Thursday, December 30, 2004

Jets at Rams, Sunday, 1pm

Things could be worse for the Jets. They could be going into the deciding game of the season with an injury list that looks like this:

Reid, Dexter S Shoulder Doubtful *
Seymour, Richard DE Knee Doubtful *
Chatham, Matt LB Hamstring Questionable *
Faulk, Kevin RB Knee Questionable *
Gay, Randall CB Arm/Flu Questionable *
Givens, David WR Ankle Questionable *
Graham, Daniel TE Rib Questionable *
Johnson, Bethel WR Thigh Questionable *
Law, Ty CB Foot Questionable *
Moreland, Earthwind CB Abdomen Questionable *
Pass, Patrick FB Knee Questionable *
Samuel, Asante CB Shoulder Questionable *
Wilson, Eugene FS Thigh Questionable *
Brady, Tom QB Right Shoulder Probable
Miller, Jim QB Right Shoulder Probable

That's a long injury list. And but it's the Patriots injury list, and they've been doing OK for themselves - I just thought I'd throw that out there.

As for Sunday's game...I've been talking about it all week. On Wednesday, the Jets had all kinds of fiery speeches thrown at them - one by Herman Edwards, then in a closed-door meeting, Chad Pennington, Curtis Martin, and Terrell Buckley. (In my opinion, Buckley's speech was probably him apologizing for how badly he's played filling in for Ray Mickens.) The veterans were fired up, and they say they are going to turn that emotion into a great performance on the field. I think they will. The Jets seem capable of turning it on in must-win games like this Sunday's...I hope they can do it four more times, the last one being the Super Bowl. As for this week, the Jets will find enough offense to outscore the Rams, and it's on to the playoffs! Jets, 31-20.

Here's my take on the rest of the (mostly meaningless) NFL (for entertainment purposes only):

SF +14 (that spread seems like too much considering most of the good Patriots will probably sit much of the game)
PIT +9 (the Steelers are playing too well, Roethlisberger or not, to be nine point underdogs...although I do think the Bills will win)
BAL -11 (Miami finishes with a whimper)
MIN -3.5 (the Vikings charge into the playoffs, instead of folding again)
CIN -3 (the Eagles might as well not show up if they're going to pull what they did Monday night)
GB +3 (the Bears might not show up at all)
NO +8 (the Panthers will win, but the Saints will keep themselves in it until the end)
TEN +3 (Volek will lead the Titans to the win over the Lions as home underdogs)
CLE +10.5 (I don't think Houston's good enough to blow out Cleveland)
TB +3 (the Bucs have played decent enough, they should be able to beat the Cards)
SEA -6 (the Seahawks take advantage of the Jets beating the Rams)
IND +9 (as I said earlier in the week, Manning might be rested, but the Colts' defense will make it tough for Denver)
JAX NL (Jacksonville collapsed last week, but in desperation should beat Oakland)
SD +3 (they're still better than banged up KC)
DAL +3 (the Giants stink)

Lastly, I just want to comment on Paul Hackett. He will probably be fired at the end of the season - Herman Edwards wouldn't give him any type of vote of confidence this week. That's probably a good thing. I can't wait to see the offensive weapons on the Jets being used correctly...including Chad Pennington. He likes Hackett, but he's good (and smart) enough to adjust to someone new.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Yesterday I talked about Chad Pennington in the so-called "big games". Today, I'll focus on the Jets as a whole in those types of games.

A Jets coach has never led the Jets to the playoffs three times in four years. Herman Edwards will try to accomplish that feat when the Jets take on the Rams on Sunday. If he accomplishes it, each time he will have done it on the last day of the season.

In 2001, the Jets won on a last second field goal at Oakland, winning the opportunity to go back to Oakland for a first-round playoff loss to the Raiders. (Vinny Testaverde was the quarterback that year.)

In 2002, as I mentioned already this week, the Jets beat the Packers, and got a miracle, last second win by the Patriots over the Dolphins, eliminating New England and Miami, and vaulting the Jets to the playoffs.

Last year the Jets were 6-10.

This is what Herm Edwards has to say about the scenarios the Jets keep putting themselves in:

"It's good for you," Edwards said Wednesday. "The harder, the better. Come on. The bigger the bully, the better. Come on. Because life is about a fight. You can't go run in your house and close the door. You're not in your neighborhood, so you'd better go fight. If we do that, we'll be OK."

This is why I love Herman Edwards. He will get the team psyched to win on Sunday. The Jets will beat the Rams. David Barrett will have a good game, silencing the Rams deep. Terrell Buckley will get burned a couple of times, but the Jets will score enough to win. The question for me is, what will happen with the Jets in the weeks after the Rams? (And I don't even want to think what will happen if the Jets lose...but I really don't think they'll lose. No way. I'm convinced.)
The big criticism about Chad Pennington is that he can't win the big game. While Chad Pennington is not my favorite person right now, I will argue that Pennington can win, and indeed has won, the big game in his time in New York.

This season's big games have been defined as Week 7 against the Patriots, then against the Steelers, and last week again versus the Patriots. In week 7, Pennington was one of the reasons the Jets lost, making a poor throw on the Jets' last possession on a drive that could have won the game. But the Jets had other opportunities to win that game, and some dropped passes and fumbled balls were among the reasons the Jets lost. As for the other two games, we're not seeing the same Chad Pennington. He is hurt, and is playing with a bad shoulder. I'm not making excuses, I'm just saying what's going on...Pennington should not be playing. Anyone who has seen him make throws in the Pittsburgh game or the New England game can see he's clearly not himself. What is tougher to explain is why his shoulder didn't look so bad against Seattle or Houston...actually, Houston wasn't his finest day throwing the football either, in retrospect. And maybe Seattle's suspect defense made Pennington look better than he is.

Anyway, there are the facts for Chad Pennington being unable to win the big game. But in 2002, Chad Pennington won three big games in a row...and the situation was similar to the situation the Jets find themselves in now. After losing to 2-12 Buffalo, the Jets needed to beat New England (in New England, I believe), then Green Bay in order to make the playoffs. Pennington was outstanding, winning both games, (and Green Bay did play its starters for the first half of the latter game, before they started pulling guys out once the Jets started to blow them out - lest you think the Packers rolled over for the Jets) and then Pennington played really well in the playoffs - which is a really big game, beating the Colts. Pennington had a rough outing the following week in Oakland, and that might have made him gun shy for future big games, but I don't think so. I think Pennington has done OK in his career in big games, and I don't buy the fact that he can't win the big game.

I do buy the fact that he's got a bad shoulder, and he's killing the Jets if he's trying to hide it. That's all I'll say on Pennington, for now.

Dave writes in again today:

"Dear JohnnyJets,

On the radio today, my favorite midday sports anchors Dale and Neumy were talking about some of the lines on this weekend's games. The fact that some teams don't have anything to play for makes this either a minefield or a gold mine, for entertainment purposes, of course.

Buffalo minus 3 against the Steelers, Chicago minus 3 against Green Bay, and perhaps most notably, Denver minus 9 against the Colts.

What's your strategy this week to put .500 in the rearview mirror once and for all? Better yet, what's The Wife's strategy?

Dave in Brighton"

I was thinking about this same thing, Dave. It reminds me of when we had this conversation about the Dolphins following the firing of Dave Wannstedt. It's so tough to tell what's going to happen any week, let alone when teams start resting players. You'll see my picks on Friday (brutal week last week, by the way - 5-10-1, back to a game under .500), but Buffalo minus-3 looks awfully good, especially considering what they have riding on this game. Denver minus-9 is tough, because the Colts are too good to be that kind of an underdog this year - they might rest Manning, but remember, their defense has been really good this year too. So my strategy is to just think about which team is better, no matter what, just like I did on Monday night when I picked the Eagles over the Rams. That worked out well. The Wife's strategy is the same as always - don't stress, just pick, then laugh at me when the picks come out better.

Monday, December 27, 2004

I'll start with e-mail, then have to get back to installing my brand new iPod.

"Dear JohnnyJets,

How would you describe the feeling in Jets nation, now that the team might go 10-6 but not make the playoffs?

Do you think Chad has learned a lesson about picking a fight with people who buy ink by the gallon, as Tommy Lasorda once said?

Signed, Dave (back) in Brighton"

Dave, welcome back to Massachusetts. Real quick on the Pennington point - I think he learned his lesson mid-week last week, because he kept talking about it as a mistake. He won't be saying anything controversial for a while, and will be hearing a bunch of masked "I told you so"'s all week this week.

As for your first point, about the feeling in Jets nation, it's about the same as usual. Utter disappointment late in the year. 10-6 and not making the playoffs would be a slap in the face, but it would be just the latest chapter in the disappointing life of a Jets fan. However, I don't expect 10-6 and no playoffs - I fully expect 11-5 and playoffs, and then whatever happens after that. As was printed by Gary Meyers in the Daily News today, the Jets should beat the Rams next week, because they beat bad teams and the Rams are a bad team.

The Jets have a disappointing history (not that I need to tell you that), and the best thing about Herman Edwards and Chad Pennington is that they are so positive all the time. There wasn't a lot of positivity coming out of the Jets clubhouse on Sunday (rightfully so), but it does give you hope for the future, with the positive attitudes usually in the clubhouse.

Here's the playoff scenario - the Jets need to win to get in the playoffs....that's the most important thing. If the Jets lose, they need either Denver or Buffalo to lose. Hopefully the Jets take care of business themselves.

Hopefully I'll remember, because I'm actually working a bit this week, but tomorrow I want to talk a bit about Chad Pennington's performances in "big games".

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Patriots 23, Jets 7

I just got feeling back in my fingers, so I can write about this game. I'm really ticked off, so I don't know how much I'm going to rehash.

I can't find any play-by-play game recaps (I thought espn or yahoo had those, but I guess I was wrong), but I think the turning point of this game happened in the second quarter, on the Patriots touchdown drive.

The Jets had the Patriots at third and nine, in Patriots' territory. 3rd and 9! And the crowd is into the game, yelling, trying to rattle Brady, when what happens...the Jets have just 10 guys on the field! The Jets call time out. The Jets have to call time out! What a momentum swing. The Patriots have time to regroup, they come out with a pass play that gets them the first down. Not two plays later, the Jets have to call another timeout because they again have confusion on defense after having just 10 guys on the field. Way to take the crowd out of the game, boys. The Pats went up 10-0, then 16-0, then 23-0. The Jets got crushed.

Chad Pennington looked awful. He padded his stats in garbage time. Everyone's saying Paul Hackett should be fired (which is probably the case, but he can't really be blamed for this game) but it's not really fair for Hackett right now. Pennington can't throw the ball far down the field when his shoulder is at normal strength. Right now, he's got a serious problem with his shoulder, and he can't make a throw over five yards. It was like watching Bad Vinny (as opposed to good '98 Vinny) every time Pennington dropped back to pass vs. the Pats. I think the Jets might be better off going with Quincy Carter next week, just so the Jets can use Santana Moss' speed and have him streak down field. Pennington just can't get the ball to him.

