Monday Morning Quarterback: Geno 911!

Who would’ve guessed that for the 2nd season in a row, an injury to Geno Smith was the spark plug that the Jets needed to start winning.

For the 7th time this year, the New York Jets played a ‘must win’ game.

They are now 2-5 in aforementioned ‘must win’ games.

Eugene Cyril Smith III made his first start for the New York Jets since Week 17 of the 2014 season at Miami where he threw 358 yards and 3 TDs en route to a 37-14 win. Geno started off the game throwing short passes to get his groove back and it was evident that Todd Bowles and the Jets wanted to establish the running game early to alleviate the pressure away from Smith. On the Jets first drive, Geno connected with Robby Anderson for 8 yards and Matt Forte picked up a first down. That’s all they could do, but compared to the majority of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s drives, Geno Smith looked like Broadway Joe out there.

Then, of course, came this masterpiece of a play by Punter Lachlan Edwards:

The 7th round pick from Sam Houston State University has actually had himself a good season, but this gaffe will be his claim to fame for awhile. A general rule of thumb for punters is to fly under the radar, because nobody knows who the punter is until they mess up.

After a successful Jets punt on the ensuing possession *cheers*, Joe Flacco and the Ravens quickly showed the Jets that they spent some time scouting in the film room. Their first play from scrimmage was a 53 yard bomb to Mike Wallace:

That drive ended with a 50-yard FG by Justin Tucker and the Baltimore Ravens quickly took a 10-0 lead.

Despite only being 8 minutes into the game, all signs were pointing towards another ugly game by the Jets. Soon after a 7-yard scramble by Geno to get a 1st down, the Jets were hit with a False Start penalty on Brandon Marshall (inexcusable) and then lost 3 yards on a sack. On 2nd and 18, Geno hit Quincy Enunwa on a short curl route and the unthinkable happened:

Quincy Enunwa added ‘game-breaking speed’ to his repertoire and took the short pass 69 yards to the house (nice). He had a comment about his play after the game:

I said last week that the Ravens were beatable via the big play, but I had concerns that the Jets had a player capable of making an OBJ-esk play. Quincy Enunwa-ah-ah-ah proved that he was down with the Fitzness (s/o PFT).

After hoping and praying for anybody other than Ryan Fitzpatrick to play QB and FINALLY getting my prayers answered with Geno, it was all taken away in the blink of an eye. Geno Smith took a sack on 3rd and 8 after trying to make a play out of nothing. One knock on Geno throughout his ‘tenure’ with the Jets was his football IQ. On a play that 95% of Quarterbacks throw away, Geno tried to extend the play and his ACL paid the price.

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At the time, the injury didn’t seem to be severe at all. Geno hobbled off the field and was talking to trainers while Fitzpatrick overlooked. He didn’t appear to be in a lot of pain but he was brought through the tunnel nonetheless. Geno reappeared on the sidelines in street clothes in the 2nd half, much to the dismay of Jets HOFer Joe Namath:

Turns out its a torn ACL for Geno Smith, and he’s headed to IR. The silver lining of this move is that the Jets now only have 3 roster spots taken up by Quarterbacks, opening up a slot for a player in another position that they Jets need immediate help in (OLine, LBs, DBs, Tight End).

Anyways, Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the game and the Jets continued the game plan that they used with Geno. Forte worked his way for a few yards while Enunwa and Marshall caught a couple short passes to move the chains. When the Jets KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), they are a good football team. It’s what they did last year, and it’s what they did years ago with Mark Sanchez. They did add in this wrinkle with rookie Robby Anderson, however:

Anderson’s 30-yard run was the longest that the Jets have recorded this year. That play set up a 13-yard TD from Fitz to Matt Forte and the New York Jets had themselves a lead.

Naturally, the Jets allowed the Ravens to march down the field to kick a FG before the half to take a 16-14 lead, but dammit the Jets were in it.

The second half of this game was the exact opposite of what had happened for the Jets all year. Joe Flacco started to force throws down the field a la Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets secondary was capitalizing on those throws a la every opponent the Jets have played this year.

First we had Buster Skrine returning an INT to the Ravens’ 3 yard line:

The Jets lost a yard on their next play and then Ryan Fitzpatrick was flagged for DELAY OF GAME from the 4 yard line. From his vantage point on the field, the play clock is so close to him that he could practically reach his hand out and high five it before snapping the ball. The Jets got a Field Goal to take a 17-16 lead but you have to cash in on goal-to-go opportunities.

We then had a Marcus Gilchrist interception on the Ravens’ very next drive:

This drive led to as much, if not more fuckery than the one before. After 3 consecutive carries for 18 yards, Forte took another carry from the Ravens’ 6 yard line and Ravens DT Timmy Jernigan ripped the ball away from him. Jernigan watched too many Jamal Lewis highlights the night before and tried to give a little shake & bake to Brandon Marshall. Marshall went right for the ball and forced the fumble while recovering it as well. That was Marshall’s 4th forced fumble and 2nd fumble recovery in 23 games as a Jet, which is just an absurd statistic for a receiver.

Forte redeemed himself with a 1-yard plunge 2 plays later to record his 2nd TD of the game.

The Jets took a 24-16 lead and didn’t look back.

Baltimore Ravens 16 @ New York Jets 24

 

With the outrageously difficult part of the season over for the Jets, they are paired up with the 0-7 Cleveland Browns next week. If the Jets have any playoff aspirations, this is where they have to pick it up. Here’s what’s up next for them:

@ Cleveland Browns (0-7)

@ Miami Dolphins (3-4)

vs. Los Angeles Rams (3-4)

vs. New England Patriots (6-1)

vs. Indianapolis Colts (3-4)

@ San Francisco 49ers (1-6)

vs. Miami Dolphins (3-4)

One of those teams are not like the others. However, these next 3 weeks are incredibly important if the Jets want to make any kind of playoff run this season. It certainly is possible, but I’ve seen them do worse against even lesser opponents.

 

The Cleveland Browns are a mess. They point to the Jets and say, “Wow, they’ve got it all figured out.” They’ve had six quarterbacks take snaps this year. This week, we could see Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, or even Terrelle Pryor. The Browns also claimed QB Joe Callahan off of waivers Monday, so maybe he’ll get in, too.

