How Can The NY Jets Steer Clear of Humble Pie?

Does anybody out there know a person-whether it be work related, a friend of a friend, or a long-time associate of the family that makes you nauseous to be in the same room with for more than 15 minutes because all they do is talk? Topics are usually limited to soap operas, fingernails, getting wasted, Shannon’s (and God forbid Lisa’s too) life story, cute butts, traveling, more martinis, the Today Show, tanning beds, shopping, the gym, Vegas, haircuts. Rinse and repeat.

No I don’t either. But I’ve heard stories.

For every observation in life, there's a Seinfeld reference to go with it isn't there?

Now I do know people who talk a lot that I admire, or can’t get enough of, because they’re fearless leaders. They not only talk the talk but they walk the walk. And when the going gets tough, they’re right at your side, getting dirty without complaining. For the New York Jets, that guy you don’t mind talking all the time goes by the name of Rex, L.T., Bart or Revis.

Antonio Cromartie, on the other hand, has not played well enough in 2010 to call anybody an “A–hole” here in elimination month, 2011.

Everyone in Patriots nation must have had a big grin on their face, upon hearing for the first time the derogatory comment towards their All-Universe quarterback.

Let’s be fair, Cromartie even if he called Brady “Neighborly,” was going to get torched on his end of the field anyways; so why don’t the Jets try shaking things up a bit? If Cromartie wants to talk like a linebacker, why not have him play near the line of scrimmage like one. He can shadow Woodhead out of the backfield or even Welker in the slot, much like Charles Woodson did with resounding success against the Eagles last week?

There’s three reasons why this can work: 1.) Cromartie plays better in face-up, bump and run coverage. 2.) Darrell Revis. 3.) The Jets cannot trust the status quo.

1.) Chris Collinsworth gets paid a lot of money to begin his analysis with “This is a guy,” and to follow that with some insight. He did the latter exceedingly well last week in that Jets vs. Colts affair, as he basically gave us a sharp, official scouting report of Cromartie. Collinsworth pointed out that when Cromartie is playing closer to the receiver, bumping him within the first five yards of his route, he has a great deal of success. Furthermore, the NBC broadcaster’s analysis was sold and gift-wrapped right in front of us when Colts receiver Pierre Garcon ran right by Cromartie for a long touchdown, as Cromartie wasn’t even in the camera’s view before the ball was snapped.

2.) There isn’t anything I can write about Revis that hasn’t already been rehashed. But here’s one important reminder: If Revis plays the proposed role of rover or man to man with Welker in the slot, Hoody Belichik will find ways to get the All-Pro corner caught in the wash at the line of scrimmage, or trapped (e.g.: Woodhead’s long misdirection run in the last game in Foxboro, in which Revis followed Welker in motion and was eventually taken out of the play altogether). Revis Island is an entity that few teams have to work with. Put him on one side of the field and keep him there when possible. A player that is a game plan in himself, Revis is the only aspect in this game in particular that Rex Ryan and the Jets can look at once then move down the to-do list.

Less is more on Revis Island.

3.) Super Bowl winning head coach Tony Dungy’s mantra to his Bucs and Colts teams was simple: “Do what we do.” And through each season, from training camp on, they relied on the principles behind Dungy’s philosophy that he laid out from his first day on the job. The patience and trust did pay off for Dungy; but he never had to face Tom Brady at his best, as he is now (on a restructured knee nonetheless-even Jordan or Montana could never say they did the same).

The Jets cannot “do what they do” again, to the tune of last month’s embarrassment, against Brady this Sunday. They can, however, find a way to make their corners neutralize the big play threats of the Patriots, and force the tight ends and running backs beat them.

And of course hope that Brady beats himself more than he beats Cromartie.

(That’ll be the day Kim Kardashian Thinks about vacationing in Haiti.)

Do they even offer 1st class to Port-au-Prince? Free headsets?

Patriots 27, Jets 9

Masterpiece Theater: Vick vs Rodgers

Forget that we’re going to be watching two of the most scrutinized franchises in American sport. Forget that there will be an abundance of All-Stars wearing both uniforms. Forget we have two head coaches going against each other who could both ace a Masters equivalency course in the West Coast Offense. We’re most drawn to this stage on Sunday Night, and all the speculation that surrounds it, because it has blockbuster movie appeal: a contemplating plotline of an action-thriller starring a DiCaprio and a Damon.