Every time Pennington tried to throw the ball twenty or more yards he was picked off. The first drive, Bruschi got him, and then on another drive, down 16-0 at the start of the fourth quarter, Pennington was picked again. Curtis Martin couldn't get going, not really his fault, I think it was more a result of the play-calling. Martin would run for a yard, then everyone in the building knew he was getting the ball again on second down. I don't like to hear the Jets get booed at home, but they deserved every boo they got on Sunday.

Everyone sucked. Special teams - allowing Troy Brown to rip off a huge punt return right before the half, then turning the ball over on a squib kick (which resulted in a missed field goal) right after that drive ended with a field goal. The defense just didn't play smart, or well. The defense played poorly. Very bad game all around.

The Patriots played well, they played smart. The Jets kept shooting themselves in the foot. They had their opportunities to jump out to a lead, and stop the Patriots' streak of scoring first (it was 0-0 after one), but the Jets just kept beating themselves. Bad, bad game.

I feel like the Jets bounce back very well from these types of games (probably better than I do), so I think they will do well in Saint Louis next week, and probably get into the playoffs. But they need to improve...a lot...if they're going to do anything in the playoffs.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Sunday, 4pm - Jets vs. Patriots

Since there's a bunch of traveling and Christmasing on the horizon, I'm going to post the picks and predictions and then see you post-game on Sunday.

A couple of things before the prediction, though. John Abraham, Curtis Martin, and Kevin Mawae are the Jets' Pro Bowlers. Abraham says he will not be back for any of the regular season games. He's shooting for the first week of the playoffs, but it's still not clear if that's even realistic.

Also, on Wednesday, apparently, Chad Pennington started his talk with the media by saying, "Group hug, real quick?". That's great comedy.

The big talk now in the papers (even in New York), is how horrible Tom Brady played in the last couple of minutes of the game Monday night in Miami. And the talk of Pennington not being able to win the "big game" is starting up again.

I'm kind of mad the Patriots lost to Miami, first of all, because the Jets lost to Pittsburgh. Had the Jets beaten Pittsburgh, and needed Miami to beat New England to keep their division title hopes alive, it wouldn't have happened. I'm also mad about it because the Patriots are going to be coming off a loss...they're 2-0 coming off their last two losses (That's spread out over a year and a half - I came up with that stat myself - and it might actually be 3-0 coming off their last 3 losses, but I can't remember that far back). But the point is, I would have rather seen the Pats coming into the Meadowlands off a win rather than a loss.

I still think, though, that the Jets will beat the Patriots. I don't care what ANYONE says, the Patriots' defense has gotten worse as the year has gone on. Other people may believe this is not the case, but that is my opinion, and that's what I put on this site - MY OPINION. And the fact that a wide receiver is playing defense only furthers my point that the Patriots are having defensive problems. So that works in the Jets favor. If Tom Brady makes some more bonehead plays (though highly unlikely), that works in the Jets favor. And this is the second road game in a row for the Patriots, for whatever that's worth...that has to work in the Jets favor. Meanwhile, it's the second home game in a row for the Jets, and the Pats are coming off a Monday night game - short turnaround.

All that still doesn't decide the game. The Jets have lost three straight to the Pats, and it's about time for the fortunes in the series to shift. The Jets have hung in there with New England, barely losing earlier this year. Since that meeting the Jets' defense has improved (and it wasn't too bad at that point of the year), and that will help the Jets get over the hump. Jets, 21-7.

One more thing about this game - I'm happy the Dolphins allowed the Patriots to get out to a 7-0 lead in Monday night's game, because now it allows the Jets to break the Pats' streak of scoring first in 20 straight games or so. I really think the Jets will get on the board first, even if it's just a field goal...they are well aware of that streak, and the Jets are well aware that they need to score first if they hope to win.

Here's my take on the rest of the NFL (after a three-week let the wife pick 'em hiatus, I pick up at 88-84-4 on the season):

NYJ +3
GB +3
OAK +7
DEN -4
BAL +6
DET -6
CIN -6
SD +7
JAX -6.5
TB -3
ATL +3
BUF -10
WAS -2
SEA -7.5
MIA -6
PHI +2.5

Merry Christmas to all (even you, Al M.)...and I'll post again when I get back from the game on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

On Thursday I will probably post the angry e-mail from Mr. Montoya. But today I need to devote the space to Chad Pennington.

Here's my take on Pennington's attack on the media:

I don't care. I don't. Pennington was supposedly mad at what the writers said about him following the loss to Pittsburgh, and supposedly used that as motivation in his 3-touchdown performance against the Seahawks, and then, after trying not to speak to the media on Sunday, spoke AT the media on Monday. I don't care for a few reasons.

1) What the media writes about this situation is biased, because they can tell any story they want, and leave out whatever part of Chad's speil (?) they want. (I know that in some newspapers they've already done that, because before Chad [I'm not on a first-name basis with him, it's just that 'Chad' is easier to keep writing than 'Pennington'] told them 'it's a privilege to cover the Jets', he told them he was privileged to be in the spot he was in, QB of the Jets, and that hasn't shown up in any of the papers, because it's not juicy enough.

2) I don't care because Chad had a great game on Sunday, and if he needs to be mad at the media or someone else to have a great game, then get mad, Chad, get mad. The newspaper reporters are making a big deal out of this, saying that this whole thing shows that Pennington gets rattled. I don't understand how that's the case. If this had happened before the Pittsburgh game, when Pennington threw 3 INT's, I'd believe he's susceptible to the media rattling him. But he went out and led the Jets to a 37-14 win. That's not rattled.

3) Here's why I do care about this thing: Chad Pennington is too smart to do something like this. It doesn't fit into the type of person he's been the past few years. I do believe that Pennington is pissed, but I don't think he needs to make a big public stink about it. I have a feeling Pennington was looking ahead to what a big game this Sunday is (for the Jets to clinch a playoff spot with a win, for the Jets to prove they can beat a really good team), and wanted to create a distraction from the media hubbub that usually surrounds the Jets-Patriots matchups (especially when there's playoff positioning on the line). I could be way off, but I just have a feeling that this is what Pennington is up to, and it's just something that the New York media can string along and make a big deal out of.

One last thing - it's also an opportunity for the Jets' beat writers to make a big deal out of how badly they've been treated by New York Jets players in the past. For an example, check out Rich Cimini's rant in the Jets Insider in the New York Daily News Wednesday. Boo-hoo, Rich. If you don't enjoy what you do, don't do it. I didn't like the Red Sox being a bunch of jerks, so I stopped producing sports, and now I teach. And now I have a week-and-a-half of vacation. Maybe you should become a teacher Rich. And stop complaining about Chad Pennington handing you your lunch.

Oh, one more last last thing: I heard Pennington on the radio following the Steelers loss. He was harder on himself than anyone in the media could have been. So I'm not sure that he was totally angry at the media's coverage following the Pittsburgh game at all...he knows he played poorly. I think he was more mad at the perception that he can't win the big game, so he'll probably have that motivation on Sunday against the Patriots too.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Unfortunately, due to a holiday concert at my school, and the wife needing the computer, I need to keep this one short. So I will take a couple of e-mails, and save a huge long rant of an e-mail for well as my comments on Chad Pennington's comments.

"Dear JohnnyJets,
Do you find it a privelege to run a New York Jets blog? ChadPennington says you should, because you get to write about some of the greatest athletes in the world for an audience that is known to include at least 3 people who are not your wife.
On a separate note, could you, as a Jets fan experienced at hysteric overreaction, give me any tips on how I should hysterically overreact to the Pats' loss last night [Monday]?
I have an unsubstantiated theory that the Pats are play much worse in the final 2 minutes of the first half and of the game than they do the other 56 minutes.
I can cite last night [Monday], and the end of the first half against the Ravens.
I have no other proof.
On the Jags bandwagon since 9/04,
Dave in S.C."

Dave - I'll reserve comment on the Pennington comments until tomorrow. Here's how you can hysterically overreact to the Patriots' :
"Oh my God, the Patriots lost to the Dolphins!! That was horrible. How can I ever get past that disaster of a game?!?! I hope they don't even show up in New York on Sunday, since it's going to be all downhill from here." That might be a start.

As for your theory that the Pats are a bad "final 2 minute" team, remember that the first time they played the Jets, the Patriots won the game with a drive in the final two minutes of the first half. (Then the teams played to a scoreless second half.) Tom Brady has also won more than his share of games coming back late in the game...I can't think of whether or not that has happened yet this year, though...maybe week 1 against Indy. The fact is, they've been ahead so much this year, they haven't had to play too well in the "final two minutes".

One more e-mail:

"Dear JohnnyJets-

Please note that for the last two weeks of the season, I will not be providing picks to your Web site. I have utterly choked since broadcasting my picks, and have fallen to #223 in the country. I was at 72 two weeks ago! If you want me to make a miracle run at winning the plasma TV, you will cease and desist from publishing my picks. I can't deal with the pressure.

Your Wife"

Thanks, Wife. I was actually going to comment on this fact before I knew the wife had sent an e-mail...I knew I should have just published the picks without asking her - I knew it would put the pressure on. She says I should say she choked worse than Tom Brady on Monday night. I prefer to compare her to the singing frog in the old Warner Bros. cartoon...she picks the games when no one's looking, and then when everyone's attention is on her, she acts like she's just your run of the mill girl.

OK...tomorrow is the last day of school, so I will start writing more then. I'm actually undecided on whether I will print the Al Montoya e-mail - it's got an angry tone...that's just not what we're all about here at Especially during the holidays. Maybe that's the answer to Dave's question - send angry e-mails as hysteric overraction to your team losing to one of the worst teams in football.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Not much to talk about with the Patriots playing as I write this. The only development I will get to tonight is Chad Pennington being ornery.

Pennington, after Sunday's game, tried to walk out of the lockerroom without speaking to the media, but he was held up by a Jets PR guy. Pennington stuck around, spoke for about a minute and a half, and then bolted. He was very short and terse with the media on Sunday. Teammates said, "Chad had something to prove".

On Monday, Pennington apparently ripped into reporters because of the things they wrote leading up to the Seahawks game...or more accurately, following the Pittsburgh game. I have not seen or read these quotes, but I will write more about this scenario tomorrow. All I'll say for right now is that if Pennington was playing angry on Sunday, keep playing angry....he played one of his better games of the season on Sunday.

One e-mail to get to (thankfully Dave is no longer charading as a Brighton resident during his Christmas holiday):

"Dear Johnnyjets,
Is it possible that the AFC East could provide three (3) playoffs teams?
Is there a scenario where the Jets and Bills would win both wild cards?
Is this unprecedented?
Would that make the AFC East the best division in football?
Would it make it the bet division insports?
What do you think the best division in sports is? NL East,probably, you jamoke.

