Saturday, October 31, 2009

NFL Picks - Week 8

Thought I was going to go 3-0 at times last week, but Miami and Minnesota both blew late covers, so another 1-2. At 11-10, another losing week drags me back to .500, so this is big.

Detroit -4 over St. Louis
What better way to try and get a win by picking a team that has won one game in almost two seasons when they're 4 point favorites? Well, they've played much better this year, and they are coming off a bye. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson both look like they will play, making the Lions head and shoulders above the Rams. Steven Jackson will get his first rushing touchdown of the season, but the Lions will put up some points, and the Rams can't throw the football.
Detroit 24, St. Louis 13

Minnesota +3 over Green Bay
In two seasons, what have people seen in Green Bay that would make people think they're equal with the Vikings? Minnesota won the first game, and they'll win this one, too. Aaron Rodgers got killed by Jared Allen in game one, and he will again this time. Antoine Winfield being out hurts, but Rodgers won't have time to throw downfield to Greg Jennings anyway. And his top checkdown option, TE Jermichael Finley, doesn't look like he'll be playing. This bet has little to do with Brett Favre and everything to do with the fact that the Vikings dominate the trenches on both sides of the football. Favre is still playing like the Vikings expected him to, so it's not time to fade him yet.
Minnesota 24, Green Bay 17

Oakland +17 over San Diego
I know Oakland is awful. But San Diego has not played nearly well enough to be a 17 point favorite against anyone. The Raiders may lay down and die again, but they also could have the advantage in the trenches, and if the Raiders can run the ball and stop the run, which they very well may, I'll gladly take them with 17 points. Maybe JaMarcus Russell plays better after he was benched last week. Probably not, but hey, you never know. It's a road game, but they're still playing in their own state, so travel is not an issue.
San Diego 24, Oakland 13

Friday, October 30, 2009

Everything You Know about the Jets is Wrong

I stumbled upon ProFootbalFocus.com, a website that tries to rank every NFL player based on statistical data. This isn't just quarterbacks, runningbacks, and receivers. Offensive lineman, linebackers, safeties, and even special teamers are also judged. They watch every play of every game and make their ratings accordingly. Here's the link to their FAQ.

My one problem with the site is that the Jets DEs and LBs are listed as 4-3 players instead of 3-4 guys. I'm not sure what difference that makes, and I e-mailed the website, but as a result, I'm not including their numbers in this post, though I'll give a brief mention to some of those numbers at the end.

Now, these stats are far from the be-all, end-all of judging NFL players, but there are a bunch of numbers out there that stood out on me. Some you might already believe or know, and others might seriously surprise you. So let's start with perhaps the most surprising stat I noticed on the site. Note that this only includes players who have played at least 25% of the snaps.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson is the best run-blocking tackle in the NFL...and it isn't even that close.

According to this website, in which zero is considered the average grade, D'Brickashaw Ferguson has a 12.5. The next closest tackle in that department is Browns T Joe Thomas with an 8.7. Brick is rated as the #2 tackle in the NFL, and he is above average (2.7) at pass blocking.

On the other hand...

Damien Woody is the worst run-blocking tackle in the NFL

At a -9.4 Woody is considered the worst run blocker in the NFL. He is considered above average against the pass (3.1). Last season, it was considered common sense that the Jets ran behind Woody and Brick dominated the blind side. These numbers seem to indicate the opposite.

As for the other lineman, Alan Faneca is considered one of the worst OGs in the NFL (-7.4), particularly in pass blocking (-5.1). Brandon Moore is above average at 3.1.

Nick Mangold is considered one of the best centers in the NFL by many, and these numbers go above and beyond in supporting it. His 21.5 overall ranking is over twice as high as every other tackle besides Miami's Jake Grove (12.1) and he owns a staggering 21.1 rating against the run. Mangold should make the Pro Bowl this year, and these numbers help prove that.

Jerricho Cotchery is the 2nd best receiver in the NFL
With a 7.9 rating, Cotchery is only behind Reggie Wayne in the receiver ratings. Now with Braylon Edwards drawing away coverage, Cotchery has the chance to be even more productive.

Thomas Jones has three missed tackles all year.
Despite being in the top 5 in the NFL in rushing, Jones clocks in at a -0.8 for runningbacks. Then again, it appears like runningbacks are a bit underrated. These numbers looked much worse two weeks ago. Jones has drawn criticism from Jets fans in the past for his inability to break through tackles, and despite his big numbers in the past two weeks, these numbers back that sentiment up.

Only JaMarcus Russell has been worse than Mark Sanchez
This should come as no surprise, especially after the five interception game against Buffalo. Only Russell, Sanchez, Matt Stafford, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Kyle Boller, Seneca Wallace, Kevin Kolb, and Jason Campbell have negative ratings, with Sanchez's being the second worst rating at -8.0.

Still, don't read too much into it. He's still a rookie, and one bad game drags his numbers down really far. If he's still this low next year, then you can start to worry.

Darrelle Revis is the best cover cornerback in the NFL.
Revis has the highest rated number for coverage out of any cornerback in the NFL. He's number three overall among cornerbacks, trailing only Antoine Winfield and Jabari Greer. He would be number one if it weren't for his penalties earlier in the year. Dwight Lowery (0.6) has outplayed Lito Sheppard (-4.1) by a pretty wide margin as well.

Dustin Keller has been the 3rd worst tight end in the NFL.
Only Jerramy Stevens and former Jet Sean Ryan (worst in NFL) have been worse. He is the third worst in the passing game (-4.4) and his run blocking has left a lot to be desired (-5.4). He has been thrown to 34 times, and he's only caught 15. Needless to say, he's been a big disappointment in his second year. Hopefully, he and Sanchez can get on the same page because there's no reason he can't be a weapon.

Front Seven Notes

As I mentioned earlier, I'm not sure how well the front sevens are rated, so these numbers could be taken with a grain of salt, especially given the Jets' myriad of looks and formations. A guy like Vernon Gholston (listed at DE with a -3 rating) has seen action at OLB, DE, and DT already.

*Bryan Thomas is listed as the best OLB in the NFL at 8.7. He's a below average pass rusher (-1.3), but he's above average in coverage (1.5), and he is the best run stopper (8.5).

*Mike DeVito (7.3) and Sione Pouha (5.6) have both been more productive at NT than Kris Jenkins (1.9). I don't think the numbers take into account the double teams Jenkins constantly faces, but it's still food for thought.

*David Harris is considered the worst run stopper in the NFL at -7.6. However, his pass coverage ability is one of the best of any LB. Now, for a few interesting names for overall stats. The worst rated ILB? Jonathan Vilma. Second worst? Channing Crowder.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jets-Dolphins: Critical game for both teams

For both New York and Miami, Sunday's showdown is as close to a must-win as a game in October can be.

If the Jets win, it makes up for the loss three weeks ago at Miami, and evens the Jets up at 2-2 in the division. A loss would put them at 1-3 with the last two divisional games being on the road. It would tie them with the Dolphins in the loss column, and if Buffalo wins this week, the two teams would be tied. It would put any divisional hopes away, and put the Jets behind the eight ball.

The Jets talked in the offseason, they talked before the first game, and they're talking again now. They want Miami. They think they can beat them. Well, at home, they had better. Otherwise, that has to be a punch to the gut, especially heading into a bye week. The Jets have been chomping at the bit to face the Dolphins again, and three weeks seemed like forever. How about two weeks without anybody to take out their frustrations on? Then again, they lost at home to the Bills, so who knows their motivation.

But on the bright side, a win would likely show that the run defense can survive without Kris Jenkins. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams gashed the Jets with their stud nose tackle; without him could spell trouble. Miami, after all, is the 2nd leading rushing team in the NFL at 170 yards-per-game.

Who is the best rushing team statistically? After back-to-back 300+ yard rushing performances, the Jets are now the NFL's top rushing tea at 184 yards-per-game. While Shonn Greene made a huge impact against the Raiders, the Jets will miss Leon Washington a lot against the Dolphins who are a very good run-stopping team. The Jets ran all over weak run defenses in Oakland and Miami. Let's see how they do against a team that can stop the run, and maybe Mark Sanchez can throw a little bit on a banged up and not particularly strong secondary.

Besides, a win would put them right back with New England. The Jets need to win their games at home, and their games against inferior opponents if they have any hopes of winning their division, and a win would give the Jets a chance and make the game against New England next month huge.

For Miami, it's do or die right now. At 2-4 they need a win now. They can call themselves the best 2-4 team in the NFL, (though Carolina and Seattle refuse to call their seasons over yet either) but wins need to start coming now, or the season will slip away. There is a huge difference between 3-4 (and 3-0 in the division) and 2-5, especially when a road game against the Patriots follows.

This is as close to a must-win as it gets. If they have any hope of making the playoffs this year, they need to at the very least split these two road games against the Jets and Patriots, and they have to think the Jets are the easier of the two opponents. After all, they did beat them just three weeks ago with Kris Jenkins.

Miami just blew a 24-3 lead last week, and they have to be angry. They were mad at the Jets in the first game, and it is clear that the juice is back in this rivalry, so they'll be fired up again. This should be fun.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mark Sanchez Video - Every Pass vs Oakland (Week 7)



Only 15 passes in this one, so I didn't do as much quick cutting. The hot dog scene is at the end. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jets Re-Sign CB Justin Miller

With Leon Washington officially done for the season, the Jets re-signed former 2nd round pick Justin Miller. Miller is still just 25 years old and has most if not all the athletic ability that made him a Pro Bowl return man with the Jets. The Jets looked at him a few weeks ago when they considered bringing in a cornerback. Now, Miller can provide some depth at cornerback during games while also returning kicks. He's just as dangerous as Washington back there, so the blow is minimized a little with this signing.

