I wanted to hold off on giving full-blown predictions until the Jets formally announced who their starting quarterback for Week One would be. Knowing how this team is run, I was anticipating them waiting until the last possible moment to announce it, citing some competitive advantage BS, which in reality would have nothing to do with competition and everything to do with incompetence. (The Raiders had actually considered doing this, which probably just about covers what I think about the Raiders’ chances this year.)
Finally, after an extremely drawn out quarterback battle, it was ruled that the winner and new New York Jets quarterback heavyweight champion of the world would be Geno Smith. Thus, the only logical conclusion is that the Jets will finish the season with a 4-12 record, and that may be being generous.
Plain and simple, Geno is too inexperienced right now to lead this team to any modicum of success. In his only extended work this pre-season, he threw three interceptions and stepped out of the back of the end zone for a safety. He’s going to be working out of an offense he’s hardly had the time to even begin to master and he’s going to see defensive sets that he’s never seen before. A perfect example of this was the interception he threw to Justin Tuck in the preseason game against the Giants, after the defensive lineman dropped back into coverage. They literally do not teach you that in college. It is going to be a long season for Geno, and a true test of his mental toughness. Because as it stands, I see his season going two ways: 1) The team has an awful season, say two whole wins, and it all falls down on his shoulders or 2) The season is flying off the rails and they bench him for his poor play. Either way, a huge blow will be dealt to Geno Smith’s confidence, and if the Jets want him to be of any use to them in the future, they are going to have to whatever they can to keep his spirits up. The Geno Smith confidence watch is officially underway.
So yeah, 4-12. Looking at the Jets schedule, they have two winnable games in their first four, followed by an almost criminal stretch where they face the Falcons, Steelers, Patriots, Bengals and Saints in a row before heading into a bye in Week 10. A win in any of those games does not seem likely, despite three of them being at home. Their second half is somewhat easier, and depending how the Dolphins’ season shakes out (I see them building upon their relative success from last year,) the Jets have a shot at winning around four of those games at the most. And I don’t want to be all, “This is going to be one of the worst offenses ever” but this could be one of the worst offenses ever. With the pieces they have (a rookie quarterback, no star receiver and a series of unproven running backs,) it just does not look likely that they will be able to string together effective drives and keep the defense off of the field. No matter how good the defense is, if you keep putting them out there, they are going to give up points. There are not many teams who appear to be in more disarray than these New York Jets.
Okay, let’s get to the actual matchup for this week.
THE ACTUAL MATCHUP FOR THIS WEEK:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) @ New York Jets (0-0)
“Well, might as well get this over with early on.” -The guy who determines the NFL schedule.
The biggest story for this week’s game is the return of Darrelle Revis, in a Buccaneers uniform, to wreak havoc on his spurned former team. After the Jets threw him away like common garbage, I am sure Revis has had this game circled on his calendar several times over, to the point where the circles are bleeding through onto other months. As seems to be the trend these days, Revis recovered from his ACL surgery in less than a year, and there is nothing in the world he wants to do more right now than to torch this Jets team as a big fat middle finger to everyone who doubted whether he was worth holding onto following his injury. It is probably safe to assume that Revis will come away with at least one interception in this game, and you know what, the self-loathing Jets fans at MetLife Stadium will probably cheer him when it happens.
But Revis is far from the biggest potential problem the Jets will face this week. The biggest potential problem comes in the form of Doug Martin, Tampa Bay’s second year running back. Martin is coming off of a rookie campaign where he rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns, including a four touchdown game against blog favorite, the Oakland Raiders. With the fluctuation in player performance from year to year being what it is in the NFL, I’m not sure Martin can match the numbers he put up last year. But, against a Jets defense that ranked 26th against the run last year (2,138 total yards, 133.6 yards per game, 4.3 yards per carry and one huge run in the pre-season by David Wilson,) it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Martin doesn’t at least run partially over the Jets this week.
Prediction: The Jets lose, a fitting start to what is going to be an interesting trip of a season.
– Keep an eye out for Josh Freeman. The Bucs QB is in his contract year and is going to want to start making some noise sooner rather than later if he wants to secure a cushy new contract.
– The Rex Ryan job security watch already hit the angry press conference wackiness level, after Rex threw Mark Sanchez to the wolves against the Giants. Look for him to do his press conference in a Hawaiian shirt after this week’s game.
NEXT WEEK: The Jets go up against the AFC East champion New England Patriots on Thursday night, and I probably go on a rant about Rob Ninkovich. Until then, god save the village gang green.