The Browns were a lot scarier when 1st round pick Corey Coleman was healthy. He’s a tremendous wideout, but it seems unlikely that he will play this week due to a broken hand. The Browns best weapons are Terrelle Pryor (35-431-3 receiving, 8-21-1 rushing, 41 yards passing), TE Gary Barnidge (30-361-0), and RB Isaiah Crowell (495-4 TDs rushing, 12-107-0 receiving). The key to shutting down the Browns has been stopping Terrelle Pryor. The former QB from Ohio State can run, pass, catch, and probably kick with the rest of ’em. Their defense has been shredded through the air for 2080 yards and 18 TDs, so this could be a huge spot for Bryce Petty Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Marshall, Quincy Enunwa, and company.

Prediction: New York Jets 27 @ Cleveland Browns 13

 

Now on to the awards:

 

The GOAT:

Sheldon Richardson (8 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 QB hits)

Sheldon must’ve been reading my past few posts because he was playing angry on Sunday. Even with the absence of Mohammad Wilkerson, Richardson was all over the field, rushing the QB, blowing up screen plays, and completely eliminating the Baltimore run game. After some mediocre games, Sheldon finally showed us the All-Pro defensive lineman that we all know he is capable of being.

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The Jets as a whole only allowed 6 rushing yards, which is a new franchise best for them. Here’s LaDainian Tomlinson to help show you how far 6 yards is:

Honorable GOATs:

Matt Forte (30-100-1 rushing, 5-54-1 receiving)

This was Matt Forte’s best game since his 3 TD performance against the Bengals in Week One. Given Ryan Fitzpatrick’s struggles, opposing defensives have stacked the box to force Fitz to pass more often, but Forte was able to wiggle out of some tackles and had an integral role in the passing game. Forte has been money on screens, and he joined an exclusive club during last week’s contest.

Robby Anderson (3-41-0 receiving, 1-30-0 rushing)

Preseason favorite Robby Anderson is finally getting some action. Anderson provides some spark and speed that the Jets haven’t had in years. As he gets a feel of the game and learns from one of the best in Brandon Marshall, Robby Anderson could become a household name in a couple of years. His 30 yard rush was the Jets’ longest run of the season, and he went up and caught a pass on 3rd down that previous Jets receivers wouldn’t even think about going up for (@ Stephen Hill, Braylon Edwards, Dustin Keller, Jeremy Kerley, Santonio Holmes, the list goes on). This guy is fun to watch:

The WOAT:

Ryan Fitzpatrick (9/14, 120 Yards, 1 TD)

Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick came in for an injured Geno Smith and helped win the game. Yes, he didn’t throw an interception. For once this year, his on-field product was halfway decent. But, there are two things that he did that make him the WOAT.

First was the delay of game penalty from the Ravens’ 4 yard line. This is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 11th year in the NFL, and he’s been playing competitively since 1997 at the VERY least (counting high school and college). So for at least 19 years, Fitz has played Quarterback with a play clock. It is inexcusable for a delay of game penalty to be called in that situation. The seconds are literally ticking down in front of your face. The play before was a short run, it wasn’t even some long play down the field that the linemen are trying to catch up and get to the line in time. That five yard difference for the Jets proved to be too much, and they could only get a Field Goal on that drive. In a tight game like that, you have to get as many points as possible. A gift-wrapped interception bringing you the ball on the opponent’s 3 yard line is as good as is gets.

The second issue I have with Ryan Fitzpatrick is his jackass comments after the game:

Hey, Ryan Fitzpatrick, you sucked more than a vampire with emphysema. You threw 11 interceptions in 5 games, while only throwing 5 TDs. You threw 6 interceptions IN ONE GAME. You can’t be in your right Harvard educated mind and think that it was a crazy move to replace you at Quarterback. This man is lucky he doesn’t have a social media presence because he gets roasted by anybody with a keyboard. Even Ari Gold has a message for him:

Ryan Fitzpatrick continued the game plan that Geno Smith was doing more than fine in and won a very winnable game. Everybody gave up on you because you are playing historically horrendous football. Geno Smith was beating up the Ravens because he was spreading the ball around and had established the run early. Fitz has stared at Brandon Marshall on 75% of his snaps and either sidearms it to him or throws a nauseating shovel pass to nobody.

Usually soft-spoken, Todd Bowles had a laugh out loud comment regarding Fitz’s tantrum:

Dishonorable WOAT:

Lachlan Edwards

The Australian-born 7th round pick does have a solid boot, but that fumbled snap was ridiculous. MetLife Stadium is usually pretty windy, but that’s his home field and it truly is an inexcusable play. It was an ugly start to the game, but luckily, it was the Ravens’ only Touchdown of the day.

 

T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-thats all folks. Until next week, here’s a video of some guys bein’ dudes:

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NFL Week 7 Picks

After a two week hiatus in which I was doing doing hood rat stuff with my friends, its time to make some money back. I went 1-2-1 in Week 4, so I’m bound for a big bounce back week. To recap:

Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots (-6.5) LOSS

Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) @ New York Jets WIN

Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals (-8) LOSS

Detroit Lions (-3) @ Chicago Bears PUSH

 

After a mediocre Week 4 I am 10-6-1 on the year. Good enough to be up a few units, but not good enough to be retired on the beach by the end of the season. Here we go:

Thursday Night Football

Chicago Bears (+7.5) @ Green Bay Packers

Some sportsbooks have the Bears at +8.5, which I don’t think is necessary. A major storyline over the past couple of weeks has been Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers’ regression this season. Fingers are being pointed everywhere from Josh Sitton’s release, Rodgers not aging well, spending to much time with girlfriend Olivia Munn, and even some speculation that Deflategate has a role:

No matter what your angle is, it certainly is offsetting seeing Aaron Rodgers’ performance this year, especially given the return of WR Jordy Nelson from injury. There are other causes for concern for the Packers in this game as well. Seven players have been ruled out for this game, including RBs Eddie Lacy and James Starks, and CBs Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, and Sam Shields who is on Injured Reserve. The Packers are now expected to have WR Ty Montgomery carry the bulk of the workload at running back, while newly acquired RB Knile Davis and rookie Don Jackson back him up. Montgomery has 6 rushing yards this season, Davis has -2, and Jackson has never had an NFL carry.

For the Bears, they have lost consecutive heartbreakers to the Colts and the Jaguars. With QB Jay Cutler being injured, Brian Hoyer has stepped up and had 4 consecutive games with 300+ passing yards. Hoyer has found a connection with Alshon Jeffery (who has yet to score, that will change), TE Zach Miller, and little-known WR Cameron Mederith to put up stats that Bears fans haven’t seen from their QB in years. Hoyer has been playing so well that analysts have begun to compare him to Aaron Rodgers:

The Packers were a 5.5 point favorite over Dallas last week at home and lost by 14. It also was the same day that they retired Brett Favre’s number. They didn’t look very good last week at home, so on short rest with a banged up roster, this may be deja vu all over again.