Signed,Dave in Mauldin, SC...home of the flourescent orange Mauldin Mavs visor."

Well, Dave, it's a shame the Dolphins tanked this year, because the AFC East would definitely be the best division in sports if the Dolphins were the slightest bit competitive. Well, since Miami is competitive right now with the Patriots, I'll go along with it. Sure, the AFC East is the best division in sports...and definitely the NFL. I think the Bills have a real shot at the wild card - having won 8 of their last 10 games. Here's the breakdown of the 4 wild card potentials (not counting the Jets, who hopefully get in even at 10-6):

BUF: at SF, vs. PIT
BAL: at PIT, vs. MIA
JAX: vs. HOU, at OAK
DEN: at TEN, vs. IND

I think all of those teams will lose one of their final two games, except for Jacksonville. So I think the Jaguars get into the playoffs, proving you, Dave from Mauldin, SC, quite prescient, picking Jacksonville to do something big early in the year.

One other note I wanted to touch on before I go to bed - the Eagles are so screwed. Even if they've proven they can win without Terrell Owens, which I don't think is the case, I think his broken leg is going to mess with their heads so much that they might lose their first playoff game -not even making it to the NFC Championship game. Just a thought. Look for Atlanta (or an even crappier team) to make it to the Super Bowl out of the NFC.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Jets 37, Seahawks 17

Ah, good ol' reliable Seattle. Nothing like a good choke job by the Seahawks to make you feel better about your team. But seriously, folks, the Jets played very well, improving to 10-4 on the season, and moving to within a win of a playoff spot. (For you non-Jets fans out there, just realize that 10 wins in a season is still a pretty novel thing to us Jets fans...we're used to double digits in the losses column.)

Chad Pennington came back from last week's disaster in Pittsburgh with an awesome game. 253 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT. Classic Chad. His throws looked as good this week as they looked bad last week. So maybe his arm isn't in as bad shape as I thought. I'll get a look in person next week against New England.

Curtis Martin rushed for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns (LaMont Jordan added 84 yards on the ground) as the Jets racked up 482 yards of offense. Very nice. The only negative spot on offense came in the third quarter when Anthony Becht dropped a touchdown pass on the goal line. He got booed off the field for the second consecutive home game. The Jets' tight ends were being talked up all week as needing to become a bigger part of the offense, and Becht had just two passes thrown his way (including the dropped TD), and Chris Baker had one catch. Maybe they'll throw Becht's way a lot more in the coming games...or they're saving it for the post-season. Either way, it doesn't look like Anthony Becht will be back in a Jets uniform next year. The good news, though, is that uncharacteristically, after Becht dropped the TD pass, the Jets went right back to the air from the 7-yard line and Pennington threw a touchdown to Santana Moss. Usually the Jets would run it into the ground and settle for a field goal in a situation like that.

On the ensuing drive, the Seahawks drove down to the Jets' 1-yard line, and the defense held, forced fourth down, and then Shawn Alexander fumbled the ball into the end zone. The defense has been playing so well...and another second half shutout - that's starting to mean something to me now. Terrell Buckley got burned again for a touchdown (so did Donnie Abraham), but if the defense keeps playing like this, who knows what could happen.

Doug Brien had a couple of hiccups, missing an extra point and a field goal, but he tends to do that once or twice a year. So I think it's out of his system.

The officiating was once again horrid. Seattle had a few gripes in that game, nothing that changed the course of the game, really, but the Jets caught a couple of breaks. I think...I'm not really positive. I have a bad feeling that someone's season this year is going to hinge on a bad call by the referees....I hate when that happens. It better not be the Jets. I just feel that no matter what, the refs tend to favor the home team, and it gets aggravating...especially when the Jets' path to the championship takes them on the road.

Moving on to some other news from Sunday - the Broncos collapse has been unreal. They got whipped by the Chiefs on Sunday, and with the Jaguars and Bills winning, (and pending the outcome of Sunday night's Baltimore game), the Broncos have put themselves almost out of the playoffs. Speaking of the Bills winning, that Jets' loss to the Bills isn't looking so horrible anymore. (Although I'm still a little upset by it.) But the Bills, after starting off 0-4 (remember, I called them the best 0-4 team in can look it up), are now 8-6. And I called them the best 0-4 team in football because they lost some really, really close games back in September. They could easily be 9-5, 10-4...even 11-3 right now. I think. The Jaguars snuck by them, the Jets beat them by two...Bledsoe was driving the Bills to tie against the Patriots late in the game....anyway, the fact remains the Bills are 8-6...but they're making a playoff push.

A couple of e-mails from Dave (not in Brighton this week):

"Dear JohnnyJets,
I know you eschew the Sunday morning pregame shows, so I wanted to let
you know that Chad Pennington was the guest on Fox's "Ten Yards with
TB" segment.
As a dutiful JJDBSDC agent, I took notes so you could have blog fodder in case Al takes the week off.
If you're not familiar with the segment, Terry Bradshaw gives you 2 choices, and you pick one of them. Chad's picks in CAPS.
call your own plays/COACH CALLS THE PLAYS
big arm/OK ARM
zero int's/FOUR TD'S
rhodes scholarship/HEISMAN TROPHY
rock and roll/COUNTRY WESTERN
Chad offered that he likes the Islanders, too.
Before making his choice Chad said "Joe, I love you," which is almost as funny as "Joe, I wanna kiss you."
LARRY THE CABLE GUY/jeff foxworthy
Mets? He must be nuts. Maybe they taped it before the Pedro business.
Dave in Brighton"

Dave, thank you. But to be honest, I saw an ad for the pregame show Saturday while watching Redskins/49ers, so I knew about Pennington and Bradshaw. So I tuned in to see that. He was very usual. Pennington is a good interview, as is Tom Brady. Thanks for the transcript, though...and you don't know how happy I was to hear Pennington roots for the Mets. Perhaps there's a shot I'll fire up again.

Dave checked in again later in the day:

"Dear Johnnyjets,

Granted I didn't see the game because I'm out of market, but what's up
with the Jets running up the score on poor helpless Seattle? 37-14?
How offensive.

Dave in Brighton"

An interesting thing about the Jets offensive output, Dave. After the Jets lost 20-13 to the Bears in 2002, jeopardizing their playoff hopes, they reeled off games of 30, 42, and 41 points against New England, Green Bay, and Indianapolis as they won the AFC East, then their divisional playoff game. The Daily News made the comparison today, with the Jets coming off the loss to Pittsburgh, that maybe the Jets would start another offensive streak like far, the Daily News is right. 37 points. Granted, it was the Seattle Seahawks defense, but it was a good game plan. I'll take it. Let's do the same thing to New England next week.

That's all I have for today...this will be a big week for the blog. Thanks for reading, and we'll do e-mails tomorrow (and the rest of the week, if there's enough e-mail).

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Good news - after I put this preview in, I'll try to finish up my final paper for the semester, then I'll hopefully get back to daily Jets updates.

And I just checked the e-mail, and there's a huge amount to talk about. So I'll post the picks, then respond to all the mail. Thanks for reading and writing, I apologize for the delay in the's the schoolwork (lest you think I am being rude).

So we'll start with the Seahawks at Jets, Sunday 1pm, on FOX25 (one of my many former employers) here in Boston.

The Jets see this as a must-win game, which I'm not so sure is a good thing. I have a feeling that this is going to be a real nail-biter, but I think the Jets will win. This is one of those games where the Jets have the potential to choke...bad. But there's only one team in the NFL with as spotty a history as the New York Jets, and that is the Seattle Seahawks. They need this game worse than the Jets do, and they will play worse than the Jets.

John Abraham again will not play, but as I've been saying, Bryan Thomas can fill in ably. There's a chance we'll be seeing a lot more of Derrick Strait, which is good, because Terrell Buckley has been killing the Jets lately. The secondary is going to be huge this week, because the Seahawks can throw the ball...but I'm not really worried about the defense. They'll be fine. Especially David Barrett, who has been fun to watch the past few weeks - I hope teams continue to test him - he makes a great deflection at least once a week.

But it's the offense I'm worried about. This week the Jets said Chad Pennington is not at 100%...which we already knew by watching him the past couple of weeks. But he says he knows he can be effective the rest of the season. The Jets are supposedly going to try to get the ball to their tight ends more these last few games...which to me might mean that Pennington can't get the ball downfield. But I expect the Jets to be able to do enough on offense to beat Seattle...I'm going to say Jets 31, Seahwaks 24.

That would mean the Jets cover the six and a half point spread....which seems like a lot...but I guess the Jets win by a touchdown. But you don't care about my picks - you want to know who The Wife picked - so here they are, Saturday games first:

PIT -10.5
WAS -3.5
ATL -3.5
NYJ -6.5
HOU +1.5
JAX +3.5
MIN -3.5
CLE +9.5
DAL +12.5
BUF -2.5
STL +1.5
NO +7.5
TEN +1.5
DEN +1.5
BAL +8.5
NE -9.5

The Wife suffered a setback last week, just hitting 7, she's down to 136 overall. Still not bad.

OK. Let's attack the mailbag, lots to get to.

"Word up, yo! Far be it from me to complain. And I give you all the credit in the world for keeping the web site afloat amidst the craziness of your life. However, I have to admit that the "analysis" on the site is letting me down a bit lately. I give you credit for making an assertion (vague and general though it was) that it seems unrealistic for the Jets to win 2 or 3 road games in the playoffs, but I GUARANTEE you won't pull the trigger on picking them to lose a specific game when the time comes. And you of course asserted that the Jets will beat the Patriots in two weeks. C'mon. Do you really believe that? (Then again, why wouldn't they? The Pats have already lost one game in their last 28, right?!)

AND THEN, you made some sort of half-cocked reference to the Colts probably putting up 45 points on the board against New England in the playoffs "with the way the Patriots are playing." Huh? Correct me if I'm wrong, but since losing their two starting cornerbacks (and usually playing without their third cornerback as well) and routinely using a wide receiver and a back-up linebacker at db, the Patriots have held the Rams to 20 points in St. Louis (tough to do with a full complement of db's), held Drew Bledsoe below 100 yards passing while annihilating and embarrassing the Bills, held the Chiefs to 19 points in Kansas City (even harder to do than holding down the Rams in St. Louis), essentially shut out the Ravens (yielding only a field goal after 30 yards of penalties on the same play), and held the Browns (who, granted, suck) to 7 points before pulling all of their healthy starters before finally having a tough day on defense against the Bengals. So I guess my final question is a two-parter... 1) What evidence exists that the Patriots' defense is prone to struggles? 2) Aren't they only likely to get even better as their three cornerbacks return from injury, all presumably before they would meet the Colts in the playoffs? (Oh yeah, and don't forget that the Colts are like 0-71 with Manning against the Pats and always give up a ton of points.)