Chronicling Mark Sanchez: Every Pass vs Buffalo (Week 6)

Sorry for being a week late on this, but I finally was able to get this done. I couldn't start working on it until Sunday for a variety of reasons, but without further ado, here is Mark Sanchez against Buffalo, all five interceptions included.



And Braylon Edwards was charged for assault in Cleveland in relation to allegations that he hit LeBron James's friend. For more details, follow that link.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Washington Placed on IR

Leon Washington's season is officially over. He was placed on Injured Reserve after breaking his fibula and tibia in yesterday's win over Oakland. He is expected to make a full recovery and is said to be in good spirits.

The Jets won't miss a beat with Shonn Greene taking Leon Washington's carries, but they will miss Washington's awesome versatility. He split out wide, took snaps in the Seminole, returned kicks, and ran the ball inside and outside. He hadn't made as many big plays this year as he had in the past, but the ability is always there, and he could always explode at any time. He will be missed, but it will be exciting seeing Greene and Sanchez in the backfield together more often.

Jets Dominate Raiders 38-0, Lose Washington

*38-0. Even against Oakland, that's impressive. The defense was fantastic, save a few long runs by Justin Fargas, and the offense was mistake-free. This game looked like what the Jets of 4 weeks ago would have done to Oakland, not what the Kris Jenkins-less, free-falling Jets would do. Very nice win. Except for one thing...

*Leon Washington is probably out for the season. He broke his leg in an ugly-looking play that Damien Woody described this way. “As soon as I saw it I knew it was over. You never want to see anything like that. It was an inside zone (play) and his foot was on the ground and Tommy Kelly hit it. I could just see it crunch. I’ve never seen anything like that. The bone broke the skin and I saw blood just squirting. I knew right then."

Washington was the Jets' most dynamic playmaker offensively and on special teams. The Jets have usually been able to find kick returners out of nowhere in the Mike Westhoff era, but there's no obvious replacement for him there. Luckily for the Jets, runningback is the one place on the roster where they are deep. Unfortunately for Washington, he probably should have taken that $5 million dollars a year deal. He'll be lucky to see that contract now...

*Washington's injury opened the door for Shonn Greene. The rookie from Iowa got his first extended look, and he responded with 16 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns. He ran hard, he looked quick, and he bowled through the Raiders defense. He can't provide the sizzle that Washington can offensively, but he should be equally productive.

*Thomas Jones continues to be the most underappreciated Jet this season. A week after setting the Jets' single game rushing record at 210, he posted another 121 this week. He's not as explosive as Washington or Greene, but he's still running well. And to think, almost four times as many people voted that they would rather have Washington have the bulk of the carries than Jones. To be fair, I may have been one of them, but Jones is now 4th in the NFL in rushing with 607 yards.

*Calvin Pace finally shook off the rust and showed how good he can be. He set the tone early by stripping JaMarcus Russell. He also stripped Bruce Gradkowski and had another sack for a total of three. He also batted a pass down at the line of scrimmage. Vernon Gholston is back on the bench.

*This is the second straight QB casualty at the hands of the Jets' defense. Last week, they nearly broke Trent Edwards in half. This week, they didn't injure Russell, but they did force him into three first-half turnovers which finally caused Tom Cable to bench his young quarterback. Cable says Russell will start next week though.

*≈Brian Schottenheimer cleary learned his lesson from last week. If you're running the ball down a team's throat, just keep doing it. A week after wasting a 318-yard rushing output by throwing six interceptions, the Jets ran for 316 yards again in this one, and Mark Sanchez only threw the ball 15 times.

*When Sanchez did throw the ball, he looked much more comfortable than last week, going 9-15 for 143 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for another touchdown, his second rushing TD of the year. He didn't have to do much in this one, and he wasn't asked to do much. He got to build up his confidence in a big win and even eat a hot dog on the sideline.

*The Danny Woodhead show finally arrived in the NFL, and as a runningback as was originally planned. He had three carries for 24 yards in garbage time, still wearing Chansi Stuckey's former #83.

*The leading receiver for the Jets? David Clowney, who had four grabs for 79 yards and a touchdown. Clowney caught the first touchdown pass of his career on a 35-yard pass. With Braylon Edwards covered a lot by Nnamdi Asomugha, Clowney was a primary target when they did throw, and he converted.

*The one downer for this game other than the Washington injury is the run defense. Justin Fargas ran for 67 yards on just eight carries. Michael Bush added 25 on eight carries. They had a lot of stuffs for minimal gain, but Fargas broke free for a few long runs, and with Miami coming to town next week, the Jets will need to get it in gear. Kris Jenkins's loss is going to be difficult to overcome, and Sunday was definitely a step in the right direction with a shutout, but the Dolphins will be the real test.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

NFL Picks - Week 7

First of all, sorry for the lack of a Sanchez video. I downloaded 3 different versions of the game, and not one wanted to work. I'll definitely keep working to get it on here because I wanted to see Sanchez's passes in the worst game of his career as much as anyone else, but hopefully, next week goes off without a hitch.

Now, my picks were 1-2 last week. Houston won straight up, but the Jets lost straight up, and the Titans were embarrassed. 10-8 on the year, so let's keep it above .500.

Indianapolis -14 over St. Louis
The Rams are bad. Really bad. And their only receiver who causes any reaction from defensive coordinators (Donnie Avery) is banged up. Steven Jackson might get a few yards rushing, but the Rams can't stop the Colts, and they can't score touchdowns. That's a bad combination. The Colts have had 2 weeks to prepare, and playing in a dome, they will feel right at home.
Colts 34, Rams 10

Minnesota +6 over Pittsburgh

The Vikings are 6-0 and now they are getting 6 points? I don't know if I trust Favre in this one, but the Vikings defensive front has a big edge up front, and as a result, they should stay in this game. The only reason Pittsburgh is getting 6 points is because Minnesota plays at Green Bay next week. Could this be a trap game? Perhaps. But I think Minnesota is the better team (until Favre breaks down), and I'll gladly take them getting 6.
Pittsburgh 21, Minnesota 20

Miami +7 over New Orleans

This is a great spot for Miami. They should have the edge in the trenches on both sides, and they can run the ball on anybody. They've had an extra week to prepare for the Saints, and they are at home. The Dolphins impressed me a lot against the Jets, and I like taking teams coming off bye weeks. The Saints could be facing a letdown after just playing the Giants in what was built up as the biggest game of the regular season to that point. The Dolphins are still flying under the radar a little.
New Orleans 28, Miami 24

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jets vs Raiders Preview

New York Jets at Oakland Raiders
October, 25, 2009, 4:05 PM – CBS

Just three weeks ago, the Jets seemed unstoppable. The defense was playing out of its mind, and Mark Sanchez looked well beyond his years. Three straight losses, and an injury to their most valuable defensive player now have the Jets reeling for a victory. Oakland is a good team to reverse a losing streak against, but Buffalo at home looked like the same thing last week, and with the Jets’ recent struggles both on the West Coast and in the 4:00 time slot, nothing is a given. Oakland even won last week, stunning the Philadelphia Eagles 13-9. The Jets are 6.5 point favorites on the road, but you can throw out the odds in this rivalry.

Key Injuries


Jets
OUT
WR Jerricho Cotchery
WR Brad Smith
NT Kris Jenkins
CB Lito Sheppard

QUESTIONABLE
CB Donald Strickland (expected to play)
T Damien Woody (expected to play)

Raiders
OUT
LB Ricky Brown
G Robert Gallery
T Cornell Green
RB Darren McFadden

QUESTIONABLE
DE Greg Ellis
WR Chaz Schillens
DE Richard Seymour

When the Jets have the ball…

After Mark Sanchez threw five interceptions last week, it’s pretty obvious the Jets are going to want to run the ball. Against Buffalo Thomas Jones was able to set a franchise record 210 yards, and Leon Washington added another 99 yards. Brian Schottenheimer has taken a lot of heat all week for putting his quarterback in bad situations, but Sanchez quite simply has to play better.

Oakland has allowed 145.3 yards-per-game on the ground this season, with opponents having a 4.3 yards-per-carry average. The Eagles’ top two backs only managed 63 yards in the loss last week, but Philadelphia has a terrible habit of abandoning the run far too early, and their banged up offensive line got manhandled by the Raiders’ front seven. There is talent up front on defense for Oakland, with linebackers Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison leading the defense behind an underrated defensive line with Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly.

That defensive line gave the Eagles fits last week, and they performed admirably against San Diego and Kansas City. The Jets should be able to hold up better up front, but they will not be able to run the ball as easily as they could last week. The Raiders’ bloated stats have as much to do with their offensive ineptitude as anything else.

Points could be hard to come by for the Jets. Nnamdi Asomugha is widely considered the best cornerback in football, even though Darrelle Revis, Antoine Winfield, Champ Bailey, and Jabari Greer have given him some competition, Braylon Edwards will have his hands full. Edwards was slowed by a quad injury a little in practice, but he will be good-to-go against Asomugha.

Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith will both miss another week with their injuries, so David Clowney will make his second straight (and second career) start. In his first start last week, he wasn’t thrown to once, but he’ll be matched up against Chris Johnson, so he should have more opportunities to make plays. Without Smith, Wallace Wright will keep getting playing time, and Danny Woodhead could make his offensive debut at receiver.

TE Dustin Keller was thrown to ten times last week, but he only made two catches, and he and Sanchez looked out of sync all game. Keller has been a big disappointment this season in terms of his production in the passing game, but he should be a key part of the gameplan this week again.