Baltimore Ravens (+2) @ New York Jets

The New York Jets are terrible. They’re a mess. Their secondary lets receivers blow by them, their defensive line can’t get to the quarterback, their offensive line can’t create holes for their running backs, and the two headed monster of Ryan Fitztragic and Genocide Smith is putrid. If the Jets play a flawless game, they can maybe keep up with Joe Flacco and his arsenal of WRs, but anybody that has watched even a quarter of a Jets game knows that all they do is make mistakes.

The Ravens have been successful running the ball with RB Terrence West, and elite Joe Flacco has had the pleasure of picking and choosing between Mike Wallace, Steve Smith Sr., Breshad Perriman, and Dennis Pitta to throw the ball to. The Jets have been especially susceptible to Tight Ends and speedy wideouts, so Pitta, Wallace, and Perriman should have themselves a good day.

The Jets only hope is that Brandon Marshall takes a page out of Odell Beckham Jr’s playbook and explodes this week. However, Odell possesses the game breaking speed that Marshall doesn’t quite have. With Eric Decker’s absence, opposing teams have put all of their focus on slowing down Brandon Marshall. Ryan Fitzpatrick still forced the ball in his direction, resulting in way too many red zone interceptions. Hopefully Geno Smith doesn’t follow suit this week. *scoffs*

Oakland Raiders (+1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars

I think this is a big bounce back opportunity for the Oakland Raiders. They played a dud of a game last week in a monsoon against the Chiefs. They were unable to stop the run, and were unable to get their passing game going in the slippery conditions. Jaguars rookie CB Jalen Ramsey has done well this year, but all of the other defensive backs have been a liability. Luckily for the Raiders, they have two great receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. I would look for whoever Jalen Ramsey isn’t covering to be the go-to guy for QB Derek Carr.

The Raiders will most likely have lead running back Latavius Murray back this week too, after a two week absence with a toe injury. Before last week’s loss, the Raiders had won three close games in a row, so they are a much more trustworthy team in a game which is essentially a pick ’em.

The Jaguars have a one dimensional offense as they’ve only accumulated 355 rushing yards through 5 games. The way to beat the Raiders is by establishing the run, and TJ Yeldon and company have been unable to at all this season. If the Jaguars play a shootout style game, I think the 3rd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft in Blake Bortles will make more mistakes than 36th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft in Derek Carr will.

New England Patriots (-7) @ Pittsburgh Steelers

I’m gonna spell this game out as simple as possible. Ben Roethlisberger is out for an extended period of time. This man is now playing Quarterback for the Steelers:

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Tom Brady is back and looks as good and as angry as he has ever been. Rob Gronkowski is also back, as he and Martellus Bennett are matchup nightmares. The Steelers have two of the best offensive weapons in the game in Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, but I am concerned that Landry Jones won’t be able to get them the ball as much as they need in order to win. I can see Gronk getting on the board early and the Patriots riding LeGarrette Blount to a big victory in Pittsburgh.

 

That’s all for this week. Call me Nas because you’re about to Find Ya Wealth.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback: Jets Fold in the House of Cards

What we all just saw in the Arizona desert was not a mirage, it was an actual football game played by the New York Jets. After a 31-13 dismantling in Pittsburgh last week, the Jets had their 6th straight ‘must win’ game to start the season in a nationally televised Monday Night game.

The Jets’ defense played as if David Johnson had a communicable disease. He said it himself.

The Jets ‘staunch’ run defense surrendered 171 rushing yards to the Cardinals, including 111 and 3 TDs to David Johnson. DJ added 3 receptions for 27 yards. He got things going early in the 1st quarter with a 58 yard touchdown in which NOBODY on the Jets even got a fingernail on him:

I guess the Jets were missing ILB David Harris more than anybody would’ve guessed. Harris suffered a hamstring injury and ended his consecutive games streak at 121, which is unheard of for a starting linebacker. Rookie LB Darron Lee couldn’t quite fill Harris’ shoes, and he eventually went out with an ankle injury. These are two guys that the Jets definitely need to keep healthy if they want to compete for the rest of the season.

I rant about this every week but the Jets carry 4 Quarterbacks every week and keep 2 inactive.

The Jets had extended absences from LB Darron Lee, CB Buster Skrine, RT Brent Qvale, LG James Carpenter, and WR Charone Peake during this game. The Jets sacrificing 2 roster spots every week by sitting Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg is hurting their on-field production all across the board. Also, its pretty head-scratching that TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins sat out this game. After debuting for the Jets last week with 2 receptions, I was looking forward to him having a larger role in the passing game this week. Newly acquired CB Nick Marshall could’ve been valuable in this game as well.

It took 2 3/4 games for Todd Bowles to finally take QB Ryan Fitzpatrick out of the game. Fitz didn’t look as bad as he had in previous weeks (he only threw 1 pick instead of 6), until he threw another gut wrenching red zone interception in the 3rd quarter. Fitzpatrick himself admitted that he had to stop forcing the ball to Brandon Marshall, but, sure enough, that’s exactly what he did on the Jets’ most crucial drive of the game. Also, he made himself false start.

Down 28-3, Todd Bowles finally replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick with another QB, albeit it being Geno Smith. Geno looked good against a soft defense, starting 4-5 for 31 yards, until he finally threw an INT to Tyrann Mathieu. It was good to see the Jets coaching staff finally sit the QB formerly known as Ryan Fitzpatrick for somebody else. Hopefully next time it’ll be Bryce Petty at the helm.

Jon Gruden mentioned the absolute mismatch that was 7th round draft pick Charone Peake against All-Pro Safety Tyrann Mathieu. Peake led the Jets with 10 targets, and only ended up with 5 receptions for 43 yards. Also, Fitz almost got the guy murdered:

New York Jets 3 @ Arizona Cardinals 28

Once again, the New York Jets looked terrible. The offense couldn’t sustain a good drive, the defense was discombobulated, and the quarterback play was atrocious. They have lost their last 4 games, while being outscored 110-36. The Jets have scored 3 touchdowns in their past 4 games, one of them being Charone Peake’s heads up fumble recovery against Seattle.

