Well, it has been a long, tumultuous, and mostly painful season. Every circus must come to an end and roll up its tent to move on, however. So grab your finest spirits and ring in the new year and a new season as GGN and NFL Mobile from Verizon bring you the final official Jets game preview of the 2012-13 NFL season. We laughed, we cried, we contemplated hurting ourselves and each other...but mostly we just cried this year.
And here's to you: the real fan. You're still here in a losing season, after we've been eliminated, after 17 weeks of media circus that the NY Post could not have even predicted themselves when they published the fateful clown car graphic. I've been a Jets fan since 1996 when I started following football fanatically, some of you have DECADES on me. Others are young and innocent and won't know the true suffering that we have become so familiar with over the years. I just want to give you all kudos, young and old fans alike. It's you that make these seasons bearable, it's sharing conversations and thoughts and jokes with you that powers us through. That and watching NFL Mobile through Verizon.
So as I thank you for being part of GGN for another Jets season, feel free to use this post as a dumping ground for your thoughts and reflections not only of this upcoming game, but the entire year in retrospect.
Here's to you.
J!-E!-T!-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!!!
Where Each Team Is
The loser of this game will likely have the distinction of worst team in the AFC East in 2012-13, and conversely, the best draft pick in the division. I see silver lining either way, a moral victory for the Jets or the chance to pick ahead of the Bills and Dolphins in the 2013 NFL draft.
Both coaches Rex Ryan and Chan Gailey are embattled, have losing records, and serious changes in coaching and the front office are very possible, perhaps even probable, for both organizations. So although there may seem to be very little incentive from either side to actually play the game, I expect both men to have pride and try and come out the victor. Whether or not their players deliver for them is entirely a different story.
Sister Site: Buffalo Rumblings
Location: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY.
Field: Open air, artificial turf.
Coverage: CBS. DirectTV 701. Sirius XM 148.
Weather: Cloudy with snow flurries, high of 32.
Record: Bills lead the all-time, 53-50.
What happened last time? Jets thrashed the Bills at home by twenty points of the season opener, Sept. 9, 2012; Jets 48 to Bills 28. This was the one and only decisively good game for the Jets in my humble opinion.
Who is favored? Bills by 3 points.
Offense: The Jets are 30th in overall offense, 28th in points, 30th in passing and 12th in rushing. Buffalo is 19th in yards, 20th in points, 24th in passing and 6th in rushing.
Defense: The Jets are 20th in points allowed, 7th in overall yards allowed, 2nd against the pass, and 27th against the rush. Buffalo is 31st in points allowed and 13th in passing yards allowed, 22nd in total defense and 32nd against the run.
Attacking the Bills
The absolute worst ranked Buffalo running defense bodes well for the Jets as that is their only offensive strength, but the same is true on the flip side. The Bills 6th best rushing effort will take on the Jets 27th ranked rush defense. For the past few weeks the game was blown open and eventually lost by the opposing team breaking off a huge run for a score.
Victory in the season finale weighs more heavily on winning the battles in both trenches than it does wishing one of our quarterbacks could actually play. Although breakout games are always a possibility, especially against the Bills, I'm not even expecting Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow to be effective game managers, I've just come to hope we can win in spite of our options at QB. Greg McElroy lied to trainers about concussion symptoms and will not be dressed. I would not be surprised at all to hear Greg is on the outs with the other embattled passers after this season, lying to Rex is one of the worst things a player could do, you'll never find a coach who wants you to succeed and play more than he, and now you've betrayed his trust.
Jets X-Factor: Mark Sanchez?
I don't even know anymore. By "X-factor", I mean someone whose potential performance could (or will) win or lose the game for us directly. So it kind of goes without saying that Sanchez is the best candidate for X-factor, although expectations lean much more negative than they do positive.
Sanchez is incredibly lucky. He's lasted 4 years as an underperforming starter, been given a ridiculous contract (twice), hooked up with multiple celebrities, and even now after all of his failures, he gets a redemption song against the only team he could manage to light up against all season. It's been quite some time since I've seen a player with the kind of opportunities Sanchez has had. I still hope against all hope he can make the best of it.
Matchup to Watch: C.J. Spiller versus the Jets front 7.
Since Fred Jackson went to IR, Spiller has been the only upside to the Bills performance on either side of the ball. Outside of Spiller, nobody has been performing up to snuff and unless Ryan Fitzpatrick can deliver a breakout performance, which is equally if not more unlikely than Mark Sanchez showing up and playing a good game. Don't hold your breath for either.
Muhammad Wilkerson has multiple injuries and is uncertain for the game. The defensive line which has otherwise looked quite promising has been statistically awful against the run, one of the worst. The aged and slow linebackers with serious tackling issues share a huge amount of that responsibility. If the Jets front seven don't step it up and stop the Bills ground game, the outcome will already be determined before the first snap. The Jets defense can play as tight a game as it wants, it won't matter if they let Spiller run the length of the field for a score like previous opponents. The Jets offense cannot keep pace with any significant scores by the Bills.
Bro's Bottom Line
I'm looking forward to the offseason more than week 17 action. Nobody likes to be on the outside looking in. But, thems is the breaks.
Let's see the season out in style. Join me as we reflect on the ups and downs....the many downs...of the 2012 season. Thank you for joining me for another season of previewing Jets football. Special thanks to David Wyatt and Scott Salmon who picked up the slack around here during a busy year, and for dealing with me. A big hearty welcome back to John B. And a sincere thanks to NFL Mobile from Verizon for allowing me to bring you this feature for another year. And our users, I wish I could list you each individually by name and thank you for being you. I can't think of a Jets community or any other place I'd rather be a part of. We'll see you next year for the 2013 previews.
One more time for old times sake....