees did not have a huge game but he didn't need to.  He was able to control the clock and the Saints defense did the rest.  The New Orleans defense gets the game ball this week.  They did something that the Jets three other opponents failed to do.  Make Mark Sanchez look like a rookie. 

Things will get better for Gang Green over the next four weeks.  They have the Dolphins twice, the Bills and the Raiders coming up before their bye week.  The defense continues to improve and will get even better with the return of LB Calvin Pace this week.  We will see what kind of team the Jets are going to be next week against Miami.  This is the first time they will be coming off a loss and we will see how they will respond.  I expect the Jets to come out mad and firing on all cylinders next week.
Posted on: September 9, 2009 2:58 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2009 12:10 am
 

Jets v. Texans: Week 1 (The Sanchez Era Begins)

So here we go again.  The 2009 New York Jets season is about to start and a lot has changed since the end of last season.  The Jets will take the field at Reliant Stadium on Sunday to take on the Houston Texans.  They will be led by new head coach Rex Ryan, who brings his defensive mind to New York from Baltimore.  The Jets will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing end to the 2008 season and it all starts Sunday in Houston.

Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez will at the helm for the Jets offense on Sunday.  Sanchez beat out Kellen Clemens for the starting job in the pre-season.  Sanchez will be starting with some lofty expectations from the Jets fans.  Since New York moved up in the draft to get him, he will be counted on to try to get this team in the playoffs.  It wont come easy though.  The Texans have one of the NFL's best pass rushers in Mario Williams.  Williams did have 12 sacks in 2008.  He will be going up against a very solid Jets offensive line.  This unit will be entering it's second season together after a strong 2008 campaign.  It will be up to them to keep Sanchez upright this season.

The Jets also return a strong running game this season with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.  Jones led the AFC in rushing last season with 1312 yards.  He also had a personal best 15 touchdowns as well.  He will be up against a Houston defense that ranked 31st against the run in 2008.  And with the way the offensive line blocked for him last season, we should expect the Jets to have a good game on the ground on Sunday.  Mr. Everything, Leon Washington, should also have a good overall game as well.  If the Jets are smart, they will find a way to get Leon the ball 10-15 times on offense.  Whenever he touches the ball he seems to make something happen.  Ryan has said since he was hired that Leon needs to get the ball more.  So lets start off on the right foot on Sunday and get Leon some touches.

One problem the Jets will run into on offense is the passing game.  They only have one proven wide receiver and that is Jerricho Cotchery.  And the problem with that is that Cotchery does not seem to be a number one receiver, he is a very solid number two though.  This puts Chansi Stuckey as the number two receiver this season.  Stuckey had a couple of big catches last season as he became a favorite target of Brett Favre for a few games, but in no way does that make him a proven receiver.  The Jets round out the receiving corps with Brad Smith and David Clowney.  Smith, a converted quarterback, is someone who the Jets are high on and will be counted on to come up big as the slot receiver.  Clowney brings plenty of speed with him.  He had a very good pre-season for the second straight year.  However, he was hurt for a big part of last season and does not have that much experience behind him.

A man who could become one of Mark Sanchez favorite targets is second year tight end Dustin Keller.  Keller started out slow last season but really emerged as a very solid option in the passing game for the Jets.  He proved that he can handle pressure situations last November in Foxboro against the Patriots, catching a few key passes in overtime to help the Jets to the win in New England.  This season Keller will be counted on to be a relible option for Sanchez.

New York's run defense returns with a few new pieces in 2009.  Free agent Bart Scott joins David Harris, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas to form one of the strongest linebacking core's in the NFL.  Scott, a key in the Ravens defense for the past few years will be looked upon to help lead the Jets to one of the best run defenses in the league.  The run defense will be led by Kris Jenkins and Shaun Ellis.  The Jets had one of the best run defenses in the league last season until the beginning of December when they started to wear down.  The will have a tall order in week one against second year running back Steve Slaton.  Slaton is coming off a rookie year in which he ran for 1282 yards and 9 touchdowns.  Jenkins and Scott will need to shut down Slaton and make Matt Schaub beat them through the air.

Which brings us to the Jets achilles heal from last year, the Secondary.  Last season the Jets secondary surrendered 234 yards per game, good for 29th in the league.  To address this issue, New York brought in cornerback Lito Sheppard and safety Jim Leonhard to join pro-bowl corner Darrelle Revis and safety Kerry Rhodes.  These upgrades should bring the secondary back to respectability.  They will be tested on Sunday against the Texans' Andre Johnson.  Johnson is coming off a season where he had 1575 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns.  He will be matched up with shut-down corner Revis while Sheppard will be on Kevin Walter, who had a good season himself in 2008 with 899 yards and 8 touchdowns.

