By Kennedy Ross
Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East Overlord (@FNscribeNY)
Come on, you didn't really think meek and respectful would last forever did you? Up until this point, Jets head coach Rex Ryan made you believe all of his wind really was in his ample guts this whole time. But I guess there is something about three Superbowl rings that just gets him cranked up.
Ryan predicted victory yet again over the New England Patriots. He acknowledged their greatness, but said he didn't care about it. I guess that's about as respectful a way to say you're going to kick someone's butt as you can get. T.V. ratings just went up a couple of points.
And in Western New York, the not so confident Bills look to gain some confidence against a so so team, the Tennessee Titans. The Bills are feeling a little good after putting their heart into that 19-16 over time win against the Cardinals last week. Fortunately, the Bills play at 1PM and the Jets-Patriots play at 4PM. This way they Bills fans will actually watch them play.
Here are five things you should be aware of:
1. This is a turning point for both teams. (Jets vs. Patriots)
There are many angles to this game. Lets start with the numbers. Rex Ryan is 3-4 against vs. the Patriots. Not bad. Certainly not as bad as many perceive him to be. Ryan is also 12-8 against the spread when on the road coming off of a win.
The Patriots are 29-22(.639) against the spread when coming off of a loss. It's probably better than that when they are coming off of an upset loss. Quite frankly, 3-3 in a season where they have the easiest schedule in the league, says a whole lot. And it aint good.
The fourth quarters, normally a comfortable place for Tom Brady, has been feeling a little prison shower-ish to him lately. Since 2009, Brady and the Patriots have lost seven games where they were ahead with less than five minutes to go.
The defense that showed improvement for a brief moment, is back to being a liability. They rank 19th on our Defensive Hog Index and 27th on our Defensive Passer Rating.
The Jets numbers are still crappy. But if they can't raise their level to where the Patriots were, they will certainly settle for the Patriots coming down to their level. Either way, they have a chance to back up an old friend, Ryan's big mouth.
2. Bills keep the momentum going against the Titans. (Bills vs. Titans)
Is there a Nor'easter in the forecast? The Bills could use it. They can use anything that will help since their team is as unreliable as the weather.
If their record is any indicator, they are due for a win, since they win two then lose two, etc. All our statistical data suggest the Bills are a lower third team, and the Titans are a lower, lower third team. The one thing the Bills have going for them is their running game. That's consistently good, if not great.
Running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller should be getting better the further away they come from their early season injuries. The Bills still rank number three on our Offensive Hog Index. Normally a good running game helps the passing game. But then again, these are the Bills.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has just been trying to hold it together the past few weeks. Good games for him are NOT throwing multiple interceptions. This should be a game where he can gain some momentum however. The Titans are dead last in our Defensive Passer Rating stats. So Fitzpatrick should be able to plug an I.V. into his stats this weekend.
3. Time to put the umbrella drink down Mark.
Last Sunday's victory over the Colts may have been the easiest win in Mark Sanchez's career. Sanchez threw only 18 times. He completed only 11 passes. He amassed only 82 yards through the air.
Yet he tossed two touchdowns. His team scored 35 points. And he walked away with a blow out victory.
These are the type of games that surely makes Rex Ryans nipples all perky. While Sanchez might get a little flush, they are not what his dreams are made of. Doing battle with and winning against future Hall Of Famers is what quarterbacks want. This Patriots game is what Sanchez wants.
While losing to Tom Brady, again, may not be earth shattering news, it won't help Sanchez's goal. It certainly wont help his standing in the eyes of management who have their finger over the "Launch Tebow" button.
Sanchez has to hope the little sparks he saw from his wide receivers last week were indicators of whats to come. Throwing for 82 yards, even with two touchdowns, won't be nearly enough against the Patriots. He needs a dream performance or else the nightmare could just be beginning.
4. Tebow returns to the scene of the crime.
You think Tebow is saying a few extra prayers or stuffing his jock strap with garlic for his return to New England? It was here after all that all of his prayers were not answered. He faced the unholy trinity of Belichick, Brady, and Sony HD alone.
Truth is of course, no trickery was needed to pull down the curtain from the Wizard of Oz. Tebow and the Broncos were held together by tape and paperclips. And that crushing loss put the nail in the coffin of Tebow's Bronco career.
Now as a man of faith, Tebow certainly does not believe in revenge. That would turn him to the dark side and make him a Sith Lord like Belichick. But the competitor is strong in him. Somewhere inside of him he hopes for an opportunity to make amends.
It goes without saying that he would like his opportunities to come as the Jets quarterback. Unless things go very badly, very quickly, that's not going to happen. But a few well placed wildcat plays may go a long way in atonement for his football sins that day.
Maybe he should just cross his fingers this time.
5. You should sleep well knowing . . .
. . . Bill Belichick probably canceled Tom Brady's Twitter account after Seahawks corner back Richard Sherman got up in Brady's face after Brady trash talked him on Twitter before the game.
. . . Wes Welker caught 10 passes last week against Seattle. He also caught a couple of bowel-shifting shots in the game. He may have to cancel his open mic this week.
. . . Rex Ryan is correct. Trash talking has nothing to do with the outcome of a game. It's what you do on the field that matters. Not sure if that's very comforting when it comes to the Jets.