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The difference between 3-4 and 4-3 is one game, but don’t tell that to the Jets. The win over San Diego on Sunday was as important a win as they will have this season, until their next game of course. It’s hard to call any win season saving this early in the season, but beating the Chargers was close – ask any Jets fan, and they’ll confirm.
There was a lot that was positive about this game – the Jets came back from a deficit, their defense held strong against a great offense, Plaxico Burress came alive and Mark Sanchez didn’t blow it. They made a Pro Bowl quarterback look awful, held a team under 100 yards rushing for the first time since facing Dallas in Week 1, and got yet another transcendent game from Darrelle Revis, who is without a doubt the best defensive player in the world right now.
Most importantly, they went into their bye week above .500, a tricky proposition for a team that was annihilated three weeks in a row against playoff contenders. With a tough slate coming up, this win was huge – a playoff contender coming to town, (stupid) trash talk all week, and a chance for the Jets to prove to the NFL that they are still good.
Of course, there was a lot of negative in this game too. Less than two minutes into the game, Donald Butler ripped a ball away from Dustin Keller and returned it for a touchdown, the ultimate F-U move. Shonn Greene ran for 112 yards, but it still never quite looked like he got going – call it nitpicking, but if Ladanian Tomlinson is as cooked as he looks, Joe McKnight needs to see more carries as a change of pace back.
Burress caught three touchdowns, but all three were short yardage and he had just one other catch on the day, for a total of 25 yards. The touchdowns matter, but he was targeted eight times on the day and is still not providing the Jets with move-the-chains type catches. Santonio Holmes had the prettiest touchdown grab on the day, negated by a needless penalty, but he is still not a part of the offense thus far this season the way he should be. It was a ticky-tack game for Sanchez, who threw for just 173 yards on 33 attempts.
It’s hard to be critical after a big win, but the Jets have to realize going into their bye that they are still very much on the fringes of the AFC playoff picture, and will most likely have to beat Buffalo twice and the Patriots in their rematch to have a shot at the postseason.
Returning to action this week, the Giants will hopefully be playing with a team as close to 100 percent healthy as they’ve had all season. Truthfully, they should not need 100 percent against a horrible Miami Dolphins team, but I said basically the same thing before the Seahawks fiasco two weeks ago and we all know how that turned out. It was a fiasco. Like I said.
Did you know the Giants have the worst run game in the league? Oh, it’s 30 out of 32, it just feels like the worst. Did you know they’re in first place in the division somehow? Treasure that feeling, because Dallas and Philly will be on their tails the whole season and will most likely overtake them by the end. I personally am not ready for HOW ‘BOUT THEM COWBOYS? on the cover of Sports Illustrated in a few weeks, nor am I ready for some variation on CHEESE STEAK DREAM TEAM REDEMPTION, but it’s beginning to feel like that’s on the horizon. It will be a dogfight to the division crown, especially given Michael Vick is involved. Rimshot!
As you watch the Giants struggle to beat the Dolphins at home this weekend, pour a glass of scotch and gaze wistfully out the window as you imagine the Giant’s next six games. Patriots. 49ers. Eagles. Saints. Packers. Cowboys. Finish your scotch and pour another. See if the Knicks are coming back soon. Switch over to Fox Soccer and watch up-and-coming Manchester City, the futbal version of the New York Mets if they were owned by a Saudi oil sheik instead of two bumbling Madoff buddies. Check out your friends Halloween Facebook pictures – maybe that cute girl from class went as a sexy something-or-other, or your buddy from the office went as something incredibly racist.
Do what you can to avoid the Giants for the next six weeks because it won’t be pretty.