The few keys for the Jets this week will be to: A) protect Mark Sanchez.  The offensive line needs to try to keep the pressure off the kid so he can make some plays.  B) Establish the running game.  Jones should put up good numbers against a weak Texans run defense.  C) Get Leon Washington the ball more than 10 times.  The more he gets the ball, the more plays he is able to make.  This is a key for the whole season.  D) Get pressure on Matt Schaub.  Get the pressure on him and let the revamped secondary make some plays.  With Ryan's new attack style defense, the secondary should be able to make some key plays. 

The 2009 season is about to begin and the Jets are an enigma.  The have a very good defense on paper and have a very good running game.  The question this season is how fast Mark Sanchez will develop.  If he can settle in and have a season like Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan did in 2008, then the Jets will be in good shape.  If not, it may be another long season for Gang Green.  But for this week, the Jets will rely on the running game and should come out of Houston with a win to start the season.  I see the Jets winning 21-17.  Sanchez just needs to manage the game and let the running game and the defense do the rest.

Posted on: July 31, 2009 2:04 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2009 5:24 pm
 

Jets 2009 Training Camp Preview

So camp is finally open for the New York Jets.  "Another" new season of hope for Gang Green.  The Jets enter camp like most other teams in the NFL, with question marks.  A lot has happened for the Jets since the disappointing loss to the Dolphins to end the 2008 season.

The Jets did some house cleaning since January.  Out is head coach Eric Mangini, QB Brett Favre, WR Laveranues Coles, TE Chris Baker and CB Ty Law.  Mangini was let go right after the season ended.  The Jets had to make the move.  They were at one point 8-3 and leading the AFC East.  Only to lose four of the final five games to finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs.  When that happens, its on the coach as well as the players. 

Exit Mangini, enter Rex Ryan.  Ryan is a defensive minded coach from the Baltimore Ravens.  For the past 9 years or so, the Ravens defense has always been one of the best in the NFL.  Ryan was a big part of that.  He will be looked upon to get the Jets defense to one of the tops in the league.  His main focus should be on an average Jets secondary.  As good as the Jets defensive line was last season; their secondary was the complete opposite.  With the exception of Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, the rest of the secondary was horrible.

Exit Ty Law, enter Jim Leonhard and Lito Sheppard.  Ryan brought in Leonhard, the hard hitting safety from the Ravens, to help bolster the team up the middle.  He was a solid backup for Baltimore playing behind Ed Reed.  He should be able to shine for the Jets with Kerry Rhodes in the secondary.  Lito Sheppard was brought in via trade with the Eagles.  Sheppard only started only 3 games last season for Philadelphia with Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown playing so well for the Eagles.  Sheppard the former two-time Pro Bowler will be a nice compliment to Revis on the other side of the field.

New York's crown jewel of free agency is LB Bart Scott.  Scott was signed away from the Ravens as well this off-season.  He will be relied on to shore up an already strong Jets run defense.  A unit, which showed signs of wear and tear over the final month of the season.  Scott along with David Harris, Calvin Pace (suspended for the first 4 games) and Bryan Thomas give the Jets one of the best line-backing cores in the NFL in the 2009 season. 

With Pace suspended for the first four games of the season, the Jets will be leaning on last years first round pick Vernon Gholston to pick up the slack.  Gholston, who was force in the 4-3 defense that Ohio State ran, never really adapted to the Jets 3-4 defense last season.  Ryan is looking forward to working with Gholston and is confident he can get him back on track and get a return on the investment for the Jets.

With Brett Favre opting for retirement form the second time in two seasons, the Jets decided to make some moves at this years NFL draft.  The traded up with the Cleveland Browns to land the number five pick in the draft.  They drafted USC QB Mark Sanchez.  Sanchez will hopefully be the Jets long term solution for the quarterback position.  Whether or not he will be ready to start the season as the Jets number one QB remains to be seen. 

Rex Ryan has stated that QB Kellen Clemens will be the #1 quarterback on the depth chart heading into training camp, but there will be an "open competition", which gives Sanchez every opportunity to win the job.  2009 will be Clemens fourth season with the Jets and fourth year working with Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.  Clemens definitely has a better understanding of the Jets playbook and should be listed as the number one QB for now.

