As we venture into the second quarter of the football season, chaos has ensued. There are no clear cut elite teams, but a lot of drek in the basement. There are some surprise stinkers, most notably the Giants who we covered last week. With Odell Beckham Jr., and Brandon Marshall done for the year the tank is officially on for Big Blue.
The Giants aren’t the only team facing a crossroads. Ben Roethlisberger has been ole reliable for so many years, but all good things come to an end. Last week Roethlisberger was dreadful. He tossed his first ever five interception game, including two pick sixes. It might be time to look at life past Big Ben while still competing this season.
Week 6 should give us more clarity on the hierarchy of the league or continue to muddle the order. Either way, as long as football is on we will be watching.
Was covering the Giants last week ominous? Possibly. Do I, a rational Jets fan, want a similar effect to happen to my team? Of course not. But fear is for cowards and there are no cowards in these parts.
This week we stay in New York (via New Jersey) but take a stroll down to, the top team in New York, the Jets. Tank was supposed to be the word of the season but instead the Jets are tied for first at 3-2. GM Mike Maccagnan has looked like a czar but even a genius needs some help time to time.
Here is what the rebuilding Jets should do to keep fans happy and the future bright.
Name Jamal Adams Team Captain
The Jets have struck gold twice at the sixth spot of the first round under Mike Maccagnan. In 2015 it was defensive line terror Leonard Williams who fell to their lap. In 2017 it was Jamal Adams, who many considered a top three talent. The Jets have not had a safety of Adams’ caliber in my lifetime (25 years) and the effect it has had on the team is undeniable.
It’s important to have good corners, but vital to have that eagle at the top of your defense. If you look at the history of great defenses you are likely to find a great safety too. Think Ed Reed with the Ravens, Earl Thomas with the Seahawks, Troy Polamalu with the Steelers, you get the point. The Jet defense has been strong in a season many expected them to be welcoming mats.
The best leaders lead by example and check out this example of Adams’ tenacity.
Jamal Adams showing out so far🔥 pic.twitter.com/bBwuDfm8Hz
— Football Is Life (@FootbaIl_Tweets) October 1, 2017
No.6 pick safety Jamal Adams making an athletic play from the backside of the play; hurdles two team mates to make the tackle on Beastmode. pic.twitter.com/zyyC9lBddA
— AA (@TouchlineOracle) September 18, 2017
That’s who you build around. His play has been infectious. Fellow rookie safety Marcus Maye has looked good, as has linebacker Darron Lee and Williams. Right now Todd Bowles is doing weekly captains at the moment but giving Adams the honor will set the tempo for the future.
Target Josh Rosen in Draft
Okay so tank-a-palooza is not going well. Leave it to the Jets to win during a season worth tanking for. Sam Darnold is likely gone which could be a blessing in disguise. The season should still pan out to the Jets selecting within the top eight. There are a few teams that could be looking to add a QB, including the 0-5 Giants. Assuming the Jets improve their draft position (competing this season is a nice thought but foolish action) they should be targeting the other QB that resides in Los Angeles.
Josh Rosen is far from a consolation prize. His prowess for making big plays has been on display. In addition to being capable on the field (2,135 yards, 17 TDs 5 INTs this season) he also projects to be media savvy. That’s not typically high on the requirement list but this is New York we’re talking about.
The media has chewed up and spit out guys before (RIP Mark Sanchez) but Rosen appears to handle the media well, mostly because he’s outspoken. His outgoing swagger will complement Adams’ more quiet strength giving the Jets a nice yin and yang in their leadership.
Build Up Offensive Line
The defense has looked good. The receiving corps is surprisingly well stocked, ditto for the running backs. Quarterback will hopefully be addressed as noted above. The offensive line has not been bad, but it’s not the top unit in the league. Offensive line trouble is not a Jets problem more so than it is a league-wide problem.
One of the overlying problems with the Jets’ misfortune at quarterback has been building around the quarterback. When the Jets selected Geno Smith there was not much around him. Same for Sanchez to a lesser extent. That has to change. As noted before the supporting cast is there at the talent positions, now is opportune time to build in the trenches. Time is on the Jets’ side, they must utilize it.
Prepare Massive Offer Sheet for Le’Veon Bell
We’re talking about the Jets here so we had to get a little wacky. Le’Veon Bell is the best running back in football that shares a spotlight in the Steelers offense with Antonio Brown. He is also coming off a holdout and looking to cash out. The Steelers have yet to dole out the cash meaning he could hit the open market this Spring.
How does this affect a non-contender like the Jets? I’m glad you asked. As it so happens Le’Veon is a yuuuge Jets fan. Don’t believe me? Here is the proof non-believer. Now that we have a point of interest let’s get down to some legitimate reasons.
