This weekend, the Jacksonville Jaguars travel to New York City to play the Jets, a team many believe to be a Super Bowl contender. While I agree that anything can happen once a team gets into the playoffs (i.e. Cardinals get to the Super Bowl), the Jets aren't a Super Bowl contender in my books. In fact, I believe they'll be in a close wild-card race, and that makes this weekend that much more important.
I can already hear the Jets fan, "How can you say we're not ready to win the Super Bowl. We beat the Patriots last season in the playoffs at their place..." The thought of listening to that is nauseating, but I plunge forward. The Jets have one of the best defenses in the NFL. That's not being questioned, but they also have one of the most inconsistent offenses I've ever seen. As if they were trying to prove my point against Dallas last week, they played mediocre football offensively for 3 quarters, but they were able to put it together late and pull out a win. That's exactly what I'm talking about.
The general of the team, or the "Sanchize" if you prefer, is the cause of much of New York's offensive woes. Sanchez is going into his third year in the league, and his stats aren't very flattering. He's thrown 34 interceptions in his young career, but he's only thrown 31 touchdowns. Now, I'm not a big stats guy, and I hate the passer rating stats, including ESPN's newer "more accurate" one, but I will say this. If you throw more interceptions than you do touchdowns, you aren't doing a great job. To be fair, he did throw 17 touchdowns to 12 interceptions last season, so; he's making progress, but he's still far too inconsistent for the Jets to make a championship run.
Now we move to this weekend's game. The Jaguars will be playing for a potential wild-card tie breaker. That's why this week 2 game carries such significance. In my mind, the other two most important out of division games are the games against the Ravens and the Steelers. Both of those games could carry the same type of importance, and as we found out in heart-breaking fashion last season, tie-breakers are everything in the NFL.
I'll go ahead and write it here first. The Jaguars will not and should not lose this game. There's no reason that the Jets should win, and I think the Jaguars may even be able to sneak up on the high and mightly Jets. I'm not saying Rex Ryan isn't a good coach, but that team has a lot of big egos. Big egos don't always take the little guy seriously, and in my mind, Jacksonville is a bigger guy that's perceived to be a little guy.
To win, the Jaguars will have to play better than they did against the Titans. In that game, the Jaguars appeared to dominate the Titans pretty much the entire game, with the Titans getting in a couple decent shots. The scoreboard, however, didn't reflect that domination. I read earlier this week (and I can't remember where) that the Jaguars can't beat the Jets with field goals. I can't agree more with that, and they won't beat the Jets if they have to settle for field-goals when they have a second and goal from the 1 yard line.
To say I'm excited for this weekend is an understatement. This is a week 2 game that could have the feel of a wild-card game. After all, it may actually be one of the most important games that either of these teams play the entire year. I'll take the Jaguars 24, the Jets 17. That's my pick, and I'm sticking to it.