Oakland held Philadelphia to nine points last week. There is a good deal of talent on the defense, but the coaching and the desire have often been questioned. Coming off a big win, the Raiders should be fired up to try to win a second straight in Oakland Alameda Coliseum and a second straight against the Jets. The Jets will get their yards on the ground, but they have struggled to score in the redzone, and without Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith, two of their more physical receivers, it could be a problem again.

Advantage: Push

When the Raiders have the ball…


The Oakland Raiders are the worst offensive team in football. They are dead last in the NFL in yards-per-game (213.8) and are 31st in points-per-game (10.3). JaMarcus Russell has the 2nd worst quarterback rating in the NFL at 51.0. Only Derek Anderson has been worse. Mark Sanchez, by the way, is third worst (34th overall) at 56.7.

Russell “leads” a passing game that has been inept this season. He has completed 45.6% of his passes. He is not helped by a young and raw receiving corps, led by Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Chaz Schilens, the guy who was supposed to be their #1 receiver, was supposed to make his return this week, but he had to miss the end of practice Friday, so his return is in doubt.

Even without Lito Sheppard, the Jets should be able to smother the Raiders’ receivers. Russell’s number one option in this game, as it has been all season, should be tight end Zach Miller. Miller is a talented tight end with soft hands and athletic ability. He scored an 86-yard touchdown pass last week for Oakland’s fifth touchdown all season. He could provide mismatch problems for the Jets’ linebackers, but since everyone knows he is Russell’s primary option, and Russell isn’t the most accurate quarterback, the Jets should focus on him.

As far as running the football, Oakland hasn’t been that bad for the past few seasons. This season, however, the offensive line has declined, largely due to the injuries to G Robert Gallery and RB Darren McFadden. RB Michael Bush and RB Justin Fargas carry the load for the Raiders. Bush is a fairly explosive power back who has been their most productive back at 3.7 yards-per-carry, but both Lane Kiffin and Tom Cable seem more willing to give the ball to Fargas, who is viewed as a more steady veteran.

The Jets’ run defense is the unit hurt most by the loss of Kris Jenkins. Sione Pouha does not command, and certainly can’t make plays through, double teams, so David Harris and Bart Scott will have to deal with even more blockers. Harris has been particularly inconsistent this season, so he will have to step his play up. Everyone will.

The Raiders should be able to move the ball a little between the twenties with the run, but let’s face it: they simply can’t score. This isn’t a case of a team with some talent hamstrung by a bad offensive line and quarterback like Buffalo. In the past five weeks, they have scored a total of 42 points, and even without Kris Jenkins, the Jets’ defense is good enough to hold them down. Even with six interceptions, the Bills only scored 16 points in four quarters and half of overtime. Oakland hasn’t scored more than 13 points than week one, and the Jets have too much talent at linebacker and in the secondary to expect anything more from the Raiders.

Advantage: Jets

Intangibles


You would think that Gang Green would come out firing after losing three straight. However, you would have thought the same thing last week, and it didn’t happen. Sanchez is in a bad place right now, and he needs to snap out of it. Long-term, he should be fine, but as a rookie, he was so bad last week that it may affect him into the next week. The Raiders finally got a taste of winning last week, and the Jets are a team that they usually get up to play for. New York has struggled going out west lately, and Oakland won the game last year with a far inferior team. It could happen again.

Advantage: Raiders

Prediction


As bad as the Jets have played, Oakland has been worse, at least offensively. A team like Philadelphia played right into the Raiders’ hands, as they could dominate the line of scrimmage defensively, and the Eagles aren’t committed to the run. The Jets will run the football and control time of possession. Sanchez just can’t lose the game like he’s done against New Orleans and Buffalo, and the Jets should be able to put up at least 13 points. That should be enough to beat Oakland, who could struggle for double digits. Long-term, the Jets defense will run into trouble without Jenkins, probably starting against Miami next week. But there’s still plenty left in the tank to beat the Raiders.

Jets 17, Raiders 9

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Murrell, Ihebdigo Suspended Sunday, Sheppard Likely Out

After throwing punches at Bills TE Derek Fine on the opening kickoff of overtime, LB Marques Murrell and S James Ihebdigo have been fined $5,000 each and have been suspended for Sunday's game against Oakland. Ihebdigo drew a 15-yard penalty and was thrown out of the game for his role, but Murrell helped instigate it with a punch of his own.

They're lucky they aren't released.

*CB Lito Sheppard suffered a setback against Buffalo when he re-aggravated his quad injury. He is not expected to play against Oakland this week, so look for Dwight Lowery to make another start.

*CB Donald Strickland might finally be ready to return from his high ankle sprain. He said he is around 85%, and he'll probably be listed as questionable.

*WR Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) and WR Brad Smith (quad) both participated in individual drills but not team drills. It's unclear if either will play Sunday.

*WR Braylon Edwards suffered a minor quad injury last Sunday and was limited at practice. It shouldn't affect his playing status Sunday.

*T Damien Woody didn't practice, while DE Shaun Ellis and LB Marques Murrell were the other limited ones at practice.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jets Try to Replace Jenkins

As expected, the Jets resigned DT Howard Green today after learning about NT Kris Jenkins's season-ending injury. Green had been released to make room for Danny Woodhead last week.

However, what is more interesting but shouldn't be surprising is that Mike Tannenbaum is exploring trade options for defensive tackles, according to Rich Cimini of the Daily News.

Whom might they be contacting? Chances are, they're looking at the same team they got Mark Sanchez and Braylon Edwards from: the Cleveland Browns. NT Shaun Rogers has had his run-ins with Eric Mangini and the Browns organization, and DE/DT Corey Williams is also said to be on the block. It's unclear what the Jets could give up, given the fact that they've already traded away so many draft picks, but one thing is clear, Tannenbaum will leave no stone unturned.

Personally, unless he finds a great deal, I don't understand how he could give up more draft picks. This upcoming draft is supposed to be one of the best in a while. While it's highly unlikely any trade would involve their first round pick, which could give them ammunition down the line to trade down and pick up more picks later, part of the reason they keep needing to make these trades is because the drafts lately haven't been that strong.

Most of the roster has very thin depth. The Jets have been somewhat fortunate with injuries until Jenkins went down Sunday. Trading more picks won't help alleviate that problem.

The trade deadline is 4:00 PM, Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Jenkins - Torn ACL

It's official. Kris Jenkins is done for the season with a torn ACL. He will be placed on injured reserve, officially ending his season, and dealing a potential death blow to the defense. Jenkins cannot be replaced in the defense, but there is enough talent for them to still be good. The problem is, the way Sanchez is playing right now, they may have to be an elite defense to win games.

Don't be surprised if DT Howard Green is brought back. He was let go to make room for Danny Woodhead. Clearly, the Jets need to bring someone in to help add more depth, even if it's too late to bring in anyone significant. Sione Pouha, who got a lot of playing time last week, will now be a full-time starter, but others will certainly take turns at the nose. Even Vernon Gholston played a few plays at DT.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sanchez, Jets Fall to Bills in OT - Initial Reaction

How all your hopes and dreams can fade in a four hour period...

The Jets fell at home to the Buffalo Bills 16-13 in what can only be described as a total embarrassment. A team that lost its last game at home to the Cleveland Browns 6-3 was able to beat the Jets. Buffalo suffered their low point in the Cleveland loss because they couldn't beat a team whose QB went 2-17 for 23 yards and an interception. You had to wonder just how bad the opposing quarterback had to play for the Bills to win.

Today, you got your answer.

6 interceptions, 5 by Mark Sanchez, was enough to give the Bills just enough chances to win the game. In one of the ugliest football games the Jets have played in years, Sanchez was simply atrocious. He finished 10-29 for 119 yards and 5 interceptions.

Now, even though the opponent was the lowly Bills (who are now just one game behind the Jets), there were a few positives to the game. The Jets ran for an astounding 318 yards. Thomas Jones set a franchise record with 210 yards on 22 carries, including a career high 71-yard touchdown. Both Jones and Leon Washington ran well, and the Jets had a 13-3 lead at halftime.

But that was the last good time for the Jets all game as the second half was a disaster. All three possessions in the third quarter ended in a Sanchez interception. Braylon Edwards didn't help Sanchez's cause on two of them, but all were either poor throws or poor decisions.

The defense held up for the most part. Giving up 16 points in almost 5 quarters despite its team throwing 6 interceptions on paper looks great, even though their best field position from the picks was the 43 yardline. David Harris and Marques Douglas sandwiched Trent Edwards in the first half to knock him out of the game, leaving Ryan Fitzpatrick to man the offense. For the most part, he struggled, except on a quick slant in which Lee Evans exploited Lito Sheppard on a quick slant, split defenders and sprinted into the endzone to tie the game at 13. When the Bills threw to their receivers, they usually picked on Sheppard, who was beaten a few times. He would have had one interception, but it was called back on a borderline illegal contact call earlier on that drive.

However, there's longterm cause for concern for the defense, as Kris Jenkins suffered a right knee injury that Rex Ryan called "probably severe." If Jenkins is out for a long period of time, and it appears he's probably done for the season, then the defense certainly won't be the best in football as Kerry Rhodes predicted. It might not even be a top 10 defense anymore. The run defense was average before this week with maybe the best nose tackle in football. Now, it may become a real liability.

And the penalties were absolutely inexcusable. 14 penalties in the game is not how you win football games, and there were numerous drives that began with a penalty, either on special teams or on the first play of the drive, or even both. The most egregious penalty came in overtime when the Jets were already at the Bills 24 yardline, where it would have been a 41-yard field goal. Ben Hartsock was called for holding on a Thomas Jones run that would have given the Jets a first down inside the 20, and almost a sure victory. Instead, Steve Weatherford couldn't handle the snap, and Jay Feely never got a chance to try a potentnial game-winning 50-yard field goal.

