Sunday, November 30, 2008


I think I have my NFL equivalent of Terry Francona - a favorite manager/head coach who I just can't root against, because I think they go about things the right way - and it again comes from an unlikely source.

I can't root for the Steelers - they give the Jets fits, knocked them out of the playoffs in 2004 - but I also can't root against them. I really like Mike Tomlin, and when I compile my list of NFL "Players I Like" (which I'm working on), he's the head coach.

First of all, I caught an episode of "Wired Up" on the NFL Network (I think that's what the show was called), and he was mini-featured. Nothing really personal or earth-shattering, just some sound of how he interacts with players. He seems real. Down-to-earth. Makes players want to go out and win for him. And most of all he seems genuine.

I've been bitten by that 'genuine' thing before - I thought Herman Edwards was genuine before he turned into a lying back-stabber. But this seems different.

He has an energy - he's young, and can closely relate to his players. So all that makes him someone you want your players playing for - because they want to play for him. But the reason I like him goes beyond that.

You watch any NFL game on any given week, and you see coaches who are constantly scowling and complaining. It doesn't look like anyone is having any fun.

Mike Tomlin seems different. He's not out there having a grand old time, but he also doesn't look like he's having the worst time of his life, like the other guys.

There's no constant complaining to the refs. There's a face, maybe, and he punches the air - kind of like I think I would do. But then it's back to business. He jumps around and looks excited when good things happen.

And most of all - he smiles a lot. Not just at the end of the game when the win is in hand. During the game. That's a big thing to me.

It's not like I see Mike Tomlin every week, so maybe my observations are way off base. And it just so happens that the day this is posted, the Steelers are playing the Patriots. That's not why I'm writing this - in fact, I think it's again better for the Jets if the Patriots win this week.

Mike Tomlin just seems like a good guy who is easy to root for. Even if he's hard to root for.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


If you saw any of the Major League Baseball playoffs this year, you are aware that the MLB Network will begin on January 1, 2009. The advertisements were all over FOX's coverage of the playoffs, and all over the ballparks involved in the post-season.

Needless to say, I'm psyched. But I have high expectations. Here is an example of what I'd want to see on a typical day on MLBTV:

5-8am - 1-hour highlight show of the action from the night before, looped. (See midnight)

8:00am - Random Baseball Game - Every day a random baseball game from any year is shown from 8-11am. The entire library of baseball games would be available to be shown. Might be an important game, might just be the Pirates-Reds game from June 2, 1993. I don't know. Just like putting your iPod on shuffle. Just watch what comes up. And there would never be a you'd better set your TiVo, just in case.

11am - Profile - A one-hour special profiling some baseball player - any era, any time. Again, no repeats.

12pm - Baseball Today - A one-hour preview show, previewing the night's (or afternoon's) games. In the off-season, this becomes hot-stove talk.

1pm - Baseball Classics - Different from the Random Baseball Game, this would be a dramatic playoff game or no-hitter from the regular season - a special game like the kind you occasionally catch on ESPN Classic nowadays. There's a one-in-a-million chance that you'd be airing the same game twice in a day between the Classic and Random game - but if it's a Classic, I think that's a chance you want to take.

4pm - College/World Baseball - A show that takes you into the other leagues, to get an idea of who might be the Major Leaguers of tomorrow.

5pm - Who Wants To Be A Season Ticket Holder? - Everyone's favorite baseball trivia game show. Grand Prize is season tickets to the team of your choice.

5:30pm - Fantasy Baseball Today - Must-starts, must-haves, for your baseball league.

6pm - Pre-Game. Similar to the noon show, but leading right up to the evening games.

7pm - Baseball!!! Every night one game should be picked up by the Baseball Network. They don't have to send a crew to every game...though they should do a live broadcast of their own once a week...they just have to pick up a team's feed. They should be able to do it at the last minute, too, to give viewers around the country the best game available on any given night.

10pm - Post-Game - A highlight/recap show, like the old Baseball Tonight. With full box scores on every game.

11pm - The Locker Room - The best post-game reactions/sound from around the league (maybe another one at 2am that includes the West coast games).

12am - Classic 'This Week in Baseball' - episodes from the vault, while we wait for the West Coast games to go final.

Once the West Coast games do go final, the final highlight show of the night is taped, to be replayed through 8am.

And of course, the MLB Draft, the winter meetings, and all MLB-related events would get full coverage.

That's my dream. I'd watch it all day.

Friday, November 28, 2008


I'm always proud to say that my dad has had Jets season tickets for more than 40 years. I always thought it might be worth something - impress someone.

Apparently it's worth nothing, and doesn't impress the Jets. And I fear my days of being able to say my dad has been a season ticket holder for the Jets for more than 40 years may be coming to an end.
When the new stadium opens the season after next, there are all sorts of issues. My dad's seats in the current stadium are in the upper deck (they were in the upper deck at Shea Stadium too, and were moved further back when the Jets went to Giants Stadium), so they won't be hit with the Personal Seat Licenses (which declare that you own a seat for every event at a stadium....except when the other team that shares the stadium with you is home....and when there is another event that goes up for grabs between the ticket-holders who share the same seat, I guess).

The fact that you would pay thousands of dollars for this PSL to not have complete ownership of a seat is a crock, in my opinion. Then there's this:

After being told seniority would be honored when it came to seat preferences, and thinking my dad could move his seats towards the front of the upper deck as a result, the Jets have recently come out with paperwork that says seniority would only be considered from 1977 on.

I have a feeling they're not going to go giving my dad his money back from 1965-1977. Way to reward loyalty. It really makes me mad. 1977? Why? The Jets didn't move to Giants Stadium until 1984. This makes no sense to me.

They're probably trying to force people out of long-held season tickets, especially in the upper bowl, where no money is to be made off of bogus PSL's. Then they can knock some people off the waiting list, advertise the fact that they have a shorter waiting list, and then make more money off of charging people an annual fee to get onto the waiting list.

It's disheartening, really. And it's another reason I try to avoid thinking about the business side of sports. And it's another reason I'm rooting so hard for this to be 'the year' - at least this year I have a shot at Super Bowl future years I don't know that I'll even have a chance at playoff tickets.

ON A RELATED NOTE: Since my dad has had part of a Mets season-ticket plan in recent years (most recently a Tuesday & Friday deal), the Mets contacted him about the release of ticket plans for next year at Citi Field. Partial plans include 40-game and 15-game packages.

I haven't gotten down for Mets games as often as I wish I could in the past few years, so I told my dad that 15 games would even be too much, unless he could make use of them. And only one of the 15-game packages has Opening Day, which is just about the only game next year that means anything to me right now. If he can somehow get that package (which I'm sure, by virture of its inclusion of Opening Day, will be the most popular of the ticket packages), that would be it for me. That would make my 2009.

