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Tag:Steelers
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.

Posted on: November 24, 2008 12:03 am
 

Jets v. Titans: Recap (Remember the Jets)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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