Sometimes, all I can do is shake my head as I think about your web site while standing in my crease and watching my teammates in their winged helmets pepper the goalie at the other end of the ice!

Faithfully Yours,
Al Montoya
Ann Arbor, MI"

You're right, I probably won't pick against the Jets because I think they CAN win all of their remaining games. And I do think the Jets will beat New England next week at home. But we'll get to that next week. I'll watch the Patriots' defense this week against Miami and make another judgment before they play the Jets, but the fact is, their defense has not been as good overall this season as in the past (I know, they're 12-1, blah, blah, how can their defense not be that good!?!? It hasn't, I'm sure, if you look at the stats, and from what I saw of last week's game [admittedly, not much], they look like they're slipping, rather than improving.) I'll re-evaluate after Monday night's game. Let's move on....that's not the last we heard from Al. We'll get back to him.

"Dear JohnnyJets,

For entertainment purposes only, how do you think the Steelers, Eagles, and Pats will finish the season?

Is it possible there will be 3 teams at 15-1? Would that be historic?

Have you done the math to figure out who the Jets might face in the playoffs? Could they beat the Colts on the road?

Is your wife ranked No. 1 in the world yet? Have you ever ranked No. 1 in the world in anything? Spelling, maybe? Or blogging?

Thanks for writing Dave. A quick look at the remaining skeds -
NE - Miami, Jets, 49ers - 2-1 (loss to Jets), finish 14-2.
PIT - Giants, Ravens, Bills - 2-1 (Bills or Ravens might pull the upset), finish 14-2
PHI - Cowboys, Rams, Bengals -2-1 (I think the Rams or Bengals pull off upsets - Bengals perhaps because of rested starters) - finish 14-2

I haven't done the math on who the Jets would face, but figure the Jets get the wild card (which is still a risky gamble), and figure NE and PIT get byes...the Jets can beat either San Diego or Indy on the road. The Jets already beat the Chargers at San Diego this year, and the Jets have proven in the past they can win in Indy. And although I picked the Colts to win the AFC, if the Jets face them in the first round, I can see the Jets winning. Remember 41-0 a couple of years ago? And that was with Ted Cottrell as the defensive coordinator - the Jets have a better defense this year. The interesting thing about the Jets playoff hopes this year is that they can win in New England, in Pittsburgh, and in Indianapolis or San Diego. So it's a long shot to get to the World Series as a wild card, but the Jets could do it this year....but let's worry first about beating Seattle and earning a playoff spot first.

As for your other questions: after last week's setback, unless The Wife hits 16 this week, she will not be ranked number one in the world (she is, however, in the playoffs in fantasy football. I am not.). I've never ranked number one in the world in anything...I won my school's spelling bee, but lost the District spelling bee, so scratch spelling. Not blogging, there are far better bloggers, I'm sure. I still manage to maintain something of a life. I've never even been on a Little League championship team. We came close once - we went 16-0, then lost in the That's a sad memory. I have gotten birthday cards telling me I'm #1 though, so I must be number one in something in the world.

Thanks for writing Dave. Kevin has written back with a qualifier on last week's abbreviation:



Its not vulgar...but that's for assuming that since it was from me, it was. Probably a good guess.


Thanks Kevin. I like it. Maybe I'll put JJDBSDC on my merchandise.

OK. One more time from Al:

"Where are the picks? And where are the email replies? Tuesday came and went without email replies. (And I don't want to read any excuses like, "I replied to emails on Monday." If you choose to do that, it should not count as a replacement, we faithful readers should get an EXTRA DAY of email replies!)

This web site has really gone downhill in recent days!

By the way, what are the chances that you're a Mets fan as well? (That sure is a swell looking stadium they have in Flushing Meadows, but I digress...) If so, I want you to know that I wish you nothing but joy and happiness for the next four years with the lying, crying, whiny, manipulative, backstabbing, hypocritical primadonna pitcher! (One other thing, I happen to know a Boston reporter who went to Shea for the Pedro press conference. He said he has never encountered worse people than the New York media types. The photographers were bossing people around and pushing people out of the way. And at one point, one of the NY reporters snapped at my friend, "ENOUGH BOSTON QUESTIONS!!!" Great place, that New York! I can't wait to play there.)

-Al Montoya
Ann Arbor, MI"

If I ever get e-mail on consecutive days, rest assured I will post them that day. Tuesday is the regular e-mail day, but there will be follow-ups...sadly, it's just that people hadn't been writing me, so I hadn't checked the mailbag. I will be more vigilant.

And Al, you know darn well I am a Mets fan. Well, maybe was a Mets fan. I can't decide yet. Because I don't know if I can take four years of Pedro Martinez. All we need to know about Pedro is he spent his entire welcome to the Mets press conference badmouthing the Red Sox. Show a little class, jerk. You sound awfully offended by the reaction to the sound a lot more like a member of the media than the future goaltender of the New York Rangers...just Al Montoya your real name?

By the way, Al - How about those BU Terriers beating your alma mater, Michigan, at Michigan, for the second year in a row?!?!?! GO BU!!

OK. Time to get some other work done. Then I'll step up the blogging for the playoffs - and maybe take my spot as #1 blogger!!!!!!! Go Jets.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Gotta write something or people are going to get suspicious about me giving up on the Jets. Truth is, things aren't looking so good. The Jets are showing they're capable of hanging with the really good teams on the road...but they can't get over that hump and beat them (them being the Patriots, Steelers, etc.) The problem with that (and it remains to be seen whether or not the Jets will be able to beat these teams at home...I have a feeling they will, and we'll find out on December 26th, when the Jets host the Patriots) is that the Jets, provided they make the playoffs, which, barring a huge collapse (nothing we in Jetsland haven't seen before), should happen, will have to win on the road in order to advance. One road win is possible, two is unlikely, and the way the Jets played on Sunday, three road wins just isn't going to happen. Unless things really start changing.

Starting with Chad Pennington. I hope he's not hiding a serious injury, because he didn't look good at all against the Steelers, and he made some awful passes. We have to hope they were just bad passes, considering the circumstances (cold weather, hostile environment), and not because his shoulder is still hurting him.

Let's quickly check the mailbag:

This I found sitting in the mailbag from Saturday:

"The game hasn't been played yet, and I happen to think that the Jets could win (but probably won't), but I just had to tell you how utterly shocked I was to read that you think the Jets will beat the Steelers. Stunning. Truly stunning. By the way, can the Jets still go 19-0 and win the Super Bowl by 40 or more points?

Love Always,

Al Montoya
Ann Arbor, MI"

I don't understand. You thought the Jets could win, and so did I. What's the problem here? 19-0 and win the Super Bowl by 40 or more points? Come on now. That's just silly. They're already 9-4.

Then this:

"Jo Hnyj Ets,

Hi. I was just wondering, would Jets players and coaches break out in a nasty rash if they beat a team with a winning record? And if they finish 10-6, are they still the best team in NFL history?

Take care.

Hugs and Kisses,

-Al Montoya
Ann Arbor, MI"

No one said they were the best team in NFL history. And it's looking like 11-5 (though 10-6 isn't out of the question). And no to the rashes. You'll find out in a couple of weeks.

"I know they just beat the Jets (tears shed from this JJDBSDC reader) it just me, or are the Steelers the worst 12-1 team in NFL history??

I mean...does anyone REALLY think they'll win the AFC?? How will they ever outscore the Colts (this reader's pick to win it all)?? I know they've beaten the Patriots once, but if they played again...who would you bet on?? And don't even get me started on how "our lord and savior" Chad Pennington will carve them up next time out.

Your expertise is appreciated....

From the balcony at the Lion King...

Kevin...thanks for writing. Rare contribution to the Jets site. Not sure I get the JJDBSDC reference - I hope it's nothing profane. Anyway, I happen to agree with you. The Steelers are so ripe for the picking, I can't believe they haven't been beaten in 10 or 11 weeks, whatever it's been. I have half a mind to pick the Giants over them on Saturday, but the Giants are so friggin' bad that they'd lose to a team made up of people going to see the Lion King instead of a hockey game with his college buddies. Not that I speak from experience. The Patriots and Colts, I think are both better than the Steelers, and I have to agree, the Colts look like the best team in that bunch right now, considering they'd probably put up 45 on the Patriots' defense, the way the Pats have been playing lately. But I get the feeling the Eagles could beat the Colts. That's what I'm going to say for now - Eagles over Colts.

OK. I am so swamped in homework, I've written way too much tonight. Gotta go...One week from now all the homework will be done for Christmas break, and I can focus all my attention on football (lucky you). I might also pop over to and write about how that site might be shutting down for 4 years, because of 56 million reasons. What a crappy day. See ya.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Sunday at 4pm - Jets at Steelers

The Jets and Steelers are two of the top defenses in the NFL, so this should be a pretty ugly game. The Jets will be without John Abraham, but like I said earlier in the week, Bryan Thomas should fill in nicely. I don't have much time here, so I'll cut right to the chase. The Jets can win this game, and I think they will. The Jets have to win in Pittsburgh some time...and Ben Roethlisberger has to lose a game eventually. I think this weekend is the confluence of those events, at the confluence of the Pittsburgh rivers. Jets 15, Steelers 3. Just a hunch, but it won't be pretty.

Again, I give you The Wife's picks, because mine are worth crap (and again, for entertainment purposes only). The Wife, by the way, is up to number 72 in the world!!

NYJ +4.5
DAL -5.5
DET +9.5
IND -10.5
SEA +4.5
NE -10.5
CHI +5.5
OAK +7.5
NYG +9.5
CLE +9.5
MIA +10.5
SD - 5.5
SF +5.5
CAR -3.5
WAS +9.5
TEN -1.5

The Wife hit 10 last week, jumping like 40 spots in the world rankings. She goes heavy on the 'dogs this week. I disagree with her San Diego pick. For some reason I think the Buccaneers are going to upset the Chargers in San Diego.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Jets got by without Chad Pennington, now, they're going to have to survive without John Abraham. Abraham didn't play in the second half of the win over the Texans on Sunday, and now will reportedly miss 2 to 3 weeks with a knee injury. All the Jets are saying is that Abraham will miss the Steelers game this week, but the Daily News says sources close to the team think Abraham will miss at least two weeks. So that's some bad news - here's the good news...the Jets have now allowed the fewest points in the NFL. Their defense has been very good - no we'll see if they can keep it up without Abraham. Actually, one last point on Abraham - now Bryan Thomas steps into the starting job for at least a few games, and he has played extremely well this season so far. He had a great game in Buffalo, which was overshadowed by the loss, and has played very well in the games he's been in. So I expect the Jets defense to keep it up.