Another question mark for Gang Green is their running backs.  Thomas Jones, who ran for 1,300 yards and 13 TD's last season, wants a new contract.  Leon Washington, who ran for 450 yards and 6 TD's last season, also wants a new contract.  Jones had an excellent season in 2008 after a disappointing 2007 season.  The Jets have said that they have no plans on restructuring Jones existing contract.  Will that affect Jones this season?  We will have to wait and see. 

Washington is in a different situation.  He is currently playing in the final year of his rookie contract and wants a big raise.  The Jets need to get him locked up for the long term.  Leon is the Jets "X" factor.  He does so much for the team between rushing, receiving, punt and kickoff returns.  He truly is irreplaceable for the Jets.

One of the Jets main concerns at this point is at wide receiver.  Right now, their only proven WR is Jerricho Cotchery.  Cotchery should not be considered a number one receiver either.  He is a very solid number two or a 1-A receiver.  The Jets now look at him as the number one with Chansi Stuckey, David Clowney and Brad Smith behind him. 

Stuckey had a few big catches last season and will be relied upon this season to fill the spot left open by Coles opposite Cotchery.  David Clowney was not activated until late in the season so he is not proven.  Although he is very fast, he has not made any impact as of yet.

As you can see, the Jets head up to Cortland with quite a few question marks for this season.  The way the team is constructed right now, they could be either an 5-11 team or an 10-6 team.  The defense will be strong with plenty of young veterans out there.  The offense will have its work cut out for them over the next six weeks.  Only time will tell where the Jets will end up this season, but this is just the start.
Posted on: January 8, 2009 2:27 pm
 

New York Jets 2008 End of Season Review

What a difference six months makes.  The Jets were heading into the 2008 season with a handful of offseason acquisitions that were brought here to improve on a disastrous 2007 season which say the team go 4-12.  The Jets made the most noise in the off-season with the signings of Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Calvin Pace, Bubba Franks, Tony Richardson and the trade for Kris Jenkins.  Faneca and Woody were brought here to sure up the offensive line that already consisted of budding stars Nick Mangold and D'Brickashaw Ferguson, attempting to protect injury prone quarterback Chad Pennington.  Jenkins was brought in to anchor a 3-4 defense that was missing a true nose tackle.  Pace was brought in to establish a better pass rush.  Coming into training camp in late July, things were looking better for the Jets and they were looking like a 8-8 or 9-7 team, much better than the 2007 season.  Then on August 6th the whole landscape of the franchise changed.

On that day it was announced that the Jets had traded for future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.  Favre was brought in to try to revive a franchise that was only going so far on the shoulder of Pennington.  Favre was coming off a solid season in Green Bay in which he threw 28 touchdowns, passed for over 4,000 yards and took the Packers to the NFC Championship game.  So with Favre came bigger expectations for Gang Green.  The Jets finally had a QB that could hang with Tom Brady and keep the team in the race for a division title.  So Favre had about 4 weeks to learn a totally new offense and try to get the Jets into the playoffs.

Going into week 1 against the Dolphins, the Jets were looking like a possible 10-6 or 11-5 team with Favre and the new acquisitions leading the way and then Tom Brady got hurt.  With Brady out for the season, everyone was saying the division was the Jets for the taking.  So after the Jets win in week 1, the talk was now of the Jets possibly going 12-4 with their pretty weak schedule.  The team must have believed the hype because Matt Cassell, playing in place of Brady and making his first career start in the NFL, came into the Meadowlands and beat the overconfident Jets.  They then headed out west to play the 0-2 Chargers and got blown out.  So with all the high expectations the Jets were at 1-2 at this point in the season.

They came home to a must win game against the Arizona Cardinals.  The offense really took off in this game.  Favre set a personal record high in throwing for 6 touchdowns in the game.  The Jets put up 56 points, but their passing defense was really exposed in the game.  They gave up over 400 yards passing to Kurt Warner with most of that coming in the second half of the game.  The Jets then had their bye week early and welcomed in the Bengals in week 6.  New York won the game but the offense was not on point as it was against Arizona.  So the Jets were at 3-2 heading out to play the awful Oakland Raiders.  The Jets struggled all day on offense and eventually lost the game in overtime to a Sebastian Janikowski 57 yard field goal. 

