Monthly Archives: September 2009 - Page 2

Jets Halftime

The Jets could not have asked for a better start to this game taking the opening possession down the field for a touchdown and after a fumble by the Titans on the ensuing kickoff the Jets got the ball right back into the endzone going up 14-0. The problem is that is the last good thing the Jets were able to do as Mark Sanchez has not been able to complete many passes and the Titans have started to move the ball on the Jets, coming back to make this a 14-10.

On offense the running game is starting to stall putting more pressure on Mark Sanchez who just is not getting it done. Without a concrete threat of a running game the Titans are able to tee off on the pass and get after Sanchez with the Titans playing much tighter coverage. In the second half the Jets are going to have to get the running game going again as Sanchez is being exposed as the rookie qb he is. Throwing it early was working and it is tempting since the Titans have been beaten in the passing game the past two weeks but the Jets are not built to toss the ball around.

On defense the Jets were doing very well eliminated holes and making sound tackles. They were getting pressure on Collins and were making it difficult for them to pass the ball. With the Jets offense stalling the Titans had time to catch up and once Chris Johnson got going they were able to pick it up. Johnson was able to make some nice cut backs and once that jump started the running game taking the pressure off Collins. With time to pass the Titans were able to move the ball down the field and make this a close game after it looked like the Jets were going to run away with it. The Jets look like they need another turnover and change the momentum of this game. That might mean turning the pressure up again and try to rattle Kerry Collins. The difficult part is balancing this with the ability to stop the run as Chris Johnson can take it to the house on any play.

Giants Halftime

I don’t know if the Bucs have given up on the season or the Giants play has dramatically increased but the Giants defense have flat out dominated this first half. They are getting a pass rush with four against a good offensive line in the Bucs, and they are playing the run much better than they have been. There have been some open holes but the Giants have been tackling very well. On offense the Giants are getting production from their running game and finally scoring touchdowns in the redzone scoring two in three opportunities. Manning has been efficient on third down, all of which has led to a 14-0 lead.

On defense the Giants have been very impressive holding the Bucs to 19 total yards and no first downs. Like stated earlier they are getting pressure with just their front four which has been big because it has allowed the Giants to keep their defenders in coverage which has left almost no gains on dump off passes. They are also making tackles leading the Bucs with almost no yards after the catch. The Giants seem to be playing the run heavily after getting gashed last week as before snaps the Giants seem to be playing tight and close to the line trying to smother any potential run. There have been too many holes for the amount of guys they have up there but ultimately you have to look at the stats and the plan is working.

For the offense Eli has been efficient but unspectacular. He has missed some open receivers and got lucky with Steve Smith wrestling the ball away on what looked like a sure pick. The offensive line has been great in pass protection but again not that great opening up holes. This has been a problem all season and it seems to have effected Jacobs running as he seems very hesitant before running, tiptoeing before hitting the hole. Bradshaw on the other hand has looked surperb, not only hitting the hole hard but finding cutbacks. Steve Smith has stepped up again really answering the Giants call for a reliable first option target. Manningham hasn’t looked as good early but recently has been picking it up overall he has 3 catches for 35 yards.

The Giants seem in control of this game and have shown improvements in the areas they needed to. Ultimately I would like to see Jacobs run the ball a little better and for the offensive line to open up more holes. They are finding running room but I don’t know how they would be doing against a good team playing well. On defense there is very little to complain about and if anything you just hope they can keep this up.

Giants vs Bucs Preview

As mentioned earlier in the week the Giants have lost Kenny Phillips for the season and so this is their first opportunity to see how C.C. Brown will perform in a starter’s spot. In addition the Giants are dealing with several injuries in the secondary and throughout the defense. Lucky for the Giants they are playing a relatively weak team with their easiest stretch of the schedule coming up with games against the Chiefs and Raiders to follow.

The Giants problems this season have been running the ball and stopping the run, and this is the perfect opportunity to work on them. The problem is the Bucs have been good against the run so if the Giants can’t fix their problems the Bucs could have a big offensive day. Defensively the Giants should focus on shutting the running game down first, with a focus on Byron Leftwich and the pass second.

Offensively the Bucs have been exposed to the deep ball and if the Giants can get a few big plays the safety will have to stay out of the box opening up lanes for Brandon Jacobs. As much as you want to say you play to win the game, the Giants should really take the opportunity to get their running game going because if they can’t figure it out they aren’t going to go far this season; however, if they get the running game going they can be a very dangerous offensive team.

Ultimately you hate to say anything like this because looking past a game is what causes teams to lose them, but this stretch is at the perfect time for the Giants to figure out how to improve their two week points and if they walk out of the game without signs of improvement it will be a disappointment.

