Friday, December 29, 2006


In honor of the Jets' opponent this weekend at the Meadowlands, the slogan for the Jets this week is simple - "Just Win, Baby". If the Jets beat the Raiders on Sunday at 1pm, they clinch one of the more unlikely playoff berths of my lifetime.

And the Jets will win - I can't imagine a scenario where they lose to the Raiders. It's New Year's Eve, near New York City, so the Raiders will have other things on their minds - they'll mail this one in, and finish 2-14. For the Jets, it's all on the line. So I say, Jets, 27-3. Not even close, which would be uncharacteristic of the Jets' season.

I mentioned how unlikely this playoff berth would be. I talked about how early in the season I thought the Jets would be competitive, but I didn't think their possibly finishing at .500 would get them near the playoffs. Turns out, they're heading for 10-6, and that's going to be good enough. I started to think the Jets had a shot about midway through the season - remember when the Jets lost that heartbreaker to the Browns in Cleveland? I thought that would come back to haunt them, because instead of heading into their bye week at 5-3, they were 4-4. Then the Jets ripped off 5 wins in 7 games, and here we are.

I don't want to jump to conclusions, because these are still the Jets we're talking about, but if the Jets win on Sunday (which I think they will), how will they do in the playoffs? I really think they have a shot at doing some damage. Here's what will happen at the VERY LEAST: The Jets lose in their first game, and for all the young guys on the team, it's valuable playoff experience. But the core of the Jets have been to the playoffs before, especially Chad Pennington, and I think that's really important. They remember the hard lessons from two years ago, where a conservative game plan and an unreliable kicker did them in. I think Pennington will take control and lead the team to some playoff wins.

The road will be a tough one - most likely taking the Jets through Indianapolis and New England, and possibly a Baltimore or San Diego, but the Jets can beat all of those teams. I won't get into the playoffs too much right now, since first the Jets have to make it there, but I will say I can't wait. I think the Jets will do well. Hopefully I'll have the chance to do a Raiders wrap (I'm going to the game on Sunday), and a Playoff Preview sometime next week, somewhere in between the busy back-to-school week.

One last thing- here's the standings through 16 weeks in the johnnyjets League:

1. Cousin Eddie: 123
2. The Wife 114
2. Justin 114
4. johnnyjets 111
4. Dave in Brighton 111
6. Southern Bureau 94

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Barry Zito reportedly agreed to a 7-year, $126 million deal today with the San Francisco Giants, meaning he will not be a Met in 2007. I'm a little bummed about this - I thought he'd bring a fun personality to New York, and, obviously, help the Mets immensely this year.

It seemed like the Mets were making a strong run lately for Zito. I really was convinced word would come down one of these days that he was going to be a Met - that's why I was waiting on my off-season recap (a first off-season recap, anyway), because I had a feeling the Zito signing would happen over the holidays, and I thought he'd be coming to the Mets.

Now that he's not coming to the Mets, I find it a little easier to see Zito's flaws. First, let me say that he is a very good pitcher, and coming to the National League, he will probably put up better numbers than he did in the American League. But Zito isn't a GREAT pitcher. He gives up a lot of runs a lot of time. This will continue to happen in the NL - if his curve doesn't curve, he's not effective. He's definitely going to be the Giants' ace, but he might not be the best pitcher in the National League.

An interesting fact I saw today - the three highest deals in history (over $100 million) for a pitcher have been Kevin Brown, Mike Hampton, and now Barry Zito. Zito better hope his deal turns out better than those other two.

That said, the Mets certainly could have used Barry Zito in 2007. They needed a front-of-the-rotation guy. Hopefully within the next week I will be back with a first look at what the Mets have done this off-season and what they still need to get done.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Jets 13, Dolphins 10 (NYJ: 9-6, MIA: 6-9)

That wasn't pretty. It wasn't as dominant as it should have been. But it was exciting, and it was a 'W', so the Jets are one win away from the postseason.

I can't really believe I'm writing this, considering the way this season should have gone. It should have been a rebuilding type of year. I thought the Jets may have pulled out a .500 record, based on Chad Pennington coming back, healthy for the first time in two years, but I didn't think they'd sniff the playoffs. Here's what I wrote in August/early September:

Chad Pennington is back to his old self, I guess. He's throwing the ball well, and has all but won the starting quarterback job back, which is very exciting. That alone gives Jets fans hope that the Jets might not be as bad as everyone thinks - Pennington knows how to win. I'll leave it at that.