So the 3-3 Jets came home to play one of the worst teams in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Jets had a lead late in the 4th quarter until Favre threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and gave the Chiefs a 24-21 lead.  Favre then put together a drive, in the two minute offense, that led to a touchdown catch by Laveranues Coles and a Jets win.  From this point, the team really started to take off.  They followed up the game against the Chiefs with relatively easy wins over the Bills and Rams over the next two weeks.  This set up a battle for first place in the AFC East against the Patriots.  Both teams were sitting at 6-3 with the winner taking a one game lead in the division. 

The Jets jumped out to a huge lead by the end of the first half, 24-6.  The offense and defense both looked great and the team was rolling.  Then came the second half.  The huge lead was gone and Cassell hit Randy Moss in the end zone for a last second touchdown to tie the game.  On the first drive of overtime, Favre led the Jets down the field to setup the game winning field goal by Jay Feely.  The Jets took over first place and headed out to play the 10-0 Tennessee Titans in Tennessee.  The Titans had a very good defense and had been getting solid play from QB Kerry Collins.  Everyone figured this is where the Jets four game winning streak would end and the Titans would remain unbeaten.  Well they were all wrong.  The Jets went down there and totally dominated the Titans on offense and defense and came out of the game with a 34-13 win.  New York found itself at 8-3, two games behind the Titans for the #1 seed in the AFC and tied with the Steelers for the #2 seed.  The Jets looked like a force to be reckoned with in the NFL and the sky was the limit.  Unfortunately, this was about as good as it would get for the 2008 Jets.

The Jets came home at 8-3 to face the 6-5 Denver Broncos.  Again, the Jets must have really started to believe the hype that they were an elite team, because they played like the total opposite.  They laid an egg against Denver and lost 34-17.  No big deal right?  They would get back on track in the next game against the 49ers right?  Well that didn't happen either.  They went out to San Francisco and could not get out of their own way.  They let another team with an inexperienced quarterback get the best of them in a game that they should have won easily. 

So they came home with a record of 8-5 to take on the Buffalo Bills.  Buffalo ran all over the Jets and nearly pulled off the win, if not for the poor play calling by Buffalo.  All they had to do was run out the clock with under two minutes remaining.  Instead, J.P. Losman fumbled and Shaun Ellis returned it for a touchdown and the Jets won a must win game.  With the win, the Jets controlled their own destiny at 9-5 to make the playoffs.  Win their last two games and they were in.  So they hit the road again to play the Seattle Seahawks who, at the time, held a record of 3-11.  The snow was falling and so were the Jets.  They were outplayed in snowy Seattle and lost 13-3.  Not only did they lose the game, they no longer controlled their own destiny with the Dolphins and Patriots both winning that week. 

Coming into the last week, the Jets would need to beat Chad Pennington and the Dolphins and hope for some help from other teams.  If the Dolphins win, they win the division.  You could not have written a better script for this game.  A must win against a former teammate.  The game was tight in the first half and the Jets were on the losing end at the time.  But they took the lead in the beginning of the third quarter, 17-14.  And it was all over after that.  Pennington took apart the Jets with the dink and dunk passes and gave the Dolphins a lead they would keep.  The Dolphins won 24-17 and won the AFC East in the process.  The Jets finished the season at 9-7 and were officially eliminated from the playoffs with the loss.

Back in August, it looked like this may be a special season for the New York Jets and it turned out to be what all us Jets fans are used to, a big disappointment.  The Jets loaded up in the offseason to try and right the ship from a forgettable 2007 season.  When they were at 8-3 in late November, it looked as though all those moves were the right ones.  But in the end it was not enough to get the Jets over the hump.  For a team that was on such a roll, winning five straight games to get to 8-3, to lose four of their last five and not make the playoffs is very disappointing on so many levels.  Now the Jets stand without a coach and a quarterback who will keep everyone in limbo on whether or not he will return in 2009.  The team has a lot of questions to answer in the offseason, but it may only take a few key moves to get this team on the right track again next season.  2008 was filled with a lot of memorable moments and tons of hope.  Unfortunately, it ended the way that it did.  But we will stick by our Jets next season and beyond, and hope that one day this franchise will figure it out and get back to the Super Bowl.

Posted on: November 28, 2008 1:46 pm
 

Jets v. Broncos: Week 13 (Confidence a Mile High)

November into December 1998.  That was the last time the Jets had a six game winning streak.  If they win against the Broncos on Sunday, they can match that feat.  The Jets are flying high with confidence right now riding a five game winning streak, with the last two wins coming over the Patriots and Titans both on the road.  Now the Jets return home to the Meadowlands to play a 6-5 Denver team who has been anything but consistent this season. 

