2004-10-22 / Sports

Jets Face Huge Task Stopping Patriots Juggernaut

By Michael Avallone Sports Columnist


Curtis Martin will need to be effective against a good Patriots defense. (AP/Kathy Willens)
Curtis Martin will need to be effective against a good Patriots defense. (AP/Kathy Willens) Baseball is winding down and depending on what happens in the ALCS, could be over for us here in New York. However, both the Jets and Giants have made it known that playoff football in January may be a two-team affair here in the metropolitan area. Gang Green’s victory and Big Blue’s bye means neither team has lost since the opening Sunday of the 2004 NFL season. It’s time to start believing...

Jets

PASSING OFFENSE (C+) — Depending on what type of view you take, the Jets unbeaten start can mean one of two things. Maybe they are getting lucky, particularly with QB Chad Pennington looking very ordinary the past few weeks or maybe this team is good enough to overcome their star player’s slumps. Pennington completed 20-of-30 passes for 222 yards, spreading the ball around to nine different receivers. The tight ends and receivers out of the backfield caught a high number (14) of those passes. Justin McCareins led the receiving corp with 56 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE (A) — After failing to run for 100 yards for the first time this season last week, RB Curtis Martin got back on his horse and ran over the 49ers. His 111 yards were a game-high and his two rushing TDs upped his season total to six. Backup RB LaMont Jordan got into the act as well, scampering for a 17-yard score for the Jets’ first TD.

PASS DEFENSE (D) — These aren’t the 49ers of the early ‘90s. Hell, these aren’t the 49ers of five years ago but Gang Green still made San Francisco QB Tim Rattay look a little too good. The Niners slinger completed 18-of-28 passes for 286 yards (1 TD, 1 INT). Numerous blitzes led to three Jets’ sacks but also a lot of openings. New York did keep star TE Eric Johnson at bay but WRs Brandon Lloyd and Arnaz Battle combined for 180 yards.

RUSH DEFENSE (B+) — Playing a 3-4 much more than usual, New York continued its successful season at stopping the run. San Francisco RB Kevan Barlow carried the ball 21 times for 79 yards but the rest of his teammates did nothing, gaining only 20 total yards on the ground.

The Jets (5-0) have not looked this good since starting out 6-1 under Al Groh in 2000. We all know how that season ended. Chances are coach Herman Edwards keeps on top of his team, knowing that it is still a bit too early in the season to start printing playoff tickets. Facing a horrendous (1-5) 49ers team did nothing to prepare the Jets for this week’s matchup with the defending champion Patriots and it will be interesting to see how New York handles its first real test. Gang Green is here to stay, but the winning streak stops now.

Up Next: @ NE (5-0)

Prediction: NE 20 NYJ 14

Giants

Coming off of two hard-fought and suprising victories in Green Bay and Dallas, the Giants (4-1) return home to face a fast-improving Detroit Lions team. Under former coach Jim Fassel, Big Blue was putrid coming off bye weeks. It stands to reason that they’ll be prepared under the current czar, er, coach Tom Coughlin. Make no mistake, Lions coach Steve Mariucci has a talented team that could cause New York some problems. This will not be a cake walk.

Up Next: vs DET (3-2)

Prediction: NYG 21, DET 17.

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