After a weekend bye, the Jets resume work Monday with some company at the top of the AFC East and the top of the conference.
Both the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers moved to 5-1 with road wins over the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins respectively. The Jets, who will be back on the practice field tomorrow, also are 5-1 but their longtime nemesis — the Pats — have plans on sticking around a while in what could prove to be a fascinating division race.
While the Green & White already held serve at home against Bill Belichick’s crew, a 28-14 Week 2 triumph, we’ll have to wait until Monday night, Dec. 6, for the rematch up in Foxboro. Games aren’t played on paper, but the Jets will in all likelihood be favored in each of their five contests — vs. Green Bay, at Detroit, at Cleveland, vs. Houston and vs. Cincinnati on Thanksgiving night — until they meet up with the friends to the northeast.
It might be difficult for the Patriots to keep the pace. Their next five looks treacherous: vs. Minnesota (the Randy Moss reunion), at Cleveland, at Pittsburgh, vs. Indianapolis and at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. But we know how resourceful the Men of Belichick are, so the Jets have to take care of their own business before December.
The Dolphins really needed that game today. Yes, it was just the sixth game of the season, but that club is just 1-2 in the division, 0-3 at home and 1-3 in the conference. And look at their next three — at Cincinnati, at Baltimore and vs. Tennessee — and there could be more problems on the horizon. It’s a tough outfit, but you have to wonder if the ‘Fins will dig themselves too deep a hole.
On the other end of the South Florida spectrum, good road “W” for Pittsburgh but the road’s not getting any easier. They have the good fortune to visit the Saints on Halloween and the Superdome is going to be a madhouse filled with ghouls and goblins looking for blood after the champs got spanked by the Browns today in an improbable outcome. Then the Steelers visit the Bengals for a Monday night affair before getting a “breather” — hosting the Pats — on Nov. 14. The Jets visit Pittsburgh in Week 15 and that has playoff preview written all over it.
The Titans (how can you not like the way they play under Buddy Ryan protégé Jeff Fisher?) are 5-2 and the Colts (TE Dallas Clark is out for the season, WR Austin Collie and RB Joseph Addai are out indefinitely and S Bob Sanders is back on the shelf) are lurking at 4-2, but I say it’s time to believe, Jets Nation. The Jets are the team to beat in the division and the team to beat in the conference.
Are you worried that the Jets headed into the bye hot after five consecutive wins? You shouldn’t be because it gave both CB Darrelle Revis, who worked with trainers on his strained hamstring last week at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, and OLB Calvin Pace, who played two games after breaking his right foot in the preseason, valuable time to rehab and rest.
The Browns’ aforementioned upset of the Saints and the Bills’ near-miss in Baltimore are just reminders that you have to bring it every week and nothing is guaranteed. But the eye-opener to me was the Raiders’ 59-14 trashing of the Broncos in Denver. That close loss last week to the Jets must have taken a lot out of the Broncos physically, mentally and emotionally, because they had nothing left to give — against a division rival nonetheless.
So bring on the Packers. Ten games left in the regular season and then its playoff time. Dream big.
Tags: Bill Belichick, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, PIttsburgh Steelers
Posted in Eric Allen | 33 Comments »