Tuesday, November 30, 2004

This homework is piling up. I have to start setting my priorities. I can't eliminate johnnyjets.blogspot.com...so 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 won...it 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 plan...as 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 overall...so 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 out...you 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, "johnNYJETS.blogspot.com," not "johnNEPATS.blogspot.com." 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' season...it 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 too...it'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 johnnyjets.blogspot.com, 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 johnNYJETS.blogspot.com, not johnNEPATS.blogspot.com. 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.