05 January 2011
Fat man falls. Kicker misses big field goal. Refs throw game. A great formula for Super Bowl success.
Who doesn't love a good list? They're easy to write and even easier to read. Instead of having to follow a story and maintain your focus, you can go from one point to another without ever losing your place. They're made for people with short attention spans, like yours tru
THE NEW YORK JETS "FIVE KEYS TO VICTORY" VERSUS INDY
1. Injure Peyton Manning
When your team isn't a favorite to win the sport's championship entering the postseason, you try to find a past team who overcame similar obstacles on their way to winning it all. Last year the Jets pointed to the '08 Arizona Cardinals, who despite coming a 'Tone Time catch away from winning the Super Bowl, parlayed a mediocre 9-7 season into an improbable run to the season's final game. That comparison failed, not surprisingly, as the Jets fell short of reaching the Super Bowl.
This year I wanted the Jets doppelganger to be a team who actually won the Super Bowl. I found the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers.
In 2004, led by a rookie quarterback the Steelers lost to an all-time great quarterback in the AFC Championship Game. The following year Pittsburgh started the season 7-2 before hitting a late-fall funk where the team lost three straight games. They ended the season with an 11-5 record, good for second place in their division and the AFC's No. 6 seed. In the playoffs the Steelers knocked off the No.'s 3, 1 and 2 seed in the AFC, and finally the NFC's No. 1 seed in the Super Bowl. That is the exact path the Jets will (likely) have to follow to win the Super Bowl.
What is lost in that hopefully pinpoint comparison is that the Steelers journey to football immortality was heavily aided by a devastating knee injury. In the team's first round match against the Cincinnati Bengals, journeyman defensive Kimo von Oelhoffen tore the ACL of Bengals' quarterback Carson Palmer with a late, low hit on Palmer's first pass of the game. The Steelers would rally from a 10-0 deficit and defeat the Bengals, with von Oelhoffen's hit serving as the impetus behind the win and their Super Bowl run.
See, I'm not asking Mike DeVito to intentionally explode Peyton Manning's knee; that won't be necessary. But if Mike could, ya know, lead with his helmet the first time he gets a shot at Manning, I'd be OK with that. Now you're probably thinking I'm a huge douchebag for requesting this---I won't argue that, but if you believe history repeats itself, the Jets must take out Manning on the game's first play. End of Story.
2. Pressure the Quarterback
This is the most obvious key on the list. The reason the Jets jumped out to a 17-6 lead last year in Indy and the reason they beat the Patriots in Week Two of this season was because they pressured the quarterback. If you give Manning too much time he will complete, or at least be on target with every pass he throws. He can make a junior high school receiving corps look like Pro Bowlers. My hope is that although last week's game meant zilch in the grand scheme of things, the strong performances by Jason Taylor, Calvin Pace, and yes, Jamaal Westerman will carry over into the playoffs. Taylor and Pace are the obvious candidates to sack Manning, but keep an eye out for the second-year player from Rutgers. If Westerman sees action, Buddy Crutchfield says he will sack the quarterback. Ya heard it here first.
3. Lock Brian Schottenheimer in the Locker Room.
Alas, establishing LT remains the Jets top offensive priority entering the postseason. If LT really came here to win a Super Bowl, he would tell Schotty to let Greene take the Jets to the Holy Land.
4. Do NOT Trust Nick Folk.
It really is a miracle there was not a "Nick Folk Game" this season. You could argue he crushed the team's momentum in the Packers game and maybe even the Patriots game (that was Rex's fault), but Nick Folk will make his mark on the 2010 Jets before the season ends. Let's just pray he shanks his 20-yard field goal in a tied game Saturday night, not with the Jets trailing.
5. Rex Sanchez
No, not our blog. We do wield a great deal of influence over the outcome of Saturday night's game, but not as much as the site's namesakes, Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez. For the Jets to win Saturday (and beyond), the Jets head coach and quarterback will have to be on their games. For Rex, that means not wasting challenges on early, meaningless plays, not asking Folk to kick a 50+ yard field goals when punting is clearly the better option, and of course vetoing as many of Schotty's play calls as he can. For Sanchez, it means he has to audible to a pass play at least once (he has still yet to do that in his career), throwing the ball away when Freeney and/or Mathis are chasing him down like insane killers, and maintaining that late-fourth quarter moxie. Based on how this season has gone, I have a feeling the Jets may need a score at about 11:12 p.m. on Saturday.
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