Because next year, there's Opening Day at Citi Field, and there's every other game at Citi Field. If I don't make the first game, any other game is just another game at the Mets' new ballpark. Somehow I have to get tickets to that game and I have to get the day off from school. The ticket sale for season-ticket holders starts this week. I have my fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I have a ton I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving, mostly the personal stuff. But you don't come here to read about my wife and daughters - I assume you come to read about the Mets and the Jets. So I'll keep this to the foolish stuff.

And tell you that this year, as a sports fan, I am extremely thankful for the 2008 Jets.

At the very least, if the Jets didn't go any further than the 8-3 at which they now stand, they've taken the bad taste of the end of the Mets' season out of my mouth. At most, they'll give me some playoff football, and I'd be disappointed if it isn't multiple playoff games for the first time in four years.

I'm thankful for Brett Favre. I think it begins and ends with him. The Jets line finally seems to be coming together, and I think it's no coincidence that the less Favre is pressured, the less he makes mistakes. I maintain that Chad Pennington wouldn't be having this same amount of success with the Jets this year because he would have been crushed (physically) by Week 3. Favre is tougher, and battled through some injuries, I think, and now he's not getting hit as much. Put Pennington behind the Jets' line in Week 13, and yes, I think he and Favre would be on equal footing. But not from early in the season...and that's part of the reason he's doing so well in Miami - I don't think he's been touched all year. (I'm also thankful that to this point, rooting for the team I despise to see Pennington succeed hasn't bitten me in the behind.) And I love the youthful joy Favre brings to the team -he makes it fun to root for the team.

And there's one last thing I'm thankful for regarding Brett Favre. I'm thankful he's a Jet. I don't like the way he went about things this off-season, that's for sure. And I slightly dread the fact that the Jets might be the Packers of the past couple of years in the coming off-seasons, the difference being they don't have a first-round draft pick waiting in the wings....but I'm afraid from now on Favre will hold them hostage the way he held Green Bay hostage the past few years. But maybe that's the price you pay for this kind of success.

Point is - I really like Brett Favre. I've rooted for him for a very long time. Remember, I've always had a soft spot for the Packers - maybe it was the yellow in their uniform, maybe it was that they were a playoff team when the Jets were awful. So it was very easy for me to root for him as a Jet - it's like a dream come true for me. Remember a couple of years ago when I mused that Mike Sherman could become the new Jets coach and lure Favre over? It happened, in a different way than I expected, and I'm happy about it. It's not like a guy like John Elway or Dan Marino, both of whom I could never stand, is now quarterbacking my team - it's a guy I've always rooted for.

I know losing seasons. Baseball, football, you name it - I've seen the worst of it. So I think that makes me appreciate the good times even more. And this is a good time. And for that, I'm thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The following message was e-mailed to my dad the other day, from the Jets, under the heading "Playoff Ticket News" (and which he forwarded to me with his message, "They sound confident".):

It has come to our attention that there is some confusion with this years Playoff invoices. This week you will be receiving Playoff invoices in the mail. The invoice is also available online. The invoice will contain prices for the Wildcard, Divisional, and Championship games. As a season ticket holder you should ONLY pay for the Divisional and Championship events. These events are 08DIVIS, 08CHAMP, 08DPK, 08CPK. Full payment is due on or before December 15, 2008 in order to secure your playoff ticket request. If you are paying by check your playoff payment should include 2 games, the divisional game and the championship game, and any associated parking. If you are paying by credit card the invoiced amount is correct. If the first game is a wildcard game instead of a divisional game, a credit will be issued to your season ticket account for the difference.

"If the first game is a wildcard game instead of a divisional game....." I understand there's a business aspect here, and it's better to collect more money (for a more expensive divisional game, I guess) than less (for the first round wildcard game), and better to pay people out than to go collecting again...but I'm not entirely comfortable with this.

I'm secretly hoping the Jets host two playoff games. Every time I write about it, though, I couch it with the words like, "If the Jets do what they are supposed to do the rest of the way, and win the games they should....." Because the Jets don't always do what they're supposed to do.

I think mostly of 1993, when at halftime of a Jets-Dolphins game we were at I had the stupid idea of saying to my dad, "How do we get Super Bowl tickets? This is awesome!" I brought it up because the Jets were leading 24-6, in a game there was no way they were going to lose that would put them alone in first place in the division. Then Dan Marino brought the Dolphins back, culminating with the fake spike that ruined the Jets season. They went from 6-4 to 6-10.

All I'm saying is that these things happen to the Jets. And don't think someone like devious Bill Belichick hasn't gone and gotten a copy of this letter and secretly mailed it out to the Jets' remaining opponents, especially the Bills and Dolphins.

I hope, hope, hope I'll be sitting at a divisional playoff game at the Meadowlands in January, and dare I say it, an AFC Championship Game...but I'm not going to talk about it. I hope the Jets' business office doesn't say much about it anymore either.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Another week in the books, and another quick turnaround, with Week 13 starting on Thursday:

BEST GAME OF WEEK 12: I'm not sure there was a best game in Week 12 - the Colts and Chargers might have been the best of the bunch. Giants-Cardinals was good, too - and would have been better had the Cardinals guy caught the onside kick. And Patriots-Dolphins was pretty good...but this week was a bit short on a best game.

BEST PERFORMANCE WEEK 12: You'd think there would be a clear cut favorite in a week where two teams scored 50+ points, but I'll go with the guy whose team scored 48. Matt Cassel threw for 400 yards for the second straight week (415), had three touchdowns versus 1 interception, and also rushed for a TD. He's creating quite a payday for himself for next year.

WORST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 12: More candidates here than, say, the best game of the week. While I'd like to give it to the Eagles' offense for not being able to tackle Ed Reed (whose record-setting 108-yard interception return was not only bogus because he should have been tackled but which also gave my fantasy opponent a 5-point win rather than a 1-point win for me, costing me any shot at the playoffs...whew, it felt good to get that off my chest), there are other more deserving candidates. Such as the entire Rams team, who never showed up to play the Bears, or the Jaguars, who were down 14-0 before I even had the remote in my hand. But for individual performance, I'll go with Brady Quinn, who went 8-for-18 with just 94 yards and 2 interceptions, losing a winnable game.

BEST GAME IN WEEK 13: Steelers-Patriots
is intriguing to get another guage of where those two teams are at, especially from the standpoint of a Jets fan. But I think of all the NFL games, Carolina-Green Bay is an interesting NFC matchup, as well as Giants-Redskins. The Giants are amazing each week - a division matchup is a good test for them and this is also a huge measuring stick for Washington.