Jets vs Titans Preview

Last season the Titans were handed a 34-13 loss, their first of the season, to drop them to 10-1 and give the Jets real SuperBowl aspirations. Unfortunately it went downhill for the Jets after that but the way they dominated the Titans gives fans good reason to believe they can beat them again and improve to 3-0 with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. The past two weeks the Jets have played absolute lights out defense holding two potent offenses without a touchdown. The Titans on the other hand have started 0-2 first losing in a tight defensive contest to the Steelers than a shoot-out to the Texans, begging the question:what is this team’s identity?

Looking at this game you can look at the Titans 0-2 start as either a good sign or a bad one. While the 0-2 start does show the Titans have not gotten off to a great start you have to look at the opponents played, the Steelers and Texans, and know they played some tough opponents. While the Jets did play the Texans too the Titans are division foes with the Texans making it easier for the Texans to figure out the Titans defense, while the Jets had implemented a new defense that the Texans had no way to game plan for and it showed. Also the Titans lost each of those games by a field goal with the loss to the Steelers coming in overtime. This isn’t to say I think the Titans will win but I think it will be a tough game for the Jets and at the least a good test to see where this team is at.

The Titans offense has played much better this season but the pass defense has taken a big step back and after watching the Texans put up some big numbers I believe the Jets will try to open up the game passing, especially after the success they had when they unleashed Sanchez in the second half of the Pats game. On the defensive side you have to believe from everything you’ve seen from the Jets these past two weeks that they are going to come right at the Titans with pressure and force Kerry Collins into turnovers giving the Jets and rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez good field position.

With the way these two teams have been playing you’d think that the edge would go to the Jets here but I am not ready to say that yet. I hope the Jets pull it out and continue this great play but there are too many reasons to believe the Titans will get the win. First off they have to be desperate for a win as no one ever wants to fall into a 0-3 hole so you have to believe the players will come out motivated. Second the Jets were able to surprise the Texans and stymie a Patriots offense that hasn’t done much but there is now game tape on the Jets that the Titans can use to take advantage of. Rex Ryan is an aggressive coach and for that reason you can expect tons of blitzes, well the best way to counteract that is a good running game with a few nice draws and screens. This I believe Chris Johnson is perfect for and after his big day last week look for him to pull off some big runs. Now the Titans do look weak on defense but that is mainly the pass defense and while Sanchez looked good last week they did only score 16 points against a Pats defense that looks to have taken a big step back. If the Titans can find ways to get into the end zone against the Jets I am not so sure Sanchez can lead them to victory.

The Jets defense has been spectacular so far this season so it is not fair to say that they are going to get gauged by the Titans so in that respect if the Jets can continue their play on defense they should pull out the victory, but if the Titans can take advantage of their over aggressiveness the Jets could find themselves 2-1 at the end of the day.

Yankees Trim Magic Number to 3

With the Yankees in command of the division and the Red Sox likely taking the Wild Card this game does not hold the weight of most Red Sox-Yankees games, but nonetheless it was an important game for the Yankees as they wanted to see if Chamberlain could have a good outing to help them feel more secure about their rotation. Well the Yankees had a nice showing with Joba going six innings giving up only three earned runs while the Yankees shelled Lester for five runs in two and a third innings before a ball off the bat of Melky knocked him out of the game. The Yankees went on to win the game 9-5 and bringing their magic number to three in order to win the division.

This was definitely a big game for the Yankees, as they were able to come from a big series win over the Angels to win the first game of the series against the Red Sox, two teams they could see come playoff time; however, the bigger part of this of course was the play of Joba as at this point the division is all but sealed up. Joba was able to pitch very well and turn it on against a good Red Sox line-up, now it will be interesting to see if he can build on this in his next start but it was definitely nice to see him pick it up in a big spot and when he was asked to. If Joba can give the Yankees this kind of production come postseason then they will have themselves a very good fourth starter rounding out their rotation nicely.

Most likely the Yankees will be playing the winner of the Central division, either the Tigers or Twins, in the first round of the playoffs. These two teams have the ability to beat the Yankees but as was shown during the course of the season the Yankees have generally played well against them, with a series lead of 5-1 over the Tigers and 7-0 against the Twins. With the other teams they most likely would play being the Red Sox and Angels, it is a good sign that they Yankees have been able to take it to both recently. Overall while the Yankees have not had the most consistent pitching rotation you’ve got to like the talent there and if they can turn it on for the postseason the Yankees will go far, especially with the line-up they have as the Yankees always seem to score tons of runs.