A few years ago, after Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini defected from the Patriots to the Jets, New York came to New England and beat the Patriots in a downpour. New York newspapers proclaimed the end of the Patriots dynasty, and bloggers were convinced that Man-genius and the Jets had buried the Patriots – finally – in the Gillette Stadium mud.
Not quite, although the Jets’ victory in Foxboro last season did cost New England a playoff spot.
With Mangini now replaced by Rex Ryan, expectations are sky-high in East Rutherford. The Jets barely broke a sweat in swatting away the Texans in Houston on Sunday, and their confidence couldn’t be higher as they prepare to host the Patriots on Sunday. New York gets 5 (O/U is 47) in a line that seems to reflect public perception more than the results of Week 1.
Mark Sanchez appears to be the real deal and the Houston game couldn’t have provided him with a softer pillow in his first game as a pro. The Texans’ soft defense allowed Jets receivers to create space all day and Sanchez was 18 for 31, 272 yards.
And New England’s defense may not be that much better than Houston’s. In their victory over the Bills, NE had four sacks and decent defensive numbers, but continued its 2008 trend of not being able to get off the field on 3rd and longs. The Pats needed to get younger and faster on defense, but the replacements looked no better against the Bills.
Beer-bellied Jets coach Rex Ryan has been waiting for this week for months. His summer-time comments about “not kissing Bill Belichick’s (Super Bowl) rings” only serve to bring more emotion to a game that has enough on its own.
“This is our Super Bowl,” said Jets NT Kris Jenkins as New York got ready for the Pats.
Mixed results for double-digit dogs
Unlike early last season, when there was money to be made by backing heavy underdogs, the first weekend produced a mixed bag for teams getting at least 10 points.
Neither Kansas City (38-24 loser to Baltimore) nor Detroit (45-27 loser to New Orleans) could cover the number, but both Monday night losers (Buffalo and Oakland) easily covered their lines against New England and San Diego, respectively, and should have won outright. Interestingly, the over cashed in all four games.
This coming Sunday St. Louis gets 10 at Washington and Detroit gets 10 at home against Minnesota.
When does college basketball season start?
So much for that playoff game against Arizona being an aberration. Pessimism in Charlotte has given way to panic after the Panthers’ 38-10 loss to Philadelphia, at home.
John Fox is sticking with QB Jake Delhomme, who is averaging more than 1.5 turnovers a quarter over his last two games and on Sunday spent most of the second half on the bench. Part of the benching was for his own protection, because Carolina was clueless in trying to deal with the Eagles’ blitz packages.
Considering the Panthers’ solid running game, Delhomme’s ineffectiveness makes little sense. The club signed A.J. Feeley and put Josh McCown on the IR in a quick QB-shuffle on Monday.
Conservative philosophy dominates in Washington
The Redskins better get used to defenses jamming the line of scrimmage. The Giants defense resembled a jail break rushing six and seven defenders against Jason Campbell. Campbell completed 19 of 26 and was intercepted only once, but Washington coach Jim Zorn refused to let Campbell go deep, and the Redskins’ passing game consisted of dump-offs and short crossing patterns.
Campbell went down only three times, but was harassed all night and even if Zorn had tried to stretch the field, Washington receivers probably wouldn’t have had time to create separation, even in single coverage. The Redskins have a breather Sunday, giving 10 at home to St. Louis.
McDaniels, Broncos finally catch a break
After a summer straight from Hades, is Josh McDaniels’s luck changing? The Broncos were about to take the first of what is expected to be a tons of L’s this season when lightning struck on that Hail Mary pass in the final minute at Cincinnati.
Instead, Denver and McDaniels are 1-0, and that other quarterback and the Bears are 0-1. Go figure. Denver’s brutal schedule will take its toll and the Broncos’ lack of talent will drop them to or near the bottom of the AFC West, but for now the fan base has to give McDaniels a little breathing room.
Denver gives 3 to Cleveland at home Sunday then is at Oakland before beginning a brutal eight-game stretch in which the Broncos play, in order, Dallas, New England, at San Diego, at Baltimore, Pittsburgh, at Washington, San Diego again, and the Giants.
McDaniels will need more than luck.
Briefest NFC dynasty ever
Eight months ago the Arizona Cardinals came within one play on winning the Super Bowl. On Sunday they will be underdogs (3.5 points) to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who basically have given up on winning this season. The J-Ville fans are so ticked that it will be surprise if they sell out even one game.
Don’t call us, Plaxico, we’ll call you
The headline on the comcast.net home page seemed very presumptive. It read “NFL players to donate brains.”
Now before you even start to think of a good punch line, here’s the real story: It wasn’t all NFL players, just three of them. And the three actually have brains. Sean Morey, Matt Birk and Lofa Tatupu will donate their brains, hopefully after their deaths and following long and productive lives, to the Boston University medical school, which will then study the tissue to examine the effects of concussions on pro football players.