A couple of other housekeeping issues - The Wife hit with Dallas Monday night, in what was quite possible the greatest game in a couple of years (too bad I was sleeping) she's now up to number 72 in the country. She moved up about 40 spots after a 10-6 week. Not bad. I guess that's it for the housekeeping. On to the e-mail:

"Dear JohnnyJets...

A couple questions on the same topic this week...

-Which is worse...the NFC or the NBA's Eastern Conference?

-If the Jets played in the NFC East, would they be 11-1?

-How do you feel about the possibility (likely possibility?) that a
7-9 will make the playoffs this year?

10-5 through Sunday's games,
Dave in Brighton"

Dave - congrats on the 10-5...nicely done. Too bad you're not number 72 in the country. Let's answer your questions...I don't know if the NFC is worse than the NBA's Eastern Conference. I would say the NFC is better, simply because people know it exists. I can't say the same about the NBA's East. Or West.

If the Jets were in the NFC East, they could be 11-1 - but they're the there are no guarantees on any of these sorts of things. They could be 1-11, for all we know. Sorry I can't be more definitive...but the Jets are in the AFC East, and they're 9-3...I'm happy with that.

Finally, I haven't gone through remaining schedules for the NFC teams, but I think it's very likely a 7-9 team is making the playoffs in the NFC. At the most, the wild card team will be 8-8...and these teams are playing so poorly that 7-9 is more likely. Meanwhile, the Jets could go 13-3 (more likely 12-4 or 11-5), and barely win the wildcard.

One more thing - the Jets can clinch a playoff spot this weekend...if they win, Denver or someone lose, and the Chargers and Ravens win, I think. I'll try to get it straight....but the Jets need to beat the Steelers. That's the priority.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Uh-oh. No e-mail. I hope I haven't lost my two faithful readers.

I would usually do playoff picture stuff on a Wednesday, but I crunched some numbers today, and you never know when I will have the next chance to write, so I'll put this here today.

The Jets are 9-3. The Patriots are 11-1. For the Jets to have a shot at hosting playoff games, they need to win the rest of their games (at Pittsburgh, vs. Seattle, vs. New England, at St. Louis). They would need the Patriots to then go 2-2 the rest of the way (vs. Cincinnati, at Miami, at Jets, vs. San Francisco). Here's the catch, though - the Patriots two losses would have to be to the Jets (obviously), and the Dolphins, which is a Monday nighter in Miami. It's pretty darn unlikely (not the loss to the Jets - the Jets are probably all that stand between the Patriots and 15-1 - but I'm not going to say it's impossible. Nothing is impossible in the NFL. The Dolphins have suddenly found their offense, so maybe they'll play for pride in front of a national audience on their home turf and A.J. Feeley will throw for another five touchdowns.

But, you might say, even if this unlikely scenario plays out, that still leaves the Jets and the Patriots in a tie atop the division - it doesn't mean the Jets win the division. And I answer you, you're right. And you have to go deep into the tiebreakers to figure out who would win the division - here's how it would play out, if my calculations are correct (and if the season plays out like I talked about above):

1) Head-to-head: we go to:
2) Division: 4-2, we go to:
3) Common Games: 11-3, we go to:
4) Conference Games: 9-3, we go to:
5) Strength of Victory...and we try to figure out what strength of victory means.

I don't think it means margin of victory, because if it did, it would probably say "Margin of Victory"..but it doesn't, so it must mean "strength of victory". And I don't know what that is. Maybe it means record against teams with records over .500...I don't know. But it looks like the division could come down to Strength of Victory, then if that doesn't work out, it would go to strength of schedule, and the Patriots would win the division anyway, because the Jets have one of the weaker schedules in the league.

In order for all of this to play out, the Jets would need to win in Pittsburgh next week, and here's an interesting tidbit - the Jets have never won a game in Pittsburgh. The Jets HAVE beaten the Steelers, most recently last season at a snowy Meadowlands, but never in Pittsburgh. So that's a tall order, leading up to the miracle scenario playing out. Stranger things have happened. And Cincinnati is playing some good ball these days...maybe they'll upset the Patriots next week and help the Jets out even more.

I'll still post e-mails tomorrow if people are still reading my website. Also, FYI, Kathy is now number 89 in the country. She's got Dallas plus the points Monday night. I'll let you know if they cover how far up she moves.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


Before I even get into the football part of the game, let me just tell you that this was the worst officiated game I've ever seen in my life, and I've seen a good amount of football. The referee was Tom White...don't expect to see his crew doing any important games down the stretch here. Actually, what you should expect is to hear something about this crew apologizing to both the Jets and the Texans this week, and if they don't, it's a shame. They were absolutely horrible. I wouldn't be surprised if Tom White actually retires at the end of this year - a lot of the errors looked like a senile old man trying to figure out what was going on...the NFL should gently nudge him out the door.

Here's what I mean: Third quarter, the Jets stop the Texans on their own 2, so Houston punts out of their own end zone. The ball is snapped, it goes out of the end zone for a safety, and then the ref comes out and says, "There was no snap, the players weren't ready." WHAT? Are you kidding me? If the players weren't ready, how come the ball was snapped?!!? Then, there were two more penalties on the next two punt attempts as the Texans tried to punt out of the end zone. So a safety was taken away from the Jets. Then, just to show I'm not only pointing out how the Jets got screwed, Houston also got screwed. David Carr takes 3 steps back to pass, then throws a pass to the sideline. The receiver, obviously running the wrong route, continues towards the end zone, so there's no one around to catch the ball, it drops harmlessly. After about 15 seconds, White throws a flag, and calls intentional grounding. Intentional grounding?!?!? It was a miscommunication - you can't call intentional grounding on that!! Then, to make matters worse, the crew couldn't remember the down, so the loss of down confused the hell out of them. And one more thing - they walked off ten yards on a 15-yard penalty, and only remembered to walk off the extra five yards right before the ball was snapped.

OK. There was also a football game. Chad Pennington looked great - he made one bad pass, an interception (that turned out to not be costly), right before halftime. He threw two touchdowns, only had about 155 yards passing, but he was good ol' Chad Pennington, leading the Jets to a 22-point win. Curtis Martin was also great, one touchdown caught and another rushing, another 100+ yard game on the ground. The defense also played another great game. Everyone keeps pushing this stat - the Jets have six second-half shutouts this year. That's all well and good, but it's a second-half collapse that's killing the Jets right now (the Baltimore game), so I'm not too crazy about the fact that they've had six of the second-half shutouts. I'll be impressed if they keep doing it, I guess. But still, the defense is playing very well - they really kept the Texans' long passing game in check.

The Jets also got plenty of help on Sunday. The Jets are 9-3, and they now have a 2-game lead on the Ravens and the Broncos in the wild card race, as those two teams both lost. The only help the Jets didn't get was from the Browns, and the division still looks like a long shot at this point. More on that later in the week.

I gotta go....your e-mails tomorrow, if you care to send along something.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Jets absolutely own the Houston Texans. They've never lost to the Texans. Absolute dominance. All-time Series: Jets 1, Texans 0. After tomorrow, it should be 2-0 Jets. The Jets barely beat the Texans last year at Reliant Stadium, scoring the game-winning touchdown with 1:21 to go in the game. I expect this one to be a tough one as well, but I think the Jets will pull it out in Chad Pennington's return: I'll go Jets 21, Texans 17. So I guess I'm taking the Texans, plus six and a half.

I was 7-9 with my picks last week. I don't have my overall standings with me, but here's a fact, and I don't know whether I'm embarrassed by this or proud of it: My wife is having an awesome year picking games. On the ESPN Fantasy Games page, we play the Pigskin Pick 'Em, and I am having a brutal year, somewhere in the 50th percentile. Kathy, on the other hand, has 108 correct picks, and stands 114 in the world, in the 99.8%. So from here on out, I'm going to ride her picks. Here they are for Week 13 (FYI, she actually picked the Jets to cover, so what do I know):

NYJ -6.5
CHI +7.5
CAR +1.5
SF +10.5
ATL +1.5
NE -7.5
ARI +5.5
TEN +10.5
BUF -3.5
CIN +7.5
KC -1.5
DEN +2.5
GB +6.5
WAS -2.5
PIT -3.5
DAL +7.5

I don't think those picks look so great, but I'm not the one ranked in the top 115 in the world. I hope I didn't put too much pressure on her by telling her I'd be publishing her picks to the world (read: two people who read this site).

Enjoy the football - I know I sure will! (I'll be at the Jets game.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

This homework is piling up. I have to start setting my priorities. I can't eliminate I'll just shorten it a tad...or a lot.

Since the e-mail addresses everything I was going to address here, I'll start with it:

"Dear JohnnyJets,

The Jets seem to be sitting pretty after a win Sunday to bring them to 8-3. Combined with the Ravens' inevitable defeat to the GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM THAT EVER LIVED to drop them to 7-4 and the upset loss dealt the Broncos to leave them at 7-4, the Jets are in the wild card driver's seat.

Is it time to prepare for the postseason, rest Quincy Carter and let Bollinger take them the rest of the way?

Dave in Brighton."

Well, Dave, it's funny you should mention all this. Because the Jets are in the driver's seat for the post-season. Unfortunately, it's very unlikely (and darn near impossible) that the postseason berth will be from a division title, but the Jets control their own destiny in the wild card race. That Oakland win was huge on Sunday night in the snow.

And the news gets better, because the Jets don't need to depend on Brooks Bollinger to take them the rest of the way....I'm willing to bet (of course, I won't, but I say that for entertainment purposes only) Chad Pennington will start on Sunday against the Houston Texans (with me in attendance). Pennington is taking snaps with the first-team offense, and says there's only room for minimal improvement the way his shoulder is right now. So why wait another week, he says. I agree. With Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh the following week, it's a good idea to get Pennington back into the flow at home against Houston (which isn't to say that's going to be an easy task). I'll keep you posted as the week progresses.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Jets 13, Cardinals 3

The Jets really needed their defense to step up since Chad Pennington went down. The whole team collapsed in the game against the Baltimore Ravens...but since then, the defense has been BIG. On Sunday against Arizona, the defense came through late, stopping the Cardinals three different times in the last 6 and a half minutes, causing turnovers on three plays. Jonathan Vilma picked off a pass and recovered a fumble, and it doesn't hurt that the Cardinals stink, but the Jets won another game they had to win, and now they're 8-3.

Another highlight from Sunday's game was Quincy Carter hooking up with Santana Moss on a 69-yard touchdown pass that helped put the game out of reach. It was quite possibly one of the greatest offensive plays in Jets history, just because there hasn't been much out there to choose from. Another positive out of the Cardinals game was that when Carter got hurt early on, in stepped Brooks Bollinger, and he didn't do a bad job. I think by next season he will be a very capable backup, and it's a bonus that he got to see some NFL game action against a very non-threatening team like the Cardinals.