BEST PERFORMANCE PREDICTED IN WEEK 13: I'm going way out on a limb here, and I'm going to serve up a Thanksgiving surprise. Something in my gut (I always listen to my gut when Thanksgiving rolls around) tells me Detroit is going to play Tennessee tough on Thursday. And I think I'm going to pick them to win. They're desperate to get a win, this is their annual show-off game, and they're not going to want to embarrass themselves. Plus, they started out strong against Tampa Bay on Sunday before folding. Maybe this week they play a full game. It's a tall order against Tennessee, but I bet there's a letdown for them after they lost their first game. So I'm going to say Lions 27, Titans 24, as the best performance in Week 13.
-Last Week: I said Tony Romo for 303 yards and 2 touchdowns. He had 341 yards and 3 touchdowns. Usually I overestimate, this time I was under. But I was right about him having a big bounceback week, so I'll take credit there.

Monday, November 24, 2008


This is not to be confused with the recap of Week 12, which will come tomorrow. But rather, it's a quick touch-base, based on what I wrote last week, about the teams the Jets (and Jets fans) need to worry about.

Titans: Well, the Titans just aren't very good. They're good, but they're not your typical 10-0 type of team. They're kind of like the Jaguars have been the past couple of years, where you see them in the playoffs, and you wonder how they went 12-4...a solid team, but they're not going to win the Super Bowl. Not sure they'll win a playoff game. They might still get the number-one seed in the AFC, though.

Steelers: The Steelers have a tiebreaker over the Jets, so they're still the number two seed right now. And they're kind of up and down - because their quarterback is so up and down. They're the playoff-tried team that probably poses the biggest threat to the Jets the rest of the way (assuming, as I will throughout this entry, that the Jets do what they need to do).

Broncos: I'll still worry about them until I see the Jets beat them next Sunday with my own two eyes (the Jets do not have a history of success against Denver), but I'm not too scared of them. I wrote about them earlier in the year as having one of the seemingly easier schedules in the league, and they haven't done much better than .500 with that schedule. So I think that pretty much sums things up about the Broncos.

Ravens: Until proven otherwise, I'm going to maintain that the Ravens' big win was more a reflection of the disaster that the Eagles have become than an accurate portrait of Baltimore. I think the Ravens are more the team that led 10-7 at the half (good, but not great), than the team that outscored their opponent 26-0 in the second half. But that win has them sitting pretty this week.

Patriots/Dolphins: A big win for New England, beating Miami. The Patriots also helped out the Jets by handing the Dolphins their second division loss. The Patriots moved themselves a notch ahead of Miami, but that can change back next week.

Colts: I think the Colts may have finished off San Diego Sunday night, and they're certainly playing themselves back into contention the past couple of weeks. Still, they're not looking like they used to look.

Bills: The Bills won a game they had to have, but they might have sealed their fate by losing to Cleveland last week.

RIP: Jaguars, Chargers: The Chargers, sadly, might still have a shot at their division, but I think they're done. The Jaguars are no longer a team to worry about - just playing out the string of a very disappointing season.

Friday, November 21, 2008


It didn't go unnoticed at 200 Miles From the Citi...just unmentioned.

When the Jets signed Ty Law the week of the Patriots game, I thought it was unnecessary. I had just finished singing the praises of the secondary - they were definitely not one of the team's weaknesses - they were actually doing a fine job. So my initial reaction was, "Why would you do that?"

I actually got angry on Sunday when I was watching the Raiders-Dolphins game and saw that the Raiders had picked up Justin Miller, who I learned the Jets had dropped to clear the roster space for Law (I've been following things pretty closely - but I guess not that closely. I guess maybe I should be paying more attention.). I felt like Miller's a young guy, Law wouldn't be around for long...seemed like a high price to pay for a rental.

And the word 'rental' got me thinking about the real reason the Jets signed Ty Law, and it sort of dawned on me - it probably was a smart move. Law, like David Cone in the early-to-mid-90's in baseball, is a hired gun.
OK - maybe it's not the best comparison. Cone was in demand because of his arm, and because he was one of the best at his position in the game. Law is with the Jets because of, for lack of a better term, the intangibles - leadership on a relatively unsuccessful defense (Kris Jenkins has been to a Super Bowl, but not a lot of others have won anything), and a very young secondary.

But I don't think there's any denying that this was the Jets' mindset. And I've come to the conclusion that it was probably a smart move.

Add to that the fact that Law had a pretty good game his first game back with the Jets (the above last-second touchdown notwithstanding - he's actually not pictured because he's obscured by the receiver who beat him there), and it looks even better. Law will be relied on again in a huge game this weekend...and the rest of the season he will be playing two roles for the Jets - team leader (the offense has their own seasoned vet at the quarterback position) and shutdown corner.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I realized I'd better start writing this entry about how I'd like to see the Mets rebuild when I saw today that Trever Miller signed with the Cardinals. Seems like he would have been a pretty good piece in the Mets' bullpen. But with that ship having sailed, I'll give you my hopes for the Mets' off-season, as well as some predictions about what will probably happen, based on the Mets' history in player moves:

Clearly, the bullpen is a disaster. And some of the names from the bullpen, like Luis Ayala, as poorly as they played, are also free agents. So the Mets are down in talent and numbers. And then there's Aaron Heilman, who now is demanding a trade if he doesn't get moved into the rotation. And the fact that Billy Wagner is hurt, so the Mets need a closer. Yikes.
My Pie in the Sky:
I've already mentioned that I think Kerry Wood is worth a flier. At the very least, he would fit the bill as enticing possibility who doesn't live up to the expectations. At the most, he continues what he built upon after his return last season. But I've started to think that the Mets' answers to their bullpen woes lie in the folks they already have in their system: I'd like to see John Maine get a shot at closing, just to see what would happen. He is effective the first time through a lineup, and he has a tendency to throw too many pitches early in a game. Maybe he's cut out to be a reliever rather than a starter.

And watching what has happened with the likes of Jonathan Papelbon, Joba Chamberlain, and David Price, the Mets might have their own types in their own minor leagues. Like Bradley Holt (maybe now he's Brad Holt), 33rd overall choice in last year's draft. Holt pitched 72 innings last year for the Brooklyn Cyclones, and had 96 strikeouts, with a 1.87 ERA. I know it's a big jump, but other teams have seen players succeed making that jump. I'd like to see him at least get a shot.
The Mets will probably end up adding spare parts like Ron Villone to the bullpen, and I fear there will not be the necessary improvements solely because there isn't much talent to go around.

The problem, if the Mets move players around from within, is that they will end up being short in the rotation. Johan Santana is set as number one, but there's not much left after him. I wouldn't mind seeing Oliver Perez back, but I don't think he's worth the numbers he's going to be asking.
My Pie In the Sky:
I know the Mets aren't going after CC Sabathia (although, didn't they drop out of the Johan Santana race - albeit a trade - in the earlygoing only to become the team to land him later...), but I'd love to see them go after one of the marquis strikeout guys there, like A.J. Burnett, or maybe even Brad Penny. That's why I think it's better to find the closer solution from within, so that the Mets could spend the big money on another starter.
I'm afraid the Mets are going to land Derek Lowe, who we've mentioned time and again in separate articles (do a search, I'm not going to bother linking them) as the biggest headcase in the league. As such, I don't think Lowe + New York = a good fit. But he might end up either with the Yankees or the Mets - the newspapers will end up having a field day, but fans will not end up being pleased.

