By Peter Schwartz
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When destiny is not in your hands, all you can do is take care of your business and hope for the best.
That’s what the Jets did against the Bills and they look to do the same against the Redskins. Since this is not the BCS, style points don’t count…just wins. It doesn’t matter if its ugly or pretty, the Jets have put themselves in a position where they have run out of wiggle room so they just need to come out on top and hope they can get help over the final five weeks of the season.
It will probably take wins in all five games to make the playoffs. Do the Jets have a magical run in them?
“Yeah, I believe in this team,” said cornerback Darrelle Revis. “This is the time to do it right now. We’ve got one game under our belt after the two losses and we’ve just got to keep on winning.”
The Jets have been a streaky team this season. Win two, lose three, win three, lose two and now a win to get back on track. Perhaps their lucky (and it was lucky) win over Buffalo will get them on a roll. They certainly have winnable games ahead of them.
They have a lot of things to clean up, but the feeling at the Atlantic Health Training Center is that the Jets have a squad that can get into the tournament.
“I definitely think we’re a playoff team,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “We have to prove it on the field. But I absolutely think we’re a playoff team. And then when we get in there, anything can happen.”
Just like the last two years when the Jets took the wild card route to the postseason and advanced to back-to-back AFC Championship Games.
On Sunday, the Jets will be entering hostile territory. Although the Redskins have lost six of their last seven, playing at Fed Ex Field will not be a walk in the park for the Jets.
“It’s a tough place to play,” said Ryan. “I’ve coached against the Redskins several times and it’s a tough place. There’s no doubt about it.”
Aside from the crowd, the Jets will also have to deal with a Redskins defense that can cause some problems. Led by veteran linebacker London Fletcher, the Redskins are tied for third in the NFL with 33 sacks.
“Those guys move all over the place,” said quarterback Mark Sanchez. “They do a great job with each of their pass rushers and they have a savvy mike linebacker who’s been there for a long time.”
The Jets have five games left and all of them are very winnable. Their focus right now is on the Redskins, a team they should beat in a game they have to win. Needing help to make the playoffs, the Jets have to keep taking care of their own business.
Until they’re eliminated, every win makes the following week meaningful. Beating the Redskins means that next Sunday against the Chiefs can be another “playoff” game.
HELP IS ON THE WAY
The Jets are expected to welcome back RB Ladainian Tomlinson and WR/PR Jeremy Kurley for Sunday’s contest against the Redskins. Both have missed the last two games after suffering knee injuries in the November 13th loss to the Patriots.
The time off has Tomlinson feeling fresh heading in the stretch run.
“Yes, I do,” said Tomlinson. “That was pretty much the game plan for the year, to keep me fresh and down the stretch possibly increase my workload. We have to win games now. We have to pretty much go undefeated or 4-1, but we want to be undefeated this last stretch. That’s why I’m excited because we play our best football when our backs are against the wall.”
Meanwhile, Kerley is expected to slide back into his primary role returning punts, but he’ll also be back in the mix at wide receiver.
“I think we’ll split roles up and be more multiple in our personnel groupings with what we can do,” said Ryan. “But it will be good to get Kerley back. Kerley was really doing a tremendous job as a slot receiver for us before the injury.”
With five games to go, the Jets need all of the help that they can get as they try to get into the playoffs. Getting Tomlinson and Kerley back healthy will be huge.
As I wrote earlier, this is not the BCS. There are no style points. All that matters is getting a win, whether it’s pretty or ugly. I fully expect another ugly game and in the end, the Jets will find a way to win and keep the ball rolling.
Jets 23, Redskins 13
THE JETS/REDSKINS SERIES
The Jets are just 1-8 all-time against the Redskins.
This will be the first meeting between these two teams since a 23-20 Redskins victory in overtime on 11/3/07 at Giants Stadium. The Jets will be making their first trip to Fed Ex Field since the Thursday night NFL season opener on 9/4/03 when the Redskins beat Gang Green 16-13 on former Jet John Hall’s field goal with five seconds left.
The Jets only win ever over the Redskins was on 12/11/93 when Gang Green squeaked out a scintillating 3-0 victory at RFK Stadium.
“A real offensive outburst, right?” said then Jets head coach Bruce Coslet.
In that game, the Jets rushed for 210 yards including 155 from Johnny Johnson and they held the ball for 41 minutes but couldn’t find the end zone. The only score of the game was Cary Blanchard’s 45-yard field goal on the Jets’ first possession. WFAN’s Boomer Esiason was limited that day because of the 22 MPH winds and completed 12 of 22 passes for 105 yards.
I attended that game as a fan and I’m still alive to talk about it today!
JETS O-LINE IS HONORED
It hasn’t been a great year for the Jets offensive line, but maybe things are turning around. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Matt Slausson, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore and Wayne Hunter have been honored for their efforts in the Jets’ 28-24 win over the Bills.
The Jets offensive line is now a contender for the Madden Protectors Award presented by Prilosec OTC. The award is given annually to the NFL’s best offensive line and the Jets are now in the running after they were named the best offensive line for week 12.
The line did now allow a sack as Mark Sanchez threw a career high four touchdown passes.
“One of the keys to the Jets victory was the play of their offensive line, giving time for Mark Sanchez to have one of his best days as a pro,” said Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach John Madden.
“The protection was great the whole game,” said Rex Ryan. “Our offensive line did a tremendous job there, and Mark was able to buy some time and kept his eyes down field to make some big throws.”
The Jets also rushed for 138 yards on 23 carries.
This year’s Madden Protectors Award will be presented during the week of Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. Past winners were the Patriots (2010) and the Saints (2009).
A MUST READ FOR JETS FANS
There’s a terrific new book out that every Jets fan will want either under the Christmas tree or next to your Menorah. “New York Jets-The Complete Illustrated History” is a wonderful trip through Jets history dating back to their birth as the Titans of New York back in 1960. The book was written by Mark Cannizzaro, who spent almost twenty years as the Jets beat writer for the New York Post.
The book begins with the Jets early days in the AFL. Back then, they were owned by Harry Wismer who sold tickets out of his apartment! Mark brilliantly chronicles the Joe Namath era as the Jets built a team that would beat the Colts in Super Bowl III.
“To me, winning that championship doesn’t feel like a long time ago,” said Namath in the book’s forward. “I can still feel the ground vibrating in Shea from the fans going crazy, as they always would. And it helped us win!”
A true Jets fan knows about the team’s history, but this book gives you a complete perspective of the franchise from their start right up until their recent success under Rex Ryan. Many of the greatest players in franchise history are highlighted in the book including the likes of Namath, Don Maynard, Joe Klecko, Freeman McNeil, Wayne Chrebet, Curtis Martin, and Darrelle Revis.
Cannizzaro has been around the team a long time and takes you through the Sack Exchange years of the 1980’s, the Kotite Era (or error) and the hiring of Bill Parcells, a move that changed the culture of Gang Green. Mark also takes a look at the Herman Edwards era and his famous “You Play To Win The Game” rant.
The book takes you on a magical journey from the Polo Grounds to Shea to Giants Stadium to the Jets new home, MetLife Stadium. All of the highs and lows are well documented as well as the twists and turns that have been the trademark of this franchise.
It’s a great read but also includes tons of great photos that will certainly bring back a lot of memories. I have followed the Jets since I was a young lad and I can’t put the book down.
Congratulations Mark on a job well done!
“New York Jets-The Complete Illustrated History” is published by MVP Books.
That’s all for now! Check back after the game for more!