Posts Tagged ‘New York Jets’

By W.G. Ramirez

Tonight is like a second helping the night of Thanksgiving.Line1_PROOF

You’ve had your fill of turkey, stuffing, candied yams and the NFL. But then you go back and feel compelled at a second helping, cause, well, it’s Thanksgiving.

After watching yesterday’s marathon between the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos, whose 51 points matched what Jacksonville has scored all season, well, you could call tonight’s contest between the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets the second helping.

It’ll be that painful when it’s all said and done, especially for how good the main course was yesterday.

Looking at the laundry list of injuries with these two teams, I’m not sure how much offense we’re going to see, a hint that the Under may be a good play.

Atlanta’s left tackle Sam Baker (knee) was the latest casualty, joining running back Steven Jackson (hamstring) and cornerback Asante Samuel (thigh), who have both missed two straight games. Defensive end Kroy Biermann and fullback Bradie Ewing are out for the season, while linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (foot) will miss at least six more weeks. Receiver Roddy White has played through an ankle injury but has vividly been limited by his bad wheel.

The Jets are so limited by injuries at wide receiver, I’m not sure what quarterback Geno Smith plans on doing with this offense, especially knowing he shares the league lead with 11 turnovers, including eight interceptions. Wideouts Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill probably won’t play, as Holmes is still out with foot and hamstring problems and Hill has been grounded by concussion issues.

Is it scary to say the best part of this game might be the Jets’ defense?

That would be like saying the turkey and stuffing were dry, the yams were soggy and the best part of dinner was the green bean almondine.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather hit the gym instead of bothering with seconds. But, here’s the key matchup…

KEY SHOWDOWN: Atlanta’s receiving corps vs. New York’s second-ranked defense

Jets defensive back Antonio Cromarite will likely line up against the NFL’s leading receiver, Julio Jones, who has racked up 481 yards receiving and has topped 100 yards in three straight games.

As mentioned, White has been limited by a high ankle sprain and that means the Matt Ryan will turn to age-defying tight end Tony Gonzalez, who is in after 12 catches for career-best 149 yards and two touchdowns against the New England Patriots.

The Jets’ defense is a big reason they’re 2-2 this year, as its No. 2 in the league overall, ranking fifth against the rush and eighth against the pass. Tonight they take on the league’s third-best passing offense.

The winner of this battle could very well win this game.

BY THE NUMBERS: N.Y. Jets at Atlanta (-10, 44)

New York is 3-1 against the number this season, while Atlanta is 1-3 ATS.

New York is also on a 3-0 straight-up run against NFC teams, including its season-opening win over Tampa Bay.

The Jets are on a 5-1 spread streak in the month of October.

The Falcons are 1-3 for the first time since 2007 and come in mired in a 0-2 skid, the first time in six years under coach Mike Smith they’ve lost back-to-back regular season games.

Ryan is 34-6 in home starts and has won 12 of his last 14 at the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons are 33-1 when Ryan starts and has rating of at least 100.

Atlanta has failed to cover 4 of its last 5 in the Georgia Dome and 6 of their last 7 overall.

The Falcons have covered the game 7 of the last 9 seasons preceding a bye week.

Five of past six meetings between these two teams have played Under the total.

ON DECK: While the Falcons get a bye after this game, the Jets return home to play the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At most books with a line on the game, the Steelers are a road favorite laying 2.5 to the Fly Boys next week.

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HBO and NFL Films announced Thursday, what is an apparent “long-term renewal” to continue to produce the behind-the-scenes training camp documentary “Hard Knocks.”

The reality sports documentary television series produced by the two entities was first shown in 2001. There have been eight seasons (seven teams) – the show was idle between 2003 and 2006 – with the most recent airing last year, featuring the Miami Dolphins. In 2011, due to the work stoppage, there was no team featured. Each season, a team from the NFL is followed with cameras rolling virtually 24/7, through its training camp while providing an in-depth perspective of the team’s preparation for the upcoming football season.

This year’s victim: the Cincinnati Bengals.

It’ll mark only the second time a team has been twice-featured, as the Dallas Cowboys were on display in 2002 and 2008.

Of the seven teams featured, only three teams have made it to the playoffs: the Baltimore Ravens (2001), Bengals (2009) and New York Jets (2010). No team has ever won the Super Bowl after appearing on the show.

Ironically, since the show’s debut, teams featured on “Hard Knocks” are a combined 56-56 straight-up. The Jets (11-5) produced the best record in the 2010-11 season, while the Chiefs (4-11) have produced the worst, in 2007-08.

At the betting window, mediocrity is contagious, as the seven teams are a combined 53-56-3 against the spread, with the 2010-11 Jets producing the best betting mark, at 9-7.