A couple of notes on the defense. First of all, they really have played well all year. And the past two games they've been very good against two sub-par teams. They gave up 3 points this week, and 7 points last week. Next week will be a test against Houston, and they need to respond, because things only get tougher after that.

The most upsetting thing about Sunday's game was what was happening in New England. The Ravens played horribly against the Patriots, and it made you realize that there's no way they should have scored 20 points against the Jets, let alone win that game. That loss against the Ravens still hurts.

Luckily for the Jets, though, they came out on top no matter who won the Ravens-Patriots game. A Ravens win would have put the Jets closer to catching the Patriots, but since the Patriots won, the Jets now have the upper hand in the wild card chase. (It's getting to be that time of year, where Wednesdays are going to be Wild Card Scenario days.) It would also help tonight if the Raiders beat the Broncos, but I'm not counting on that. I'm actually looking forward to the game, though, because it's snowing in Denver!

Time to get back to the homework. The Jets are 8-3, they need 10 or 11 wins to be in good postseason shape. We'll be talking about this some more in the coming weeks, but the remaining games are Houston, Pittsburgh, Seattle, New England, Saint Louis. After Seattle got crushed by Buffalo on Sunday, that game and the St. Louis game look a lot less daunting. Hopefully the Jets still have 3 or 4 wins left in them...and hopefully next week marks the return of Chad Pennington.

We'll have your e-mail tomorrow. Oh wait, before I go - I saw on the ESPN crawl that the Jets worked out a contract for Shaun Ellis, so that takes care of one of their big name free agents. That's very good news. I'll try to have more on that tomorrow.
Another quick rundown of my Sunday picks, at 12:50pm Eastern time:

I can't pick against the Jets this week, at Arizona. But I will say this - I'm very nervous. I'm confident in the defense - I think they'll have a field day with the Cardinals offense...but I'm not so sure about the Jets' offense. I expect them to run the ball well...we'll see if that'll be enough to get them a win. The Jets are 3 point favorites - I'll say Jets, 20-10.

Here's the rest of the NFL (I hit both on Thanksgiving):

BAL +7
PHI -7
PIT -10.5
CLE +6
MIN -5.5
TB -2.5
SD +2.5
TEN -2
NO +9.5
SEA -5
SF -1
DEN -11
STL +6

Enjoy the games! I'll be back tonight with a Jets recap.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Real quick, folks, just to get them in, my Thanksgiving Day picks, for entertainment purposes only:

I'll take both favorites - Indy by 9 over the Lions, and the Cowboys, giving three to the Bears. Just because the Colts are playing that well, and the Bears are playing that bad.

I pulled myself out of the doldrums with a big 11-4-1 last week, improving overall to 81-75-4.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 22, 2004

This is tough. The Jets fan in me really wants the Patriots to lose to the Chiefs in this Monday night game, but the no-money-earning teacher in me really wants the $75 bucks I could win in my weekly pool if the Patriots win. I think I'm just going to have to go to bed and check the score in the morning.

Well, here's some cheery news, before we get to this week's mailbag. Curtis Martin suffered a sprain in his knee during Sunday's game in Cleveland, and word out of the New York papers is that Chad Pennington may need season-ending surgery on his shoulder. One thing at a time. First, Martin. He plays through insane amounts of pain, sometimes to his and his team's detriment. So he'd have to be shot in the leg, I think, in order for him to not play - I think it only matters how ineffective he is. And based on his five second-half carries on Sunday, after the injury happened, I think the knee sprain won't make Martin too ineffective - he ran OK after the injury. As for Pennington, this would finish the Jets. With Pennington at quarterback, the Jets have a shot at beating the Steelers, Seahawks, Patriots, and Rams. With Quincy Carter at quarterback, the Jets maybe have a shot at stealing one of those games on defense. And the way Pennington was talking after Sunday's game, Quincy Carter might just be at quarterback.

Pennington says he's sure he'll play again this season, which is a bit reassuring. But before Sunday, it was sounding like there was an outside shot at Pennington being back for the December 5th game versus the Texans. The way it sounds now, that's definitely not going to happen, and it sounds like Pennington will miss at least a full 6 weeks with the injury (it was originally speculated that Pennington might not even miss the 4 weeks of the 4-6 week injury).

Anyway, that's some good news for your Tuesday morning. Let's look at the mailbag:

OK, maybe I should start checking to see if there's mail before I write that line. Because there is none. I'll do mail tomorrow if anyone feels like contributing. Otherwise I'll try to do a look-around the AFC East.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Jets 10, Browns 7

Let's see if I can get back on track this week with daily updates.

A couple of weeks ago, before the Baltimore debacle, I said the Jets' defense would have to start stepping up and win the Jets a couple of games while Chad Pennington was out. On Sunday, the defense didn't exactly win the Jets the game, but they sure put them in a position to win...and the offense almost didn't. There's not much to say about the game in Cleveland other than: the Jets won. They're 7-3, and they won. It doesn't matter that they scored just 10 points, it matters that they won. I feel like it's been more than 2 weeks since they last feels like it's been much longer. But this was a game the Jets needed to win, and they did the job, and there's another game like that coming up next week (in Arizona), and the Jets just need to survive one more week without Pennington. There's an outside chance he'll be back for the Texans game on December 5th. If he's not, we'll worry about that then.

Quincy Carter didn't really lead the Jets to victory in Cleveland. He handed the ball off a lot, and Curtis Martin and LaMont Jordan had fairly effective games. Justin McCareins, though, was the difference. He came back to catch a slightly off-target pass from Carter on third down, then had to dive full out for the first down, and then caught a screen pass and took that in about 10 yards for the Jets' lone touchdown. Then the Jets' defense held the Browns down for the rest of the game. The Jets' defense played OK, but in reality, Kelly Holcombe played a horrible game. Next week, the D needs to step up again and shut down the Cardinals.

After the Cardinals game, the Jets have the Texans, Steelers, Seahawks, Patriots, and Rams. Tough games. But remember this, for all those who think the Jets have played a very soft schedule to this point: you're right, but the Jets have hung with the good teams they've played. The Jets beat the Chargers in week 2, and the Chargers are also 7-3, and the Jets could have beaten the 8-1 Patriots. So for the experts I've heard recently saying the Jets are going to finish 9-7, I say, don't get ahead of yourselves.

I'm not going to get too far ahead of myself, but hopefully the Jets have 9 wins after they play the Texans in 2 weeks. Then, is it unrealistic to think the Jets can split their last four games...or even win three of them? I don't think so...but I'll get into that a little more as the weeks progress. First, the Jets need to beat the Cardinals.

I want to get to the e-mails I haven't even looked at since last week (we'll still do mail call on Tuesday this week as well)...

"Dear Johnnyjets,

In the last 4 weeks, the Jets have lost to New England, beat 1-6 Miami, lost to 2-win Buffalo, and lost to a very solid Ravens team.
Quincy Carter is the QB for at least another week. And still looming in the final 4 weeks of the schedule are teams currently atop their divisions (at Pittsburgh, Seattle, New England, and at St. Louis).
So now to my question: Do Jets fans prefer the George Washington Bridge or one of the many other river crossings in greater New York?
I hope Johnnyjets takes the Lincoln Tunnel. Much safer.
--Dave in Brighton"

Wow, Dave in Brighton, getting smart. I think I addressed Dave's concerns in the paragraphs preceding the e-mail. Thanks for writing, Dave, and I look forward to hearing from you tomorrow.

Now, this:

"Hello Johnboy. Love your show! Thanks for taking my call.

I was wondering, did you know that 'Job then spongy jolts' is an anagram for 'Johnnyjetsblogspot'? It's one of many actually. But, surprisingly, the only anagram for 'Johnnyjets' by itself is 'Jest Johnny.' Interesting, huh?

Moving on... Do you think, in light of his refusal to run a pass play with eight seconds left from the three yard line in a 17-17 game, that Herman Edwards should coach with a dress on for the rest of the season? I do. (And if he wears high heels with that dress, he can use one of them to kick Lamont Jordan in the junk for failing to get that pass out of the end zone in the first half.)

One other question. I asked last week, but you failed to answer: do you wear a green cape?

Thanks. And Go [for a wildcard berth] Jets!

Love Always,
Al Montoya
Ann Arbor, MI"

As always, thanks for writing Al. Yet another week you bring incomparable information to this space. Jest Johnny. I'm not laughing. No, Herman Edwards should not wear a dress. He's a man with a evidenced by this anagram, formed by the name HERMAN EDWARDS: READ MAN SHREWD

Read that shrewd man. Anyway, our lives have all been affected once again by an Al Montoya e-mail. And, no, I do not wear a green cape. All of the time.

P.S. On a personal note, Sunday was one of the greatest pool days I've ever had. I'm working on one loss in my confidence pool going into Sunday night's Packers-Texans game (where a win by the Texans, even though I picked the Packers, actually works in my favor), and I had a big week in my spread picks for this site. I think I will also win my fantasy football game. And the Jets won. OK - your e-mails in the next posting - write away!
I'll try to get my act together by Sunday night for a Jets recap. For now, here are this week's picks: I am now 70-71-3 on the season after an awful 4-10 last week.

I'll pick the Jets this week, 35-3, because it's so darn unlikely that maybe it will just happen.

NYJ -1
BUF +1
BAL -8
IND -7.5
DET + 7.5
CAR -2.5
JAX - 3.5
TB -7.5
DEN -4
SEA -9.5
SD -4
ATL -2.5
WAS +10.5
GB -3
KC +3

Jets are nearing must-win time. Let's see how they do in Cleveland.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

I'm not even sure why I'm still making these picks, because I'm so horrible at it, but I must. So here they are (I went 7-7 last week, and am 66-61-3 much for putting .500 in the rear-view mirror...and by the way, these are for entertainment purposes only):

The Jets/Ravens game is a pick 'em (I go by the USA Today on-line spreads). I really think the Jets can beat the Ravens. They're not letting the injury to Chad Pennington get them down - the team has faith in Quincy Carter. The Jets' defense is good enough to shut down the Ravens' offense...I expect the Jets' D to step up big-time in the coming weeks. Jets, 17-3.

Pittsburgh is a three-and-a-half point favorite over the Browns, in Cleveland. Is this a letdown game for the Steelers, after handing the Patriots and then the Eagles their respective first losses of the year? Maybe, but the Steelers still win. I'll take Pittsburgh and the points.

Indianapolis is a 9-point favorite over the Texans, in Indy. For some reason, I think the Texans will keep this one close. I'll take Houston.

Tennessee is giving five and a half to the Bears, in Tennessee. The Titans are better than the Giants, and therefore will be able to cover against the Bears. I hope.

In Atlanta, the Falcons are giving four to the Buccaneers. The Falcons have been disappointing at times, and the Bucs have been winning games they shouldn't win lately. I'm taking Tampa plus the points.

