1. What do you make of the last minute wins by the Jets in the last five game, excluding the Bengals?
Positive Outlook: They know how to win games. They have clutch players on offense and Sanchez always rises to the occasion and shows the heart of a winning quarterback. Negative Outlook: They’re not that good of a team. They played like crap in the Lions game and lucked out thanks to terrible coaching by Jim Schwartz. The Cleveland game was tough, no complaints there, but blowing a 16-point lead at home in the fourth quarter versus Houston was terrible. The Patriots would never have let that happen. The Jets need to develop that killer instinct if they’re going to win the Super Bowl.
2. Can you see Mark Sanchez as a legitimate top 10 candidate for MVP and even move up with a win at Foxboro on Monday Night?
Top 10, yes, but any chance of winning it, no. A win Monday night where he is the catalyst of a Jets victory would certainly make him far more relevant in MVP talks, but I still think we’re a few years away from Sanchez being a legitimate MVP candidate.
3. I’ve been waiting for the December swoon from LaDanian Tomlinson, and it seems that way with Shonn Greene getting more carries. What is your take on the Jets’ running back situation?
I think Greene should be the primary back, getting 20-25 carries a game. LT should get carries when Greene is tired and when they want him involved in the passing game. He can still make people miss in the open field but he can’t create holes the way he used to. LT can still be extremely useful and productive for the Jets but not as a primary back.
4. Since Santonio Holmes has returned to the NY Jets, what impact has he made to the passing game for Mark Sanchez? Also, why do you think the production for Dustin Keller has gone down since he went off Week 2 against New England?
Santonio has been The Man, the type of player you need on your team to win a Super Bowl. He has had a very positive influence on Sanchez and the entire passing game. The only people he has negatively affected are Dustin Keller’s fantasy owners. He has taken a lot of targets away from DK, namely on short crossing patterns and play-action passes, the types of plays Keller made hay with.
5. What is the difference between the 2009 NY Jets’ defense and the 2010 version of the defense?
Last year the defense had something that resembled a pass-rush. This season Bryan Thomas, Shaun Ellis, Calvin Pace, and Jason Taylor have all been quiet. Their stats don’t look too bad but a lot of their sacks are garbage-time sacks. Everything else on the defense is the same. Revis is Revis, Cromartie is a huge upgrade over Lito Sheppard, and the safeties have been mediocre at best. They’ve shown flashes of the ’09 D, but not on a consistent basis.
6. Do you see any way that this second meeting differs at all from the first meeting where NY rallied in the 2nd half to beat New England?
Playing at home obviously gives you guys an advantage, and although the Jets have struggled to win convincingly of late, I still think they’re a better team. I think they play to the level of their opponent. The main thing I could see going differently is how your offense operates. Without Moss the Jets have to focus on everyone. Moss was useless for you guys versus the Jets. You have lots of fast, pass-catching tight ends, the kind of guys that have killed the Jets this season. I’m a bit wary of that for sure.
7. Does the winner of this game take over the title as the best team in the NFL, but most importantly the favorite to win the AFC?
I’d say maybe to the first but definitely to the second. The loser of the Steelers-Ravens game will have four losses, and since you have the head-to-head advantage over Pittsburgh and Baltimore, a Pats win all but secures them the No. 1 seed in my mind. The Jets are in a trickier situation because they’ve already lost to Baltimore and still have to play in Pittsburgh. A win Monday night though will certainly lock up a first-round bye though.
8. What is the one main key to the game?
The Jets stopping the Pats pass game. I think the New England defense can be had and the Jets will score, but if the Jets can’t get to Brady (and they won’t), he will pick apart their crappy safeties.
9. Prediction for the game?
Jets 24, Pats 23