The Jets are traveling back home to take on the 3-3 Baltimore Ravens next week. Both teams are trending downward, as Baltimore has lost their past three games, so this game is extremely important for both parties. The Ravens have ridden the reemergences of RB Terrence West (473 yards from scrimmage, 3 TDs) and WR Mike Wallace (25-370-3), while getting strong contributions from veterans TE Dennis Pitta (34-295-0) and WR Steve Smith Sr (27-310-1). The Ravens have a multitude of options in the passing game that can pose a threat to the Jets secondary, which will have to be their main focus during the week. Baltimore’s defense has allowed 12 passing touchdowns this season, so the Jets will need competent Quarterback play to stay in the game. New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. put on a clinic against the Ravens last week, so Brandon Marshall must be licking his chops thinking about giving them the ole New York 1-2 punch.

 

 

Now on to the awards.

 

The GOAT:

Brandon Marshall (3-70-0)

For the third week in a row, WR Brandon Marshall wins GOAT of the week. Although he posted a rather pedestrian stat line, he was the lone offensive spark plug for a Jets team that looked terrible all night. Marshall was shadowed by All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson all game, and he brought in 3 out of the 6 targets thrown his way, which included this spectacular grab:

Despite his strongest efforts, B Marsh was left in tears at the end of the game. Its crazy how he hasn’t been in a playoff game yet in his illustrious career.

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Honorable GOAT:

Darrelle Revis (3 tackles)

This is kind of crazy, but hear me out. Revis was matched up with Larry Fitzgerald (6-49-0, 9 targets) for the majority of the game and did a pretty decent job on him. Besides a few references to Revis and Fitzgerald sharing an alma mater of the University of Pittsburgh, there were very few mentions of Darrelle. Some of the best cornerbacks are the ones you don’t see or hear about, because they lock down their receiver and don’t accumulate many stats. If its not a negative play, its a positive play. It was good to see Revis come back after sitting last week out and not get exploited. Maybe he was just banged up and he’ll look like the #24 we’ve known and loved from here on out.

The WOAT:

Defensive Line (0 Sacks, 3 Tackles For a Loss, 3 QB Hits, 1 Pass Defended)

Another quiet week from the Jets defensive line. The Cardinals were missing their starting LG and RG, and the Jets bad boys up front did nothing to make them pay. They only got the running back in the backfield 3 times out of the Cardinals 35 rush attempts. Mohammad Wilkerson was able to bat down one single pass. However, this unit was supposed to be the reincarnation of the New York Sack Exchange. These guys putting up a 0 in the sack column against a depleted Arizona O-Line is evidence enough that the NYSE title will remain with these gentlemen:

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Dishonorable WOATs:

Running Game (14 carries, 33 yards)

The Jets are quickly becoming a one-dimensional team given their difficultly running the ball. After coming out strong in Weeks 1 and 2, the Jets have fallen apart in the running game. Opposing defenses have realized that Fitzpatrick cannot play Quarterback, and the Jets keep playing from behind. Matt Forte had 9 carries for 19 yards and Bilal Powell had 3 carries for 10 yards. No player on the Jets had a carry longer than 8 yards. The Jets have a couple speedsters on their roster that could run some jet sweeps and keep the defense honest, while setting up a big play-action pass play.

Defensive Pass Interference:

I can’t find how many DPIs were called against the Jets, but some of the calls in this game were unbelievable. The NFL has to figure out a system to review PI calls, or they need to be consistent in what is called a penalty and what is not. Buster Skrine was called for pass interference on a couple plays in which the offensive player initiated all of the contact. Another call that blew my mind was on a pass to John Brown down the left sideline that he didn’t even know was thrown to him. After the blatant no-flag at the end of this week’s Atlanta Falcons-Seattle Seahawks, there is speculation about whether or not the NFL will make these penalties reviewable or even challengeable. In a blowout like this, a couple questionable calls don’t matter, but in a close game an unwarranted penalty can completely change the outcome of a game.

 

Once again, I leave you with this:

Monday Morning Quarterback: Jets Fuel Can’t Melt The Steel Beams

Coming off of a bad 10 point loss against the Seattle Seahawks, the New York Jets traveled down to Pittsburgh to face the high flying Steelers offense in their final game donning the heinous bumblebee uniforms. That may have been the best takeaway from this game, as Steelers President Art Rooney II confirmed that this will be the 5th and final year that the Steelers wear these bad boys:

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Lets see if this week’s Jets game was a must win once again:

A rare double must win by Jets insider Manish Mehta. That is now 5 ‘Must Wins’ on the season for the Jets, with another must win chalked up for next week at Arizona. With 4 of those must wins resulting in losses, I wonder how many more we will have before they turn into must lose games. #TankForFournette

This week, the Jets got annihilated through the air by Big Ben Roethlisberger. It was evident that the Steelers had the upper hand on their third play from scrimmage, a 72 yard bomb down the sideline to WR Sammie Coates.

Sammie Coates had himself a breakout game, going 6-139-2 while also dropping three touchdown passes.

Recency would throw the blame at Darrelle Revis for allowing a speedster to get behind him for a big gain, but he sat this game out. This now makes the Jets secondary their primary area of concern, and they need to address this issue either from free agency/waivers this year or the draft next year.

Big Ben went 34/47 for 390 yards and 4 touchdowns. Coates hauled down 2 of the TDs for 139 yards, Antonio Brown posted a 9-78-1 stat line, and even relatively unknown Tight End Jesse James (not the outlaw) went 6-43-1. The Jets are getting closer and closer to those frightening Patriots games in which I can already envision Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett showing the Jets secondary the 50 states.

Some good news for the Jets was that they were able to hold Le’Veon Bell to 66 rushing yards on 20 carries. While the defensive line has been having trouble getting to the quarterback since Week 1 (with only 1 sack this week), they have yet to allow a team to rack up more than 86 yards against them in a game. Le’Veon did have a strong showing in the passing game (9-88-0), however, which puts most of the blame on Darron Lee and the rest of the linebackers. The Steelers put Bell out wide quite often which is a matchup NIGHTMARE considering Bell’s skill set and defensive players being in foreign places.

At the end of the day, the Steelers offense was just too much to handle, while the Jets offense seemed incapable to keep up in a high scoring game. Big Ben’s red zone fumble made the game look closer than it actually was. Pittsburgh Steelers 31, New York Jets 13.

 

Next week, the 1-4 Jets go on the road to play the 2-3 Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately for the Jets, all signs are pointing at QB Carson Palmer returning this week after missing last week with a concussion.

The Cardinals have 3 solid receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, and Michael Floyd. They also have workhorse David Johnson who can do it all. If the Jets continue to ignore their flaws on defense this could be yet another ugly loss for this team. One matchup to watch for the Jets will be Brandon Marshall vs. CB Patrick Peterson. Both men are at the top of their class so it should be entertaining to watch two Pro Bowlers be on each other all game.

 

Now on to the awards.

