By Kennedy Ross
Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East Overlord (@FNscribeNY)
So close and yet so close . . . to losing his job. That was the results of the improved but fruitless efforts of Mark Sanchez Monday night against the Houston Texans. So Sanchez goes back to the testing ground to fend off his demotion for yet another week against a not so soft Colts team.
After an emotional battle against his old rival, Tom Brady hitches up the wagons and heads west to face the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks present a tough team, a raucous crowd, and a winning record that can't be taken lightly.
Both Miami and Buffalo are looking at tough games against the Rams and Cardinals respectively. Both their opponents present tough defenses which will make victory difficult on the road.
Here are five things you should be aware of:
1. Sanchez has to battle the Colts as well as the pressure. ( Jets vs. Colts)
Ah, those fun lovin' Jets. Just when everyone had their shovel of dirt ready to toss on their graves this past Monday night, they pop their heads out of the ground. The one person not having that much fun is their (current) starting quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Although we are well aware of the Jets injury issues, we are also aware that their offense was putrid before anyone got scratched. With a Real Quarterback Rating of 29 and an Offensive Passer Rating of 31, Sanchez is on very thin ice.
How does one perform when his next pass can be his last? Well you can perform poorly under the pressure. Or you can thrive and succeed under pressure. But there is a third option.
If Sanchez feels, like many, that he was never given a real shot to succeed here in New York, he might be ready to leave. If that's the case, he may be under no pressure at all.
The Jets organization still can't breathe easy however. Their run defense is dead last on our Defensive Hog Index. And even though they are just outside the top 10 in our Defensive Passer Rating, opposing quarterbacks still make big plays on them.
Rookie Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is not only playing well in his first few games as a pro, he beat Aaron Rogers and the Packers last week. New York has to be applying some whiteout to that check mark they had on this game as a win. Maybe home field will help the Jets steal a win . . . maybe.
2. Welker needs to "stick it in Bill's face" again in Seattle. (Patriots vs. Seahawks)
Out in the great north west lives a mysterious creature who's legend has well . . . become the stuff of legend. It is known and Man, The 12th Man. It lives in the finely constructed hallows of CenturyLink Field. And it loves to feed on metrosexual quarterbacks. Hey, here comes one now.
Tom Brady saunters into Seattle with the New England Patriots for what would have been a cake walk in the past. But today the Seahawks boast the number six slots in our Defensive Passer Rating and our Defensive Hog index.
Their run stopping ability will surely be put to the test with the Patriots newly minted number one running game in our Offensive Hog Index. But that's not even the sexy battle.
The Seahawks are number one in our Defensive Real Passing Yards Per Attempt. That is a direct challenge to Brady and his favorite smart mouthed wide receiver, Wes Welker. Welker thumped his chest in the direction of his coach Bill Belichick last week. He "jokingly" stated that "it was nice to stick it in Bill's face once in a while".
The last time Welker did his stand up routine, Belichick didn't start him the next game. The Patriots are going to need every man on deck, especially since the Seahawks always have an extra man on the field. The noisy Seattle fans, known as "The 12th Man" makes life hell for opposing offenses.
This may not be the time for joking around, or punishing pranksters either. The Patriots should make it out of the wilderness alive. And Welker will probably make sure he has all of his toes when it's over.
3. Bills need to take a stand in the desert. (Bills vs. Cardinals)
Despite the names, the Arizona Cardinals are the ones on a stampede. They have trounced the AFC East so far with wins against New England and Miami already this year. The Bills are next on the list. And with their defense, and the Bills propensity for catastrophic implosion, this trip can go really wrong for Buffalo.
The Cardinals are tough on quarterbacks with top 10 rankings in our Defensive Real Quarterback Rating and Defensive Passer Rating. That's bad news for Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick who nose dives when things start going south.
The Bills will have to rely on their running game to control things. They are still number three in our Offensive Hog Index and will need every bit of it against the Cardinals fourth ranked Defensive Hog Index. If the Bills don't turn the ball over they can come out of this alive.
4. Just doesn't get easier for Miami (Dolphins vs. Rams)
The Miami Dolphins go up against a tough defensive team, in a game that will probably end in a close one. Again? Unfortunately for the Dolphins, being in Miami has been anything but fun in the sun. The NFC West boasts the only division where everyone is above .500 in the standings.
Battle tested Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been preparing for this all of his life. Well, at least the past three games anyway. All three games have been decided by a field goal. This means the rookie can keep them in the game and as the last one showed, find a way to win.
Much like their NFC West counterparts, the Rams have been riding their defense which is top 10 in most major categories. The Dolphins have a defensive specialty of their own. The Dolphins are number one in Defensive Rushing Yards Per Attempt and number two in our Defensive Hog Index.
That, and a strong dose of running back Reggie Bush should help the Dolphins keep the game close and allow Tannehill to swoop in and save the day.
5. You should sleep well knowing . . .
. . . Jets owner Woody Johnson has stated that he supports Mark Sanchez and that Tim Tebow will be a Jet for the next two years. Shouldn't that be the other way around?
. . . Wes Welker may have delivered the first parting shot to his coach and his team. Contract issues and the "business never personal" approach of the Patriots may have made a humdrum locker room a whole lot more interesting.
. . . Ryan Fitzpatrick is eager to play in Arizona because that's his hometown. If he stinks up the field again, he can literally run to his mommy so she can make it all better. He may want to stay there too.