200 Miles From the Citi

December 30, 2010 4:44 AM



Rarely have I been less excited for a week of NFL football.

Usually for the Jets, the final week of the season has dire consequences - win or miss the playoffs, or rely on five other teams losing or tying so the Jets can make the post-season.

This year Week 17 is nothing more than another week before the playoffs start.

And I'm bored.

Sure, there are some bowl games...but my bowl pool entry is hanging by a thread after a rough start, so therefore my bowl game interest is hanging by a thread.

Fantasy football?  Done.  My NFL picks?  Please...that pool might as well be done.

I suppose there's the question of where the Jets will be going in the first round of the playoffs - but I'll take a 'que sera, sera' approach there - whatever will be, will be.  I can't get too excited about who to root for in the Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City or Baltimore and Pittsburgh games. Just tell me who they'll play - it's the playoffs, every game will be a challenge.

But just because I'm bored doesn't mean the Jets need to be - they have some stuff to work on before the playoffs begin in a week and a half:

-Get that defense right.  The biggest concern right now for the Jets is their defense.  It was supposed to be their bread and butter, the unit that propelled them to the top of the NFL...but it has been far from that.  38 points to the Bears is Exhibit A...45 to the Patriots is up there as well.  That is not the kind of defense that wins you playoff games.  The defense suffered another blow on Sunday in Chicago when James Ihedigbo went down with an injury...they can't afford injuries because there just isn't a lot of depth there.

-Figure out who they are on offense.  I just don't understand Jets offenses.  It doesn't matter who's calling the shots, whether it's the mid-90s or 2010 - the offensive play-calling never makes sense to me.  Last year the reason the Jets made such a run in the playoffs was because every play call was just right for the situation.  It made sense to me - it seemed perfect. This year the offense has been far from perfect.  The running game hasn't been consistently effective since early in the season (though it seems to have recovered as Shonn Greene has taken on a bigger role the past couple of weeks).  The passing game seems to work best when Mark Sanchez throws quick slants and lets his receivers run after the catch...and when Dustin Keller isn't invisible, as he seems to have been for the past ten weeks leading up to the Chicago game. If the Jets figure out their offensive identity in the next couple of weeks, they'll be OK in the playoffs.

-Quit the distractions.  The regular season is effectively over.  There's one game left at home against Buffalo, but that can be treated essentially as an exhibition game - maybe like a playoff bye week...the Jets earned it, after all - if they were in any other division they would have competed for a first round bye.  But with the end of the regular season should come the end of the nonsense that has followed the Jets (not that it hasn't been self-inflicted) all season long.  It's time to lay down the boom - no more off-field incidents, from the coaching staff down to the players.  I know that's a lot to ask considering the makeup of this team and the way the players have acted all year, but the time for acting like kids is over.

It's playoff time.

And it can't come soon enough.

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