Corner Outfielder:
Moises Alou was a disaster. When he played, he was awesome - an excellent hitter. But he played too few games and they were too far between. So good riddance to the walking wounded. Now the Mets need to fill that hole:
My Pie In the Sky:
I liked what Nick Evans and Daniel Murphy brought to the team. So I wouldn't be devastated if the Mets didn't do anything here - but I find a couple of options intriguing. I like Mark Kotsay (who also could play first base when Carlos Delgado comes nowhere near repeating what he did in the second half of last year) and also Bobby Abreu - Abreu because I'd rather see that outfielder on base 40% of the time instead of on the DL 85% of the time.
So help me God the Mets had better not sign Manny Ramirez. I actually feel like they're probably going to go after (and get) Raul Ibanez. I think there are worse things.

I'm not even sure if this is a popular opinion, but I think Jose Reyes has to go. I feel like things need to be shaken up to a point (after the past two Septembers) that this is the right amount of shaking up. So I say trade Reyes, and then the Mets would need to fill the shortstop position. And Argenis Reyes did a nice job in his major league stint last year.
My Pie in the Sky:
I read something recently that the Orioles are thinking about moving Brian Roberts to shortstop because it's easier to fill the second base hole than a shortstop one, until they find a long-term solution at shortstop. They also said George Sherill could be had for the right price. What if the Mets could swing a deal with the O's, Reyes for Sherill (and maybe some minor leaguers), solving the Mets' bullpen need and Baltimore's shortstop need. And the Mets get plenty in return (high prospects, hopefully) for this ultra-valuable trading chip.
I doubt Reyes is going anywhere. I say Reyes is destined for another September, and hopefully an October, where he starts popping the ball up because he's pressing, and he doesn't do the types of things that make the team successful for most of the season.

There's plenty of free agency action already taking place. The Mets have been awfully quiet. I feel like after the season they had, they should be making a lot of noise. We'll keep a close eye on it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Lots of talk recently about the idea that the NFL could 'lose' two exhibition games and extend the regular season by two games.

Of course, this would be exciting no matter what form it takes - whether the season would then start in mid-August (though that might feel like too soon) or extend into late February (a more sports-fan friendly solution).

Yes, there's a lot to consider - the money for the owners, how that gets spread among the players and coaches, and then there's the injury question - does an 18-game regular season mean more chances for players to get injured? Or does it make it less likely for someone to suffer a pre-season season-ending injury because they are regular season games and people aren't holding back, making themselves more susceptible to injury?

But when looking at all of these things, we're missing the most earth-shattering of them all. What does an 18-game football season mean for fantasy football leagues the world over?

I am partial to a 16-week fantasy football season - the first 14 weeks are regular season, with 15 and 16 filtering through a 4-team playoff. (I don't like having the championship decided in Week 17 with many stars being rested for a half or entire game.)

That certainly changes for an 18-game season. The translation for me would be 15 weeks of regular season, with the playoffs in 16 and 17. How much difference would that one week make?

Would 18 weeks of real football mean more teams are in playoff contention, and teams are less likely to rest players in the final week? Does that mean fantasy leagues like mine become 16-week regular seasons, with the playoffs in weeks 17 and 18?

Does the possibility of more regular season injuries mean longer benches for teams, to make sure you have enough players to cover those injuries?

If the season does shift to earlier in August, when will we draft?

I'm sure the gambling aspect will come up at some point when the talk of extending the season really heats up - I have a sneaking suspicion that a Week 1 regular season game sees a bit more money move than a Week 3 exhibition game.

But the fantasy football world could be shaken too. And if you ask me, that's the biggest difference between a 16-game or 18-game NFL regular season.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I've been talking a lot about how the Jets can get their first-round bye, and I've also been trying to temper my enthusiasm, because we are still talking about the Jets here.

But every way I look at it the news is good.

Even with the Jets travelling to Tennessee to play the 10-0 Titans.

And this is the story of why you want to be in a spot where you can control your own destiny, and not have to rely on help.

If the Jets take care of business in December (2 away vs. the NFC West, 2 home vs. Buffalo and Miami), especially in the division games, they won't have to worry about much else.

They are 3-1 in the division right now, with their only loss coming to New England. The Patriots are 2-2 in the division, losing to the Dolphins and Jets. And the Bills, even if their Monday night loss to Cleveland didn't cripple them, are still on the outside looking in because of their 0-3 division record.

And believe it or not, for Jets fans, it will end up being better for the Jets if the Patriots beat the Dolphins on Sunday, bringing the Dolphins' division record to 2-2. Because even if the Jets lose to the Titans, and they fall into a tie with the Patriots for the division lead, the Jets own the tiebreaker. And they will, right up until the end of the season.

And the Patriots have the tougher schedule the rest of the it probably wouldn't be a tie for long.

But it's nice to know that even if they match the Jets down the stretch - they won't be able to pass them.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I have a sneaking suspicion that the Browns-Bills tilt tonight will not factor in to this week's recap as one of the best of Week 11 of the NFL season. So I'm going to go ahead and do the recap without waiting for that game to finish:

BEST GAME OF WEEK 11: We go back to Thursday night for the best of the week - it never got better in Week 11 than the Jets-Patriots, and there might not be a better game all season. It should have been a blowout, so that's a strike against the Jets, but factor in the comeback by the Patriots, the last-second touchdown, and then the overtime win, and it's got all the elements of a great game.

BEST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 11: Kurt Warner has been putting up some sick numbers this year - Sunday he led the Cardinals to a win in Seattle, throwing for 395 yards on 32-44 passing. He had 1 touchdown and an interception. His receivers had great games, too - Larry Fitzgerald had 151 yards and Anquan Boldin had 186, but it all starts with Warner getting them the ball.

WORST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 11: I would say the Eagles in general, and maybe Donovan McNabb specifically. Sure, they didn't lose, so it could be worse, I guess, but a tie against the Bengals is pretty bad. McNabb's numbers were not good - three interceptions, and he was missing receivers all over the field as he threw 30 incompletions. The Eagles blew a chance to keep pace with other teams taking care of what they needed to do...and not to mention they messed things up for newspapers that had saved space in their sports pages by not printing the 'tie' column.

And then today it comes out that McNabb and a bunch of other Eagles didn't know that NFL games could end in ties. I hate when I know more about the rules of the game than the people who get paid to play the games.

BEST GAME IN WEEK 12: Since the Jets are now among the best in the league (at least for another week), my bias is going to start factoring in here - but no matter what, I think Jets-Titans is the best game in the coming week. There are other interesting ones - Dolphins-Patriots, Giants-Cardinals, Colts-Chargers - but I do think New York-Tennessee is the best.

