Jets at Redskins: Mike Makes a Hajj

Posted: December 2, 2011 by mzyohai in Jets, NFL, Prediction
Tags: , , , , , ,

Nick: Well, well, well. The Jets managed to pull a victory out of their ass against the struggling Bills.  Congratulations!

Mike: At least we didn’t lose to the Bills.

Nick: At least we didn’t lose to the Jets. As a reward for the Jets, they get the privilege of waltzing into Washington to take on Rex Grossman and the Redskins.

Mike: Is there a “Door #2” we can pick or something? How about another bye-week?

Nick: Don’t compare me to Bob Barker or Drew Carey ever again. As recently as two weeks ago, a trip to D.C. would have been an extremely exciting proposition; the ‘Skins (no, not that weird show with enough pre-teen nudity and drug use to get any ex-con excited) had lost five straight without making much of a contest of any of those games, thanks to Mike Shanahan’s decision to choose his starting running back and quarterback with a coin flip. The team had no continuity.

Mike: Are you suggesting that Mike Shanahan isn’t as great a coach without John Elway as his quarterback? I don’t believe it.

Nick: Something about that name. It’s like “Mike” dooms the bearer of the name to utter incompetence.

But the curse of name-based inadequacy was broken when Dallas came to town. The divisional rival seems to have woken up their sleeping coach to make football decisions based on things like “strategy,” “numbers,” and “performance.” They had a chance to take down the Cowboys, but couldn’t close the deal after forcing overtime on a Rex Grossman touchdown pass with 14 seconds left. Last week, Grossman led another comeback, this time marching the ‘Skins offense to 16 fourth-quarter points on the road for a win over the Seattle Seahawks.

The ESPN game recap dubbed Grossman “brilliant early” and “great again late” (overall: 26-35, 314 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 96.6 passer rating). Can he even dream of getting such a ridiculously misplaced compliment again this week from some hack ESPN recap writer? Or will Sexy Rexy realize that he can’t do anything when there are competent defenders trying to tackle him, as opposed to cardboard cutouts that rank 20th in pass defense and happen to wear Seahawks jerseys?

Mike: I have to admit that I reread your last sentence at least 15 times before I realized that “Sexy Rexy” wasn’t Rex Ryan.

Nick: It’s hard to decide which Rex is truly sexier, I know.

Mike: With that wonderful win over the Eagle-trouncing Seahawks, ESPN’s power rankings have the Redskins sitting pretty at 23. Up from 26. They might have shown some signs of life recently, but this Redskins team has not had a pretty season by any means… they’re still on vegetable status as far as I’m concerned.

I wish there was more to this Redskins revival, but stepping up to the challenge of divisional foe that is expert in every form of shooting themselves in the foot only to lose is hardly a cause for celebration. And the Seahawks would struggle in the CFL… except if the Giants and Eagles played in the CFL.

Nick: But could Sanchez beat these new CFL expansion teams?

Mike: I don’t’ think I even want to hear my honest opinion on that. I’m just hoping that the coming stretch of teams with QB issues (their marital status is “it’s complicated” on Facebook) won’t make Sanchez think he can play as poorly as his opponents. Of course, even if he does, he might still have the opportunity to look more competent than the other quarterback on the field. I’m excited that Sanchez tossed 4 touchdowns last week, but he easily could have tossed 4 interceptions. I love going to games when the Jets win, but having my balls in my throat half of that time almost took all the enjoyment out of the experience.

Nick: You must have some saggy balls to have them in your own throat. Impressive, sir.

The real question, as always with me, is how Sanchez holds up against the ‘Skins 10th ranked pass defense. Despite his 4 TDs, Sanchez couldn’t complete even half his passes (taking after Tebow!) in throwing for a paltry 180 yards. At least Sanchez will be on the road where his own fans won’t hurt his feelings by booing him pre-game, forcing his teammates to jump to his defense.

Mike: Just remember one thing: I’m going to this game. If Sanchez doesn’t perform up to my expectations, I’ll have to heckle loud enough for Jim Leonhard to be beside himself. Sanchez probably won’t have 4 TD completions again this week, but he also is likely to actually accumulate yardage this week. I’d like to see him try out some longer tosses. Plaxico Burress is too good of a receiver not to hit him for at least one +20-yard reception per game.

Nick: I didn’t know filmmakers were doing the Jewish remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington this week.

Don’t forget that Brian Orakpo is a force opposite Ryan Kerrigan on the pass rush, and despite DeAngelo Hall’s insistence that he should be cut, he’s still a solid cornerback. With defense like that, should we expect another 28-point outburst like last week, or will the Jets offense return to its 13- and 16-point performances in its two games against the Broncos and Patriots?

