NY Jets just cannot lose to Raiders rookie QB Derek Carr

New York Jets v Tennessee Titans

If there’s one category Rex Ryan is dominant in, it’s his ability to make rookie quarterbacks look like they don’t belong on the field. With a 7-3 record against rookie quarterbacks, Jets fans should look forward to seeing Derek Carr step out onto the MetLife Stadium turf with the Oakland Raiders. Some NFL pundits wonder whether Derek Carr should even be on the field this weekend.

Say what you will about Matt Schaub and his 2013 pick-six plague over the course of 10 games, but he has been slinging the ball on NFL defenses since 2004. The Jets secondary that will run out onto the field this Sunday would’ve been one of the worst secondaries that Schaub has seen throughout his 128 career starts. With Dee Milliner all but ruled out for Sunday, Ryan goes from Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to Kyle Wilson and Antonio Allen.

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What’s Next for the Seattle Seahawks?

pete carroll

The Seattle Seahawks were knocked off their high horse on Sunday losing to the Chicago Bears 35-24. Neither the 12th Man, “Beast Mode,” or Matt Hasselbeck swimming in the fountain of youth were on display in the Windy City. Instead of looking like the miracle workers from the week before, the Seahawks looked like the team that went 2-6 on the road during the regular season.

It seemed as though nothing could go right for Seattle. After a quick three and out by the offense, the defense gave up a 58 yard passing touchdown to TE Greg Olsen on the Bears’ third play from scrimmage. On the ensuing drive, in ironic fashion, coach Pete Carroll decided to punt on 4th and 1 inside Bears territory. This coming from a team that was playing with house money and with “nothing to lose.”

By: Justin Mertes-Mistretta

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Indianapolis Colts-New York Jets Primer

jenn-sterger-jets

It sure has been a long week, but Wild Card Weekend is finally upon us.

After days of anticipating and listening to New York Jets coach Rex Ryan elaborate on his personal vendettas, the AFC playoffs get underway Saturday at 8 p.m. as the No. 3-seeded Indianapolis Colts (10-6) play host to Ryan’s No. 6-seeded Jets (11-5) at Lucas Oil Stadium in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game.

The Colts beat the Jets 30-17 last January to advance to Super Bowl XLIV, and the outspoken Jets coach let it be known earlier this week that he wants revenge, not only for last year’s loss but also for his history of suffering defeats at the hands of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning is 5-1 against Ryan’s defenses, dating back to when the New York head man served as defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. The one victory came in Week 16 of 2009 when Indianapolis chose to pull its starters in the third quarter rather than continue to chase an undefeated season. Therefore, one might say Manning is perfect against Ryan’s defenses in meaningful games.

That certainly explains why Ryan wants this win Saturday. But will the Jets be able to pull off the road upset, or will the Colts continue their mastery of Ryan’s teams? A few key areas of interest clear the picture a bit.

The quarterbacks

Not much explanation is needed on the Colts’ side. Manning, one of the most prolific passers in NFL history, is coming off a regular season in which he completed a league-record 450 passes for a career-high 4,700 yards. He is 9-9 all-time in the playoffs but has beaten Ryan’s defenses both times he’s faced such units in the postseason (2006 AFC Divisional contest against the Baltimore Ravens and last year’s AFC title game). Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez played extremely well in the first half when the two teams last met in Indianapolis, but he couldn’t keep up with Manning and the Colts’ offense once they rallied. Sanchez has thrown for 3,291 yards and 17 touchdowns this season, but on the whole, he hasn’t shown much improvement from his rookie campaign. Whether he can throw with Manning will go a long way to determine New York’s chances.

Other key matchups

  • The Jets’ offensive line vs. the Colts’ defensive front seven. It’s become quite clear what the Jets like to do on offense: run the ball. However, New York’s rushing attack has seemed to regress down the stretch. One can point to running back LaDainian Tomlinson’s wearing down midseason, but fellow rusher Shonn Greene also has struggled to gain yards on the ground. Indy’s run defense, on the other hand, has improved dramatically in the last month of play, holding Jacksonville, Oakland and Tennessee, all teams with heralded running games, to less than 100 yards rushing. If the Colts’ defensive unit can contain the Jets’ ground attack and force Sanchez to make plays with his arm, the key matchup becomes New York’s tackles against Indy’s speedy pass-rushers, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Stopping the run will be the first order of business for the Colts on defense.
  • Colts receiver Pierre Garcon vs. Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. I’ve been hearing a lot of commentary on how the Jets were “one corner away” from avoiding the onslaught that Manning and the Colts’ offense executed in the second half of last year’s AFC Championship game. Well, they’ve got another one in Cromartie, who has a favorable history against Manning. He intercepted the Colts quarterback three times in a regular-season contest in 2007 and then once in a rematch in the playoffs following that season. Garcon has big-play ability but tends to drop passes when covered tightly. While New York’s No. 1 corner, Darrelle Revis, figures to spell Indy’s Reggie Wayne, keep an eye on the Garcon-Cromartie battle on the other side. It could go a long way in determining Manning’s — or Cromartie’s — ability to break the game wide open.
  • Colts’ Jacob Tamme and Blair White vs. Jets’ linebackers. Manning did much of his damage in last year’s meeting in the middle of the field with tight end Dallas Clark and receiver Austin Collie. Both are lost for the season, and Tamme and White, respectively, take their positions. Both have done well in general, but can they be as effective against a strong group of Jets linebackers? Watch Tamme in particular. Manning has developed a trust in the third-year tight end as his play is quite similar to that of Clark. Tamme has quietly ranked among the league-leading tight ends in receptions.

Ndamukong Suh’s Prediction Doesn’t Come to Fruition

suh

Nearly fifty eight thousand fans experienced heartache on Sunday at Ford Field. Ndamukong Suh recently made some comments indicating that the Detroit Lions would not lose another game at their home stadium this season. Unfortunately, he is already putting his foot in his mouth. He hopefully will remove it soon though since it’s evident that he’s the emergency kicker on the Lions roster.

Jason Hanson went down and Suh had to attempt an extra point against the Jets. That was not the biggest injury of the day though. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was injured once again in his young NFL career with his tender right shoulder knocking him out of the game in the fourth quarter. This gave the Jets hope to make a long comeback from ten points down to tie the game and ultimately send it to overtime.

By Patrick Herbert

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Michigan Wolverines’ Woolfolk and the psychology of pass defense

You’ve heard the “voice of God” in those old NFL Films clips. That ultra-deep, ludicrously over-dramatic and mortally serious narrating by the late, great John Facenda:

for the Autumn wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun. He’ll knock you ’round and upside down. And laugh when he’s conquered and won.

My favorite Facenda prose describes the island duel between wide receiver and defensive back, in which no quarter is asked, nor expected. And “the loser bleeds alone on an empty field.”

There’s a reason wide receivers are typically the most outwardly brash, and overt showmen of the gridiron. Likewise, there’s a reason defensive backs are usually the most mentally astute on the field. The WR-DB clash is as much a mental and psychological confrontation as it is physical one.

I’ll let Michigan Wolverines star CB-S Troy Woolfolk, a DB with All-Big Ten and NFL Draft written all over him, explain the brains behind the brawn.

By Paul M. Banks

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