BEST PERFORMANCE PREDICTED IN WEEK 12: Tony Romo kept it together in Washington Sunday night in his return, getting a win for Dallas against the Redskins. I think next week he regains stellar form - 303 yards passing, 2 TD - against the 49ers at home.
-Last Week: I was all wrong about the Philly defense. They didn't get a shutout (the 13-13 tie). They had 8 sacks, 0 interceptions, and a fumble recovered. I had called for at least 5 sacks, a 'couple of' turnovers, and one returned for a touchdown. One out of three there.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Despite the fears that have been ingrained in every Jets fan as the season winds down (like the teams that are headed for the playoffs only to have the season veer into high draft pick territory...1993 comes to mind) I have one eye firmly on the playoffs this year.

And as such, with a Sunday where I could devote much more of my attention to other teams around the league, since the Jets played on Thursday, I present to you my thoughts on who Jets fans need to worry about for the remainder of the season.

Tennessee: Their win today lifted them to 10-0 - so they will be undefeated when the Jets go to Tennessee next weekend. If Tennessee wins, there's no one the rest of the way who is too tough on their schedule- they might go undefeated the rest of the way. At the very least, they will lock up the number one seed in the AFC by beating the Jets. If the Jets go in there and beat Tennessee (and then take care of business in the rest of their fairly tough schedule - which is no given), I think they have a hold on the number two seed in the AFC. (Goes without saying even if the Titans lose to the Jets, they still have a pretty strong lock on the number one seed.)

Pittsburgh: Boy are they streaky. But by beating San Diego, unimpressive as they looked on offense, I think they present the biggest challenge to the bye week for the Jets (again - last time I'll say it - we're going under the assumption here that the Jets at least win 3 of their final 4 games at San Fran and Seattle and home versus Buffalo and Miami).

Denver: The Jets also have a game against Denver, which doesn't worry me as much as it did at the beginning of the year. I have a suspicion, not having had a look at other games that week, that this will be flexed to the Sunday night 8pm spot, so it'll be in the national spotlight. But I think regardless the AFC West winner is destined for the number four seed in the AFC.

Then there's the wild card:

There are 4 teams in the wild card hunt right now at 6-4 (could be five with Buffalo playing Monday night) - New England, Indianapolis, Miami, and Baltimore. I think one of those teams isn't even in contention for much longer, and since you can't bet against New England and Indy, it's between Miami and Baltimore. I think Miami hangs around this year, and Baltimore fades. So watch those three teams (but don't sleep on the Ravens yet).

There are also the Jaguars and the Chargers at 4-6 - one of them will likely be a non-factor in the next couple of weeks, and one will give the teams at 6-4 a bit of a run. I'm not sure which one, since they've both been such underachievers. But I'm sure they'll put up a fight.

I know it sounds like I'm talking big with the Jets only having a one-game lead over everyone else in the division, and this could all change in a week. Believe me - I'm a Jets fan - I know how fragile this is. But that's the whole point here - we need to account for every possible scenario to make sure the Jets don't fall out of contention. And as noted above, there are quite a few teams to watch every Sunday whose outcomes will affect the Jets. On Sunday, the Jets only picked up a game on the Ravens as teams with winning records all kept up the pace.

And next Sunday, the Patriots play the Dolphins. If the Jets lose to Tennessee, one of those teams will be back in a tie for first place in the division.

It's enough to give me a weekly headache.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I certainly feel this season is one of the Jets' best chances since 1998 to get back to an AFC Championship Game (and dare I even say it - possibly get to the Super Bowl). But I have some worries about this team. Some are big, some are small, and most involve key positions.

Not the least of which is the Jets' starting running back - Thomas Jones.

Don't get me wrong - Thomas Jones is having a very good season. To this point - 854 yards on 190 carries, good for 4.5 yards a carry, and 9 touchdowns rushing - a far cry from what he did last year (1 rushing touchdown, and a full yard less per carry).

But I'm somewhat worries those numbers are a bit stacked - 159 yards versus Oakland, 149 versus St. Louis. He topped 100 at New England Thursday night, but couldn't get a yard when it counted - and that's what bothers me.

In the first game against New England (week 2), it was Thomas Jones who couldn't get the ball in on multiple tries from the one. And then when the Jets were going way too conservative in the second half of the second game (this week), it was Thomas Jones who found nowhere to go, resulting in that strategy being a tremendous failure.

I know that he isn't entirely to blame - I know the offensive line plays a major role in his success, and I know the other team's defense could be given some credit - but I'm still putting a lot of the blame on Jones.

Sometimes it seems like he abandons the play too early, and looks for an escape around the end, only to find a dead end. Sometimes he runs right into the line and gets swallowed up. It seems like that happens way too much, especially at the end of the important games.

I don't know what to make of it. I will say that I'm encouraged by the fact that he has put together two strong games in a row for the first time all season - and he's gone four straight with a touchdown - no small feat.

It's something I'm watching - because the Jets need a back that they can go to when they need to ice a game and run out the clock. And it's not Leon Washington - he's either feast or famine, and the feast comes very rarely, with way too much famine. (Though when the feast comes, it's pretty exciting.) So the Jets need Thomas Jones to succeed. And I watch him closely because that's something that concerns me.

Friday, November 14, 2008


The second-half Jets nearly ruined my night.

The first-half Jets were awesome. They were driving the ball up and down the field, scoring seemingly at will, making it look like another easy win. The first-half Jets were the full-game Jets from the St. Louis game - and the way they were playing, 47 points didn't necessarily look out of the question.

But then the second-half Jets showed up.

And they came early - allowing the Patriots to get on the board one more time before the half - just like the Tom Brady Patriots did so well - keeping a cold crowd in the stadium and in the game - changing the minds, I'm sure, of those who were about to leave at halftime to beat the traffic, giving them hope that the second half might be more of a game.

The second-half Jets made sure that was the case.

They lost all aggressiveness on offense. Not the Brett Favre type of aggressiveness that results in turnovers, but the aggressiveness where you say, "I'm going to go out and score on you", and then you go and score on the other team. That was the first-half Jets' attitude, and it worked well. The second-half Jets, taking a page out of the Herman Edwards playbook, sat on the ball, didn't go for the jugular, and nearly paid the price.

After the Patriots tied it, the first-half Jets showed up again, drove down the field, and took the lead again. But they left too much time on the clock, and the second-half defense still was on the field, allowing the Patriots to score with a second left. That defense gave up way too many yards in way too short an amount of time, and it's probably a good thing the Jets won the overtime coin toss.

Because by that point, the first-half Jets offense was back. The defense was not.

The Jets are all alone in first place in the AFC East because of what they did in the first half Thursday night. The first half of that game showed the Jets can hang with anyone come the post-season. The second half showed their playoff stay could be short-lived.

