Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jets Embarrassed by Rejuvenated Broncos 34-17

So much for that 10-0 finish.

After back to back impressive road victories, the Jets fell back to earth in a big way, falling 34-17 at home to the Denver Broncos.

It isn't as bad a loss as many Jets fans think (TGG, please stop falling apart on me, the season is not over), but it's definitely a shot to the gut.

The Jets are not an elite football team. There's no shame in that, and there is no reason to panic because they weren't heading into that game either. It's become painfully obvious that teams can throw on the Jets. A team like Denver, with a strong-armed quarterback, more than one playmaking receiver, and a good tight end, can score on the Jets.

However, this year there are no elite football teams. The Jets have a very good run defense, a balanced offense, and a couple playmakers in the secondary, even if they do allow a lot of big plays.

The question now becomes what was the mirage? The New England and Tennessee games? Or the Denver game?

The fact that Peyton Hillis was able to have a 129-yard performance is disturbing, but that performance leads me to believe that the whole defense went flat. The effort just was not there like it had been in previous weeks, and Hillis was able to break some tackles that the Jets usually make.

It's a disappointing loss, no doubt about it, but the Jets can certainly come back from it. The #2 seed in the AFC is in serious doubt, but they are still in line for the #3 seed. The Jets still control their own destiny in four games they will be favored in. Two home AFC East games and two west coast NFC games. The first two will determine the division. The last two will determine the seed.

The Jets are still a game ahead of both New England and Miami, with a home game to go against the Dolphins. New England's schedule isn't difficult, but if the Jets win the two home games against Miami and Buffalo, they just need one of the NFC games to clinch the division.

The #2 seed is another story. First, the Jets have to go 4-0. They are a game behind and the Steelers won't lose more than twice. Let's look at their schedule.

vs Dallas
at Baltimore
at Tennessee
vs Cleveland

They're not losing to Cleveland, not with Ken Dorsey leading them. But the other three games are far from easy. The other three teams can beat them though. Root for the Cowboys, Jets fans. A Steelers loss combined with a Jets win and you can start dreaming of a first round bye again. Otherwise, it's a longshot.

Of course, all this assumes the Jets turn it around. San Francisco is on the docket this Sunday. The Jets have lost both their games on the Left Coast so far, to San Diego and Oakland, both in ugly fashion. San Francisco is coming off a big win at Buffalo, and Mike Singletary and Shaun Hill are trying to win jobs next year, so they are motivated.

The Jets are better than the 49ers, but the travel and Mike Martz's offense could give them trouble. I'll have a detailed preview before the game, but I could easily see Martz spreading out the offense, with Isaac Bruce, Josh Morgan, Jason Hill, Vernon Davis, and of course Frank Gore on the field at the same time and try to expose the Jets the way Denver did.

It was a lot to ask for this team to go 10-0 down the stretch. A loss to Denver will be forgotten if Gang Green takes care of business in the last four games. Back-to-back losses will make thins interesting, and not in a good way.

Crazy travel schedule though. From East Rutherford to San Francisco to East Rutherford to Seattle and back to East Rutherford. For this game, at least, the 49ers are traveling back from Buffalo.

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