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The Jets Can Win The AFC East
The Jets will compete with the New England Patriots this season and will possibly win the AFC East division.

They will be able to win their division for a number of reasons:

Owner

Woody Johnson is committed to winning football games. This is evidenced by his willingness to spend money and by his daily communications with general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

Head Coach

The “mangenius” is an elite football mind who commands the respect of his players and demands excellence. The Jets are one of the better disciplined teams in the league (check the number of penalties his team committed in 07 versus the league average). The Jets roster is full of “character guys” who play the game hard, are committed to the team concept and are committed to winning football games. The Jets play the game the way it is supposed to be played and this fact is a testament to the coaching prowess of Mangini. In my opinion, Mangini is a top flight NFL coach and will only get better.

General Manager

Mike Tannenbaum is a big time general manager who will be regarded as such when it’s all said and done. In the 2007 draft, he selected Darrelle Revis in Round 1 and David Harris in Round 2. Both of these players look like perennial Pro-Bowlers. It doesn’t get any better than Tannenbaum’s performance in the 07 draft. With a #6 and a #36 pick in the upcoming draft, there is every reason to believe that Tannenbaum will draft another couple of impact players. This offseason, Tannenbaum was extremely active in free agency; acquiring talented players in: Alan Faneca, Calvin Pace, Kris Jenkins, Tony Richardson, and Damien Woody. I believe Mike Tannenbaum is a top flight general manager and I believe that the Jets are in extremely good hands.

Personnel

Offense

The offensive line was a major weakness last season. The acquisitions of Alan Faneca and Damien Woody provide the offensive line with a major upgrade in talent and should make former first round draft picks- Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson- better players. With the potential addition of more talent via the upcoming draft, the Jets offensive line has a good chance to be an above average unit this season.

The wide receiver position is filled by steady, physical players in Jerricho Cotchery and Laveraneus Coles. The running back position is filled by the steady Thomas Jones and the explosive Leon Washington. Both players should benefit from an improved offensive line. While the team claims there will be an “open quarterback competition” this summer, I believe that talk is nothing more than a prelude to a trade. I think Chad Pennington’s days as a starting quarterback in this league are over and I believe Kellen Clemens will be the team’s starting quarterback in 08'. Clemens has a big arm, a strong on the field presence and has the ability to run for the occasional first down. Clemens should dramatically improve this season behind a much improved offensive line and should benefit from having a healthy Coles and Cotchery to throw the ball to.

I believe that the Jets offense will be an above average unit in 2008.

Defense

Before the free agency period began, the Jets defense possessed three big time, young playmakers in cornerback Darrelle Revis, safety Kerry Rhodes and inside linebacker David Harris. It was my belief then that all the team needed to do to transform the talented unit into an elite unit was to add 2-3 big time difference makers. The Jets have added 2 potential difference makers in Kris Jenkins and Calvin Pace. In addition, the Jets have the #6 pick and the #36 pick in the upcoming draft to acquire an additional couple of defensive playmakers.

The Jets defense has the talent to be a Top 10 unit in 2008 and the addition of another couple of impact players from the early rounds of the upcoming draft could allow the Jets to have an elite defense in 2008.

Special Teams

The Jets always seem to have one of the better special teams in the league. Mike Nugent has a strong leg and should benefit from increased opportunities in 08 due to an improved offense. Leon Washington and Justin Miller give the Jets an unbelievably talented and explosive kickoff return duo. The unit’s most glaring weakness is at the punter position. Ben Graham has not lived up to the hype that existed prior to his arrival from Australia and could be replaced.

The Jets should have an elite special teams unit in 2008.

Their Schedule

The Jets 2008 schedule is extremely favorable.

Home: Buffalo, Miami, New England, Denver, Kansas City, Arizona, St. Louis, Cincinnati
Away: Buffalo, Miami, New England, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tennessee

No Fear Factor

One of the main advantages that the Patriots enjoy is being able to play teams who are in awe of Bill Bellichick, Tom Brady, Randy Moss & co. The Jets are not one of these teams. The Jets were prepared and fearless during their December 16th game against New England despite having a 3-10 record and despite having to hear all of the NFL “experts” predict that the Patriots would score 50 or 60 points against them.

New England

New England is as vulnerable as they have been in recent memory.

The following is a list of my reasons:

1. They suffered one of the worst Super Bowl defeats in the history of the sport. It seems reasonable to think that the team was demoralized by the defeat and there could be a carryover into next season.

2. The Patriots defense is not looking too strong on paper. Their defense was weakened by the losses of Asante Samuel and Randall Gay. While their defensive line continues to look like an excellent unit, the linebacker position and secondary position currently lacks talent, speed and youth. The Patriots will likely focus a lot of their attention on draft day to defensive players but will be without their late first round draft pick (which was forfeited as a result of “Spygate”).

3. The loss of Donte Stallworth should not be overlooked. Stallworth is a quality receiver and a legitimate deep threat. Defenses across the league have to be happy that he is no longer part of New England’s offensive attack.

4. The effects of “Spygate” and the current controversy involving former employee Matt Walsh could serve as a distraction to the Patriots.

5. By now, it seems fair to think that many teams around the league genuinely dislike the Patriots for being so successful and for being so seemingly corrupt. The team will have a bull’s eye on it’s back and shouldn’t benefit from too many opponents not being “up for the game”. In addition, the Giants Super Bowl upset will likely serve as a blueprint for teams around the league on how to beat the Patriots.

General Prediction

The Jets will be the surprise team of 2008 and will compete with the Patriots for the AFC East Division and will, at the very least, make the playoffs as a wild card team.

Specific Prediction

The Jets will go 12-4 and win the AFC East.

Impossible is nothing (credit Addidas and the New York Giants).

Posted by David Martorano at 3/16/2008 7:09:00 PM
Comments (13)

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