If the first-half Jets stick around for the second half of this season, they'll have themselves a first-round bye come January. And maybe even a berth in the Super Bowl.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Far be it (that should be one word - 'farbeit', like nevertheless) from me to declare the Jets-Patriots game over. Sure, it looks good at halftime (looked better a minute before the half...and looks even better a minute into the second half), but I'm not going to address that right now.

I want to quickly comment on the baseball moves today, because at midnight the free-agent frenzy begins, and the moves happening already affect the Mets.

First of all, I wish the Mets had been a factor in the Matt Holliday talks. But maybe they're biding their time there - Holliday's a free agent next year, and maybe the A's flip him mid-year. Maybe the Mets get involved then.

Secondly, I feel like the Yankees stole Nick Swisher. I'm not sure he's the missing piece for them, but I feel like they didn't give up much in Wilson Betemit. I bring that up not so much because it's an earth-shattering deal, but more because there's a lot happening - I'm sure the Mets are going to be involved in some moves pretty soon.

The one that affects the Mets most is the Kevin Gregg to the Cubs deal. First of all, it involves the Marlins. And from what I heard (a brief hear, but I heard it), the Marlins got themselves a good Cubs pitching prospect in return. But more than that, the acquisition of Gregg means the Cubs won't be bringing back Kerry Wood.

And I think he might be a good fit with the Mets.

The Mets need a closer. I've talked about this before, but whoever they get will most likely be disappointing - that's just been a tough position for them to fill lately. They're not going to get a 2008 Brad Lidge-Phillies type of year from anyone, I'm afraid. But they might as well take a shot at Wood. If I'm negotiating for the Mets, I'm trying to get him a bit cheaper because of his injury history. And no matter what, he'll probably turn out to be a bigger bargain than the likes of Francisco Rodriguez.

In the coming weeks, I'll lay out my off-season wish list for the Mets. But right now, I think I'm filling that closer position with "Kerry Wood". If he doesn't fit the bill talent-wise for the Mets, he's almost a lock to fit the bill in the disappointment department.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I've never hated the Mannings. I know a lot of people are bothered by them, sick of them, feel they are overexposed. I don't mind them - I find them quite likeable. I'm not crazy about Eli's forcing the Chargers' hand in the draft, and I love when the Jets beat either Manning, but on any other week, I often find myself rooting for them.

I also enjoy their commercials.
For some reason, I can't find any video to put on here, but this year's overexposure of the Mannings comes in the form of DirecTV ads for the Sunday Ticket. The premise of the commercial is "DFS" - Displaced Fan Syndrome - the people who need Sunday Ticket the most are people who are living outside of the city of the team they root for. Archie Manning tells us he first got DFS when Peyton went to play in Indy, then again with Eli in New York (not like he didn't contract that bit of DFS on his own, but that's another story for another day).

But I can relate. Because I have DFS.

Had it since 1996, since every football season was mostly spent in Boston while I was in college. Lots of time spent breaking down the NFL schedule, figuring out when the Jets were not playing the same time as the Patriots, so I could figure out the Sundays they would be on free TV.

It was always a waste when, like this Thursday, the Jets played the Patriots in a nationally televised game. I always wanted a Jets-Dolphins or some such game on Monday night, because I'd be able to see a Jets-Patriots game on CBS at 1pm on Sunday, and basically it was one less Sunday game I could watch.

But I digress. For four seasons now, I've found the cure to DFS, and I'm glad the Mannings finally put a label on my suffering. Say what you will about DirecTV - its limitations during rainstorms, its not-so-great customer service (so I've heard) - but I've had nothing but good experiences.

And it saves me a ton of money not having to find a bar with every game every Sunday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Obviously, the best game of the week for me was the Jets picking apart the St. Louis Rams, 47-3. But I'm biased. So we'll take most of that game out of the equation. Here's the recap from Week 10, which ended last night with Arizona beating an inept San Francisco - from what I saw of the highlights at the end of the game, San Francisco managed the clock worse than Herman Edwards with the Jets:

BEST GAME OF WEEK 10: There were a lot of close games, some of which shouldn't have been close. (Incidentally, I picked these games all wrong - I though the Jaguars would barely get by the Lions, and the Chargers would take out their underachieving aggression on the Chiefs. Obviously, I had those reversed.) I guess the best games were Giants-Eagles, though some controversy marred that one (I didn't see the end - just the highlights - was that a Brandon Jacobs touchdown or not?), and the Packers-Vikings came down to a last-second field goal, but that game never grabbed my interest.

BEST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 10: The Jets can't be ignored here - but specifically, Thomas Jones is having a very good year, and he set the tone on Sunday for the Jets against the Rams. He had 149 yards and 3 touchdowns.

WORST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 10: The Panthers won in Oakland despite an awful outing by Jake Delhomme. The QB threw 4 interceptions, was just 7-for-27 overall, and had just 72 yards (one touchdown).

BEST GAME IN WEEK 11: Look no further than Thursday night's Jets-Patriots matchup. Althought another highlight of Week 11 is no more bye weeks - a full slate on Thursday through Monday.

BEST PERFORMANCE PREDICTED IN WEEK 11: I'm going with the Philadelphia defense against Cincinnati. At least 5 sacks, a couple of turnovers, one returned for a touchdown, and quite possibly a shutout.
-Last Week: I said Ronnie Brown would go for 110 yards and a touchdown as Miami beats Seattle 33-14. Brown had a touchdown, and Miami won, but I wasn't very close. It was a 21-19 win, and Brown had just 39 rushing yards (I was closer to Ricky Williams' numbers).

Sunday, November 09, 2008


I'm getting my butt kicked in fantasy football today, but the real football is making the fantasy football take a back seat.

By the end of Thursday night the Jets could have first place in the AFC East to themselves.

The Bills have taken two back-to-back hits in the division - I have a feeling it's the Dolphins who are going to be the third horse in the party, and the Bills are no longer a worry. And the Jets have their home games remaining against Buffalo and Miami.

But Thursday night it's the Patriots - and the Jets are coming off a huge confidence-builder, crushing the Rams today, 47-3.

This was your textbook "trap" game - the Jets could have been caught looking ahead to Thursday's matchup with New England and laid an egg against a lesser St. Louis team. But they didn't.

And here are the positives heading into the Patriots game on Thursday night:

1) It hasn't been great owning him in a fantasy league, but Brett Favre has played two solid real (read: not fantasy) football games in a row. He's kept mistakes to a minimum and been a big reason why the Jets have beaten the Bills and Rams.

2) The defense has been playing better and better. The fact that they are scoring on returns for touchdowns has been icing on the cake - they have been suffocating lately.

3) The last time the Jets played New England they hung with the Patriots, but they let Matt Cassel beat them. Part of that, I think, is that they didn't know what to expect. Now there's lots of film on Cassel and the Jets can be better prepared for him.

4) For the first time in five or so years it seems like the Jets are ready to take a situation they are in by the horns - and know that doing it in Foxboro will send a message.