The Jets running game has been really hitting it's stride the past few weeks.  Thomas Jones, who is currently 5th in the NFL in rushing, should have a huge game against the Broncos on Sunday.  Denver has one of the worst run defenses in the league, surrendering about 145 yards per game.  The Jets offensive line has been one of the tops in the league during the Jets five game winning streak and I expect them to continue to get better.  Jones and Leon Washington had a field day against a very good Titans defense last week, totaling 178 yards on the ground between the two of them.  Jones looks like a man on a mission the past month or so.  He has become the workhorse the Jets thought they were getting when they traded for him before the 2007 season.  And Washington has become the Jets "X-Factor" out of the backfield.  Whether he is running the ball, catching a pass in the flat or on special teams, he always seems to make something happen when he touches the ball.  I can see each of them getting at least 75 rushing yards against the Broncos.

The passing game also continues to improve each week.  Brett Favre has really adapted to the Jets offensive game plan.  As much as he hates to say it, he really has managed games for the Jets.  He has only thrown one interception the past three games, while throwing for 649 yards and 5 touchdowns.  The offensive line has also kept Favre upright over the past 3 games, only giving up 5 sacks during that span.  Allowing Brett time to throw the ball has given him the ability to find receivers and not force passes into double coverage.  And one man who has benefited from this is the Jets rookie tight end Dustin Keller.  He is becoming one of Favre's favorite receivers.  Over the past three games he has 20 catches for 236 yards.  He only has one touchdown during that span, but i'm sure those will come in the next few weeks. 

With Keller becoming a bigger part of the offense, it has enabled Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles the ability to see more man coverage.  Favre has been able to keep his top two receivers happy this season with Cotchery having 54 catches for 652 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Coles has 53 receptions for 613 yards and 6 touchdowns.  And there is always a threat of Chansi Stuckey and Brad Smith being able to have a big catch here and there.  The offense has really come together over the past month and there is really no telling how far they can go.

The Jets run defense should have another big game this week.  The Broncos rushing offense are in the middle of the pack in the NFL, rushing for 110 yards per game.  But at this point in the season, they are already on their 5th starting tailback.  That tailback is Peyton Hillis.  He ran for 74 yards against a very bad Raiders team last week.  The Jets still boast the 3rd ranked rushing defense in the league, giving up about 78 yards per game.  New York totally shut down the Titans running game last week, limiting them to a season low 45 yards rushing.  The Jets still have not allowed a 100 yard rusher in any game this season, a big difference from last season.   They are also one of the league leaders with 35 sacks on the season, already more then they had all of last year.  Off season additions, Kris Jenkins and Calvin Pace have had big seasons so far.  And Shaun Ellis and Bryan Thomas are quietly having strong seasons of their own for the Jets.

The one area the Broncos may have success is throwing the ball against the Jets.  Jay Cutler is having a solid season for Denver and could have a field day against the Jets secondary.  He already had 3,036 yards passing with 19 touchdowns.  The Jets secondary has improved since the second half of the season started, but they have been following up a good performance with a bad one.  This week against Denver they could be in line for a bad one.  On average they have been giving up around 240 yards per game in the air.  If that trend continues, then Cutler could have a huge game getting the ball to Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal.  The top two Broncos receivers have already combined for almost 1600 yards receiving.  Darrelle Revis, who may be having a pro bowl season, will most likely me matched up with Marshall, so I would not expect him to have a huge game.  But Royal will be going against Ty Law, who is still getting into game shape after only two weeks of practice so far.  That would mean that the need to keep their eyes on WR Brandon Stokley and TE Tony Scheffler.  Scheffler could be tough to cover since the Jets star line backer David Harris is still out with a groin injury.  If the safety's do not come up to help cover, these two could have huge days.

This is a very winnable game for the Jets, who for the most part have a very favorable schedule the rest of the way.  Right now the Jets are soaring with confidence and I do not think they will beat themselves in this game.  The Broncos have good corners so I would not expect Favre to be throwing deep too often. But I do not think he needs to anyway.  As long as the Jets can establish the running game, which I think they will, then they should again be able to control the clock and take home their 6th straight win.  Then they would keep pace with the Titans and keep their lead on the Patriots.  I say the Jets take it 27-13 and get one game closer to the playoffs.