The Jets are definitely going to be an improved football team this year, and I think they'll be better than a lot of people are picking them to be (I've heard 4-12 again, or 5-11). I think there's a chance the Jets could squeeze out 8 wins, maybe even 9. The problem is their schedule is tough. And I think once the Jets figure out what they have in Cedric Houston, their running problems will be solved.

Not sure what I was thinking about there with the "tough schedule" part - maybe because of their division. But now the Jets face a "win and in" scenario next week - beat the Raiders, and they're in the playoffs.

As I wrote here, I thought the Jets would beat the Dolphins on Monday night. But watching the game Monday, it was the type of game that you felt would end in heartbreak for the Jets. Scoreless through the first half. Then a 3-0 lead quickly turned into a 7-3 deficit. But Chad Pennington showed why the Jets have to be considered a threat if they get into the playoffs - because he led the team right back down the field to a 10-7 lead, then again to the game-winning field goal. Leon Washington was huge, too, showing incredible bursts and moves to gain some big yardage. Parts of that game, though, especially when the Dolphins brought in the backup quarterback, had "Typical Jets loss" written all over it.

Now there are other worries. The Jets should beat Oakland, at home, next week. It is certainly an easier task than when they had to beat the Raiders, in Oakland, in 2001, in order to make the playoffs. (They did, then lost the playoff game back in Oakland the following week.) This Raiders team is nowhere near as good as the rest of the NFL - this shouldn't even be a contest. (The good news is that the NFL's flex schedule did not make this game the Sunday nighter on New Year's Eve, so I will be going to the 1 o'clock game to cheer the Jets into the postseason.) The problem is, the Jets have a history of losing games they should win...especially when something huge is on the line.

One positive - that hasn't happened in a while. In 2002, the Jets needed to beat Green Bay at home to win the AFC East - they did, and they blew them out. The Jets haven't choked away a playoff spot since 2000, so that's good news. I'm sure Eric Mangini will have the team properly motivated, considering his playoff experience recently with New England.

And then it's playoff time (hopefully). If the Jets make it, they'll likely draw New England or Indianapolis. The way Indy has played recently, the Jets could win that game, and they've already showed they can beat the Patriots in New England. This could be an exciting playoff run. (There's an outside chance it will be Baltimore, but they'd probably have to lose and a couple of other things would need to happen. That might actually be the toughest matchup for the Jets.) I can hardly wait.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


The Jets need help this week. But I think they'll get the help they need this week, and then it's on them next week to win and get into the playoffs. Here's what I mean:

The Jets need to win both of their games, and finish 10-6. So they should really only be worrying about themselves (not something we have to worry about this week, since Monday night they are the last game beind played on the weekend). There are 3 other teams entering today's play at 8-6 - Cincinnati, Denver, and Jacksonville. (We're not going to worry about the 7-7 teams, because they need a ton of help, and they shouldn't factor in with the Jets winning both of their games.) Cincinnati and Denver are playing each other today. So one of those teams is going to be 8-7, one at 9-6. Jets fans, it doesn't matter who you root for in that one, as long as the winner of that game also wins next week, and makes the playoffs along with the Jets.

The Jaguars have a chance to really mess with the Jets' chances. They are playing the Patriots. All the Patriots have to do is win one of their final two games to clinch the division (they play at Tennessee next week, so it isn't totally out of the question that they may lose these two games...but it's highly unlikely). I think the Patriots win today, effectively ending the Jaguars' hopes (they play at Kansas City next week, but they would need a lot of help to get in, and if everything works out the way I'm rooting for, I don't see that help coming). But there's a chance the dominant Jaguars team that has showed up in certain weeks this season shows up today, upsets the Patriots, and throws a wrench in things.

So, if the Jets win this week, there's a chance they'll be 9-6, along with Denver or Cincy. And the other Denver/Cincy team and the Jaguars would be 8-7. So the Jets would only need to win at home next week against Oakland and get into the playoffs. To recap, Jets fans should be rooting for the Pats this week - write off the division. If it turns out the Patriots lose today, we'll re-evaluate next week's games...and be rooting big-time for Tennessee, and a division championship. Because if the Patriots lose today, that means the Jaguars win, and then the Jets will need a little help next week, I think.

As for Monday's game, I think we're past the days where the Jets choke in big games. (Unless the opponent is Buffalo, whcih, thank goodness, it's not.) I think the Jets will beat Miami something like 27-13, setting up a big weekend next week. (The other factor in the Dolphins game is that the Dolphins had some trash talk going on after the Jets' win over them earlier this year, saying stuff like, "we're the better team". The Jets haven't forgotten that - it's come up in the papers this week. That's good that the Jets are using that as some motivation, too. (Although the playoffs should be all the motivation they need, it never hurts to add a personal slight.)