Mike: At 33 sacks this year, the ‘Skins defensive line is certainly doing its job to screw with quarterbacks. And Hall was named the NFC’s defensive player of the week. So I think the Jets offense will have their work cut out for them, even if this is one of the easier games on their schedule.

The key for a Jets victory will be Jeremy Kerley. His return will give the Jets an added weapon on special teams and on offense (I think he’s even played a few snaps on defense). Kerley has caught 17 of 19 targets and has dropped none. He averages close to 10 yards on punt returns… which is much better than dropping the ball. Kerley is a superior slot receiver to Patrick Turner.

LT is also back this week for the Jets, which isn’t so much a factor in terms of producing major yards (he has fewer than 200 on the year), but will be a major relief for the hurting Shonn Greene. My seats were over 100 feet away from the action on the field last Sunday, but Greene’s pain was obvious. Having LT back as the 3rd-down RB will take the burden off of Shonn Greene and take Bilal Powell and John Conner out of the equation. Although, I loved the Santonio Holmes carries last week. Two carries for 28 yards – point and drop it, ‘Tone.

Nick: Well, we’ve gotten this far into the Jets preview and you haven’t mentioned “Revis Christ.” Do I sense a newfound doubt in the Jets’ defensive prowess? Is there a seed of fear that Mike Shanahan might turn Grossman into Elway this week?

Mike: The best hope the Jets have are that Shanahan’s decision to actually coach well is also based on a coin flip. My theory is that he coached with some competence because the coin toss happened to land on “heads.” So if the coaching coin determines that Shanahan should display an ounce of intelligence this weekend, he shouldn’t shy away from the run despite their horrendous year thus far. The Jets pass defense took one on the chin in Week 12, but it isn’t wise to test the Jets secondary. Remember that the “terrible week” that many sports writers are bemoaning is mostly due to Revis’ performance, allowing 75 yards and a TD (ask Nnamdi Asomugha if he would like that stat line… after last week, I’m sure Antonio Cromartie would like that stat line too). Also, DT Mike DeVito is out this week for the Jets, which might be a big opportunity for the Redskins to run the ball and control the clock.

Nick: So you think all this back-and-forth with Shanahan flip-flopping on QB choice is all bogus?

Mike: The Redskins won last week’s game with their running game, which was all but nonexistent for the last 11 Weeks. The ‘Skins are ranked 31st in rushing yards, averaging only 86 yards per game for a grand total of 950 yards this season. A lot of analysts are dropping loads on their interns’ faces because rookie RB Roy Helu ran for 108 yards. “The Washington running game is back! Jesus returns tomorrow!” Yeah, except for the fact that Marshawn Lynch dropped 111 in the same game. Does that mean the Seahawks are taking the NFC West?

Yet again, the Seahawks somehow have a better rushing defense than the Jets…

Nick: Oh man, if you’re already comparing the Jets to the Seahawks, I can’t wait for the level of depression you’re going to hit when the Jets don’t make the postseason!

Mike: More likely I’ll compare the Jets to the Chargers, because their special teams dominance has completely disappeared. During last week’s game, after the Stevie Johnson taunting penalty, I saw the Jets’ special teams making it pretty obvious that they were not ready for a trick play. Most of the players already had their backs turned by the time the Bills’ kicker finished lining up his kick. Lo and behold, they squibbed it and almost got the ball back. Do you think the Jets special teams unit can turn it around this week, or should Washington go after them and produce some short field opportunities?

Nick: I think the Jets probably learned their lesson from the newest special teams fad – the surprise squib or onside kick. As much as I make fun of Rex Ryan for being a waste of a human embryo, I do think he is a competent-to-good coach who won’t let his team make the same mistake twice. Along the same vein, I don’t think Mike Shanahan is all there upstairs to take advantage of any Jets special teams miscues anyhow. You should be all set on special teams.

Mike: Do I know you? Did you just compliment Rex Ryan? Are we in a Hallmark made-for-TV movie?

Nick: It must be the Christmas season. (Not the “holiday season,” you blaspheming Jew.) I don’t think the offense is going to go for another 4 touchdowns, certainly not on the arm of Mark Sanchez, but I still think they’ll do well enough to win behind Shonn Greene and the ground game. Mainly because Rex Grossman doesn’t have any leftover pixie dust to deploy against Revis and the Jets D. Final score: Jets 20, Redskins 16

Mike: The Jets are rolling into D.C. with back-up this week: me. Final Score: Jets 24, Redskins 10


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