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Don’t Sleep on the Jets

This article has been submitted by Stu Wilkinson.

That’s right folks, it’s time for some NFL talk on The On Deck Circle! Patrick Tye got us started the other day with his “Fantasy Football Focus” (by the way, who the heck is Shaun Hill?) and now it’s time for some more in-depth analysis. I’m pretty sure the last article we had on professional football that didn’t involve teams that exist only in people’s imaginations was the debut of Alex Pennycook’s ill-fated “Thursday Top Tens” weekly feature back in February. Obviously if you’re relying solely on this website for your sports news and analysis needs (and you are) you need to get up to speed on what the NFL landscape is going to look like this year.

You probably already know which teams will be expected to make the playoffs – New England, Indianapolis, Dallas, Pittsburgh, the Bills. But do you know which team will be this year’s biggest surprise? Last year it was the Cleveland Browns, the year before that it was the New Orleans Saints. The year before that it was some other team that I can’t name off the top of my head, so let’s just say it was the Super Bowl XL Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

These sleeper teams not only captured the hearts of football fans everywhere with their underdog status and determined style of play, they also made gamblers a lot of money. Exactly one assload of money, to be exact. Cleveland went 12-4 against the spread last year and in 2006 the Saints went 10-6, and that’s with the surge of fan support for them because of Katrina. Those numbers are why we’re all here, right? It’s all about finding an edge to help you chase the Yankee Dollar. You’re going to need to know which team will be rising from the bottom third of the league to make the playoffs if you want to cash in on your NFL wagers.

Other than the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders (the obvious sleeper picks for this year), there’s one more team that has a chance to rise from the bottom of last year’s standings to surprise NFL fans and experts alike. That’s right, I’m talking about the New York Football Jets. This team made a huge splash in free agency, adding one of the best offensive linemen in the business in Alan Faneca and getting rid of one of the shortest linebackers in the business in Jonathan “I Got Punked By Pittsburgh Panthers Quarterback Rod Rutherford” Vilma. They’re also well-coached, have a rabid fan base, and have winning records in the last two years ending in even numbers (2006, 2004).

People forget that this team is just one year removed from the playoffs. In 2006 Eric Mangenious led a fairly unheralded team to a 10-6 record and a first round exit from the postseason. After a disastrous (4-12) 2007 campaign he discarded Vilma and DeWayne Robertson (I thought he was really good) and brought in Faneca, Kris Jenkins, Vernon Gholston, and The Bubba Franks. Did the Mangenious actually make these personnel decisions? I have no idea, but let’s just say he did.

Defense wins championships, and the Jets will have a solid defense this year. Their defensive line will be beastly with Jenkins as its anchor, they have Kerry Rhodes and Darrelle Revis in the secondary, and I’m guessing they have some decent linebackers if they were willing to part with Vilma. They also have the Mangenious pulling the strings from the sidelines, and he’s more than competent.

On offense the Jets are a pretty big enigma. Either Kellen Clemons, Chad Pennington, or Brett Favre will be their starting quarterback in Week 1. I know that doesn’t seem too great, but at least none of them appear on the NFL Quarterback Doucheometer. They are pretty thin at receiver, having lost Justin McCareins to the Titans, but Lavvy Coles is still a solid number one ball catcher. Thomas Jones is a decent running back and they can bring in Leon “The Bird” Washington for added explosiveness if necessary. The strength of the offense might be the offensive line, with Faneca, Nick Mangold (I think he’s good), and D’Brickahaw Ferguson. In conclusion, mediocrity on offense wins championships.

The offense isn’t going to be consistently lighting it up this year, so I see the Jets as more of a sneaky type of sleeper team, not a 2006 Saints or 2007 Browns type. While the Saints and Browns drew attention by putting up big offensive numbers, the Jets will stay below the radar by winning most of their games in the 17-13 way, not the 35-31 way. I could see this team going 10-6 and sneaking into the playoffs, maybe even at the expense of the Buffalo Bills. I’ll go out on a limb right now and say it: If either the Bills or Jets sweep their season series they will make the playoffs.

Even if they don’t make the playoffs I still think the Jets will finish at or above .500. Then again, if you look at their schedule the Jets could easily start 1-6. If they do, I’m changing my sleeper pick to the Bears. Don’t worry though Jets fans, if your team does falter this year, at least you’ll have another high draft pick next year!


This article has been submitted by Stu Wilkinson.

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5 Responses to “Don’t Sleep on the Jets”

  1. Pennycook Says:

    You’d have to be a complete fool to sleep on the Raiders this year. Of their first 12 games only ONE is against a team that finished .500 or better last year (a home game against the Chargers). Easy schedule + stellar D + rookie sensations on O = 10 wins for sure.

  2. Stu P S Says:

    Can’t believe I wrote this and then the Jets traded for Favre…At least I look kind of like an Oracle with my assesment of their QB situation though.

  3. Blake Murphy Says:

    Whatever, Jets still could be alright, they’re just no longer a sleeper.

    By the way, how far up draft charts did that trade shoot ‘Y2J’ Jericho Cotchery?

  4. Pennycook Says:

    Not as high as #28. Look at the size of those hands

  5. DK Says:


    No Quarterback
    No Recievers
    No O-line

    No chance

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