The afternoon after: Jets need to overcome history of teases

Though I know football, it’s not really my thing. But I’ll give it a shot. Here are a few observations I have from watching some games this weekend.

  • This year's Joe Flacco?I think the Jets are for real, but it’s tough to truly commit to them. In the past, every time they won a huge game and it seemed like they were going to take that leap to the upper echelon of the NFL, they lost their next game in crushing fashion and it was back to square one. It’s rare you find a franchise as snakebit as they have been, at least since Namath’s knees went. But the defense truly does look legit, Mark Sanchez looks like the quarterback they’ve been waiting for perhaps since Namath – i.e. a star, albeit one not asked to carry the mail just yet – and you have to be impressed that not only did they say they were going to beat the Patriots, they went out and did it. Challenging the Patriots is like calling out Floyd Mayweather – usually not a good idea. But they pulled it off. Their next three games are home against the Titans, at the Saints and at the Dolphins – two explosive offenses and a divisional rival. If they go 2-1 in those games, things may be different.


  • Speaking of Tennessee, Chris Johnson may be the next great running back in the NFL, and that’s bad news for me as someone who parted with him in a keeper league this year. He’s possibly the fastest man in the league, and those players usually don’t do well, but he’s shifty and talented and finds daylight easily, particularly against suspect defenses. Adrian Peterson is built like a mack truck, which keeps him on top, but Johnson isn’t much behind.
  • Patriots Jets Football What if Tom Brady just isn’t the same? The Patriots star quarterback’s knee injury last season can be filed under “catastrophic.” We all watched Daunte Culpepper have a decent preseason and then come back to real games and struggle; he couldn’t keep up with the pace of the game. Culpepper relied more on his running than Brady does – actually, Brady never ran at all, he never had to – but he may be feeling pocket pressure more. The Jets brought the house at him every time and he didn’t deal with it well. Who could have conceived The Great Brady being held touchdown-less under any circumstances? Contrary to what people are saying out there, Julian Edelman is no Wes Welker, and that’s a factor. Brady needs Welker back. But the old Brady would have stared at the Jets’ blitz and then hit Moss in double coverage. As a fan of his, I’m hoping my fears are allayed and that the real Brady comes walking through that door, though I’m skeptical about it.
  • I caught most of the Bills game, and Fred Jackson runs like a man possessed. After two years of Marshawn Lynch showing up when he wants to, maybe the Bills are ready to give this Marion Barber-type figure the job. I just wonder how long he can last running like that.
  • I’ve heard some criticism for the media’s coverage of the Cowboys’ new stadium. I simply don’t get that. Of course it’s a big deal! That thing was a football palace, and they had a gala celebration outside for fans – it was an event. Why would you shift your coverage a team that people are pretty much sick of and that no longer has Terrell Owens, who had been their most interesting player, played out or not? Dallas set a record for most people at a regular-season game and had a Super Bowl week-ish crowd outside before the game. That’s interesting. G.O.A.T.
  • Also interesting is that Tony Romo can either look like Dan Marino or Dan Orlovsky, depending on the day. That said, despite all his mistakes, the Cowboys win the game if Roy Williams does anything at all, in particular come down with a guaranteed touchdown down the left sideline that Romo hit him in the hands with.
  • To your right is the greatest receiver not playing in the NFL, playing on the Cowboys’ field after the game last night. One of the most highly regarded college prospects at receiver until he gave up the game, and rightfully so. You think Andre Johnson is good? The King would make him look like Torry Holt, the current version.

    Here’s my top 10:

    1. Giants (2-0) – Won a tough road game, D still strong, Manningham emerging.

    2. Ravens (2-0) – I’m a fan of Flacco and Rice. If offense approaches D’s level, could be scary.

    3. Jets (2-0) – I’ll bite. Revis has now shut down Andre Johnson and Moss.

    4. Falcons (2-0) – Totally loaded on offense, Ryan is a great one. At Pats a great test.

    5. Vikings (2-0) – Still don’t think a Favre team wins at this point in time, but defense stout.

    6. Saints (2-0) – Brees’ boys cruising, but can they make a stop if they have to?

    7. Steelers (1-1) – Just need to hang in there until Polamalu’s back.

    8. Patriots (1-1) – Let’s assume for a minute Brady’s not done. They’ll be fine.

    9. Eagles (1-1) – Got blitzed by Brees. It can happen to anyone.

    10. Colts (1-0) – For now. Not a typical Colts team. I do expect them to beat Miami.


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