Jets looking to slay two-headed Monster

November 27, 2009

DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart will be tough to contain

The Jets, losers of 6 of their last 7, still have a lot to play for, and no I’m not talking about the playoffs.  With six games remaining, Gang Green may be on life support when it comes to their playoff chances, but they have a rookie QB who has some things to prove. 

Mark Sanchez became the first rookie Quarterback to win their first three games.  He was the talk of the town even before that, showing up at all the New York City hot spots, and doing a GQ spread before he ever did anything in the NFL.  Sanchez was anointed the second-coming of Joe Namath before even taking a snap. 

Fast forward to last week, when Dirty was turning the ball over five times in a loss to the Patriots, and he’s still being talked about, only in a bad way.  Nonetheless, Coach Rex Ryan is keeping Mark Sanchez as the starter even after he threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in a 31-14 loss to New England. In fact, during the Jets’ current 1-6 slump, Sanchez has thrown six touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.

Rex has promised to be more hands-on with Sanchez

“I just think that he’s not going to get better unless he gets out and plays,” Ryan said. “It’s clearly not just Mark’s fault. There’s a reason he was named the starter, that I thought he gave us the best opportunity to win, and I still feel that.”

Ryan has promised that he will become more involved in other areas after leaving the offense exclusively to coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and special teams to Mike Westhoff.

“I need to be more of the game manager than probably what I even realized before,” said Ryan, who calls defensive plays. “There’s been some people here that have been critical of that, and it’s probably more accurate than I wanted to believe.”

Rex has already made changes on the defensive side of the ball, demoting starting safety Kerry Rhodes in favor of Eric Smith. Rhodes has started every game of his five-year NFL career, but he has no interceptions, sacks, forced fumbles or fumble recoveries this season.  After looking like a perennial all-pro player his first few seasons in the league, Rhodes has been invisible since signing his huge contract. 

The Panthers aren’t in much better shape, as they share the same record as the Jets and the same shattered playoff hopes.  Carolina is coming off a brutal loss to the Dolphins, and will have to overcome an injury-ravaged defense.   Defensive end Julius Peppers has a hand injury and was only used on passing downs against Miami.  The four-time Pro Bowler is the Panthers’ all-time sack leader with 77 1/2 and tops the team this season with seven, but he has none in the last three games.

Linebacker Landon Johnson was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after damaging his medial collateral ligament against the Dolphins.  Johnson was placed in the lineup to replace Thomas Davis, who was also lost for the season.  Johnson’s injury leaves James Anderson as the likely starter Sunday at the Jets. 

This is a tough game to figure out, because both teams have been so inconsistent this season.  The Jets are the more talented team, but Sanchez can be a turnover machine and we all know interceptions neutralize a game.  The Jets struggled with Maurice Jones-Drew two games ago, and could have the same troubles against Williams and Stewart.  One thing working in the Jets favor is Revis should be able to shut down Steve Smith, minimizing the Panthers passing game. 

Key Matchup:  DeAngelo Williams/Jonathan Stewart vs. Jets D-Line

Prediction:   Jets 21, Panthers 17. 

News and Notes:  The Panthers have split four meetings with the Jets, winning the last one 30-3 on Nov. 13, 2005.  They haven’t visited the Jets since a 48-21 loss Nov. 29, 1998.  Defensive backs Dwight Lowery and Donald Strickland are both doubtful for the game, so it’s looking like Lito Shepphard will return as the starter opposite Revis.  DeAngelo Williams has been nursing a sore knee, but is fully expected to play.  Jake Delhomme threw his first interception in four games last week.  His 14 interceptions are two more than all of last season and two shy of his career high.

One comment

  1. very true

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