Wednesday, November 30, 2011

11 comments J.S.' NFL Power Rankings: Week Twelve

OK, time to check in on our divisions, with a restrospective back to the last time we peeked after Week Six.


To give you an idea of how San Francisco are the most likely playoff participent outside Green Bay this year, consider this. Most people predicted the NFC West could be had with about 8 wins this year. Let's be optimistic for Seattle, Arizona and St. Louis and say that's still true. San Francisco, who still have five games remaining against Arizona, St. Louis and Cleveland, would need to finish 3-7 to give these teams any sniff at all. This seems unlikely, but considering they went 6-10 last year with Abruyo Franklin on the roster, possible. Even then, Seattle would probably need to go 7-4, as they have already lost to the Niners. That seems insanely unlikely. Even if they swept their home games (which includes dates against Baltimore and the Eagles) they would need to win at least one more road game - hardly a sure thing. Arizona would also need to go 7-4 and the Rams 8-4, and remember this is in the best case scenario of the Niners finishing 3-7.

Nothing to see here, Niners clinch with a win in any of their last five games or alternatively, either Arizona or Seattle failing at going 0-5. St. Louis join Minnesota as the only teams in the NFC already mathematically eliminated from winning their division.


Green Bay are so far out in front it's not even funny. Second place is all but guarenteed a wild card spot, and that is a race between the Lions and Bears. Certainly the Lions, up two games and a head to head win against Chicago, have the inside track and do look the real deal, but they also carry the handicap of being the Detroit Lions.

Green Bay looks almost even money to go undefeated, but the action behind them has been fascinating to watch. At the time, the Bears were 3-3, but two of the wins were against the Panthers and Vikings. Their candidacy was more or less theoretical. Since then, both advantages the Lions enjoyed have vanished, and even with Cutler's season ending injury they are in plenty of trouble. They only have really looked convincing against the Tebows in Week Eight, and have games with Norlans and the Pack remaining. However the claim that second place in the division will be in the playoffs looks as secure as ever.


Ostensibly close, but really New Orleans seem well in control. Every team here has to pay the Green Bay piper this year, and Tampa still have yet to. The Saints are still unbeaten at home, and seem to be pacing themselves well so far. Still, Tampa's win this week adds a layer of intrigue. The Saints should be able to build some seperation over the next third. Atlanta have quite simply been a disappointment since the starters pistol fired, but are still in touch if they can put it together from here on out.

While seeing New Orleans (4-1 since this was written) and Atlanta (4-1 also) put the pedal down since Week Six was pretty predictable, Tampa Bay's tailspin was less so. Remember, this was written after their defeat of the Saints, having already knocked off the Falcons earlier. Tampa have not won since this point, making this a two team race. Though the gap between the Falcons and Saints looks wider than the literal one game between them, New Orleans has three of its final five games at home, where it is undefeated, and holds the tiebreaker over the Falcons. The two play in Louisiana for a late Monday Night Christmas present, but Atlanta's real battle appears to be with the flagging NFC North middle powers.


An absolute clusterfuck of a division. Really, I can't remember a division this muddled and yet relevant (unlike last years NFC West) in a long time. I absolutely could see literally any of these teams getting hot and making a deep playoff run, but I'll be damned if I know who. Dallas' top tier talent is of a very high quality, and their losses are to Detroit, New England and the Jets, all in games they absolutely could have won had a play or two gone differently. The Redskins were pacing this division with the best defense before the wheels fell off their offense completely this week. The Giants have been the toughest and guttiest team and in the best form, winning four of their last five despite a slew of injuries. Unfortunately, that loss was the biggest shock of the season, losing at home to Seattle of all teams, and the injury cloud still casts doubts. Philadelphia are probably twice as talented as any of these teams - they are also 2-4. Literally anyone's division to win.

This was almost the precise moment Washington imploded in Grossmanesque (ha!) fashion. Injuries also completely derailed their season. Philly has been as profound a dissapointment as the NFL has seen in some years, though both technically and actually, have played a little better since the 2-4 start, but the hope has faded entirely now. The Giants have not dealt well at all with the increase in degree of difficulty in their schedule. While the win over the Pats was nice, it also relied on a last second drive, and the Giants have not looked convincing in an entire game ever since this was written. They still have games at the Jets and Cowboys left and of course the Packers are looming next week. It's hard to see how they best 9-7. Even if they sweep the two remaining games with Dallas, the Cowboys could still win out over the rest of their schedule (at Arizona and Tampa, home to Philly) to render the point essentially moot. They are very real and sturdy favourites.


As discussed below, a severe injury has changed the complexion of this division markedly, and San Diego are to football a bit like Mitt Romney is to Republicans; we're all just going to have to deal with them winning even if we don't think they are that great. One of the least interesting divisions in the NFL.

This is clearly now wrong, which you might think would have created some intrigue. That would be a mistake, it's just incredibly depressing.


It's fairly clear the baton has been passed from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, but the Steelers still have plenty of time and have not fallen in a hole. Cincinnati looms as the long shot wildcard hope in the AFC, but things get much tougher schedule wise from here. It's not likely they'll be relevant in another six weeks.

