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Tag:Cutler
Posted on: December 4, 2008 5:02 pm
 

Jets v. 49ers: Week 14 (Battle by the Bay)

The Jets head out west this week for the 4th time this season to take on the San Francisco 49ers (4-8).  They will try to put a horrible performance against the Denver Broncos last week behind them and look to pad their lead in the AFC East.  Currently they are one game ahead of the Patriots and Dolphins for the division lead.  This would seem like the perfect scenario for the Jets coming off that loss last week.  The 49ers are one of the league's worst teams, and on paper it looks like the Jets should run away with a "W" this week.  But after last week, you never can tell.

Lately, the Jets have not been airing it out like they were earlier in the season.  This is the time to let Brett Favre be Brett Favre.  San Francisco currently is ranked 28th in the league in passing yards allowed.  That all sounds well and good, but then again the Broncos were ranked 27th and the Jets did nothing against them in the air.  The Jets game plan has been calling for Favre to dink and dunk his was to managing a game.  It was working great during their five game winning streak, but Favre was brought here for two reasons.  One, he knows how to win and win big games.  Two, he has a better arm then Chad Pennington.  The conditions will be a lot better this week than last.  The weather in the Bay area calls for 61 degrees with a 10% chance for rain.  This will probably be the Jets warmest game the rest of the season, unless they get to Tampa on February 1st. 

The Jets best receiver over the past 3 weeks has been Dustin Keller.  He has become Favre's favorite target in the "dink and dunk" offense.  The Broncos did a good job taking Laveranues Coles out of the game plan last week and limiting Jerricho Cotchery to 40 yards on four catches.  The Jets and Favre need to get them the ball this week to re-establish the passing game.  Keller has been becoming a threat over the middle of the field as of late, but that will be tougher this week against the 49ers outstanding second year linebacker Patrick Willis who will be out there waiting for him.  Keller will probably still end up with 5-6 catches, but Willis will be on him so Coles and Cotchery need to get some distance from the corners and make some plays.

The Jets ground attack continues to improve with each passing week.  Thomas Jones, who leads the AFC in rushing with 1,088 yards and is 4th in the NFL, had another big day last week running the ball.  He tore up the Broncos for 138 yards and two touchdowns, and should have another big game this week.  The 49ers give up about 108 yards per game on the ground.  Jones should be able to rack up another 100 yard game with the way the offensive line has been playing.  One main key for the Jets is to get Leon Washington more touches.  Last week he only touched the ball 5 times on offense.  He may be the team's MVP to this point this year, and he needs to get at least 10-12 touches a game.  That would still give Jones about 20 which should get him his 100 yards.

New York's run defense had its worst game of the season last week, giving up 129 yards to rookie running back Peyton Hillis.  He was the first 100 yard rusher the Jets defensive line has allowed this season.  They will have a tough task this week against power back Frank Gore, but I think they will rebound.  They are still ranked 4th in the league in rushing, giving up 82 yards per game.  The Jets do need to step up the pass rush this week.  Last week was only the second time this season they had zero sacks in a game.  They are still ranked 5th in the NFL with 35 sacks, but most of those came over the first 9 weeks of the season.  They need to establish the pass rush and force the 49ers to make mistakes. 

If they are sticking with their recent pattern, the pass defense should have a good game this week.  Last week, Jay Cutler threw for 357 yards against the secondary in the Broncos 34-17 win.  This week the Jets will face Shaun Hill.  He has thrown for over 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns in only 5 games this season.  He led the 49ers to a 10-3 win over the Bills in Buffalo last week.  His numbers do not jump out at you, but the Jets secondary has been making young inexperienced quarterbacks look like All-Pro's this season.  It looks like the Jets will get a boost this week with the potential return of linebacker David Harris.  With him back in the middle, it should allow the safeties to play back and help out the corners. 

There are only four games remaining for the Jets to get to the playoffs.  I believe the Jets will only go as far as Favre can take them.  When he is on, the Jets can hang with anyone in the league.  But when he is off, a lot of other weaknesses are exposed.  The keys for Gang Green this week is A) tighten up the secondary; B) get Leon Washington more touches; C) get the ball to your top wide receivers; and D) pressure the QB.  If the Jets can manage this, then they will win this game.  If not, then they may be scratching and crawling their way to January.  Jets win 27-13.