 

The GOAT:

Brandon Marshall (8-114-1)

With Eric Decker out again, Brandon Marshall knew that he had to step up once again against a so-so Steelers secondary. Similar to last week against the Seahawks, he came out in the first half as a man possessed, coming down with some catches in traffic which included this touchdown catch right before the 2 minute warning:

I thought for sure that was going to be another red zone interception for Ryan Fitzpatrick in a tight game. Marshall then leapt over CB Ross Cockrell and stole the ball from him, which you know made Randy Moss chuckle back at home. After catching 14 touchdowns last season, it is a very good sign to see B Marsh getting on the board in consecutive weeks. He is an integral part of the offense and he has the talent to change a game all on his own. It was also a good day to be Brandon Marshall’s Porsche, as he went head to head with Antonio Brown and made some ground in their challenge, narrowing the gap to 84 yards.

Honorable GOATs:

Leonard Williams (4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble)

Leonard “Big Cat” Williams has been the lone defensive standout this season. He recorded his 5th sack on the year, which puts him as tied for 5th in the NFL in that category. After a decent, but not crazy rookie season, it is definitely encouraging to see Big Cat surpass his 2015 sack total, as well as recording his 2nd forced fumble of the year already. Leonard forced the fumble with 9 minutes left in the game with the Steelers on the Jets 14 yard line. At the time, it was 24-13 Steelers. Had the Jets done something on the following drive besides punt (more on that later), Jets fans would be raising banners in his name.

Tight Ends!! (3-26-0)

The New York Jets finally completed a pass to a Tight End this year. Brandon Bostick, most famously known for his botched onside kick recovery in the 2014 NFC Championship Game, can now be known for catching the first pass while slotted in as a Tight End for the Jets. Waiver wire addition Austin Seferian-Jenkins joined the club later on in the game, hauling in 2 passes for 17 yards. Hopefully the Jets can start utilizing this position instead of ignoring it like they had from Weeks 1-4.

The WOAT:

Head Coach Todd Bowles

From Todd Bowles’ play-calling, challenge making, and lack of changes on both sides of the ball despite being exposed week after week, I think it is time to point fingers at the head coach. First and foremost, Bowles challenged a play in which Bilal Powell was short by an obvious amount. Even if the refs had given the Jets a generous spot, it wouldn’t have been nearly enough to be a first down. So then, down 11 with 13 minutes to go, the Jets lose their first timeout and then elect to PUNT. Even if Todd Bowles thought that they had a chance of getting the call overturned, he should’ve been drawing up plays for both a 1st and 10 as well as a 4th and 1. Their defense couldn’t plug a leaky faucet. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it. So Bowles elects to punt and the Steelers get the ball. As expected, the Steelers march right down the field but end up coughing the ball up to Sheldon Richardson and the Jets on a fantastic play by Leonard Williams. The Jets then manage to bring it to their own 46 yard line and on 4th and 2 with 7:29 left in the game, still down by 11, Bowles elected to PUNT AGAIN.

Being a defensive-minded coach, you’d think that Bowles would be able to shake something up to free up their pass rushers or do something in the secondary to prevent the long gains through the air. But, I have seen zero adjustments made on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, I think all facets of the game have regressed since Week 1. All year the deep pass has been open, tight ends have been virtually uncovered, and quarterbacks could read the paper before getting their pass off. I don’t know how many times Todd Bowles has to watch the same movie to see how it ends.

Dishonorable WOAT:

Jets Secondary (390 passing yards allowed)

Live look in on the New York Jets Secondary:

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Burnt toast. They just got burnt by a receiver in Sammie Coates who came into the 2016 season with one career catch. The Jets defense as a whole have only defended 12 passes, while their opponents have defended 38. The Jets have given up 12 passing touchdowns while only intercepting 2 this season.

 

Trevor’s Declassified MLB Wild Card Survival Guide

October baseball is upon us. 10 teams remain, and 2 will be eliminated by Wednesday night. Each team has a storyline as good as any other, and tempers may flare up at any moment.

The Boston Red Sox are looking for a heroic sendoff for David Ortiz. The Cleveland Indians are fighting a battle against their own reporters. The Texas Rangers were the most aggressive team at the trade deadline and secured home field advantage. The Baltimore Orioles are sick of being the little brother in the AL East. The Toronto Blue Jays are looking for sweet, sweet revenge after losing in last year’s ALCS.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are fighting speculation that they can’t close out a series. The Washington Nationals hope that Daniel Murphy can rekindle his playoff magic of last year. The Chicago Cubs are looking for their first World Series victory since 1908. The San Francisco Giants squeaked into the playoffs but have won the past 3 even year World Series. The New York Mets overcame multiple season ending injuries and are still boiling hot over losing the World Series at home last year.

10 teams, 10 stories, 1 winner. Now here’s everything you need to know about the Wild Card games.

AL Wild Card Game

Baltimore Orioles (Chris Tillman 16-6, 3.77) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Marcus Stroman 9-10, 4.37)

With both the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays ending the season at 89-73, the Jays get home field advantage due to their 10-9 season record against the Orioles. This is a rare instance in the MLB in which 3 teams from the same division all clinched a playoff berth. That being said, the O’s and the Jays know each other inside and out. In fact, Tillman had just pitched against Toronto on September 28th, and Stroman had just pitched against Baltimore on September 29th.

Chris Tillman is 1-0 with a 3.63 ERA in 4 starts against Toronto this year. Marcus Stroman, on the other hand, is 1-2 with a 7.04 ERA in 3 starts against Baltimore. The Blue Jays probably would’ve preferred to be able to start one of their top 3 guys this game (Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, or JA Happ), but they were all needed to clinch the Wild Card spot in the last series of the year against the Red Sox.

They’ve got to hope that their veteran bats can come alive Tuesday night if they want to secure a victory. The Jays have averaged an American League low of 3.69 runs per game since September 1st. With the reigning MVP in Josh Donaldson, RBI champion Edwin Encarnacion, and a healthy Jose Bautista, its difficult to believe that their bats will be silenced forever. The Orioles can compete in a slugfest as well. They have the Major League leading home run hitter Mark Trumbo on their team, as well as MVP candidate Manny Machado and all-star CF Adam Jones. Both teams hit a lot of home runs, but they also both strikeout a lot. It’ll be fun to see how this one turns out.

Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles are led on offense by 3B Manny Machado (.294, 37 HR, 96 RBI), 1B/DH Mark Trumbo  (.256, 47 HR, 108 RBI), CF Adam Jones (.265, 29 HR, 83 RBI), and DH Chris Davis (.221, 39 HR, 84 RBI). The team as a whole has hit 253 home runs while only surrendering 183. They have 2 good starters, Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman, and have had some decent starts from veterans Ubaldo Jimenez, Yovani Gallardo, and Wade Miley. Their most valuable asset on the mound this year has been lefty closer Zach Britton. He went a perfect 47-47 on save attempts, while only giving up 4 earned runs in 67 innings of work, good for a 0.54 ERA. To put that into perspective, Mariano Rivera’s best season ERA was 1.38.

The Orioles are looking for their first World Series appearance since they won the whole thing in 1983. They have consistently been a decent team and have been waiting to make the hump over the Red Sox and Yankees since the 1990’s. Their 2014 campaign ended in the ALCS against the Royals, so the promised land may not be too far out of reach.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays score a lot of runs. They’ve put up 759 while only giving up 666 on the season despite their troubles in September. The Blue Jays can thank 1B Edwin Encarnacion (.263, 42 HR, 127 RBI), 3B Josh Donaldson (.284, 37 HR, 99 RBI), and SS Troy Tulowitzki (.254, 24 HR, 79 RBI) for their production in the absence of Jose Bautista. Joey Bats missed 46 games this year but managed to hit 22 home runs and knock in 69 runs. He hit 5 of those at the end of September, so maybe we’ll see this again:

If the Blue Jays do move on, they could make a serious run due to their pitching depth. They have the ERA champion in Aaron Sanchez (15-2, 3.00 ERA), 20 game winner JA Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA), and rising star Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.48 ERA). They also have former Cy Young Award winner and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on their staff who could be a very valuable asset in an away game in a windy climate (New York, Chicago, San Francisco?).

NL Wild Card Game

San Francisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner 15-9, 2.74) @ New York Mets (Noah Syndergaard 14-9, 2.60)

The National League Wild Card game will feature two of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball. Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner hold the 3rd and 4th best earned run averages in all of baseball, respectively. They are also two out of the 12 pitchers in all of baseball to record 200 or more strikeouts this season. Both pitchers have a successful track record in the postseason as well, as Syndergaard dazzled the Dodgers, Cubs, and Royals in the 2015 postseason, while Bumgarner has a career 2.14 postseason ERA.

Madison Bumgarner also is 4-0 with a 0.62 ERA in 4 career starts at Citi Field. To counter that, in Noah Syndergaard’s last start against the Giants, he gave up 2 hits over 8 scoreless innings in a 2-0 Mets victory. Since neither team is an offensive juggernaut, this game could easily be very low scoring and close the entire time. The Mets won the season series 4-3, and have been the hottest team in baseball since August 21st, going 26-13 despite battling numerous season ending injuries to the opening day roster. On the other hand, the San Francisco Giants went 30-42 after the All-Star Break, which is the worst post All-Star Break record for a playoff team since the Wild Card was implemented in 1995.

A key for the Giants to be successful will be if they can get their speedsters on base. Syndergaard has allowed 48 stolen bases to opposing runners this year, which is incredible considering how fast he throws. It will be interesting to see if the Mets pair up Syndergaard with defensive catcher Rene Rivera instead of the (barely) more offensive threat in Travis d’Arnaud.

San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants have one of the deadliest 1-2 punches in the playoffs this year in Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.79 ERA). Cueto was an integral part in the Royals World Series championship last year and he hopes to continue his October success in an even year for the Giants. Its weird to emphasize that it is an even year when talking about a team’s potential, but the Giants have won the World Series in 2014, 2012, and 2010 when they weren’t exactly the favorites to win it all. The Giants official Twitter account has even picked up the hashtag #BeliEVEN.

Not only do the Giants boast a two-headed monster on the mound, they have many hitters that get the job done. While none of them hit for a lot of power, many of them hit for a decent average. They have C Buster Posey (.288, 14 HR, 80 RBI), 1B Brandon Belt (.275, 17 HR, 82 RBI), SS Brandon Crawford (.275, 12 HR, 84 RBI), and CF Angel Pagan (.277, 12 HR, 55 RBI). None of their stats jump off the page at you, but their lineup is constructed very similarly to the 2015 World Series champion Kansas City Royals’ team.

The main problem for the Giants has been their bullpen. They blew a league leading 30 saves, including 9 in September. They have changed closers numerous times, but nobody has been able to figure it out yet. Knowing this statistic, opposing crowds may be more apt to get on the Giants relievers late in the game which in turn could create more blown saves.

New York Mets

The New York Mets went from the league’s disappointment to the league’s most surprising story. Coming off of a World Series loss, there was a lot of hype surrounding the team saying that they were a shoo-in to make it back this year. Fast forward a couple of months, and the Mets were floating in limbo. They were under .500 in August, 5.5 games out of the Wild Card, had multiple season ending injuries to their stars, and rumors were circulating that manager Terry Collins had one foot out the door. Then, with the signing of Jose Reyes and some Triple-A guys providing some spark, the Mets started winning, and winning, and winning. They had the best record in the MLB after August 20th.

The Mets lost pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom, Steve Matz, and Zach Wheeler to season ending injuries. They lost 3B David Wright and newly signed 2B Neil Walker for the year. 1B Lucas Duda missed almost the entire season but has just recently returned. Utility man and lefty-hitting specialist Wilmer Flores still is unable to swing a bat. When he was able to swing the bat against lefties, he hit .340 with 11 HR and 28 RBIs in 100 at bats.

Despite all of those injuries, the Mets keep managing to win. With Noah Syndergaard starting against the Giants, that means he would probably only be available for one game in the NLDS should they advance. That would mean that 43 year old Bartolo Colon (15-8, 3.43) would be in the mix with 23 year old rookie Robert Gsellman (4-2, 2.42) and 26 year old rookie Seth Lugo (5-2, 2.67) to make the most important starts in their careers.

The Mets have lived and died by the long ball this year. They’ve had some incredible late game heroics that have been both heart-stopping and fantastic to see. They are led on offense by OF Yoenis Cespedes (.280, 31 HR, 86 RBI), SS Asdrubal Cabrera (.280, 23 HR, 62 RBI), RF Curtis Granderson (.237, 30 HR, 59 RBI), and reacquired spark plug 3B Jose Reyes (.267, 8 HR, 24 RBI). Trade deadline acquisition Jay Bruce was getting hot at the end of the season, and the Mets have to hope he can be the player he was back in Cincinnati.

One man the Mets are excited to give the baseball to is Closer Jeurys Familia. He led the majors with 51 saves and struck out 84 batters in 77.2 innings. When he’s on, he’s as good as anybody.

