Crossing the Bay Bridge to crossing the GWB? The frequency with which the Jets have been playing the Raiders in Oakland over the past few seasons makes one wonder why the Black Hole hasn't converted a few of its fanatics to the Green and White side. We are sure that Firemen Ed is getting psyched up for this week's contest. We may even borrow Larry's cowbell for our trip out West.
As the Jets soared past the hapless Colts on Saturday, and then on Sunday, watched the Browns squander a wonderful opportunity against the Steelers, our upcoming opponent became crystal clear around 4:45pm. Once again, the Jets will square off against their "Heidi Nemesis", the Raiders. For many reasons, it would have been nice to see the Browns hold on against the Steelers; first and foremost, the slim chance to have the championship game in the Meadowlands on the following Sunday, but also to travel to Tennessee for some great music and ribs. Unfortunately, the Browns folded and the ribs will have to wait another week. However, the way the Jets are executing on the field, it really doesn't matter who the next opponent will be or what city they are playing in.
In their 41-0 victory over the Colts, it became quite evident that when the Jets are clicking on all cylinders, they are in a unique zone and there is no stopping them. It is like Michael Jordan nailing shot after shot, Randy Johnson throwing another strikeout. The Jets are a very hot team right now and if they can focus and execute for a complete 60 minutes this coming Sunday afternoon in Oakland, the way they have been since the New England game, then there is a high probability that the season will come back east to either Tennessee or Pittsburgh for the championship.
It was the perfect game. Who would have believed that the biggest problem was trying to find your right seat? As usual, we had different views after the Chicago disaster and not all of us wanted to give our money to Woody Johnson to hold for 9 months for no reason for play-off tickets. However, some of us still believed that it wasn't over just yet! Back then our only long-shot hope appeared to be a wild card, away game. But after the Sunday night game in New England, we had prospects! The Jet ticket office then went into action and was great. They really worked to accommodate all of the season ticket holders (like some of us) that sent in their money way past their self-imposed deadline. We know for a fact that on New Year's Eve, they were working busily to get to FedEx with as many fulfilled requests as possible to many happy fans.
On Saturday, the stadium sure looked strange, sort of like being at a Giant home game because everyone was out of place and everyone seemed to be in the wrong seat. On the field, everything that had to happen happened. The offense was letter perfect, so much so that Lamont Jordan got over 100 yards and Curtis only carried twice in the second half. Some of the talking heads now say that Chad Pennington is the best quarterback in the league. Some are comparing him to Joe Montana. Hey guys, it is still only 12 weeks and we don't have any rings yet. But it makes a great story and the potential is obviously there. We are hopeful and optimistic that Chad continues to perform as well in the future as he has up until this point.
The defense so confused Peyton Manning that he ended up talking to himself after his linemen got tired of listening to him. Maybe he should have crossed over to the defensive side of the line and chatted with Mo Lewis a few times. He burned all of his timeouts making adjustments after Ted Cottrell made his final changes. Even our first round bust Bryan Thomas played most of the second half and got near enough to Peyton to introduce himself. Our only critical comments had to do with the kicking game. John Hall now seems to be in a great groove for field goals but his kickoffs are very short and the Colts had pretty good field position to start every drive. What is wrong with our punter? Matt Turk seems to be getting shorter every week. This week his average was less than 30 yards. In the playoffs, the kicking game can come back to haunt you. Note: See Jim Fassel!!
Other than the kicking game, the Jets are really playing like the team that we dreamed about in the pre-season. Dave Szott makes our offensive line formidable. Josh Evans has made the defensive line one of the better ones in the league. Gang Green seems to have more talent throughout the roster than every team in the NFL, even with our inflated expectations. For the first time in Jet history, the team can honestly venture into the Black Hole with some degree of confidence.
So Levy, Cohen and others will get up early on Saturday and fly cross the US with a smile on their faces. The Super Bowl is a real possibility. The way the NFL is, IF the Jets beat the Black and Silver, we believe that they have a really solid chance for the Lombardi Trophy. Seriously!! This showdown between the Raiders and the Jets in our mind is really the Super Bowl, because the two best teams in the NFL are doing battle. We hope that Chad can continue with the strong and confident play that we have now come to expect. Its win or go home. We could not be in a better situation; no significant injuries and everyone playing as well as hoped (except the kickers). Herm and the coaches have got to be proud, since weeks ago we gave them up for dead. We are not changing our position on them, but in the last three weeks, they must be given credit for pulling the team together when it certainly appeared to everyone in New York that the season was a waste. Now, even if they lose in Oakland, the way the Jets have played down the stretch will get them even more enthused about what might be the following year. That is what makes the NFL work.
As the Jets take their playoff drive and Super Bowl path to the Bay Area for round two of this years classic NFL playoff tournament, the long trip to the west coast is being mapped out for this duo, as we begin to think, and think… it may be enough for another In-N-Out burger in San Diego before this season is out.
If anyone has any final year-end comments, please e-mail us at Dexlev123@aol.com.