The message comes on Thursday night - and the end result will tell whether the Jets will be playing in January as a division champion or a wild card....or not at all.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Yesterday's 'breaking' Gary Carter news put this off a day, so I apologize for that. But here's a look at the Jets' schedule the rest of the way, at the halfway point of the season:

Week 10: vs. St. Louis (2-6)
Week 11: at New England (5-3)
Week 12: at Tennessee (8-0)
Week 13: vs. Denver (5-4)
Week 14: at San Francisco (2-6)
Week 15: vs. Buffalo (5-3)
Week 16: at Seattle (2-6)
Week 17: vs. Miami (4-4)

It should be an easy schedule - those teams are a combined 33-32 - not tremendously intimidating. But taken one-by-one - the Jets have a tough road to go.

The 3 NFC West games remaining are all against teams that are 2-6 - but St. Louis has been playing well, and will give the Jets a run for their money on Sunday (though without Steven Jackson the Jets will probably win). The other two games are very winnable - but they come with 2 west coast trips in three weeks, with a tough game against Buffalo in between. So that's not great timing.

Of course, there are three division games left, with a tough one at New England starting it off on Thursday night. The plus side is that the Buffalo and Miami games are home games - but all three are games that could go either way. The Jets had better hope they have some kind of playoff berth wrapped up by the final game of the season - I don't like the idea of Miami coming to town in the last week led by Chad Pennington, looking to bump the Jets out of a playoff situation.

Then there are the final two AFC games against non-division opponents. There's the Titans, who will be 8-2 at worst, 10-0 at best, when the Jets play them in two weeks. And the Broncos, who showed Thursday night just how dangerous they could be - even if they go into the fourth quarter trailing.

All of the teams the Jets have left to play have given them fits in the past. So as much as you might read about a 'favorable' Jets schedule the rest of the way (SportsIllustrated mentioned it in this week's issue) - I beg to differ. And this comes from someone who's usually overly optimistic.

Friday, November 07, 2008


When I turned 16, my mom sent a letter to the Florida Marlins, addressed to then-broadcaster Gary Carter. I don't know what the letter said, but I do know that a couple of months after my birthday, I received an autographed picture of Gary Carter in the mail. You can see that to the left.

That was the closest I've ever come to meeting Gary Carter. (He wrote, "Dear John".)

I had another opportunity - in 2006, Carter was among the 1986 Mets who were scheduled to greet fans the day tickets went on sale at Shea Stadium. It was a cold and wet morning in January or February, and I was in New York that morning, but I didn't go. I used the weather as an excuse, but it came down to the fact that I wasn't ready to meet my boyhood hero. I think I was afraid he wouldn't live up to my expectations.

Well, today, what amounts to breaking news on this site happened while I was at school (thanks to Justin in NYC and Steve in NYC for separately letting me know this): Gary Carter will be named the new coach of the Long Island Ducks.

They're an independent league team, like Carter's last minor league managing job, best known for signing some washed-up major leaguers for one last chance at being picked up by a major league team (most recently the likes of Carlos Baerga and Jose Offerman).

Instead of joy at the fact that Carter is moving closer to New York and maybe something back with the Mets, I was instantly nervous at the news.

What if, on my trips back to New York, I run into Carter on the street? What if we just bump into one another somewhere? What would I do? Would he be nice? Would he remember that he sent me an autographed picture 14 years ago? Where would it happen? Would I be dressed OK? Would I have a camera?

It didn't even occur to me that I could possibly meet him on my own terms, at a Ducks game, until Justin texted me a second time telling me that if I wanted to go to a game he'd go with me. I wasn't even thinking rationally about the situation. Of course I could go to a game. Heck, my first thought when he signed with the Orange County Flyers was, "I wonder if I could go to a game and meet him?" But the immediacy of the Ducks (of course I could go to a game - and possibly meet him) has me all screwed up. I'm not sure I even want to meet him. I just want the image of him catching for the Mets in the 1980's in my head forever. Perhaps meeting him might ruin that.

Anyway, this is exciting stuff. Guaranteed the Ducks are good this year - Gary Carter's minor league managerial success has been well-chronicled here. But it seems to me like Carter is making his move towards the Mets - he couldn't manage the Mets, so he's going to the next best thing.

A baseball team located physically on Long Island? That applies to both the Mets and the Ducks.
On Monday Carter will be introduced at Citibank Park, home of the Ducks. Of course, next season, the Mets move into Citi Field.

Coincidence? Probably not. Probably well-calculated. I bet this is the last minor move Carter makes for a while. He's back in New York, he'll start getting some time we hear his name in regards to managing, I bet it's because a major league team has hired him.

I think I hope I get to meet him before he makes that move.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


With the season half-over (more so now, I guess, that the Denver-Cleveland game is well underway), I'm breaking out the baseball season analysis tools to break down the mid-year point of the NFL season. And the Jets.

MOST IMPRESSIVE: I think the Jets secondary deserves this nod - the likes of Kerry Rhodes and Darrelle Revis have been playing very well. The Jets aren't getting beat long - it's the short stuff that turns into big plays that ends up getting them. And the secondary has pulled down its share of interceptions.

MOST SURPRISING: Maybe the fact that the Jets have a legit shot at winning the division. And in Week 9 and 10 it's in their hands. A win against the Rams sets them up for a shot at taking over first place by themselves the week they play New England. Not sure even in my best-case-scenario that I saw that coming.

LEAST IMPRESSIVE: I'm not sure this is least impressive or most frustrating, but it's the tackling on defense. This seems to plague the Jets year after year (and truth be told, it's other teams too that I see week in and week out where the tackling is poor), but with the Jets it seems worse. It seems like the game-changing plays could be stopped if someone could just wrap up the opposing player.

MOST DISAPPOINTING: Definitely the offensive line. The reason the Jets no longer have Chad Pennington is because they couldn't protect him and he nearly died playing quarterback for the New York Jets. Brett Favre is the QB now, and the only difference is he's more durable. He's taken the same amount of hits, if not more, and is getting very little protection. You would have hoped the line would gel by now - that doesn't seem to have happened.

MOST IMPRESSIVE: The New York Giants, easily. Yes, they're Super Bowl champs, but did anyone think they'd come out of the gates at 7-1? I picked them for the post-season, so I'm not shocked they're holding their own in the division, I'm just shocked at how well they've been doing that.

MOST SURPRISING: The most surprising teams are the Tennessee Titans and the Atlanta Falcons. Neither team, the Falcons mostly, did I expect to be in any sort of playoff run, let alone have the Titans be 8-0 and the Falcons a game off the pace in their division. That NFC South is pretty wild from year to year - I love how the last place team nearly always finishes in first place the next year. That's reason enough to root for continued success for the Falcons.

LEAST IMPRESSIVE: The obvious answers are the winless Lions, at 0-8, and the 1-8 Bengals. Or the injury-riddled Colts or Seahawks. But the winner is a team that hasn't dealt with much of that and is still struggling in a year where it's there's for the taking - the San Diego Chargers. And that's why that Jets loss to them looks worse and worse every week.