Now, it's back to the drawing board for the Jets. At 3-3, the good will from the first 3 weeks has evaporated. Oakland is on the schedule next week, a place where the Jets have struggled in recent years. Rex Ryan and the rest of the coaching staff need to stop the stupid penalties, figure out a way to compensate for Jenkins on defense, and most importantly, figure out a way to get Sanchez back on track.

At different times this season, the Jets have done everything well. Sanchez and the passing game showed they could score points when they needed to in the passing game, and today, they nearly had two 100-yard rushers, including Jones's record-setting effort. The pass defense has been stout all year, and the run defense hasn't been bad. There's still hope for the year if they can get things straightened out. But it's starting to look painfully clear that Sanchez's rookie season is going to be a roller coaster, and the loss of Jenkins might render the defense not quite good enough to make up for it.

I hate to look ahead, but if the Jets beat Oakland, something that looks much harder right now than it did 12 hours ago, the Miami game will really define the Jets' season. If they win that game and are effective enough at slowing Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, they will be 5-3 at the bye, and maybe Ryan will have shown he can scheme his way out of missing his nose tackle. A loss would give the Jets three divisional losses and be a massive blow to playoff hopes this year.

Of course, a loss to Oakland next week, and things will truly begin spiraling out of control. Right now, it's just an extremely disheartening loss, and there's plenty of blame to go all around. The primary culprit, of course, is Mark Sanchez, but it's also time to take a more critical look at the Ryan regime. This loss was primarily because of one player's self-destruction, but it's still the Bills, and the defense hasn't making enough big plays for what it thinks it could be.

I can't wait to see the Sanchez video this week. I'll try to get that up as soon as possible, though it still should take a few days.

By the way, 318 yards rushing in a loss is the 2nd highest rushing output ever in a losing effort, and the most since the merger. The previous record was 320, set by the Cleveland Rams in 1944.

And here's the best stat of the game.

Sanchez' passer rating: 8.3

Jones's yards per carry: 9.5

Wow.

And I would give anything tomorrow to read that Jenkins is alright and he'll be okay later this season because right now, it's hard to have hope in terms of contending or being a playoff team this season. I have to see it to believe that this defense, even with Ryan and the new additions, can last without him. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but there's no reason Ryan would admit it's "probably severe" unless it probably was.

Week 6 NFL Picks

After a 2-1 last week in which the Jets were the only ones to fail me (that's what I get for picking my own team), hopefully I can go 3-0 this week. My two underdogs last week, Cincinnati and Cleveland, both won straight up. I'm not quite as confident in this week's picks, but that's not an excuse. 9-6 on the year. Let's beat the bookies.

Jets -9.5 over Bills
Right back to the well! I'm starting to hate myself for picking the Jets so much here, but I really like this spot for New York. Buffalo is a total mess right now, looking worse every game. The letdown on defense last week was more of an aberration than a trend, and the Bills' struggles are real. Receivers mean little without an offensive line, and Rex Ryan should be able to get pressure on Edwards all game. Even though the sack totals are not there, they have the ability to get to the quarterback, ask Tom Brady. The weather worries me a little, and so does Jerricho Cotchery's injury, but the Bills weren't that good to start with, and now they are injury-laden. Buffalo won't score double digits.
Jets 24, Bills 6

Texans +5 over Bengals

Cincinnati has been really good to me this year, as I've already picked ad wo with them twice. This time, I'm going against them. Houston is going to open things up this week and put some points on the board. They'll hang right there with the Bengals, who are due for a letdown after back to back huge divisional wins. Cincinnati's young cornerbacks are building quite a name for themselves, but they have yet to face someone like Andre Johnson. The Texans have a ton of weapons, and they desperately need this game. I think they get it.
Texans 28, Bengals 27

Titans +9.5 over Patriots

This is a classic example of a game where the weather should play a big factor. Unlike Buffalo-New York, these two teams are fairly evenly matched in the trenches. Where Tennessee has gotten killed all season is through the pass. 25 MPH winds should negate that advantage, bring the total down, and keep the Titans in it. It's hard to pick the Titans to win this game, but if it's going to be a run-heavy game, Chris Johnson and LenDale White might have the advantage. If it were clear skies, I would predict Randy Moss to go off, but in this nor'easter, I don't think so.
Patriots 17, Titans 14

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bills at Jets Preview


Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
The Meadowlands: 4:15 PM, CBS

After two straight losses on the road, the Jets look to get back to their winning ways Sunday against Buffalo. New York is 2-0 at home, and they want to regain the swagger that their defense may have lost Monday in Miami. Buffalo seems to be tailor-made for the Jets to take out their frustrations on, but the Bills still have enough talent to stay in the game, and the weather could be a giant equalizer.

When the Jets have the ball…

As always, Brian Schottenheimer’s gameplan will revolve around establishing the run. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington have struggled so far this season to find consistent running room. Jones (3.7 YPC) appears to be dancing a little more this year and falling down on first contact too often (as reflected by the fact that nobody seems to want Jones carrying the load on the poll to the left). Washington (4.1 YPC) has fared better than Jones, but the big plays have not been there for him as they have been in the past. Shonn Greene is starting to get some work, too, as he has had carries in each of the past two games.

Buffalo is the softest defense against the run the Jets have played since week one against Houston. They allow 4.7 yards per carry and 154.6 yards-per-game, the 4th worst total in the league. The last three opponents have racked up an astounding 643 yards on the ground. Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny might return this week, which would be a huge help for a linebacking corps already down Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Buggs. They signed journeyman Chris Draft who should play right away. On their line, DT Marcus Strud and DE Aaron Schobel are good players, but there isn’t much around them, and clearly they can be pushed around. It would be a good time for the Jets’ offensive line to show they are worth the money they are being paid.

The running game will be so important because of the wind and rain projected to be in the forecast. The wind should curb the deep passing game, which is a shame because even though the Jets will be missing their #2 and #3 receivers, the players that are left excel down the field. Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith are not expected to play, so David Clowney will get his first career start opposite Braylon Edwards. Not one receiver who will play Sunday had tallied a single catch with the Jets in the first four games, with Edwards, Clowney, Wallace Wright, and the newly promoted Danny Woodhead. The short passes will probably be the primary focus, so maybe Woodhead will receive some action in his first NFL game. More likely, getting TE Dustin Keller more involved will be stressed after his 0’fer in the stat-sheet last week.

The Bills’ secondary is also hurting with CB/KR Leodis McKelvin out for the year. That means top cover man Terrence McGee, who has also been a little banged up in practice, will battle Edwards. S Brian Scott will also miss this game, his third straight due to injury. S Donte Whitner is still dangerous, but the Jets’ injuries at receiver are matched by the Bills’ injuries in the secondary.

But this game will be won on both sides of the ball in the trenches. On offense, the Jets have a highly paid and highly touted offensive line going against a defense that has been gutted by injury and dominated by opposing rushing attacks. If Mark Sanchez can protect the football in the elements, a question he still needs to answer, the Jets should be able to put enough points on the board against this defense.

Advantage: Jets

When the Bills have the ball…


Trent Edwards has earned the derisive nickname “Captain Checkdown” for his habit of throwing the ball short to his runningbacks and tight ends. As a result, receivers Terrell Owens and Lee Evans have yet to get going this year. The two have combined for 24 catches for 361 yards and a touchdown. By comparison, Jerricho Cotchery has 24 catches for 360 yards and a touchdown, and he only had one grab last week. Darrelle Revis and Lito Sheppard, who should return after missing three weeks, should keep the two in check again, assuming Edwards is willing to take chances down the field. If the weather is bad, he’ll just keep throwing short, which the Jets shouldn’t mind.

But the primary focus for the Bills will be running the ball. In Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo boasts two talented backs who offer contrasting styles. Jackson is shifty and performed very well in the first three games during Lynch’s suspension. Lynch is more of a bruiser, but both runningbacks are proficient at catching the ball.

New York’s defense has been merely average against the run so far, but in Houston, New England, Tennessee, New Orleans, and Miami, they have faced some of the better rushing games in the league. More importantly, they have faced four of the better offensive lines in football in the past month, which the Bills simply do not have. They start two rookies on the line and one second-year player, and if right tackle Jonathan Scott can’t play, a third rookie would start. A defense that is sure to be angry after an embarrassing performance last week probably can’t wait to tee off against the inexperienced Bills line.

The Jets defense struggled mightily last week, showing several chinks in the armor. The pass rush is near the bottom of the NFL in producing sacks, and if they can’t get to Edwards in their home park, something is wrong. The Bills offense has been inept most of the year, reaching its low point last week in a 6-3 loss at home to Cleveland who completed just two passes all game. The Bills have a lot to figure out offensively, and the Jets probably aren’t the best team to work out their problems against.

Advantage: Jets

Intangibles


Both teams are coming off embarrassing losses, so the motivation should be there for each squad. However, the Jets problems are much easier to fix than Buffalo’s, and it seems likely that they come out fired up with less talk and more production. It’s getting ugly in Buffalo, and injuries have sapped much of the hope that could have been there. The difference between the two teams is that the Jets have seen the light on each side of the football and have reason to believe things will get better while the Bills seem to be on a downward spiral. With the game in the Meadowlands, where the Jets are 2-0, it’s even more likely that New York has a little more incentive than Buffalo.