Posted on: November 24, 2008 12:03 am
 

Jets v. Titans: Recap (Remember the Jets)

I think it's now time to take the Jets seriously as a contender in the AFC this season.  The Jets managed to not only beat the undefeated Tennessee Titans in Tennessee, but they steamrolled them in the processby a score of 34-13.  New York now sits at 8-3 on the season and could be in a position to get a bye week for the first round of the playoffs.  Of course we are still five weeks away, but the Jets have put themselves in a very good position after Sunday's win against the Titans.

Brett Favre is showing everyone that there is still some gas left in the tank.  Favre managed the game very effectively once again.  On the day Favre was 25-32 for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns.  I believe there were two huge moments in the game.  The first was a Chris Johnson fumble in the 3rd quarter.  At the time, the Jets were leading 13-3.  The Titans were getting a drive together when Johnson coughed up the ball.  Favre was able to put together an 8 play drive that ate up almost 5 minutes of game clock that ended with a 2 yard touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles in the back of the end zone in double coverage.  That gave the Jets a 20-3 lead late in the 3rd and from that point on they were in the drivers seat. 

The other key moment was the Jets last drive on the 4th quarter.  After the Titans put together a 4 play 66 yard drive late in the 4th quarter that ended in a touchdown that cut the score to 27-13, the Jets took over. Favre was able to lead the Jets offense on a 12 play 75 yard drive that ended with a 4 yard touchdown run by Leon Washington.  The key to that drive was the fact that it ate up 7:34 off the clock.  It gave the Titans the ball back with 2:09 remaining in the game trailing 34-13.  Favre was hitting open receivers all day.  His new favorite target, Dustin Keller, had his 3rd straight big game.  He hauled in 6 catches for 42 yards.  Not as big as his last two games, but did have some key catches on 3rd down.  He has become a very reliable option for Favre over the last month.  Coles had the big day for the receivers, grabbing 7 balls for 88 yards and a TD.  Jerricho Cotchery also grabbed 6 catches for 55 yards.  Brett's only mistake in the game was an interception by Cortland Finnegan in the second quarter.  Finnegan made a one handed catch with Coles all over him.  Other than that, Brett was near perfect.

The Jets running game had a huge day.  Thomas Jones, who coming into the game was the AFC's leading rusher, was able to rack up 96 yards against a very sound Tennessee run defense who was ranked 10th in the league heading into the game giving up about 95 yards per game.  Jones was able to do that on 27 carries.  He has really become the Jets workhorse over the past 2 months.  Washington also contributed with 82 yards rushing on his own.  He was able to gain that on only 8 carries.  He got most of it on a 61 yard touchdown run early in the 4th quarter in which he bolted to the end zone almost untouched.  He didn't have his usual big day on special teams that we have all come to expect, but he always seems to contribute in a big way each week.  In all the Jets ran for 192 yards against Tennessee.  New York's offensive line was great again as you can see from the rushing stats.  But they also managed to keep Favre upright for most of the game, only allowing 2 sacks.  The line has really come together over the last 6 weeks.  This has allowed the running game to improve each week as well as letting Favre have time in the pocket to be able to make big plays.

The Jets defense also had a huge day.  The defensive line put together one of it's biggest efforts of the season.  The Titans who had been rushing for an average of 133 yards per game were limited to a season low of 45 yards on the ground.  The defense, led by Kris Jenkins and Calvin Pace were able to take the running game totally away from the Titans.  This meant that the game was left to Kerry Collins against a spotty Jets pass defense.  New York's secondary, which was torched by Matt Cassel for 400 yards last week, had a strong game against Tennessee.  Collins, who does not make mistakes and did not in this game, was held to 243 yards in the air for 1 touchdown.  With the running game being shut down, Collins was never able to get into a groove.  The Jets secondary, which has been having a good week followed by a bad week all season, had a good week in a big spot.  Collins was able to get the ball to nine different receivers, but none of them had more that 43 yards receiving.  Even with the Jets offense turning the ball over three times and the defense only forcing one turnover, the Jets defense still managed to step it up and dominate the Titans offense.  One key stat for the Jets was the fact that they dominated the time of possession.  They controlled the ball for over 40 minutes.  That is just straight domination. 

New York is really hitting their stride at the right time.  They have now won 5 straight games and 7 of their last 8.  Currently, they are tied with the Steelers for the second best record in the AFC at 8-3.  I know it's early to get too excited with five weeks remaining and two trips out to the west coast ahead, but this is getting exciting for Jets fans.  The rest of the league has now been put on notice.  After huge wins against the Patriots and Titans in back to back weeks, both on the road, the Jets are now a huge factor in the AFC.  This is something that has not happened in about ten years when Vinny Testaverde led the Jets to a 12-4 record and got the Jets within 30 minutes of going to the Super Bowl.

