200 Miles From the Citi

January 7, 2010 7:35 AM


TJones_Wk_17.JPGI love Rex Ryan's confidence. Absolutely love it.

I love it because he's just like me.

I keep saying it, but I expect the Jets to win a playoff game this year...and to be quite honest, I believe they could be a very tough out.

Rex Ryan has done me one better - he thinks the Jets should be the favorite to win the Super Bowl.

I love it.

At this point, everyone's out to win - there's no such thing as bulletin board material - if you're not already motivated, go home.

So I'm not worried about Ryan riling anyone up by talking.

What I do want is a coach who believes in his players and isn't afraid of speaking up in support of them.  Rex Ryan is all that and then some.

And it started a couple of weeks ago - when the possibility of beating the Colts and making the playoffs came up, Ryan said something like, "I don't know if we'll be there, but if we are, no one's going to want to play us.  We're built for this time of year."

And he's right.  The Jets are a running and defense team, and that's the type of team that wins championships.

So I'm confident.

Except for one thing - the Jets' running game and defense are kind of overrated.

I know...did Mr. Die-Hard, Optimistic Jets Fan just call out his team's two biggest strengths?  Yup.  Tell me you're a 100% believer in Thomas Jones and the Jets defense to come up huge this post-season.

I'd love to see it, but I'm just not super-confident.

The Jets defense has played some good games recently - but the Tony Gonzalez touchdown in a huge spot sticks in my craw.  Thomas Jones is riding the wave of superb work by the offensive line...if they slip up, he's not capable of making the moves to create for himself.  (Luckily I feel like this offensive line is just hitting their stride and will be able to keep it up as long as the Jets are in the playoffs.)

Both might be good enough to get by the Bengals...but I'm not sure either one comes up big against the Colts or Chargers.

And it comes down to this - even though the Jets are a running and defense team, I think their post-season rides on the game management of Mark Sanchez.  He can't turn the ball over - he needs to help the defense by keeping the Jets' opponents out of prime field position.  He needs to set up the running game by passing the ball and keeping defenses honest.  And a couple of touchdown passes from inside the 5-yard line would save me from pulling my hair out with run after run after run.

It seems odd to me that this team has the best defense and running game in the NFL.  There have been times this year when I have wholeheartedly believed it, but too often I got the impression they were overrated.

On Saturday, and hopefully the coming weeks, I really hope they prove me wrong.

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