Advantage: Jets

Prediction


The Jets have more talent on offense, on defense, and on special teams than the Bills, and they are playing at home. If Buffalo is to win this game, chances are it will be more like the New Orleans game than the Miami one. Donte Whitner and Terrence McGee can make plays, and if Mark Sanchez is careless with the football, the wind and the rain could take its toll and keep the Bills in the game. More likely, however, the Jets push the Bills around in the trenches and win fairly comfortably, even if it’s not a blowout.

Jets 24, Bills 6

Meet the newest new receiver on the Jets: #83 Danny Woodhead

Many of you may have read that the Jets started working out RB Danny Woodheaad at receiver this week. With Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith's statuses for tomorrow's game against Buffalo in serious doubt, they decided to give the former Chadrom State star a shot at receiver. He even changed his number to 83 to reflect the change. Chansi who?

Now, it appears Woodhead will finally get his chance in an actual game. Today, the Jets promoted him to the active roster. Woodhead may work out of the slot next to the likely starters Braylon Edwards and David Clowney. He's a tough, shifty kid with good hands and good speed, and with the Jets now facing a ton of depth at RB and very little at WR, they decided to make the change.

Will he play right away? My guess is yes. If Cotchery and Smith are unable to go as expected, that leaves Edwards, Clowney, and Wallace Wright as the only receivers on the roster. Sure, Leon Washington can line up wide, but Woodhead gives them a lot more options, and they wouldn't have called him up if they didn't plan on playing him. The only other explanation is that they felt he was too valuable to leave exposed on the practice squad, but the timing of the move dictates otherwise. The team loved what they saw from him in preseason and were waiting to give him an opportunity. Tomorrow, he should get his first chance.

UPDATE (5:55 PM): To make room for Woodhead, the Jets released DL Howard Green. Sione Pouha reclaimed the backup NT job after a brief push by Green, so he was expendable.

Week 5 Mark Sanchez Tracker - Every Pass vs Miami

Hope this makes some people's Saturday mornings a little better. Here's every passing play by Mark Sanchez against Miami in week number five. Braylon Edwards's debut is well-worth watching again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dolphins beat Jets 31-27 in a "complete embarrassment"

Quick post-game thoughts...

*Hats off to the Dolphins. Chad Henne played fantastic football, and the Jets had no answer for the Wildcat. The Jets' defense did not come to play today, and their play in the fourth quarter was absolutely abysmal. The Dolphins deserved to win, but the Jets' defense now has serious chinks in its armor that need to be figured out soon.

*The game could have been much worse if it weren't for two fake punts and a huge pass interference call. The Dolphins were the better team, which is hard to admit, but they were on this day. If Henne can play like this, their offense will be pretty good all season. Because all of a sudden, the Dolphins are just a game back of the first place Jets and Patriots.

*The Jets' two leading receivers didn't have any catches in green and white this season until today. Braylon Edwards and David Clowney showed up. Edwards couldn't have had a better debut, and Clowney showed he could make a few plays in the regular season as well. They were about the only bright spots for the Jets in this one.

*Mark Sanchez continued to struggle. He made a few nice deep passes to Edwards and Clowney, but he made a number of bad throws. He didn't turn the ball over all game (neither did Miami), but he didn't make enough plays to win.

*The running game was actually pretty good today, better than it had been. Leon Washington led the way with a very good game. Brad Smith and Steve Weatherford's fake punts definitely padded the numbers though.

*Still, when all is said and done, the main culprit of this game is the defense. The linebackers were terrible all game. Calvin Pace kept saying he wanted to make an impact in his first game back. I didn't see it. Bart Scott and David Harris did not play well, and nobody tackled well. The Dolphins embarrassed the Jets with the Wildcat all day, and Chad Henne played better against this defense than Tom Brady, Matt Schaub, Kerry Collins, and Drew Brees did. The red zone defense which had been a strength all season long completely disentegrated. The line was consistently pushed backwards, and when Henne wanted to throw, he usually had guys to throw to, and he usually had time to throw. A week after the Bills sacked Henne six times, the Jets could not get a single sack. His passer rating? 130.4. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

Terrible job by the Jets. I won't say same old Jets because that takes too much credit away from Miami. But two straight losses erases a lot of the good done in the first three weeks, and now that Houston, New England, and Tennessee don't appear to be as good as once thought, the question becomes how good are the Jets really?

They need to be 6-2 at the bye. Buffalo, Oakland, and Miami again are now more pressurized games. Buffalo is close to a must-win because teams that want to make the playoffs can't afford to lose home divisional games to horrible teams like the Bills.

Ryan called the game a "complete embarrassment." And he was right. He called it "a horrendous day for our defense." He is right. This has to change. I'm confident it will change, but the time is now. The Jets need to (and should) shred the Bills on Sunday to regain the swagger that they had early in the season or it could start to spiral out of control.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Keys for the Game - Lito out, Cotchery in

The anticipation is killing me. With gametime less than two hours away, let's look at some of the keys to the game for each team.

Miami's keys
1. Don't turn the ball over! A home crowd at Monday night with perhaps the best running attack in football is a big advantage for them. They should be able to move the ball a little with Ronnie Brown, but the offense's margin for error is not nearly big enough to afford giving the Jets extra opportunities.

2. Get pressure on the quarterback. Mark Sanchez has experienced some growing pains under pressure, forcing some passes and not protecting the ball as well as he should. This has the potential to be a hostile crowd for Sanchez, but if he can sit comfortably in the pocket and not turn the ball over, the Jets should win the game.

3. Score early. The Dolphins want to run the football. If they fall behind early, they won't be able to do that, and the Jets will be able to tee off on Chad Henne. The Dolphins have neither the quarterback nor the weapons to beat the Jets' defense the way they are playing. They need to run the ball and maybe generate some big plays.

New York's keys
1. Show off the shiny new toy. Braylon Edwards is a New York Jet, and his presence needs to make at least somewhat of an immediate impact. He's going to be starting right away, and he's suddenly the best deep threat and red zone target the Jets have. If he can make a play or two early, running the football should become easier, and Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller's lives should be easier underneath.

2. Get penetration in the backfield. This is one of those games where Rex Ryan should unleash his pack of wild dogs on the opposing offense. The Jets will blitz early and often, whether it's to plug up holes that Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams could run through or to put pressure in Henne's face. If the green and white are consistently in the Dolphins backfield, then the Jets will probably win.

3. Don't turn the ball over!
This is obvious, but the reason the Jets lost last week was because of Mark Sanchez's turnovers. That can't happen again this week. He needs to prove that he is learning from his mistakes. Miami has a good front seven, but their secondary leaves something to be desired, and if Sanchez has time to throw, there should be receivers open. He just needs to hit them. And protect the ball with two hands.

By the way, Jerricho Cotchery WILL play tonight. He is active.

Lito Sheppard won't play. Neither will Donald Strickland, Jamaal Westerman, Ropati Pitoitua, Matthew Slauson, Kevin O'Connell, and Ahmad Carroll.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Latest News on Jets' Walking Wounded is Positive

According to Rich Cimini of the Daily News, Jerricho Cotchery, Damien Woody, and Kerry Rhodes are all looking like they might play Sunday. Rhodes and Woody seemed more likely than Cotchery, but Cimini says "the feeling of the team" is that he will give it a go Monday.

Jets vs Dolphins Preview

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Monday, October 12 - 8:30 PM, ESPN


The New York Jets will travel to Miami and Landshark Stadium to face Chad Henne and the Dolphins. Both teams are trying to get wins to try to verify who they are. After a 3-0 start, Mark Sanchez struggled and the Jets dropped a game at New Orleans. A loss here and the Jets would give first place back to the Patriots. Meanwhile, Miami is 1-0 in the Chad Henne era after smothering Buffalo 38-10. If Miami can win here, they’d be 2-3, and they can legitimately start thinking playoffs again. Both teams have done a
lot of talking, and the game will be on the biggest stage: Monday Night Football.

When the Jets have the ball…

This section of the article would have been written differently on Monday, on Wednesday, and now. That’s because Mark Sanchez’s targets seem to change every day. One thing is clear: former Cleveland Brown Braylon Edwards is here, and the 6-3 athletic specimen will provide an option the Jets haven’t had in years. While you can’t expect from him with less than a week of learning the playbook, the terminology and plays in Cleveland and New York are similar, so the learning curve shouldn’t be too long.

The player opposite Edwards remains a mystery. Jerricho Cotchery was supposed to be the guy. He has been a very effective and consistent receiver so far, but a Thursday hamstring injury puts his playing status in jeopardy. When healthy, he is a perfect complement to Edwards. Brad Smith and David Clowney could be thrust into the spotlight. Smith has been the #3 receiver all year. He’s shifty with the ball in his hands, but he has questionable hands and receiver instincts. Clowney’s been a preseason star two years running, but his speed has yet to translate in a real game. Monday could finally be his chance, but don’t get your hopes up.

With the receiver situation a question mark, look for Dustin Keller to make a bigger impact. Keller is faster than the Dolphin safeties, and the deep threat of Edwards should open up the field a little bit more. Miami was burned by Dallas Clark in primetime just a few weeks ago, Keller could be next.

Still, the first Jets’ option will be running the football. They’ve tried to be a run-first team all year to ease the pressure off Sanchez, and with Cotchery potentially on the sidelines, there is even more incentive to establish the run. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington have been a middle of the pack rushing duo this season, which needs to improve. Miami will be a tough task, as their 3-4 alignment has been very effective at stopping the run all year. Shonn Greene will probably receive some touches, especially if Jones can’t get it going early.