Posted on: November 12, 2008 4:04 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2008 4:06 pm
 

Jets v. Patriots: Week 11 (Now or Never)

It's finally here...the Jets vs. the Patriots with first place in the AFC East on the line.  This is what we Jets fans have been waiting for, a late season matchup against the reigning AFC champs with a chance to put them in out rear view mirror.  This is the reason why the Jets got Brett Favre and all the other big names in the off-season, to beat New England in a game that matters.  The Jets have been getting knocked around by the Patriots ever since Tom Brady took over the reigns.  The Jets have been rolling the past three weeks and have plenty of momentum heading up to Foxborough on Thursday night.

Brett Favre, the old gunslinger, came here for a chance to win one more before he rides off into the sunset.  This is the game the Jets really need him to step up and flash some of that "Favre magic".  Last week against the Rams, Favre played a well managed game.  He threw for only 167 yards and a touchdown, but no interceptions.  They did not need him to do a lot with Thomas Jones running all over the field.  Brett has seen a ton of these games during his career, more than any of his teammates have.  The bottom line is that he is a winner and should be able to lead gang green to a win.  The offensive line has also played a lot better in recent weeks.  They have not allowed a sack the past two weeks, which has allowed Favre to cut down on his mistakes (one interception in the past two games).  Jones has also benefitted from this as well.  He now leads the AFC in rushing with 750 yards.  However, the best part of the Patriots defense is their defensive line.  If the Jets are to have any success on Thursday, then they need to somehow establish the running game.

As long as Favre is upright, then I expect the passing game to have success in this game.  The Patriots have no Rodney Harrison or Adalius Thomas playing in the game and the Jets need to expose that.  Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery are both having very solid seasons for Jets.  I expect them to be a huge part of the offense in this game.  Coles is always up for big games and he should be amped up for this one.  Another option that emerged for Favre is Dustin Keller.  He had his best game of the season last week against St. Louis to a tune of 6 receptions for 107 yards.  The Jets are very high on their first round draft pick, especially after the game the just had.  With Keller emerging and Chansi Stuckey out there, New York has plenty of good options for Favre to throw to.  The difference between this game and the game in week two is that the offense is finally on the same page.  The first time they played this season Favre did not know the playbook and the Jets were still meshing as a team.  Favre knows what is going on now and the offensive line is really clicking with each other at the right time.

As usual, the defense will have its work cutout for them.  In week two, Matt Cassel was making his first career start in the NFL and played a very smart game for the Patriots.  He threw for 165 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, not flashy but it got the job done.  He still has Wes Welker and Randy Moss to throw the ball to.  The Jets need to find a way to slow them down.  They will have some help this week with the free agent acquisition of Ty Law.  He may not play all that much with only two days to prepare, but he is a veteran and knows both teams well.  He also may not be a shut down corner anymore, but with him on one side and Darrelle Revis on the other, the Jets secondary will be much improved for the rest of the season.  One of the keys will be to limit Welker as much as they can.  Even if that means giving Moss one or two deep ones in the process.  Welker helps that offense go.  He is their go to guy on third down.  Slow him down and they should be able to slow down the whole offense.

The defensive line, which in one of the tops in the NFL, needs to get pressure on Cassel.  The Jets are second in the NFL in sacks with 31.  Shaun Ellis is quietly having a pro-bowl season for New York, leading the team with seven sacks.  The defensive MVP has been Kris Jenkins so far.  What a huge difference he has had on the defensive line for the Jets.  The Jets are 5th in the league against the run, surrendering only 76 yards per game.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be starting for the Patriots this week and he is coming off a 105 yard rushing performance against a good Buffalo Bills defense.  The Jets should be able to limit him and force Cassel to beat him with his arm.  New York needs to keep constant pressure on him and force him to make mistakes.  They had constant pressure on Marc Bulger and Trent Green last week and Trent Edwards the week before.  They caused big turnovers that they turned into scores.  Abram Elam had an interception return for a touchdown and Calvin Pace had a fumble return for a touchdown the past two weeks.

