Elster's World

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm A Believer

Call me a cynical Jet fan. Call me a victim of too many Get Your Hopes Up Only To Have Them Crushed By The Same Old Jets. But despite the four victories in a row after a bad loss to the Raiders and despite the big (if not flawed) win against the Pats in New England last week, I still was not ready to believe the 2008 New York Jets were a very good football team.

I expected a tough, hard fought game against the Titans in Tennessee today, a game the Jets were going to lose something like 17-13, and my thought process was "Geez I hope Favre doesn't get too beat up on Sunday". In other words, I didn't believe.

But after the 34-13 pasting of the Titans, I admit I'm becoming a true believer. I believe that Alan Faneca and Damien Woody were the right offseason moves - not only stabilizing the offensive line but slowly forming it into one of the better lines in the league (slowly as in - this is an ongoing process). I believe the trade for Kris Jenkins has turned the Jets into one of the better run stuffing teams in the league. I believe that Thomas Jones is actually a good, tough runner when he has stronger blockers like Tony Richardson leading the way. I even believe that Ty Law has helped solidify the secondary. I continue to believe that Revis is a true shutdown corner.

All in all, I am starting to really believe in the New York Jets. The team has been up to the challenge in their two biggest games (back to back no less) in the season - a credit to both their own unity as well as their coaching staff. Brett Favre, after many early season struggles, is looking more comfortable in the system and, in turn, is making alot more smart throws than dumb throws.

The Jets ripped off 192 yards on the ground against one of the best rushing defenses in the league, owning the clock in the first half but making me very nervous with the number of points they let slip away in the first half (the drive that failed at the 2.5 yard line and the Leon Washington fumble to be exact). Despite the 10-3 lead, I was not feeling particularly good if only because the Jets played too well to only be up 7 at the half. Like Simms said, when 2 good teams play each other, usually they each will go on a run at some point in the game. But the Titans had some really bad miscues and the Jets jumped all over them and that was all she wrote. Even Mangini managed a post game smile as he walked over to Coach Fisher. Nice bounce back game for Coles. And it would be a shame to not mention the inspired play of Eric Barton since Harris went down with the groin.

Now the coach must keep the troops focused for a game against Denver next week - good passing teams exploit the Jets worst quality, their pass defense.

But I think he will - since I've become a believer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Super Bowl Thursday

Really, there is no other way to describe it. Tomorrow night's tilt against the Patriots in the dreaded land of Foxboro, is the Jets regular season Super Bowl. Sure, beating the undefeated Titans will be a nice feather in the cap. Sure finishing the season 2-0 against the Bills and hated Dolphins will be awesome. But beating the Patriots on Thursday is actually a so-called "must win" for the jets for several reasons:

- It will plant them solely in first place in the East - a pretty swell place to be with 10 down as 6 to go. The Jets will then be in the driver's seat to get first place in the East and secure a possible bye and home playoff game (yes I know I'm getting way ahead of myself but hey the jets are 6-3 for pete's sakes). It will put destiny pretty much in their own hands in terms of winning their games will take care of their playoff positioning.

- It will make next week's probably loss to the Titans less painful. If the Jets lose next week and sit at 7-4, big whoop. But suddenly adrift at 6-5? Not so good. The Titans first loss is going to come against a bad team that "shocks" the Titans, not a possible playoff matchup. So if the Jets lose this week, they are staring at a 2 game losing streak in my book. (Hopefully Joe will be showing me these last two sentences when the Jets are jumping around the field 2 Sundays from now and point out what an idiot I am.)

- It's a tremendous statement game. It says - "we can walk into Foxboro, stare down the team that pretty much owns us, and win that game with no fear." A loss has just the opposite effect - it shows the Jets aren't ready for the big time - will struggle to earn a wild card spot, and will get crushed on the road in the first round by Pittsburgh or Indy.

- The Pats are ripe for a loss. No Brady. No Adalius Thomas. No running game to speak of. The Jets don't really have any significant injuries and are firing on all cylinders. If the Jets can't win it with this kind of mismatch, what kind of chance will they have next season when the pats have re-tooled?

- If the Jets can run with Thomas Jones, Favre can exploit their bad secondary. The Jets are running now as well as they have in a long time. The Pats have a great front 7 (though diminished by injuriy to Thomas), but if the Jets line can create room for Jones, that will open things up for the passing game.

So there it is - a Super Bowl type setting in the regular season.

I will not be making a prediction on the game.