The Dolphins’ defense is not to blame for the team’s 1-3 record. The run defense has been solid all year. Part of this is due to the abilities of safeties Yeremiah Bell and Gibril Wilson. But both players are also prone to biting on play action, and if they aren’t careful, Edwards might be able to make a big play or two deep. His addition should eventually work wonders for the Jets, but the potential loss of Cotchery negates that. Neither side has a clear edge here.

Advantage: Push

When the Dolphins have the ball…


Losing Chad Pennington was a blow to the offense, but by now, we all know his limitations. Chad Henne gives them a bit more of a deep threat even though he won’t be as accurate on short passes or make the right decisions all the time in just his second career start.

As a result, there is no secret that the Dolphins will do whatever they can to run the football. Both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will get chances to run the football, and both average at least 5 yards per carry. They will throw a ton of different looks out there in order to try to run it, whether it’s a standard formation or Wildcat. Multiple players will take snaps, and there’s always the possibility that Tyler Thigpen or Pat White take snaps at quarterback in the Wildcat. Against Rex Ryan’s defense, running the ball has usually been more effective, and the Dolphins will probably try to take advantage of the Jets’ aggression in run blitzing.

The Jets’ defense has been one of the best in the NFL this season, and they’ve done that against some of the top offenses in the NFL, something Miami can’t boast. Linebacker Calvin Pace also returns this week, giving Ryan even more options defensively. As a result, the Dolphins could be more inclined to throw everything they have at the Jets, especially given the magnitude of the game.

While Pace returns from a four-game suspension, cornerbacks Lito Sheppard (doubtful) and Donald Strickland (out) likely won’t play. However, the Dolphins’ receiving corps is a weak spot, and Ted Ginn Jr., Davone Bess, and Brian Hartline probably won’t be able to take advantage of Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman too much.

The Jets know this, so they will put all their focus on the run, and put as many guys in Chad Henne’s face as possible. They will try to overwhelm the young quarterback and induce him into making mistakes. So far, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Kerry Collins, and Drew Brees have by and large done a very good job of avoiding sacks and not turning the ball over. Chad Henne has a lot to prove until he has the experience and/or skill of those four quarterbacks. If he can make throws to the guys he has to throw to under the pressure the Jets are bound to bring, then the Dolphins will deserve to win.

In the meantime, this might be too tall and order for the Dolphins’ offense. Miami will be able to get some yards between the twenties running the football, but scoring touchdowns should be a whole different story. Until the Dolphins prove they can throw the ball, whether out of the Wildcat or out of a normal formation, they’re too one-dimensional an offense to beat Rex Ryan’s fierce Jets’ defense.

Advantage: Jets

Intangibles


For reasons discussed in the introduction, both teams really want to win this game. A loss here reverses much of the good done in the first three weeks for the Jets, especially if Sanchez struggles again. A win re-asserts them as an AFC force, making last week’s loss look reasonable and not a trend. Both teams have been talking trash, as Miami linebackers Akin Ayodele and Channing Crowder have said some things. Miami will be at home on Monday night football, but the Jets are a defensive-first team, which makes them more likely to silence the crowd than anything else.

Advantage: Push

Prediction


The big question will be how much either team can score for different reasons. Whichever young quarterback can protect the ball better and keep the opposing offense from having short field will probably be on the winning side. My money would be on Sanchez. While the Dolphins might be able to kick some field goals, eventually the Jets will move the ball with Keller and Edwards and force Miami to throw. At that point, the defense will feast on Henne, and the Jets will take this one on the road and move to 4-1.

Jets 20, Dolphins 13

NFL Picks, Week 5

7-5 on the year, 1-2 last week. Back-to-back losing weeks. Need to turn it around this week. Let's give it a shot...

Browns +6.5 over Bills
Look, I hate taking Cleveland as much as you do. But this is completely a play against Buffalo. They have no offensive line, and the already mediocre defense is already banged up. And they're giving someone 6.5 points? Give me a break. Cleveland is a better team with Derek Anderson at quarterback, and as much as I love that the Jets got Edwards, he wasn't helping them out very much. Cincinnati is playing well right now, and Cleveland held them down that entire game defensively. And let's be honest, Eric Mangini is a better coach than Dick Jauron.
Cleveland 17, Buffalo 16

Jets -2 over Dolphins
I won't give a prediction away until tomorrow when I post the full preview, but let's just say I think the Jets will win. The defense is playing at an obscene level right now, and the Dolphins do not have the personnel to put points on the board. New Orleans, New England, and Houston have already been stymied. Chad Henne and the Dolphins won't be able to put that many points on the board. The Jets are banged up on offense, but no one knows how the Jets will use Braylon Edwards. However, I think the distance maker will be Dustin Keller. The Dolphins don't have anyone who can really defend him, and if Edwards can make an early impact, the Jets could have much needed balance offensively to go with that dominant defense. Miami did have a big win last week, but Buffalo is a complete mess right now. Gang Green will win.

Bengals +8.5 over Ravens
I love the Ravens as much as everybody else, but this is simply too many points to give them. I've picked the Bengals before this year, and I'm going back to the well. The defense is quite solid. Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall have the upper hand against Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton, and sack artist Antwan Odom should be going against rookie Michael Oher. For the first time in years, the Bengals offensive line can play physically with the Ravens, and they won't crumple. Will it be enough to win? That would be a tall order. But getting more than a touchdown is a gift.
Baltimore 24, Cincinnati 20

Other leans
Titans +4.5 over Colts
Falcons +3 over 49ers
Lions +11.5 over Steelers
Chiefs +7.5 over Cowboys
Broncos +4 over Patriots
Texans +5.5 over Cardinals

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cotchery misses Saturday practice, Injury woes mount for Jets

Here's your week 5 injury report for the Jets.

WR Jerricho Cotchery - questionable, hamstring
Missed practice Friday and Saturday. Status unclear for Monday. Missing Cotchery would force Braylon Edwards into a large role right away, as well as thrusting Brad Smith and even David Clowney into the spotlight. Clowney will get some time on Monday night regardless, and this could be one of the bigger chances he'll get at showing he isn't just a preseason wonder. Hamstring injuries are tough to figure out, but the fact that he didn't practice yesterday is not a good sign in the least.

CB Lito Sheppard - doubtful, quadriceps
Sheppard is unlikely to play on Monday. Miami's wide receivers aren't a strength, so it's not the worst thing in the world if he sits.

CB Donald Strickland - out, ankle
Strickland has been ruled out for Monday's game. He's still recovering from a nagging ankle injury, and it might take him slightly longer than Sheppard to return. Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman will continue to get more playing time. Both have performed admirably.

T Damien Woody - questionable, foot
Woody didn't practice Thursday or Saturday, but he was out there on Friday. If he misses the game Monday, Wayne Hunter would replace him. The Dolphins have been strong against the run so far this season, so missing Woody could have a big effect on the running game.

S Kerry Rhodes, questionable, knee
Rhodes has been limited in practice for three straight days, but he should be ready to go on Monday. It would be a big surprise if he were out.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Braylon: "I'm ready to play right away" Cotchery? Maybe not

If there was ever a week to bring in a receiver, I guess this would be it. The Jets will appear on Monday Night Football against the Dolphins, and the newly acquired Braylon Edwards will have an extra day to prepare for the game.

But Edwards says he is ready to play to play right away. Part of the reason for the easy transition is Rob Chudzinski, the offensive coordinator in Cleveland. He runs a similar system with similar terminology as Brian Schottenheimer, and Schottenheimer was very impressed with how much Edwards already knew.

Still, even though it appears Edwards will be playing and playing a lot, his new running mate might not be. Jerricho Cotchery is now questionable for Monday's game after tweaking his hamstring on practice Thursday. Ryan thinks he'll play, but he acknowledges that there's a chance he'll sit.

Losing Cotchery would be terrible, especially as Edwards is familiarizing himself in green and white. They appear to be perfect complements for each other, and Cotchery's absence could put added pressure on Edwards to perform right away. Despite rave reviews in practice, it's too early to make Edwards be the #1 option. He has four games to get used to playing in New York, then after the bye week, there will be much more expectations to perform, as there should be.

*As far as other injuries are concerned, the most concerning ones this week are CB Donald Strickland and RT Damien Woody. Strickland has been out for a few weeks, and it'd be a surprise if he was back this week. Woody has a foot injury. He and CB Lito Sheppard both participated in limited practice Friday, but neither are locks to play.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pros and Cons of Edwards Trade

Let's look at the pros and cons of today's big trade.

Pros
  • Edwards is the prototypical NFL receiver. He's 6'3", 215 with good speed and athletic ability, and at 26 years old, he should be entering his prime.
  • In 2007 Edwards had 80 catches for 1,289 yards, and a whopping 16 touchdowns, so he's been a star before.
  • He brings an entirely new element to the Jets' offense. He can be a deep threat that can be effective on the outside of the field. If teams need to use their safeties to help on Edwards rather than stopping the run or guarding Dustin Keller, it will be worth it.
  • Edwards is MUCH better than Chansi Stuckey or Brad Smith.
  • The Jets now have a dominant redzone threat. 16 touchdowns in 2007 shows that he can be a huge player in an area of the field which they need to improve in.
  • Mark Sanchez now has a true go-to-guy. He has the possession receiver in Jerricho Cotchery and now the threat opposite him in Edwards.
  • Sanchez, Cotchery, Washington, Keller, Shonn Greene, Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, and now Edwards make a very good young offensive core.
  • The Jets' defense is good enough to win the Super Bowl. The offense? Not close. Edwards, however, brings the offense to a level where they can win a Super Bowl with him. The team will still be led by the defense, of course, but now the offense is not nearly as easy to defend, and it wasn't that bad before.
  • The value the Jets gave up really isn't that huge. Chansi Stuckey is the biggest name loss, but he struggled against New Orleans, and he's clearly best suited to be a slot receiver. Chansi would have been the ideal #3 behind Braylon and Jerricho, both in skillset and in interesting name.