MOST DISAPPOINTING: A lot of people will probably tell you the Cleveland Browns are the biggest disappointment, but I wasn't buying into them this year. Were you? Though (obviously, since this is a mid-season update) we're only halfway through, the 3-5 posted by the Jacksonville Jaguars has to be the most disappointing thing about the NFL so far. The way they ended last year was so promising - I thought they were a lock for a playoff spot. The fact that the Jets are two games better than them is surprising to me.

COMING UP: Before the games get underway on Sunday I'll preview the Jets' second half.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Tired of people telling you to make sure you vote today? Want someplace that won't try to convince you to vote? Well, you've found it. First of all, it's late, the polls are closed. So it wouldn't do any good if I said anything anyway. But second of all, I suspect that if you were going to vote, you were going to vote, and my say-so wouldn't matter much to you. I'm all for democracy, but come on. Why would you listen to me? And I now step off my soapbox to present you with the Week 9 recap:

BEST GAME OF WEEK 9: Was there one? There were a lot of tight games, but nothing tremendously exciting. I guess Pats-Colts was OK, but I would give the nod to the Titans-Packers game. Though it wasn't an edge-of-your-seat type game (and full disclosure, I spent most of Sunday watching the Jets-Bills, and little of everything else), it did go to overtime in a high-stakes situation (Tennessee stayed undefeated). So that's good enough.

BEST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 9: How about Byron Leftwich off the bench for Pittsburgh? The Steelers were going to win the game anyway, the way their defense played Monday night, but Leftwich certainly gave them a lift. How, too, about the fact that the Steelers might actually get better (they certainly don't drop off too far) when their starting quarterback goes down? The Cowboys must be jealous.

WORST PERFORMANCE OF WEEK 9: The Cowboys, and Brad Johnson, and the Cowboys. The Giants are good - there's no denying that in any form. But the Cowboys are on the verge of an absolute disaster right now. For the Giants to win by 21 - that's an embarrassment to Dallas.

BEST GAME IN WEEK 10: There's Giants-Eagles (a second consecutive NFC East matchup for the Giants), and Indy-Pittsburgh (a chance for the Colts to prove last week against New England wasn't a fluke). But the second-consecutive AFC East test for the Bills against the Patriots is probably the game to watch. The Jets will be playing the Rams while one of those two teams knocks the other out of first. That's got to be the game to watch.

BEST PERFORMANCE PREDICTED IN WEEK 10: I bet Miami handles Seattle pretty easily. Let's say Miami 33, Seahawks 14. And I'll take it a step further and say Ronnie Brown 110 yards, 1 TD.
-LAST WEEK: I called for Michael Turner to have 153 yards and 2 TD's against Oakland. He had 139, 0 TD. Not bad. But I've been way off on touchdowns in these predictions.

Monday, November 03, 2008


It's November. There was frost on my car this morning when I got up to go to work. A lot of frost. It was dark at 4:45pm.

But I don't care about any of that.

Why? I hear you ask.

Because we're halfway through the NFL season. Things are starting to develop.

Thursday night games start this week and take us right through the end of the season.

And the Jets are in a 3-way tie for first place in the AFC East with full control over their destiny.

That ensures that the next two months will zip by.

And as much as I wrote yesterday about the Jets having shot themselves in the foot by losing to San Diego and Oakland, thanks to the way things have shaken out elsewhere, they're actually sitting very pretty - even when you look at the wild card.

Sunday brings the Rams...then a Thursday nighter against the Patriots.

It may be November cold, but things are just warming up with the Jets.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


If the Jets win today, they'll live to have another 'biggest game of the year'. If they lose, they'll play out the string of a meaningless season. And they have no one to blame but themselves.

Had the Jets beaten the Chargers, as most other good teams seem to be doing, or the Raiders, as everyone else is doing, they wouldn't be in such dire straits today. But they lost both of those games, leaving themselves no leeway in this division game.

The Jets will have no shot at winning a wild card spot when it comes to tiebreakers - as it most likely will, the way the AFC is shaping up. (Although, if they lose on Sunday, I'll undoubtedly start figuring out the scenarios they need to survive.) So it's all about the division, and with a loss already to the Patriots, the Jets need to beat the Bills twice (and later, the Patriots and Dolphins another time each).

They're also looking for help tonight. Hopefully a few hours after the Jets beat the Bills, the undermanned Colts can beat the undermanned Pats, and create a 3-way tie atop the AFC East at 5-3.

And then it'll be a whole new season, halfway through.

Or the end of the season. With half a season left.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


A bunch of different topics on my mind today, all revolving around the Phillies' World Series championship and the Mets' off-season:

1) Jimmy Rollins has about as much class as the Phillies fans. During the parade celebration, he took a shot at the Mets, saying Johan Santana is a good pitcher...but it takes more than one player to win a championship - it takes a team. Of course, he got the rise out of the crowd he wanted - they booed at the mention of the Mets and Santana. Rollins is a showman and a pot-stirrer, and he does these things in a mostly good-natured way (he was smirking as he said these things, knowing what the reaction would be)...but the Mets had better not be laughing about it. And come Wednesday, May 6, 2009, when Jimmy Rollins leads off for the Phillies at Citi Field, whoever is pitching had better give him something high and tight. And I hope he charges the mound. Because it's about time the Mets started playing with some kind of fire - and had other teams hate them for a reason other than their showboating with nothing to show for it. By the way, nothing Rollins said was wrong - I just don't like the forum he chose to take a shot at his division rival.

2) That said, if I'm Jerry Manuel, I'm playing that tape of Jimmy Rollins at the parade before every game next season. Because to me, that means that the Mets are ensconsed in the heads of the Phillies. They're at the pinnacle of thier sport, and what's one of the things on their mind? The Mets. That's good news for me as a Mets fan. To me, it means in the back of their minds, the Phillies know that the Mets are still their biggest competition, and maybe, but for other circumstances, it could be them having the parade.

3) The Mets exercised their 2009 option (for $12 million) on Carlos Delgado. I don't know. I just don't feel like when the Mets are celebrating their World Series win it will be with Delgado at first base. That's just my gut feeling.

4) I also don't feel like it will be with Jose Reyes at shortstop. I was going to save this...and maybe I'll get into it in a little more depth later this week. But I'll plant the seed here. The Mets need to do a lot of work to re-build there team, without starting from scratch - there are too many holes. They have some young infielders that they can use to fill in the gap losing Reyes would create. But Reyes is a divisive figure in the division, and he disappears when the Mets need him most. So I think he's expendable. (I know David Wright hasn't done much more to bring them a championship, but when looking at this situation, Wright is the better clubhouse influence.) So I say trade Reyes for some pitching - both starting and relieving. A lot can be had if the right deal is made. And the Mets should make it. More to come on that as the season goes on.