From a football standpoint Le’Veon’s style fits anywhere, especially in the Jets offense. Matt Forte has been quiet this season but Bilal Powell and rookie Elijah McGuire have had success. Le’Veon is like all three of those guys morphed into one android. He would remain the focal point of an offense and most importantly, be paid like one.
This is the NFL where job security is as reliable as a McFlurry machine working. Winning is nice and all but in contract negotiations it’s all about that guaranteed money. If the Jets come heavy over the top and throw Le’Veon a boatload of guaranteed cash they can have themselves a franchise piece. Maccagnan hasn’t been gunshy in his tenure so why stop now. Shoot the shot Mac!
For those of you that stood by me through my struggles, I love you. And for those who laughed at me, hold that L. Last week was finally a profitable one as we went 3-1 with the locks. Let’s keep that momentum churning for the rest of the season. A lot of big spreads this week but here are the games you should circle.
Packers (-3.5) over VIKINGS
Aaron Rodgers is cold blooded. Watching the final minutes of the Cowboys game, my faith in the Packers winning the game never wavered. Notice I said win the game and not tie it. A-Rod doesn’t tie games, he wins them. This week he will not have the luxury of feasting on a Cowboys secondary, but will face a familiar foe in the vaunted Vikings defense.
I’d be a little more worried about this matchup if not for three things. First, the Vikings let Mitch Trubisky and the Bears score 17 points last Monday. Second, Aaron Rodgers is infinitely better than Trubisky. Third, the Packers might be getting Ty Montgomery back. For the Vikings to win this game they will need to score at least 20 points.
Are you willing to ride with Case Keenum or Sam Bradford in a shootout over Aaron fooking Rodgers? If you are, God bless.
Prediction: Packers 27, Vikings 16
Buccaneers (-2.5) over CARDINALS
Bad news for the Cardinals, their season is over. Good news for the Cardinals, they just traded for Adrian Peterson. Not much of a consolation but it’s something. If this were 2007 a roster of AP, Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer would scare the shit out of everyone. Sadly we’re ten years past that and Palmer more so than Fitz and AP is over the hill. They have looked like crap in each game this season including their lone home win against the winless 49ers.
Coming to town are the Buccaneers who are a kicker away from being a serious playoff team. Nick Folk’s three missed field goals were the deciding factor in last Thursday’s loss to the defending champs. Their only other loss was Jameis Winston’s one bad game, in Minnesota against the Vikings. The Cardinals do possess a few studs on defense (Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu) but last week Carson Wentz and the Eagles carved them up like pumpkins. Winston might not be able to hit Mike Evans as much as he wants but other guys should find open space. The Cardinals have given us no reason to trust them, so why bother?
Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Cardinals 24
JAGUARS (-2.5) over Rams
How about those Jaguars?? The forgotten Florida team has quietly become the team to beat in the NFC South. The secret to their success? Old school ground and pound. Rookie running back Leonard Fournette has been as good as advertised. He has become the centerpiece of that offense and has scored in every game this season. The real stars reside on the other side of the ball.
That Jags defense is nasty and scores more touchdowns than Blake Bortles. They lead the league in total sacks (20), interceptions (10) and have allowed the second fewest point per game so far (16.6). That is called a return on investment. The front office made a concerted effort to bulk up the defense and the results have been winning football despite not having a solid quarterback.
This Sunday they welcome another pleasant surprise, the LA Rams. Had Cooper Kupp held onto a strike from Jared Goff at the end of the game the Rams would be in first place. Instead Kupp dropped the ball and the Seahawks escaped LA with a win. In this matchup Goff will need all the help he can get, specifically from Todd Gurley.
The winner of this game will be the one who wins the ground game. Goff is the better QB but his guys will likely be shackled by Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. That leaves it up to Gurley who has the potential to carry his team to the win. I’m just not ready to bet against the Jags defense.
Prediction: Rams 17, Jaguars 20
CHIEFS (-4) over Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger is washed. There is no more discussion needed, last week was confirmation he is on his last legs. An offense that employs the best running back and wide receiver should not be struggling to score points. Last week the Jags massacred Big Ben to the tune of five interceptions, two being pick-sixes. He will have to sharpen up this week as any mistake he makes can be a death blow.
The Chiefs have capitalized on their opponents’ misfortunes all season. Kareem Hunt has been otherworldly and Alex Smith has looked reinvigorated. Even Andy Reid hasn’t had a late game malfunction! Their good fortune will eventually come to an end but at Arrowhead it’s likely their fortune will be unaffected for one more week.
Prediction: Steelers 23, Chiefs 28
The Other Guys
JETS (+9) over Patriots
Dolphins (+12.5) over FALCONS
RAVENS (-6.5) over Bears
Browns (+9.5) over TEXANS
Lions (+4.5) over SAINTS
49ers (+11) over REDSKINS
RAIDERS (-2) over Chargers
Giants (+11.5) over BRONCOS
TITANS (EVEN) over Colts
Last Week: 9-5