The following are the year-by-year records of “Hard Knocks” teams:

  • 2001 – Baltimore Ravens 10-6 SU … 8-7-1 ATS
  • 2002 – Dallas Cowboys 5-11 SU … 7-8-1 ATS
  • 2007 – Kansas City Chiefs 4-12 SU … 7-8-1 ATS
  • 2008 – Dallas Cowboys 9-7 SU … 7-9 ATS
  • 2009 – Cincinnati Bengals 10-6 SU … 7-9 ATS
  • 2010 – New York Jets 11-5 SU … 9-7 ATS
  • 2012 – Miami Dolphins 7-9 SU … 8-8 ATS
  • 2013 – Cincinnati Bengals ?-? SU … ?-? ATS

I can hear Ol’ Blue Eyes now, belting out “New York, New York.”

Enter Frank Sinatra’s Big Apple theme music… “Start spreading the news…”

Heck, if Frank Sinatra was alive, even he might have attended the Tim Tebow press conference announcing he had signed with the New York Jets, and greeted him with his own rendition of the song.

After all, contrary to critic belief, this was a press conference that was well-deserved and needed to be held for arguably the most mesmerizing athlete in the world.

Here’s why…

In 1994, Spring Training had never been like it was that year. Probably never has been since then.

The buzz was incredible, even outside of Sarasota, Florida.

No, it wasn’t because of the 1993 No. 1 draft pick Alex Rodriguez.

It was all because of someone who was headed to Double-A ball. Can you imagine that? Who in their right mind could draw 38 television cameras, and even more than that for print, for his first press conference as the member of an MLB-organization, despite being no better than a Single-A player, as it would turn out?

Not a team, not a new MLB coach and not the No. 1 draft choice from the previous draft.

Michael Jeffrey Jordan was going to try his hand as a baseball player, and held his first press conference at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla., before hoards of media.

The press conference had nothing to do with talent on the field, ahem, limited talent. It had to do with the phenomenon, which on March 31, 1994, joined the Birmingham Barons, to play under then-manager Terry Francona.

Since when did a Double-A player deserve to receive this much attention? Even then-White Sox hitting coach Walt Hriniak thought it was a gimmick, revved up by Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

I really can’t remember how many others thought it might have been a gimmick, and berated Jordan for the decision to step on the diamond, but I don’t remember media outlets and personalities clamoring about the press conference to announce the decision, or introduce him as a Birmingham Baron.

It wasn’t the point, that the team held a press conference for a new player on its Double-A team. It was the point of what was about to happen to the city of Birmingham. It was too big a deal to ignore it, because of the stature of the person who was about to arrive, and increase revenue to the city, not to mention the Southern League and Major League Baseball.

Now, recently on ESPN’s First Take, outspoken Skip Bayless and boisterous guest Stephen A. Smith debated whether or not Tim Tebow was the ‘most polarizing athlete in history.’ My first thought before the two debated was Muhammad Ali. Bayless argued Tebow was; Smith debated Ali was ahead of him.

He’s that mesmerizing, no doubt about it. He could walk into any arena or venue, for any sport, and captivate an audience. Heck, in an effort for some last-ditch sales, Reebok quickly designed Jets jerseys donning the name ‘Tebow’ and the No. 15. I say “last-ditch” because Nike is about to release its design for its new NFL uniforms, as it now has the contract for all apparel.

Reebok knows what’s up. And quite frankly, if you’re arguing that a backup quarterback shouldn’t have a press conference for joining a team, then you should be barking about him having jerseys in masses.

Fact is, whether anyone likes it or not, this might have been the best marriage possible – Tebow and New York, the No. 1 sports market. Only 12 cities have teams from four major league sports, and New York is one of them. Of those 12, it ranks No. 1 in media market and it was the first of the 12 to host all four sports (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL). And, the icing on the cake, it’s the ONLY city of the 12 that has two teams for each sport.

Now you bring in the No. 1 news story, the most-hyped up revelation in the NFL last season, arguably the best feel-good story in sports in years, and yeah, it calls for a press conference. I’d even go as far to say this one was warranted even more so than Jordan’s introductory press conference as a minor-league player in Double-A ball.

Tebow’s press conference was well-deserved. Not because he’s a quarterback, simply cause he’s coming to town, and is about to (enter Frank Sinatra music): “… make a brand new start of it, in old New York. (He’ll) find (he’s) A-Number 1, top of the list, king of the hill, A-Nummmberr 1. If (he) can make it there, (he’ll) make it anywhere.

“(Now), it up to you , New, York, Newww, Yorrrrk!”