The bottom line is the Jets have to win this game to establish them-selves as a force in the AFC.  This is a game that they went out and got Favre, Pace, Jenkins, Damien Woody, Alan Faneca and now Law.  This is a great rivalry in the NFL and I would expect both teams to come out with guns blazing.  The main key's for the Jets is just to keep pressuring Cassel and take advantage of his mistakes and for Favre to limit his mistakes and recapture some of the old "Favre magic".  The Jets finally get over the hump and take this one on the road by a 28-17 score.

Posted on: November 9, 2008 11:01 pm
 

Jets v. Rams: Recap (A Complete Game)

Jets 47.  Rams 3.  Now that's what Eric Mangini has been talking about all season, a complete game.  The offense was almost perfect, scoring on their first eight possessions.  The defense was just as good getting five turnovers against the Rams with one defensive touchdown.  The Jets did not get caught up in a potential "trap game" with a trip to New England looming this coming Thursday.  And with the Patriots coming up, this was a perfect tune up with 1st place on the line in Foxborough.

Thomas Jones was one of the main factors on offense Sunday.  He had his second 3 touchdown game of he season while also adding 149 yards rushing.  Jones, who coming into the game was the AFC's 2nd leading rusher, is really proving this season that last season was just bad season on a bad team.  He now has 750 rushing yards on the season and is on pace for over 1300 yards.  He also had 8 touchdowns on the ground and is also on pace for about 15 this season.  I know it's tough to say that he will get to 15, but it's a whole lot better than last season when he only had one rushing touchdown.  Dustin Keller was also a big part of the offense on Sunday.  The Jets second pick in this year's draft, 30th overall, had by far his best game of the season with 6 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown.  His biggest catch of the day came on the Jets second possession when Brett Favre went over the top to hit him for a 54 yard reception that led to a Jets field goal and a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.  New York has been waiting for him to break out and be a threat in the offense.  Hopefully this will lead to bigger things for the young tight end.

For the second straight week, Brett Favre managed the Jets offense, this time to perfection.  He ended up going 14-19 for 167 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers.  Not flashy by any means but it got the job done.  Since the game got out of hand early, the Jets relied on the run.  They rushed 43 times for a total of 206 yards.  The Rams had one of the worst rushing defenses coming into the game, so the Jets took full advantage.  In addition to the 149 yards from Jones, Leon Washington added another 54 yards on the ground.  The offensive line continues to improve for the Jets.  For the second straight week they allowed zero sacks.  Favre has been getting excellent protection which has led to him having only one turnover the past two weeks, a major improvement over the first seven weeks of the season. 

The defense was a major factor to Sunday's win as well.  Eric Barton had a huge game for the Jets.  He contributed with 10 tackles and a half a sack.  He had constant pressure on the quarterback all day.  Calvin Pace, one of the Jets big free agent acquisitions in the off-season, also had a big play early in the game.  On the Rams second possession of the day, Marc Bulger was pressured and fumbled the ball.  Pace picked it up off one bounce and took it 50 yards to the house for the touchdown.  The fumble was caused by Abram Elam, who last week had a touchdown of his own after an interception against the Buffalo's Trent EdwardsKerry Rhodes also had one of his better games of the season on Sunday.  He had one interception which led to a touchdown and a fumble recovery which led to a field goal.  Overall, the Jets defense had five turnovers against the Rams which led to 27 points.

The Jets defensive line had another solid afternoon, only surrendering 80 rushing yards on 21 attempts.  The Jets rushing defense will remain one of the top four in the NFL after this performance.  The passing defense really stepped up this week.  They gave up only 135 yards in the air and gave the Rams receivers headaches all day.  St. Louis ended up playing both Marc Bulger and Trent Green, only to get no where with either of them. Bulger had only 6 completions while Green only had 5.  The pass defense is the weakest part of the Jets defense and they really stepped it up on Sunday.  This unit has continued to improve as the weeks have gone by.

This was a huge win for the Jets.  With a short week ahead, they needed to keep their momentum going before heading up to New England.  Both the offense and defense has improved each week over the last month or so.  With the exception of the loss in Oakland three weeks ago, the Jets have managed to win five of their last six games.  They now see themselves at 6-3, tied with the Patriots, heading up to Foxborough on Thursday to face them.  This is the first time in a while the Jets see themselves in first place this late in a season.  If they can play on Thursday the way they did against the Rams, then they will be in the drivers seat for a potential AFC East title this season.  It's still a long way to go, but they have put themselves in a very good position.  This was a good win in a game they had to win.  Next up is payback against the Patriots.

 
 
 
 
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