Jacksonville is a 3-point favorite over the Lions. Leftwich is know what, I thought up until right now I was going Jaguars, but I'm making an audible. Let's go Lions, plus 3.

Seattle is a 1-point favorite over the Rams. The game's in Saint Louis, but I think the Seahawks will win. Seattle should have won the first matchup between these two teams, but blew a big lead late. It's tough to imagine the Rams losing at home in back-to-back weeks, but I think it's happening. I'd go the over on this one too (50), if I did that sort of thing.

Kansas City is giving three and a half to the Saints, in New Orleans. I think the Chiefs win this game, but just by three. The Saints always find a way to get me, so I'll take them plus three and a half, counterintuitively.

In Washington, the Redskins are three and a half point faves over the Bengals. I take Cincinnati...I keep expecting them to win a game like this....this week they'll do it.

The Packers are 4-point favorites over the Vikings. This one's tough to pick, but since it's in Green Bay, and Randy Moss will not play, I'll take the Packers, -4.

The Giants (UGH - They kill me every week) are 2-point favorites in Arizona. If the Giants don't win this one, it's Eli Manning next week. Giants, minus two.

The 49ers and the Panthers are a pick 'em. I go Panthers. No reason, really...I think the Panthers are less bad.

Sunday night, the Patriots are a 7-point favorite over the Bills. The Pats will probably win, but I think the Bills can keep it close. I'll take Buffalo, plus-7.

On Monday night, the Cowboys are home 'dogs to the Eagles, by six. I think the Eagles will win, but the Cowboys will manage to keep it close. I'll take Dallas plus 6.

Finally, I've been meaning to get to this all week, but I couldn't write. This is a bonus e-mail:

"Dear Johnnyjets,

I know I'm early (it's Wednesday), but the firing/resignation of Dave
Wannstedt got me thinking. From a bettor's perspective, don't you hate
it when a team quits on a coach? There is no way to tell whether Miami
will show up for the rest of the season, and on occasions they do take
their game seriously (after the bye week, perhaps?), there will be
little or no warning.
The same thing happened with the Raiders last year, after Callahan called his team dumb.
I predict it will be nearly impossible to forecast Miami games against
the spread for the remainder of the season. Thoughts?
Dave in Brighton"

Dave, I think my response to your e-mail here is simple. How can you tell the difference between the Dolphins before Wannedstedt was fired and the Dolphins after they've quit on him? In certain instances, I think the point is valid...but in the case of the 2004 Dolphins, they're just plain ol' bad, and I expect them to continue to be bad for the remainder of the season. I'll just keep picking their opponents.

Enjoy the games!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Did you know that if you say "strained shoulder" three times fast, it sounds a whole lot like, "HOLY SHIT I THINK THE JETS ARE IN A WHOLE LOT OF TROUBLE, AND I THINK I MIGHT CRY!!" (A note to the younger readers...I usually refrain from using profanity, mild though it may be, in my postings, but desperate times call for desperate measures.)

Chad Pennington's shoulder injury that I referred to yesterday, when I said he might play next week against Baltimore, is a strained rotator cuff, and Pennington won't play next week against Baltimore. He also won't play the following week at Cleveland. And the week after that, in Arizona, and the week after that, versus Houston, are also in doubt. Pennington is out 2-4 weeks. Happy 6-month-iversary indeed.

So the Jets' decision back in August to sign Quincy Carter, slightly controversial though it may have been, means that Quincy Carter will be the starter for the next couple of weeks, instead of Brooks Bollinger. Carter looked OK against the Bills on Sunday, in limited action...he handed the ball off to Curtis Martin in the end zone, which resulted in a safety, then later led the Jets to a score, hooking up with Santana Moss on a 51-yard touchdown pass on which the defender fell down. Not much of a body of work. However, let's hang our hats on this - Carter did lead the Cowboys to the playoffs last season. My hat's a-hangin' baby.

On the subject of Pennington being hurt, it is e-mail day, so we have this:

"Dear Johnnyjets,

Re: Pennington's shoulder woes. As a Boston resident and talk radio listener, I like to overreact and see doomsday scenarios before I have all the facts, which is why my question this week is:

Was $64 million too much to give a guy who started 29 games and missed 19 in 3 seasons from 2002 to 2004?

Is there any concern among team officials, or by you, the Voice of All Jets Fans Everywhere, that Pennington may be injury-prone through his whole career?

Dave in Brighton"

Dave, my friend, I'm going to trust your numbers, because it's late, and I can't really go looking them up....well, actually, let's do some quick math: 16 games in 2002, 16 in '03, 8 in '04. Total = 40 games. In 2002, Pennington didn't start the first four games, came in relief in the fifth game, and started the rest of the season. So the body of work we're looking at here is really 11+16+8 = 35 games. Pennington missed the first six games of 2003, came in relief in the seventh, so we'll say he missed 7 games that year. So we're looking at a guy who played in 28 of a possible 35 games. If he misses the full four weeks here, he plays in 28 of a possible 39 games.

My point, throwing all these numbers around, is that Pennington is not injury prone, he just got hit badly twice in two years. The broken hand/wrist was an awkward fall, and this hit on Sunday was a situation where he dove (dived?) instead of slid (slided?) and got hit square. I'm not ready to say Pennington is injury-prone yet...and the bobble-head doll on my desk is nodding in agreement as I type this. (If however, the bobble-head is healthier than the real-life version for the third straight year next season, and we're having this conversation again, I might change my mind.) Moral of this story: Pennington is well worth the money.

We also have a cryptic e-mail from our good friend Al Montoya:

"Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... Hmmmmmmmmmmm...

-Al Montoya
Ann Arbor, Michigan"

Not sure if this is an ode to our favorite television anchor/reporter, or a reference to Pennington's injury. But thanks for writing....oh wait, Al sends us this also:

"Hey there. It's me, Al. Longtime reader, fourth time emailer... I've got a mildly amusing anecdote for you...

Remember last week when you chided me for suggesting that you should have amended your [warped] perspective on the Patriots' win over the Jets? You stressed in your reply that the web site is, "," not "" Well (get ready for some hilarity...), previous to your reply, I had always read the site's address as "Johnny Jets," as opposed to "John NY Jets."

See, I thought you had essentially dubbed yourself "Johnny Jets," short, no doubt, for "Johnny Jets: Global Protector of All Things New York Jets." (Because, ya know, your name IS John after all. By the way, do you wear a green cape?) Now I realize the error of my ways. Riotous, huh?

See ya.

-Al Montoya
Ann Arbor, MI"

Well, Al, unfunny though your story may be, it raises an interesting point. I think the name of the website can be interpreted in whichever way the reader chooses to read it. I'm fine with it either way. Johnnyjets has a better ring to it than Johnnymets...and I originally started with Johnnymets, intending it to be JohnNYMets...but I didn't want to confuse people with lots of capital letters in the web address, in case that affected the way it needed to be typed in. So, long story short, whichever way you wish. (I do, though, like :Johnny Jets: Global Protector of All Things New York Jets. That's got a nice ring too.)

All right, folks...I'd better get to bed before I strain my rotator cuff with all this typing. Tomorrow I'll recap the AFC East from last weekend.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Bills 22, Jets 17

Who invited the 2003 Jets? A disaster in Buffalo, just like last year. The difference is, this loss doesn't put an end to the Jets' just makes things difficult. How can things be difficult, with the Jets sitting at 6-2, you ask?

For starters, Chad Pennington left the game with a bruised shoulder - apparently he left the game on his own accord, telling Herman Edwards he felt like he was hurting the team more than helping them. Pennington should play next week....but on the chance he doesn't, the Jets' hopes ride on Quincy Carter. And next week begins the rough stretch on the Jets' schedule. Baltimore comes to town, and if the Jets couldn't move the ball against the Bills' defense, imagine the success they'll have against the Ravens' D!! And here's the worst part of the loss to the Bills - it's a division loss. So the Jets are now 3-2 in the division, while the Patriots are 3-0. So unless the Bills can upset New England next Sunday, the Patriots will be sitting pretty atop the AFC East.

Here is probably the most frustrating part of the loss to me. The wind was very bad in Buffalo, and it was supposedly going to wreak havoc with the passing game. But in the first quarter the Jets came out throwing, and moved the ball right down the field. The drive ended with a missed field goal, but later, when the Jets scored their first touchdown, they moved the ball 80 yards, and 74 of those yards were in the air. So, why, I ask you, would the Jets resort to running the ball exclusively in the third quarter? For example, on 3rd and 9, trailing 17-10? Why run!!??!?!? Throw the ball!! So frustrating. I suppose Pennington might have felt like his shoulder was preventing him from throwing in that situation...but still, the Jets weren't moving anywhere on the ground - air it out a bit.

What a horrible afternoon. In case you're wondering, it didn't ruin the six-month-versary...but it sure didn't help things. I need to grade some papers...we'll continue to delve into this disappointment throughout the week. Your e-mails tomorrow too.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Sunday, 1pm, Jets (6-1) at Buffalo (2-5)

The Jets have a real shot at being all alone in first place by the end of Sunday. (More on the Patriots-Rams in a little bit.) Buffalo was the site of the end of the Jets' season last year, and that will be in the forefront of some of the Jets' minds this weekend. (You may remember, the Jets went to Buffalo with a chance to win the rest of their games to make it into the playoffs in Week 14 last season, and laid an absolute egg...Chad Pennington just wasn't sharp all last year after coming back from the injury, and this was the first game that we really saw it. In very cold temperatures, Pennington and the Jets lost, 17-6, beginning and end-of-season losing streak.) I have a feeling the Jets will continue what they started against Miami last week and just blow the Bills out of the water. This one probably won't be as close as the first game between the two teams.

The Jets will most likely be without Wayne Chrebet, who has a back problem, and if that's the case, Jerricho Cotchery will start in his place. The Bills might be without Josh Reed, but that won't really matter. What might matter is there's a chance Troy Vincent will play for the Bills...I think that would be his first action all season. So he might be rusty, but if he's effective, that could be a problem for the Jets. I don't think Lawyer Milloy will play - he also missed the game last month.

The Jets are starting to talk Super Bowl again. Not in a cocky way, but the same way they were talking about it when training camp broke back in August. They're saying anything less than a championship this season would be a disappointment, and they're talking about how they've done what they've needed to do. They know that the toughest part of their schedule is still to come - but you've got to win the games they schedule for you, and the Jets have done that 6 out of 7 times (and hopefully 7 out of 8). Next week, the Jets host Baltimore - and it's all uphill from there. But let's focus on this week for now - the Jets are favored by three in Buffalo. I say, 24-10, Jets.