PICKS: It's been a while, but since the season is almost over, I'm updating for you the standings in the johnnyjets pick 'em league:

1. Cuz: 115

2. Dave in Brighton 106

3. The Wife 105

4. Justin in NYC 105

5. johnnyjets 103

6. Southern Bureau 87 (I think he's given up)

Let's also keep in mind, though, that The Wife forgot to put her picks in one week, costing her big time. So her score is still with a 0 for one week. Pretty impressive.

Finally, this picture I came across earlier in the week, showing that for the Jets, it's not just about the football - it's about reaching out to that younger fan and establishing a connection that will last a lifetime:

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Jets 26, Vikings 13 (NYJ: 8-6, MIN: 6-8)

It's been a busy football season, but there's really no excuse for me not writing in so long, especially considering how well the Jets have done. On Sunday, the Jets won again, clinching at the very least an 8-8 record, and moving a step closer to again controlling their own playoff fate.

The Jets looked awful to start this game, letting the Vikings bust through the line on two consecutive plays, the second of which saw Chad Pennington cough up the ball, allowing the Vikings offense to have good field position, and score on their first possession. But that was it. With the Vikings leading 7-0, the Jets scored on six straight possessions, taking a 26-7 lead, en route to a 26-13 win.

I love that the Jets didn't play into the Vikings hands in this one - they play the run well, well, we'll just throw it. Pennington finished with what I believe is a career high 339 yards, throwing for a touchdown and one interception. He's just short of 3,000 yards for the season. I say, get Chad Pennington into the post-season, and anything can happen. The guy knows how to win...he just needs to avoid mistakes.

Now, I have a couple of concerns about this Jets team, that I've been sitting on for a few weeks, since I've last written. The first is their inability to put teams away. Other teams always have one final drive in the last five minutes with a chance to either take the lead or win the game. I would like more games like the one against the Packers, where the Jets just buried them from the start. Even this (sort of) blowout game against Minnesota, the Vikings had a chance late, because the Jets weren't running out the clock well.

The other thing I'm concerned about is the way the Jets have played at home. It doesn't really matter, I suppose, being that the Jets have just one more home game, against the Raiders in two weeks, and that's a very winnable game. (If the Jets make the playoffs, it's very unlikely they will be playing any home games.) And I guess that leads to a huge positive - for the Jets to have a shot at the playoffs next week, they need to win on the road (at Miami), and then for the Jets to do anything in the post-season, they would need to win a few road games. This year, the Jets are 3-4 at home, and 5-2 on the road. I feel VERY good about the Jets' chances in Miami next week, and now that the Steelers have shown people that a Wild Card team can go all the way, maybe something magical will happen for the Jets. At the very least, this young team that they have will have some experience playing in some very meaningful games, rather than just stumbling through a 4-12 or some such season.

Now, here's the disclaimer. I was all set to write this article last week, and then the Jets went out and laid an egg against Buffalo. They're not a perfect team, I know that. But they are a good team, and they can surprise some people. A win in Miami next week, and the Jets are going to the playoffs. A loss next week, and this was just a very entertaining (and another frustrating) year.

NOTES: I had this thought this morning. What if Curtis Martin returns next year, and in order to take less of a beating, becomes another passing option for Chad Pennington as a wide receiver. It would allow Martin to be an important part of the team, without upsetting the young running backs the Jets have now, and it would allow Martin to be less banged-up than he would be as a running back. Just a thought. I'd like to see him back for one more year, and that's about the only capacity I can see him returning where it wouldn't upset what the Jets have going for them this year.

Also, thanks for checking out the site if you're switching over after reading my posting on "The Southern Bureau's" blog, the 'Orange Couch', on the WECT website. If you're one of my (few) readers, check out my posting on the "Southern Bureau"'s blog - it stems from a bet I sort of won back on

I'm going to try to keep updating this site down the stretch run of the season (this is, after all, why I created this site), but I'm not sure how often that will be, what with the holidays upon us. I am going to try to go to the Jets-Raiders game on New Year's Eve (hopefully the flex schedule won't make that a night game), which could be a playoff clincher.

And GO COLTS - the Jets need the help, and a Cincinnati loss is a huge help. We're looking at a big 8-6 bunch - the Jets, Jaguars, Broncos, and possibly Bengals on Monday night. It's going to come right down to the wire.