    Jason Trusnik is a very good special teamer with some defensive ability who could surprise people in Cleveland. But if there was anywhere the Jets could have afforded to lose someone, it was linebacker. They were deep before Calvin Pace got here, and now they're even deeper. In fact, Trusnik's departure makes room for Clowney.

    The draft picks, a 3rd (could be a 2nd if Edwards dominates) and a 5th, hurt, but they are recoverable. The Jets were clearly going to draft a receiver next year, so now they go into the draft still with their 1st and 2nd round picks and no glaring holes. You would think Mike Tannenbaum would trade down and try to recuperate some picks to replace all the ones he's traded lately.
Cons
  • On-field issues: It's great to quote 2007 stats, but what have you done for me lately? In Edwards case, very little but drop passes. His 2008 season was a disaster, and his 30 dropped passes since 2007 is tied for the NFL lead. He hastened Derek Anderson's downfall in Cleveland one year after the two combined for a magical pass-catch combination.
  • Off-field issues: Concentration and focus have been a problem with him, not just on the field with dropped balls, but also off the field. He's had a number of off-field problems, and while none of them have been too serious, he is currently being investigated by the league after LeBron James said that Edwards punched one of his smaller friends. A suspension is unlikely but possible.
  • If he was said to enjoy the nightlife and have focus issues in Cleveland, what will happen when he comes to the Big Apple?
  • Contract issues: His salary is a big reason why he's been on the block. He's a free agent after this year, albeit a restricted one if there is no new collective bargaining agreement in place. If a deal between the owners and players gets completed, however, then Edwards could walk after the season. He's seeking in an extension in the neighborhood of $9 million dollars a year. The Jets will not and should not give that to him. He's not worth it, at least not yet, and if they were to give yet another outsider a big contract before taking care of Washington, it might cause irreparable damage.
  • A promising receiver and linebacker, as well as two mid-draft picks, were all spent to potentially rent a receiver who hasn't been productive in over a year, and who wants a big contract. That's a lot of eggs to put in one basket. Edwards might drop it.
So do the pros outweigh the cons? In my book, yes. His mere presence alone should force defenses to play the Jets differently, and if he turn's some 3's into 7's in the red zone, it should be worth it. Chances are, he'll be an RFA after this year, so the Jets should have almost two years to evaluate what to do with him. In the meantime, the entire offense's job just became much easier. And if the offense can put up more points, the defense's job just became much easier as well.

Jets Acquire WR Braylon Edwards for Stuckey, Trusnik

No, that title is not a joke. Shows me what I get for sleeping with my phone on alarm only rather than loud. 4 people text me saying the Jets get Braylon Edwards, and I'm just sleeping through it. It's just funny because I was talking with people on how Edwards must be the most hated man in Cleveland.

Not anymore. Edwards is now a New York Jet, as the Jets shipped WR Chansi Stuckey, LB Jason Trusnik, and undisclosed draft picks, reported to be a 3rd and a 5th rounder.

First reaction? WOW. Mike Tannaenbaum strikes again. This guy is a maniac. Brett Favre, Kris Jenkins, Lito Sheppard, Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, and Braylon Edwards are now among the Jets who have been traded for in the last two seasons alone!

Edwards is 6'3", 215, and coming off about 20 straight disappointing games after taking the NFL by storm in 2007.

This trade is reminiscent of the draft day deal with Mangini where the Jets gave five for one. This trade is four players for one, but yet again, none of the players are part of the Jets' core. Trusnik is a very good special teamer who has done whatever the team has asked of him, but he is replaceable. Stuckey is better suited as a slot receiver. He is promising, but Braylon Edwards is in a whole other class of talent.

He is big. He is fast. He is everything Jets receivers have NOT been ever since Keyshawn Johnson left. However, he has had terrible concentration problems, as he is tied for the lead in most drops since 2007 with 30. A change of scenery should be very helpful, as he had completely worn out his welcome in Cleveland, but if he slacks off in New York, like many felt he had in Cleveland, then nothing will save him. This trade is a risk, a pretty big risk. But the risk/reward factor here seems worth it.

Sanchez has struggled this year throwing the ball to receivers other than Jerricho Cotchery. Ideally, the Jets would have brought in a #1 receiver, slot Cotchery as the #2, and Stuckey as the slot receiver, but obviously Chansi is gone. Brad Smith and David Clowney should see a little more time at first while Edwards learns the offense.

What Edwards provides is a tall receiver who can help the Jets when they need to score in the passing game. He should be threatening enough to pull defenders outside the box, helping out the running game. And if not, he is dangerous enough to beat teams deep, so a few big plays could change teams' minds.

How about this to take your mind off the loss Sunday?

UPDATE: 11:10 AM: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the 3rd-round pick the Jets gave up to Cleveland could turn into second-round pick if Edwards reaches an incentive this year. However, the incentive is based on number of catches this year, and the number is said to be very high.

Who does this trade help most offensively? It's hard to tell. Edwards's mere presence could open up running lanes. If he makes a few big plays, defenses will stop putting safeties on Dustin Keller, freeing him up to go against linebackers more often. Jerricho Cotchery will stop facing #1 cornerbacks and be the possession receiver he was born to be. He's a fantastic compliment to Edwards.

And, of course, it helps Mark Sanchez. He now has a big, tall, athletic receiver who can make plays on 3rd downs and in the redzone. Edwards's issues with drops and effort have been well-documented, but few players needed a change of scenery more. However, one thing he hasn't really been known for is whining for the ball. Sure, if he doesn't get thrown to, he won't be happy, but he's not Terrell Owens in that sense. And if he is, the Jets will just win on defense, and they may try and get something back for Edwards, who is a restricted free agent after the year.

Chronicling Mark Sanchez: Week 4 vs New Orleans

Well, after last week's video took forever, I'm pleased to announced that the week 5 Mark Sanchez watch is up!



Enjoy! Even though this one isn't as fun to watch...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jets-Saints Thoughts

*Clearly, the story of the game is Mark Sanchez. It was the golden boy's first bad game in green and white, and he deserves the lion's share of the blame for this loss. He had two turnovers returned for touchdowns and only led the offense to 10 points. Still, there is no reason to panic. Rookie quarterbacks have growing pains, and this is to be expected. Darren Sharper has made a lot of quarterbacks look stupid like that, and Sanchez will learn not to stare down his receivers in the redzone and to throw the ball better.

His warts are coming more to life every game, but the Jets are 3-1 under Sanchez, and he has made a number of nice plays for this team. The receivers other than Jerricho Cotchery haven't really stepped up to give him some help, but they have nothing to do with his carelessness with the football. Sanchez seems like the type who will learn from this, and it should just be a bump in the road. Every rookie has games like that.

But the 15 yard penalties have to stop. Diving at Jonathan Vilma's knees was pointless and could (and probably should) draw a fine, especially considering Vilma's well-documented knee issues.

*The first drive made it look like Drew Brees would carve up the Jets' defense with quick releases, foiling Rex Ryan's blitzes, and exposing players like Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery. However, they stood tall in the redzone, like they did almost all game, and showed yet again just how good they are. The Saints managed one offensive touchdown, and Drew Brees had only 190 yards passing and no touchdowns. Every week this season, this defense has faced a tough task, and every week, they've passed the test with flying colors. Chad Henne and the Dolphins should be a welcome sight.

*Jerricho Cotchery has continued to step up to be the Jets' #1 weapon offensively. He had 5 catches for 71 yards. The yardage total was more than half the Jets' passing offense, and despite the total being solid, it was his lowest total of the season. He could be a major factor next Monday night.

*What to do with the running offense? It had underperformed in the first three games, and clearly Brian Schottenheimer took notice. He used the "Seminole" offense with Leon Washington a few times. Brad Smith took a few snaps, too. Are we supposed to call that the Mizzou Tiger? All in all, the Jets rushed for 132 yards, but nobody ran for more than 48 yards. Thomas Jones posted that total on 13 carries including the team's only touchdown. Leon Washington took a back seat surprisingly.

But the most intriguing thing about the running offense was that rookie Shonn Greene finally made his debut. He received 4 carries for 23 yards before tweaking his ankle. It's far too early to call him injury-prone, but he may need time to adjust to the violence of the NFL game. Just as interesting was the sense of purpose that Jones seemed to run with after Greene got into the game. Maybe that's the kick in the butt Jones needed.

*Despite the loss, there is absolutely no need to panic. The Jets are 3-1 in the first quarter of the season, a total any of you would have taken before the year started. The Saints are a very good football team, especially at home. Mark Sanchez has gained a ton of experience in the first four games, working from ahead, making a few plays, making some mistakes, and he completely looks the part. Remember, he started just one season in college, and New Orleans was the first time that was abundantly clear.

Calvin Pace will be back next week, and Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland are close to returning. It will be a long week before Monday night at Miami, but a win there will make everyone forget this game. It's a long season.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Jets-Saints Game Thread

First quarter
After Drew Brees and the Saints picked apart the Jets defense between the twenties, the Jets held them to a field goal. A holding penalty helped, but a nice play by Kerry Rhodes on 3rd and 4 stopped the Saints. If the Jets' gameplan is to prevent the big play and stopping them in the redzone, I can't really blame them.
3-0 Saints

Darren Sharper returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown after the Jets were about to score. A big turning point in the game, putting the Saints ahead after the Jets had the Saints a little off-balance.
10-0 Saints

Second quarter
Sanchez's turnover woes continue as he is stripped in the endzone recovered for a touchdown. The Jets are now in a huge hole down 17-0.
17-0 Saints

The Jets marched down the field to get a field goal before the two minute warning, but they're still down 14.
17-3 Saints

Halftime thoughts
This was everything I had feared as a Jets fan offensively. They aren't running the ball or taking care of the ball at all. They're moving the ball somewhat, but they need to take care of the football, and they need to keep making key red zone stops. The Jets have had a few goalline stands that might not be there all game. The offense needs to put up more points, or at least not lose points.