Posted on: December 1, 2008 3:03 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2008 6:31 pm
 

Jets v. Broncos: Recap (Bump in the Road)

Well I think we can all see now that the Jets are not the team to beat in the AFC.  Not only was the Jets major weakness exposed in the sloppy loss to the Denver Broncos, their major strength was also knocked down a few pegs as well.  The weather in the Meadowlands was bad as was the showing of the Jets defense yesterday.  The Broncos, who are an average team in a horrible division, came into the Jets house and basically had their way with them.

I have to start with the defense today.  The other day I said that the Jets need to tighten up their passing defense in a major way because that has been their achilles heal this season.  So what happens?  Jay Cutler picks them apart for 357 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  The two men I said the Jets needed to watch out for, Brandon Stokley and Tony Scheffler, each had big games for the Broncos on Sunday.  Stokley has always been a threat going back to his days on the Colts.  He was able to grab two balls for 44 yards and a touchdown.  He is a good slot receiver and needs to be watched at all times when on the field.  Scheffler grabbed 7 catches for 90 yards, a very nice day for the Broncos tight end.  The Jets showed how much they miss LB David Harris in the middle of the field, after missing his 5th straight game with a groin injury.  In total, Denver had four receivers with over 55 yards.  If the Jets plan to make any noise in the playoffs, then this problem needs to be fixed.  Otherwise, it will be one and done for the Jets in January.

The one Jets strength, the run defense, had by far its worst game of the season.  They were ranked 3rd in the NFL against the run coming into Sunday, but rookie full back turned running back Peyton Hills was able to chalk up 129 yards on 22 carries and added a touchdown as well.  Hillis is the first back this season to gain 100 yards against the Jets defensive line.  The Broncos game plan kept the Jets off balance all afternoon, never allowing them to get into any sort of comfort zone.  As a result, the Jets were not able to get to Cutler at all, totaling zero sacks on the day.  The defensive line, which has been one of the best all season in the NFL, was due for a bad week.  I believe they got it out of their system and will be solid over the last four weeks heading into the playoffs. 

Brett Favre had an up and down game of his own yesterday.  He threw for 247 yards but also ended up with zero touchdowns on the day.  Denver never allowed Favre to get into any type of groove.  They did a very good job of taking Laveranues Coles out of the game plan for the Jets, limiting him to just two catches for two yards.  They were also able to hold down Jerricho Cotchery who had only four catches for 40 yards.  Cotchery ended up being involved in a very bizarre play in the first half.  Brad Smith lined up under center and took the snap and tried to hand off to Cotchery and he fumbled the ball.  Jerricho then jumped on the ball and somehow the ball squirted loose after he was touched and the officials called it a fumble.  The ball was picked up by Denver and returned for a touchdown.  They deemed it not reviewable by the Jets after Mangini threw the challenge flag, a very strange play to say the least.

There were two bright spots for the Jets however.  One was their running game.  Thomas Jones was able to gain 138 yards rushing on the afternoon on just 16 carries.  He also added two touchdowns to up his total on the season to a career high 11.  One touchdown came on the longest run of his career which was 59 yards and the other was a 29 yard run.  Jones was also to eclipse the 1000 yard mark for the fourth consecutive season.  He now has 1088 yards for the Jets this year.  The other bright spot for the Jets was the continued emergence of rookie tight end Dustin Keller.  He was able to haul in 7 more receptions for 77 yards.  He has become Favre's favorite target over the last 4 games.  He is really looking to have a very bright future in this league and should be a fixture for the Jets for years to come.

Hopefully this was just a bump in the road for the Jets.  They were going to lose another game this season, and hopefully this will be the last loss for a while.  The game was not a total loss though. With the Patriots losing to the Steelers on Sunday, the Jets maintain their one game lead in the division for at least another week.  They now head out to the west coast for the 3rd time this season to face the 49ers.  San Francisco is coming off a win in Buffalo and will be a tough task for Gang Green.  They will not be laying down for anyone so the Jets have their work cut out for them next week.

Posted on: November 28, 2008 1:46 pm
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com