 

 

The MLB Wild Card games are always fun to watch due to the win or go home aspect. While the best team does not always necessarily win during a one game playoff, it definitely is exciting to watch, and it totally amplifies the importance of all 27 outs. I’ll break down the Division Series after these 2 games. Until then:

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Monday Morning Quarterback: Pow Right In The Kisser

Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing bad. Like historically bad. Like so bad he makes bad quarterbacks look not bad. To add perspective to how poorly Pickspatrick is playing (lap taken), nobody has thrown 9 interceptions in 2 games since Steve DeBerg in 1986. He is the first Jets quarterback to have back to back games with at least 3 interceptions since Frank Reich in 1996. He is only the 5th quarterback in the past decade to have 10 interceptions in the first 4 weeks of the season. One last shot, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s current passer rating of 57.6 is nearly 10 points lower than Geno Smith’s passer rating in his atrocity of a rookie season.

Lets see if this week’s Jets game was yet another Must Win:

4th consecutive ‘must win’ game for the New York Jets. And they have now lost 3 out of the 4. This week featured 3 receiving touchdowns by household names such as Tanner McEvoy, Christine Michael, and the ghost of CJ Spiller. It wasn’t like the Jets shut down Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, or Jimmy Graham, either. The immobilized Russell Wilson was only sacked twice, which is embarrassing for the Jets defensive line (especially considering that CB Buster Skrine had one of them).  Wilson threw for over 300 yards with 0 interceptions. Doug Baldwin caught all 4 of his targets for 54 yards, and Jimmy Graham looked like he was back in New Orleans, eviscerating the Jets LBs and defensive backs all over the field. The only defender to breakup a pass this week was Leonard Williams at the line of scrimmage. For the second week in a row, nobody on the Jets looked particularly good. Speaking of not looking particularly good, check out the next three games for the Jets:

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Next up is at the Steelers, who just put up 43 points and 450 yards against the Chiefs. We will get a head to head match up of the Pink Slip Boys, Brandon Marshall and Antonio Brown. Brown is leading the challenge by 120 yards, which at this rate would equate to a 480 yard victory.

In order for the Jets to compete next week, they’re going to have to figure out a way to get points on the board. In the Jets 3 losses, they have scored a combination of 42 points. The Steelers hung 43 on Sunday Night in a game that they took their foot off the gas pedal dramatically in the second half. Le’Veon Bell is back and looks as good as ever, Big Ben is still slinging like he always has, and Antonio Brown is vying to break the all time personal foul record for twerking in the end zone.

I still think that Ryan Fitzpatrick should be benched sooner than later. He didn’t make any plays on Sunday that one of the other quarterbacks on the roster couldn’t make. He did, however, miss numerous throws down the field because he is physically unable to do so. The Jets addition of TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be criminally underused if Fitzpatrick stays in at QB. One of ASJ’s greatest assets is that he is a deep ball threat that will outrun a linebacker and outmuscle a defensive back. He is a matchup nightmare that can run seam routes play after play, which in turn would open up Marshall and Enunwa in the middle of the field, which in turn would open up the check down routes by Forte and Powell. If Fitzpatrick remains in at quarterback, defenses will start to stack the box against the Jets and dare him to throw it deep. There is hope, though; Bryce Petty will return from his mysterious shoulder injury very soon. #InPettyWeTrust

As per tradition, when its time, we’ll accept you with arms wide open….hit it BP:

 

On to the awards:

The GOAT:

Brandon Marshall in the 1st Half (3-72-1 in the 1st Half; 4-89-1 overall)

The picture above is the tale of the tape. With Eric Decker out, everybody and their mothers knew that Brandon Marshall was going to get the majority of the looks on offense. To counter that, the Seahawks shadowed him with All-Pro CB Richard Sherman, which is something that he rarely does. Marshall was putting him in a body bag in the first half, running crisp routes, perhaps getting away with a push off or two, and actually holding onto the damn ball.

For awhile it looked like Marshall was going to have a career day. Unfortunately for him and the Jets, that was not the case. It was his first TD on the year (after recording a league high 14 last year), and for his efforts he wins GOAT of the game.

Honorable GOATs:

Charone Peake (3-30-0, 42 yard fumble recovery)

With the absence of Eric Decker, a main question that faced the Jets was who will step up in his place. There was a lot of hype for preseason hero Robby Anderson, some more for Quincy Enunwa to become a household name, and virtually none for 7th round pick Charone Peake. Peake recorded his first 3 career receptions, and he had the heads up play of the game, returning a Ryan Fitzpatrick fumble (shocker) 42 yards for a touchdown. Hustle plays like that will move you up the depth chart.

Bilal Powell (4-26-0 rushing, 6-54-0 receiving)

After a couple pedestrian stat lines this season and losing a fumble last week, I was afraid that the Bilal Powell experiment was a lost cause. He was a good third down change of pace back to Chris Ivory last year, but his skills are now consistent with #1 guy Matt Forte. Powell showed signs of his December 2015 performance, when he recorded 359 yards from scrimmage with 3 touchdowns in 4 games. He is an underrated yet crucial part of the Jets offense, and I hope that the Jets utilize him more in the upcoming weeks. Also, he pulled off the rare double kill on a stiff arm:

The WOAT: 

The Offensive Line

There are a lot of fingers to be pointed, but the first finger is pointing directly at the offensive line. Even with D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s somewhat sudden retirement this offseason, the Jets O-Line is regarded as at least a top 10 unit. However, this week was a giant step backwards for them compared to the first three weeks. They allowed a season-high 4 sacks, and paved the way for 58 yards on 20 carries, ‘good’ for a 2.9 yard per carry average. And finally, here is a video of village idiot RG Brian Winters concussing himself while getting flagged for a completely unnecessary helmet to helmet hit.

Dishonorable WOATs:

Coverage LBs and FS Calvin Pryor

The main area of concern from last week’s loss to the Chiefs was the big game by TE Travis Kelce. Apparently the Jets did not address that problem at all, allowing oft-injured TE Jimmy Graham to look like a man amongst boys out there. He went 6-113-0 and made Jets defenders look absolutely foolish a couple of times.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (23/41 261 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT)

It physically pains me to watch Fitzpatrick play quarterback. Once again, Fitz under threw Brandon Marshall on deep routes that Richard Sherman was alllll over for two second half interceptions. The Jets have 4 quarterbacks on their roster and sit 2 of them as healthy scratches every week. Successful teams such as the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots pride themselves on having a role for all 53 players on their roster. By having one more quarterback than 95% of other teams and not giving them the opportunity to play, the Jets are sacrificing precious roster spots that could be used for an extra defensive back, an offensive lineman, a KICK RETURNER, or maybe a Tight End, seeing as they have yet to complete a pass to a player in that position all year. Kind of ironic that the Jets completely ignore the Tight End position on both sides of the ball.