Of course the blockbuster we’re talking about is Philly hosting Green Bay, NFL playoffs, with quarterbacks Michael Vick and Aaron Rodgers playing the roles of A-listers.

Let’s go ahead and assume both Vick and Rodgers play up to their respective abilities, even to the point where their own coaches and peers would grant “A” ratings for in the post game presser. Here’s what else has to happen for each franchise to earn a “W”, respectively:

PACKERS OFFENSE

The Packers have a fringe ground attack. Brandon Jackson is a nice NFL running back- but he’s a backup forced into a starting role because of injury. Head coach Mike McCarthy simply doesn’t rely on Jackson or fullback John Kuhn to make as many plays as he once did with fallen starting back Ryan Grant, and the play-calling reflects that.

Wait, do you hear that? It’s Mike McCarthy, who already has an overrated medley of receivers and offensive linemen, slamming another three-ring binder full of passing plays near his errand boy, Aaron Rodgers.

The next time this group of Packers receivers, in a hostile, championship-level game, makes a secondary look like it belongs in the Big East, rather than the NFC East, will be the first time. The Eagles are starting a few guys in the secondary who this time last year were wearing sweatpants on a campus somewhere. So the table is set for the Packers passing attack. Will Pro Bowler Greg Jennings prove to be a mismatch for the crafty Eagles corner Asante Samuel. Will Donald Driver beat me to a 90 yard receiving game in the 2010 season? Can Jordy Nelson step up to move the chains with consistency? Will James Jones catch two passes in a row? Can backup tight end Donald Lee, filling in for injured starter Jermichael Finley, make a difference?

The Packers offense, for all the attention it receives, has a lot of work to do in order to derail an oft-blitzing defense playing on its home turf.

EAGLES OFFENSE

25 touches is all McCoy needs to lift Philly.

Let’s not compare Philly’s offensive supporting cast for its quarterback to Green Bay’s, because that’s like having an Emeril and Lunch Lady signature dish at the same table.

For the Eagles to win, the recipe for success is simple: Michael Vick disseminating the football to all his weapons, the same way his predecessor, Donovan McNabb used to. Say what you want about McNabb, but he never lost in this situation: a wild card playoff game in Philly.

When an Andy Reid offense is at its best, everyone is touching the football-with an emphasis on the running back. LeSean McCoy doesn’t have to run the ball 25 times, but if he touches it that many, for a guy who averages 6.4 yards a touch, the Eagles will be headed to the Divisional round.

www Prediction #1,001,019

The Packers come into this game as the cat’s meow. Fans are betting money on them to win it all. The media will tell you that they have a quarterback and a defense that’s good enough for those betting fans to get rich with. They will also tell you about momentum, and how the Pack won a few games down the stretch to get here, whereas the Eagles come in already having lost two in a row (one on national television to a third-string quarterback, and another to their rival led by another third string quarterback).

But if you were to ask head coach Pete Carroll of the 7-9 Seahawks and Bill Belichik of the 14-2 Patriots what the two have in common right now, do you know what their answer would be? They’re both playing right now. To paraphrase, both have recently said that everyone that’s playing right now is 0-0.

In the playoffs, momentum within the game is what counts, and that’s dictated by a combination of who makes the fewest mistakes (penalties, dropped passes, turnovers, victim to blown calls, coaching errors, etc.) coupled with who makes the most plays. Game to game, or entire season momentum is smoke in mirrors. Just ask the ’08 Cardinals (“the worst playoff team of all-time”) or in contrast, the ’07 Patriots (“the best team of all time” before losing in the Super Bowl).

In the case of Packers versus Eagles, it’s not a matter of which quarterback rises to the occasion, but who rises higher. Rodgers has been called to this position before, having lost a shootout with Kurt Warner in last year’s playoffs.

I think we’re going to learn a lot about Michael Vick Sunday: if he’s a quarterback you can win championships with or not. What more of a litmus test do you need? He’s over 30, in a redemption season, with great playmakers around him. He’s got great coaching minds to lean on. He’s truly going up against a diabolical antagonist of a defense to create drama in the chase led by Dom Capers, Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson.

It’s my kind of Hollywood in Philadelphia on Sunday Night.

Wild Card Round Winners: Philly, NO, KC, Jets