Third quarter
The Jets' defense forces their first turnover of the game, stripping Reggie Bush, and the offense capitalizes, led by a Leon Washington third down screen pass and a nice touchdown run by Thomas Jones, who seems to be running a little harder today. Maybe it's the fact that Shonn Greene is finally getting some carries (and looking good doing it). Either way, it is a football game again, and the Jets are one big play away from tying this game.
Saints 17, Jets 10

Fourth quarter

Pierre Thomas scores a one-yard rushing touchdown as the Saints are finally able to move the football on this defense and score a touchdown. With under 7 minutes to go, the Jets are in trouble.
Saints 24, Jets 10

Jets at Saints Preview


New York Jets at New Orleans Saints.
4:05 EDT, CBS

In a clash of 3-0 teams, the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints will battle in the Superdome. Both teams have had impressive starts to the season, but the Jets haven’t faced an offense like New Orleans, and the Saints haven’t faced a defense like Rex Ryan’s band of lunatics. Both teams sit in first place with the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons sitting just one game back of each team.

When the Jets have the ball…


In an ideal situation, the Jets would do exactly what they said they would do before the season started. Mark Sanchez would hand the ball off to Thomas Jones and Leon Washington who would run the ball behind the Jets’ highly touted offensive line, controlling time of possession, moving the ball down the field, and keeping Drew Brees off the field.

Of course, it hasn’t been nearly that easy so far, as both Thomas Jones and Leon Washington have found tough sledding so far in the early season. Outside of the 2nd half against Houston, the team ranked last in the NFL in run defense, the running game has not been very productive. The Saints have been much better on defense both against the run and the pass this year, but Detroit, Philadelphia (in Kevin Kolb’s first start), and Buffalo haven’t tested them a whole lot.

Former Jet Jonathan Vilma leads the Saints’ defense, which was pretty bad last year, but has been effective in the early going. The Jets should try to run the ball more than New Orleans’s first three opponents. The offensive line has not generated the push that it should, but the Saints front seven is likely softer than New England and Tennessee’s.

Against the pass, the Saints are built to be a big play defense. They are built around getting leads on teams, and then forcing them to throw and making big plays on defense. In three games, the Saints have 6 sacks, 7 interceptions, and 2 fumble recoveries.

The Jets can’t really afford to get behind in this game because Sanchez has never really been forced to throw the ball a lot from behind. Darren Sharper and company have to be licking their chops at the opportunity to go against another rookie QB. Sanchez has not played like a rookie so far, but there’s bound to be a bump in the road sometime, probably soon, and his ball security issues could come back to the forefront.

If the Jets can run the football, and get some points on the board early, there’s no reason they can’t stay in this game for a while. Washington is probably going to get the ball a lot, both in the passing and the running game. If the Jets expect to win, Washington needs to make some big plays, and Jones needs to do better than 14 carries for 20 yards. Brian Schottenheimer needs to be creative and keep the Saints off-balance and take what should be a raucous crowd the likes of which Sanchez has never seen before out of the game a little bit.

Advantage: Push

When the Saints have the ball…


The Saints have scored a touchdown on the first possession of each of their last three games. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering the Saints are on a record-setting scoring pace through the first three games.

Drew Brees continued his torrid pace from last season in the first two games. Last week, it was the Pierre Thomas show, as he put up over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns in the second half. The Jets have had a good run defense ever since the arrival of Kris Jenkins, and Thomas and Reggie Bush will have their hands full with the Jets’ defensive front 7.

The question for the Jets is can their defense stop Brees, and more specifically, stop all the weapons he has to throw to. Darrelle Revis can only cover one guy. Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Reggie Bush, and Jeremy Shockey are all very capable options in the passing game. Shockey and Bush will be essential dump-off options when the Jets blitz. Brees is known to have an extremely quick release, so look for those two to be constant options.

Henderson and Colston are scary in their own right. Colston is a huge target at 6’5”, and since arriving to the NFL from Hofstra, he has been a super-productive receiver. Henderson may be the bigger problem for the Jets. Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman will be heavily relied upon, and the jury is still out on both players. Henderson is a deep ball receiver with elite speed who could be primed for a big play or two.

The question for the Jets is can they afford to blitz as much as usual. Without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland again, they should give Lowery and Coleman some more safety help. If they do, that limits the blitz packages available. If they don’t, they risk giving up big plays if the blitz doesn’t get there.

While in many cases, the dominant defense should shut down the dominant offense, the Jets’ injuries may haunt them against Brees. The pass rush has been very good all year, but the sack numbers haven’t been there. That’s not likely to change this week, and Brees is good enough to make a few plays against the Jets’ backup corners.

Advantage: Saints

Intangibles


The Saints seem to have the edge in most intangible elements in this game. Mark Sanchez has never faced a dome crowd like he will face against the Saints. Somewhat similarly to Rex Ryan two weeks ago, the Saints player and coaches are trying to rile up a fan base that hasn’t seen a home game since week one. Scott Fujita said about his fans, “They can be drunk and loud. That’s what I would suggest.”

Not to mention, the Saints are coming off a few fairly easy wins against teams not known for their physicality. The Jets are coming off a win over Tennessee, one of the more physical teams in the league, right after a huge win against New England. If the Jets’ defense is tired, Brees will pick them apart.

Advantage: Saints

Prediction

This is not looking good on paper for the Jets. I won’t be shocked if they won, but let’s be honest. The Saints probably have the hottest quarterback in the NFL and he is surrounded by weapons and facing a defense that isn’t at full strength. The Jets can certainly win this game if they set the tone early, running the football and setting up manageable third downs both on offense and defense. Unfortunately, I think the odds are stacked against the Jets, and they drop this game.

27-17 Saints

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chronicling Mark Sanchez: Every Pass vs Tennessee 9/27/09

Here is every pass Mark Sanchez threw against the Tennessee Titans.



Sorry for the long wait, it took a while for the files to finally work, then the thing crashed on me, and needless to say, it was a pain this week. Hopefully, next week will be smoother and I can get it posted earlier in the week.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Strickland and Sheppard OUT on Sunday

Cornerbacks Donald Strickland and Lito Sheppard will be out Sunday against New Orleans. Being shorthanded against Drew Brees and company is never a good thing. They have depth and speed at receiver and Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman will be thrust into large roles against a quarterback who can and will pick on them. Kerry Collins is a decent quarterback, but Brees at home is the most productive quarterback in the league, and if the Jets can somehow make him throw 13 consecutive incomplete passes, like Collins did last week, then you can pretty much write this team down for a 9-0 start because that simply doesn't happen with Brees.

The dilemma will come with how the Jets attack the Saints' offense. One soft spot could be left tackle, as third-stringer Zach Strief will be making the start. First-stringer Jammal Brown was placed on IR after not having played a game this season, and now Brown's replacement, Jermon Bushrod, is out as well. Ryan will likely attack this side of the line. The Saints should counter by shifting their blocking schemes to help or by keeping TE Jeremy Shockey in to block.

This should be a fun chess match all game. The Saints' offense could put up 40+ points on almost anybody, and if the Jets blitz like they did against Houston and New England, Brees will probably get the ball out and in his receivers' hands quickly, so Lowery and Coleman both need to be at the tops of their games. Don't look for a whole lot of cover zero against New Orleans because the Jets should give their cornerbacks some help.

I'll have a full preview up probably tomorrow. The Sanchez video is making progress.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Week 4 NFL Picks

I'm going to get this started a little bit early this week. 1-2 last week was a disappointment, but I'm still 6-3 on the year, and I really like these picks.

Denver +3.5 over Dallas
I was down on the Broncos heading into the season, but I was wrong. They are healthy now, and the defense is playing well. I know they didn't play a tough schedule, but they've allowed single digit points every game. Mike Nolan has really made a difference, and I expect the crowd to be fired up for a home game. Kyle Orton will protect the ball better than Jay Cutler would have, and Brandon Marshall is poised for a breakout. And what have the Cowboys done to deserve to be 3.5 point road favorites against a 3-0 team possibly without their top two runningbacks?
Broncos 20, Cowboys 14

San Diego +7 over Pittsburgh

These two teams seem to always play close games. As usual, both teams need the win, and both sides have a few injuries. Philip Rivers and Vincent Jackson is a dynamic duo that should be able to throw on the Steelers who are missing Troy Polamalu. The Steelers just lost two straight. Just because they lost two in a row doesn't mean they will destroy a very good Chargers team. Will the Steelers win? I don't know. Probably. But will they win by double digits? Probably not.
Steelers 20, Chargers 19

Giants -9 over Chiefs
This seems like a sucker bet. The Giants are the Giants, and the Chiefs are a mess, and it's still only single digits. The reason for that is because it's the Giants' third straight road game. But they are a veteran team who is coming off a virtual off week against Tampa Bay. The Chiefs' main offense weapon, Dwayne Bowe, probably will not be playing. The Giants will not beat themselves. The Chiefs will.
Giants 24, Chiefs 3

*I'm sure you're all impatiently waiting my Mark Sanchez video. My computer ran out of memory rendering it overnight, so it still has a few hours to go until I can start working on it. It will either be up tonight or tomorrow afternoon.