As for the rest of the schedule - I had my worst picking week by far last week - couple that with the fact that I had my blog entry erased, and last weekend was probably one of the worst of the year for me. (The Jets win was on Monday, so that doesn't count for the weekend.) Anyway, I was just 5-9 last week, 59-54-3 on the season. I need to pull away from the .500 mark, for entertainment purposes:

(Here's a joke I thought of last week, that I hope doesn't offend any of my readers. We just had Jehovah's Witnesses come to the door. That part is not a joke - that really just happened. But here's the joke part - at the school, we had a Halloween parade last Friday, but one of the kids in the class didn't want to participate because his mom felt Halloween was worshipping the devil. Which is fine, whatever. But the other teacher I work with said, 'I've seen that type of thing a lot, usually Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate Halloween.' So, sarcastically, I say, 'Yeah, I could see why they don't like Halloween. They're very uncomfortable with knocking on stranger's doors and asking for stuff.' Oh man, am I funny. Just had to share that. OK - onto the picks.)

Philadelphia is a pick-'em at Pittsburgh. The only good thing about my blog being erased last week is that I made a mistake saying Baltimore had a good shot at unseating both the Eagles, then the Patriots, from the ranks of the unbeaten in consecutive weeks. A miscalculation on my part. That would be the position the Steelers are in now. Incredible - both are home games, too. I am sold on the Steelers right now, and am convinced they'll be a problem for whoever they play the rest of the year (earlier this year I kept picking against them because I felt Roethlisberger would lose eventually). Well, I still think the Steelers are better than I've been giving them credit for, but I think the Eagles win a defensive struggle this week to get to 8-0. It'll be close, though, so I'm glad this is a pick-'em.

Detroit is a 3-point favorite over the Redskins, in Detroit. I just feel like if the Lions can beat the Giants in Giants Stadium, they can beat Washington in Detroit. (The Lions also came close to winning in Dallas, but close doesn't count, as we found out with the Jets versus the Patriots.) But I digress. The Lions are the pick, giving 3.

Dallas is a one-point favorite against the Bengals in Cincinnati. Dallas needs a win to get back to .500, and this is a winnable game for them. I'll take Dallas.

The Panthers are giving 7 to the Raiders in Carolina. Neither team is very good, and I don't think one team is better by a touchdown. So I'll take the Raiders getting the points, even though I think the Panthers will probably win.

Miami is a 3-point favorite over Arizona in Miami. Arizona doesn't seem to be able to win on the road, and Miami doesn't seem to be able to win at all. I think Arizona has a better chance at winning on the road than Miami does at all. Arizona, plus the points.

Kansas City is giving three in Tampa Bay. The Chiefs are on a roll, so are the Bucs, but the Chiefs are a better team, I think. I'll take the Chiefs, -3.

The Giants are nine-point favorites over the Bears at the Meadowlands. Interesting few weeks for the Giants - they've played three straight games against NFC North teams, one week removed from playing the Packers. (The Lions are in a similar boat, playing their third straight against NFC East teams. Not that it matters, I just noticed.) I think the Giants win this game, but I don't see them blowing anyone out (not counting the Vikings, who the Giants just seem to own.) So I'll take the Giants to win, but the Bears to cover the nine-point spread, somehow.

Seattle's a 6-and-a-half point favorite over San Francisco. Seattle should be able to win this one in San Fran, by a touchdown.

Another one out west, San Diego hosts New Orleans, and the Chargers are giving six-and-a-half. The Chargers are still streaking, and the Saints always disappoint. So I think the Chargers will cover.

The Patriots are a 2-point favorite over the Rams in St. Louis. I guess coming off a 21-game winning streak the Patriots get the benefit of the doubt, and that's why they're favored...but all that counts right now is that they've lost one game in a row...and I think it's about to become two. Ty Law is out 4-to-6 weeks, and there are rumblings he might miss the rest of the season. Things have broken well for this team so many times in the past that they might be able to win through the Law injury, and the fact that RB Corey Dillon might not play, but at least for this week, I think, they'll lose. The Rams are also 4-0 under Mike Martz in the week following a bye week...not that that makes a huge difference, it's just another stat I like. So I'll take the Rams getting points at home - this one'll be a high scorer. I'd probably also go over the 48 over-under if I were picking those too.

In Denver, the Broncos are six-and-a-half point favorites over the Texans. The Texans have been playing well, and I'm not sure they win this game, but they'll keep it to 3 or 4 points. So I'll take Houston.

Sunday night, in Baltimore, it's Cleveland getting six from the Ravens. The Browns always play the Ravens tough, but with Jamal Lewis coming back this week, I think I like the Ravens.

Monday night's a tough one to pick. The Colts are six point favorites over the Vikings in Indianapolis. Indy's desperate for a win, and the Vikings are coming off a blowout loss at home to the Giants. I think Indy probably wins this game, especially with Randy Moss not likely to play, but I think Minnesota has the guns to keep it close. So I'll take the Vikes, plus the points. The over/under on this game, incidentally, is 58 and a half. That's a high-scorer. I'd probably take under if I were doing that....just so you know. 55.

Enjoy the games - the Jets are on in the New England area this week. You know where to find me if you need me - on the couch from 1-4. Thank goodness it's a 1 o'clock game - my wife seems to think people go out for their six-month wedding anniversaries, so I have to go out Sunday late afternoon. Hopefully it'll be a happy dinner....if the Jets lose, it'll be a miserable half-anni-versary.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Jets 41, Dolphins 14

Well, I was hoping the Jets would get some offense going...I didn't think it would happen this week, though. After a slow, excruciatingly conservative first and most of the second quarter, the Jets finally showed what they can do on offense. (I only wish they had opened it up like this last week - they might still be undefeated...Thaaaaat's right, Al Montoya - I'm "would've" and "could've-ing" again...we'll get to you later.) Chad Pennington threw for only 189 yards, but that's mostly because the Jets didn't throw the ball for the first 27 minutes of the game, nor the last 27 minutes. The big number with Pennington is his 3 touchdowns - for the first time since week one, he threw a touchdown to a wide receiver - and he did it twice! I have a feeling this is the turnaround game for the Jets' offense, which is a good thing, because the tough games are coming up.

Curtis Martin showed the national television audience what he's been showing regional television audiences all season long - that he's friggin' unstoppable. Martin rushed for 115 yards in two and a half quarters of work, including a 25-yard touchdown run where he just exploded down the sideline. Martin left with a bruised leg, but there was also plenty of garbage time (I have a feeling that if the game was close, Martin would have been in there). And in that garbage time, LaMont Jordan once again showed why he's a valuable member of this team: 115 yards and a touchdown for Jordan. He looked great's tough to imagine what the Jets are going to look like next year without Jordan to pick up where Martin leaves off.

Wayne Chrebet dropped Pennington's fourth touchdown pass, but other than that the Jets' receivers had their best night of the season - at least as far as catching passes. Santana Moss had a big 47-yard catch-and-run - his first big play all season. Justin McCareins made a nice play on a slightly overthrown ball by Pennington, and then made an acrobatic play to get across the goal line for the touchdown; he had 56 yards receiving to lead the team. And Chrebet did catch the first touchdown of the game....before dropping one of the best passes I've seen Pennington throw all season.

The Jets' defense played another outstanding game. The only touchdown Miami scored that meant anything (their second TD came with 0:00 left in the game) came when John Abraham was on the bench tending to a dislocated finger. It's really unbelievable what Abraham means to this defense - the pressure he puts on the quarterback improves the whole unit. Jonathan Vilma had 9 tackles, leading the team, and Jon McGraw started in place of Reggie Tongue - McGraw had an interception.

Let's get to the mailbag, since the Monday night game is pushing everything off slightly:
First, an angry e-mail from a Michigan alum, referring to the Jets-Pats recap:

"From, 10/25: "...The Jets should have won this game. That [Sowell] fumble is what makes this loss so tough. Still, the Jets had a chance to win it late, and didn't come through.... So all in all, the Jets matched up well with the Patriots. Which is what most of us, I think, expected. They should have won, which is what I expected, but I don't think most others thought that..."

I'm getting to this late b/c I am not as dedicated a reader of your site as I should be (and of course now the Patriots' whole season could go in the toilet if their injury situation doesn't improve even though they did it with back-ups all last year, but I digress), but I wanted to chime in on the above commentary from your site...

Those are the comments made by almost every player and fan of almost every team the Patriots beat during their 21 game winning streak. Sorry, but Sowell DID fumble. Brady DID lead the Pats right down the field at the end of the first half. Pennington's pass WAS woefully short and thrown into double coverage on fourth down in the closing minutes. Those are the plays or non-plays that decide games. The Patriots have repeatedly made the late game plays to win games (AND PROVE THEY ARE THE BETTER TEAM) while their opponents have not. I expected a higher appreciation for that from your esteemed web site. For shame!

-Al Montoya
Ann Arbor, MI"

Hey Al, first of all, Monday night - B.J. Askew - 6 carries, 23 yards, and Victor Hobson, 2 tackles. Second of all, it's, not I'm here to talk Jets, not to praise the opposition. The Patriots did prove they were the slightly better team last week...but they're not much better. Last year they were much better - not this year. You'll see what I'm talking about on December 26th....when the Jets will NOT make the mistakes that will cost them the game.

I just said I don't praise the opposition...but I will say this. Tom Brady is a class act. I hate to respect an opponent I should hate, but I can't hate this guy. (I fell into this same trap with Peyton Manning a few years ago, but I've learned to dislike him, we'll see if the same thing happens with Brady.) But I happened upon the crappy Boston sports radio station Monday night, and I have to say why, because I hate listening to that station. I was setting my car radio to the sports station so that when I got out of my class, I would be able to hear the Jets game as soon as I turned on the car (I had a class from 7-10pm). Anyway, while I was doing that, they replayed a conversation from earlier Monday morning with Tom Brady on the morning show. He's just a class act - he's always a good interview, and here he is the early morning after a tough loss on the road (the first loss in 22 games), and he's giving good answers to somewhat tough questions. I understand he's under contract to do that sort of thing, but it's not like he's telling these guys that Pam Oliver needs a spanking or anything like that - he's a class act. But so is Chad Pennington.

OK, next e-mail:

"Dear Johnnyjets,
After hearing all this weekend's excitement over Terrell Owens copying Ray Lewis' dance, I was wondering if you ever do a dance in your classroom after accomplishing something good.
For example, when you taught the kids order of operations, did you spike a blackboard eraser on somebody's head? Did you do the worm after teaching them you can't divide by zero? Have you ever copied another teacher's dance, and if so, how did that teacher vow to get back at you?Just wondering,
Dave in Brighton"

Dave - actually, I'm not a fan of showing anyone up. However, if I tell a school that I would never teach at that school ever, and then I end up teaching a lesson against that school, and I teach a good lesson on that big stage, then I might steal one of their teacher's celebratory dances to rub it in a little more. And, no that teacher has never vowed revenge......yet.

So, that's it for tonight. I need to tend to some homework...The Jets are again in a tie for first place in the division at 6-1. Next week, it's at Buffalo. I can't imagine a scenario where the Jets lose that game.