NFL Week Four Picks

I had my worst week of the year last week, in which I still went .500. You can blame that on some of the worst quarterback play I’ve ever seen from Carson Palmer and Cam Newton. Also, I went on a mini tangent before Week 2 saying how West Coast teams do not perform well on the East Coast during the 1 PM slot. I promptly said to ignore that advice last week with the Cardinals. Everyone makes mistakes, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Despite the subpar performance last week I am still 9-4 on the season. We’re going undefeated this week.

Recapping Week Three:

Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) @ Buffalo Bills LOSS

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Denver Broncos (+3) @ Cincinnati Bengals WIN

Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers (-7) LOSS

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Chicago Bears @ Dallas Cowboys (-7) WIN

 

This is going to be a big bounce back week, here’s the picks:

Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots (-6.5)

The Buffalo Bills are coming off of a surprising win against the Arizona Cardinals at home, while the New England Patriots are coming off of a dominating Thursday Night performance against the Houston Texans. The one advantage of playing a Thursday Night Football game on short rest is that you then get 3 extra days of rest and preparation for the next Sunday. Bills WR Sammy Watkins has once again been ruled out, and Rex Ryan has said that there is now “major concern” over his foot…..which now that I’m typing this out makes a whole lot of sense. (Only NYJ fans circa 2009-2012 would get that)  Unfortunately for the Bills, the injury report on Sammy Watkins is not the only thing that Rex Ryan has said this week. He’s been back to his old ways of making jokes and impressions, which is a bold move coming from the coach of a 1-2 team. Here he is doing a Bill Belichick impression:

And here he is posing as a fake reporter to get some inside scoop on WR/potential QB Julian Edelman:

Yes, its all fun and games, but from his tenure with the Jets I have learned that the Patriots don’t play these games. This is locker room material that I think the Patriots will use as extra motivation to hang points on the Bills. Also, the rumors of Rex Ryan being successful against the Pats are wildly untrue. In the regular season he is 3-11 career against Bill Belichick coached teams and is 0-7 at Gillette.

Jimmy Garoppolo has been practicing all week and there seems to be a decent chance that He’ll get the start. Another name worth mentioning that will be getting more than the 14 snaps that he logged last week; Rob Gronkowski. Pats by a million.

Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) @ New York Jets

Prove me wrong, Green. After Ryan Fitzpatrick’s terrible game last week against the Chiefs, I do have recency bias against him and the Jets. However, there are a few factors that have helped me feel confident about this pick. First and foremost, Russell Wilson is slated to play.

Wilson’s rushing numbers have been way down compared to his previous 4 seasons, only logging 33 rushing yards through 3 games. Either way, he’s a proven winner who gets the job done in crunch time (unless he’s throwing a goal line slant in the Super Bowl). The Jets D must have been salivating at the thought of rookie QB Trevone Boykin getting the start, but instead they have to prepare for one of the perennial QBs in the NFL.

The Jets also announced early on Friday that WR Eric Decker will be ruled out for this week’s game, which now opens the door for the Legion of Boom to focus on the banged-up Brandon Marshall. Richard Sherman doesn’t often shadow the opponent’s #1 guy, but I think that this week he’ll see more of Marshall than he won’t. Marshall hasn’t shown any signs of brilliance yet this season, so I don’t expect him to make any big moves on Richard Sherman. This makes Quincy Enunwa the guy that can make or break the game for the Jets. As good as he has been playing this year, I think part of it has to do with him being the 3rd option behind Decker and Marshall. I’m not sure if he’s ready to be the go-to guy quite yet.

The Jets also signed TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following his DUI arrest. A major factor for this game will be how often he can be on the field and how effective he will be out there. Off the field problems aside, ASJ has some very impressive skills on the field, shown in this Week 1 TD catch vs. Atlanta:

 

Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals (-8)

Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals were embarrassed last week in a 33-18 loss against the Buffalo Bills to fall to 1-2. Still a favorite in the NFC, I think that Bruce Arians and the Cardinals put up a lot of points and coast to victory in this game to send a message to the rest of the league. The last time these 2 teams met last year with virtually the same teams, the Cardinals won 27-3 on the road. Palmer threw for 356, David Johnson had 120 yards from scrimmage, while John Brown and Michael Floyd both put up 100 yard games. Also, the last home game the Cardinals played was Week 2, when they won 40-7 against the Buccaneers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar result this week. Carson Palmer is averaging nearly 275 yards passing per game, while the Rams give up 266 a game on defense. The Rams also give up 100 rushing yards per game, so I think this will be David Johnson’s first really big game of the year.

Todd Gurley is averaging 2.9 yards a carry in 3 games this year, which is an atrocious stat from the former rookie of the year. Chandler Jones and the rest of the Cardinals D Line are going to eat him up. Kenny Britt has had a decent season thus far, as has Tavon Austin, but they’ll be paired up against the likes of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. This could be a disaster game for Rams QB Case Keenum.

 

Detroit Lions (-3) @ Chicago Bears

I will continue to bet against the Bears as long as they are less than 10 point underdogs. As a healthy team, they lost to the Texans by 9 in Week 1, they lost to the Eagles by 15 in Week 2, and they lost to the Cowboys by 14 in Week 3. The Bears are still banged up all over their roster, and all signs are pointing towards Brian Hoyer starting at QB and 5th round pick Jordan Howard starting at RB this week. The top 3 defensive backs on the Bears are fighting injuries and are sitting on the injury report as ‘Questionable’ for the 2nd week in a row. Even if they do play, they won’t be at 100%, which completely opens the door for Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, and Eric Ebron to go crazy. Going into this week, Matthew Stafford was ranked #3 in the NFL in passing yards, and I think that he could end up #1 at the end of this week. I have a theory that having Calvin Johnson on his team was actually detrimental to his success but that’s for another day. Lions RB Ameer Abdullah is on Injured Reserve and is expected to miss the rest of the season, which opens the door for pass catching back Theo Riddick to be the number one guy. I think that Detroit’s aerial attack is going to be too much for the Chicago Bears to keep up with, and Brian Hoyer will make numerous mistakes passing the ball.

 

Well, there you have it. This is a 4-0 week. Call me Don Shula because we’re going undefeated.

President Obama Hosts The 1972 Superbowl Champion Miami Dolphins