Broadway Jets Ready for Their Own Show
Last Sunday, facing an opponent in the Los Angeles Rams headed for the playoffs, the New York Jets snapped a 0-13 losing streak to win a football game. They backed up that victory yesterday by beating another playoff-bound team in the Cleveland Browns.
As a result of the Jets winning back-to-back weeks, the Jacksonville Jaguars have jumped ahead of the Jets in the 2021 NFL Draft pecking order, and will in all likelihood take the pre-ordained No.1 overall pick - Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. As ever, with the Jets, things get complicated fast.
Do they replace young, faltering quarterback Sam Darnold with another top quarterback as quickly as they appeared to be ready to move on with Trevor Lawrence? Can they command the best coaching candidate without Lawrence? What will general manager Joe Douglas do with all the draft capital the Jets have? Existing Jets head coach Adam Gase won’t be there next season. Gase is a bizarre head coach, bereft of leadership qualities, yet mysteriously he has found two teams willing to employ him - the Miami Dolphins and the Jets. Gase has spent most of his two year reign with the Jets on the hotseat. Sam Darnold has been injured, up and down playing wise, and has dealt with a season of trade rumors. The Jets fanbase is one of the NFL’s most long-suffering, and accustomed to miserable campaigns like the 2020 season. But even they must be seeing a chink of light, as their team performs manfully on the field. Last Sunday, the Jets punter made a tackle against the Rams. So-called tanking teams don’t do that. Locker room morale was atrocious a month ago. Now, those left in the Jets locker room in March will have something to build off and take into next season. Game of the Week: Tennessee Titans @ Green Bay Packers At a snow laden, postcard-perfect Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers dismantled the Tennessee Titans 40-14 to take the No.1 seed in the NFC. Coming into this game, the question based on the Packers schedule thus far, was could they beat a Super Bowl contender. The answer on Sunday Night Football was a resounding yes. In wide receiver Davante Adams and rookie running back AJ Dillon, the Packers possessed the two players Aaron Rodgers could unleash to excel in the conditions. Adams scored three touchdowns, soared like a gymnast while catching passes, and was electric gaining yards after the catch. Every time he is targeted, it feels as if he completes the catch. Dillon bludgeoned the life out of Tennessee on the ground, looking every bit a throwback to a big bodied Packers running back from days of yore. Backing up Aaron Jones, introducing Dillon on a snowy day was a declaration of intent that Green Bay’s ground game is capable of punishing teams in different ways in January. The Packers defense will be happy they limited Derrick Henry’s impact on the ground. Overhaul, Mike Pettine’s defense has improved in December. Defensive backs Jaire Alexander and Darnell Savage Jnr. are consistently taking the ball off the opposition.
With the NFC playoffs going through Green Bay, the Packers are a formidable opponent for any team on this showing. Week 16 Highlights
MVP: Kevin Greene, one of the best linebackers to have ever played football, died during the week. Admired by teammates and opponents alike, Greene was a ferocious player and is on the top three chart for all time sacks. Greene, described as the Master of Sacking, played for the Rams, the Steelers, Panthers and 49ers. Packers fans will remember his outside linebackers coaching role for Green Bay, which culminated in bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Titletown in February 2011. He coached Clay Matthews into one of the game's most dominant quarterback harriers, and came up with a bit of coaching inspiration in the Super Bowl, imploring Matthews to step up his play after the leader of the defense, Charles Woodson, was knocked out of the game with a broken collarbone. The clip is enough to bring a tear to the eye of any Packers fan. Kevin Greene had big hair, charisma and big game temperament. At 58, he’s gone far too young.
NFC West: The Seahawks, fired up by their revitalized defense, edged past the Rams and won the West. The 49ers defence stuffed Arizona to deny them a playoff spot.
Stat of the Week: Alvin Kamara scored six touchdowns - tied for most ever in an NFL game - for the New Orleans Saints against the Minnesota Vikings. The Saints hitherto woebegone offense came to life, steered by one of the league’s best running backs. If they expect to do anything in the playoffs, Kamara represents their best strategy to control the ball and score points.
Bradywatch: Brady steered Tampa Bay to the playoffs for the first time in 13 years with an effortless win over the abject Detroit Lions. Brady sprayed the ball around, and threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns.
Quote of the Week: “At heart he was such a sweet, great human. KG was so much fun to be around. It is a massive loss to the world of sports. Anyone who was around Kevin knows how special he was.” Aaron Rodgers reflecting on the loss of the peerless Kevin Greene.
Even without Trevor Lawrence, the New York Jets are in a position to make themselves a better football team. All the attention is focused on which quarterback will be talking reps. As important, if not more so, is finding the right head coach for the organization. Finishing the season strongly suggests the players have a bit of backbone. It’s now over to general manager Joe Douglas and ownership to prove to Jets Nation that winning consecutive games is an expected habit, rather than just a nice memento at the end of another bitterly disappointing losing season.