Pittsburgh have essentially been hanging in there all season, but little more. Baltimore have been frustrating, adding to a two score loss to the Titans in the first third with even more mindbending losses to the Seahawks and Jags, while Flacco plays like a backup QB for much of the time. Nevertheless, they have beaten Cincy, Pittsburgh (twice), the Jets, Niners and Houston, and have a cakewalk home. They should take this division holding the tiebreaker over the Steelers. Cincinnati are relevant, but only for a wildcard spot, and only just.


Manning has obviously left a profound power vacuum at the top, which Houston were only too eager to fill. They have a nervous few weeks at least dealing with Tennessee, if they capitulate this time, the emotional effects and subsequent roster and coaching overhaul may take years to overcome.

Credit the Titans for stubbornly holding onto the coattails of the Texans, who are trying to hold on down the stretch with Tyler fucking Yates for God's sake. Houston have a slightly easier path home, as Tennessee has New Orleans still to come, but this could all come down to the last week showdown in Houston potentially. Indianapolis' first six weeks were dissapointing, but competitive. Since they have been outscored by a nearly 4:1 ratio and it might get worse, with New England, Baltimore and Houston all still to come. Yikes.


The Bills have lost 2 of their last 3 and have not won on the road since Week One, beating up on the Chiefs. They now enter a period with road games at Dallas, Miami, the Jets and the Chargers, with home games against Washington, the Jets and the Titans. Not a gimme amongst them, and hard to see them keeping up with their atrocious D. The Jets have dealt with a horror early schedule and are expected to make their claim to a wildcard. The division looks, once again, to belong to the Patriots.

Those road games did...not go well. The Patriots looked distracted immediately following these comments, but have since kicked back into top gear. They hold two games and the tiebreaker over the Jets. They will win the AFC East and are chasing homefield through the playoffs. New York has been poor since a 2-0 start, but should they win their next two at Washington and against the Chiefs, they should be able to wrap up the final wildcard place.


1 - GREEN BAY (-)
11-0, 1st NFC NORTH
W 27-15 @DET, next @NYG

I actually thought this was the game the Packers would lose. Now, I honestly believe they will go 16-0.

2 - NEW ORLEANS (+1)
8-3, 1st NFC SOUTH
W 49-24 vNYG, next vDET

Something about Ron Jaworski's voice makes me wanna punch him in the face. I think it's the excessive earnestness and his tendency to use inflection at the end of nearly every sentence. It's like he's auditioning to be a radio DJ or something. This game was always likely to come down to whether New Orleans brilliant offensive line could block the Giants various assortment of pass rushers. The answer was a conclusive yes as the Giants got to Brees (24/38 for 363 yards and 4TDs) just four times for 1 sack.

3 - NEW ENGLAND (+1)
8-3, 1st AFC EAST
W 38-20 @PHI, next vIND

Brady (24/34 for a ludicrous 361 yards and 3TDs) is well and truly back to his best. He has thrown 8 TDs and no picks in his last three games with an exceptional 9.2 YPA, including a date against the Jets and Eagles, two good to great pass defenses. After a four game drought (by Patriots standards) where they did not clear 30 points in any game, New England have done so three times in a row, with 109 in total in their last three games. Watch out.

4 - BALTIMORE (+5)
8-3, T-1st AFC NORTH
W 16-6 vSF, next @CLE

This is a great pass rush. I have previously said the Jets ran the best blitz in the NFL, but it may be the Ravens, with only one natural pass rusher (Suggs) they rank 1st in the NFL in sacks (38). Against the Niners they racked up an amazing 9 of them, to go along with 21 total hits. San Francisco's offense is not good, but their offensive line is not bad, it's shocking that the Ravens should be able to dismantle them to that extent. It's unusual for defensive lineman to pick up sacks in the 3-4, but Ngata and Redding weren't just engaging blockers, they were knocking them over - they combined for 4.5 sacks between them. Back in the top five, with next week at Cleveland. Nothing can possibly go wrong, right? Let's try this again, shall we Baltimore?

8-3, T-1st AFC NORTH
W 13-9 @KC, next vCIN

Offensive line looked as terrible as ever, although the stats (1 sack, three hits) don't show it. Kansas City took away the long ball from the Steelers, even on times that Roethlisburger (193 yards on 31 throws) did have time. If a good team does that to Pittsburgh, I'm not sure how they possibly win.

6 - ATLANTA (-)
7-4, 2nd NFC SOUTH
W 24-14 vMIN, next @HOU

Harry Douglas has had a great little run recently. He has 14 receptions for 229 yards the last three weeks. If he can become a genuine 3rd receiver, Atlanta's offense will only become more efficient. In fact, all of their targets have been on fire of late, White has 267 yards in the last two games and Gonzalez has 29 of his 50 catches in the last five. Atlanta have only lost to Green Bay and New Orleans in the last two months. I said a few weeks ago, the breaks are going the Falcons way, and it continues next week - are getting Houston at the right time.

7 - HOUSTON (-5)
8-3, 1st AFC SOUTH
W 20-13 @JAX, next vATL

I haven't commented on it much this year, but their defense really is so much better this year. Smarter and in particular, more energy (35 sacks this year, they are just flying around all over the place). I know energy is a bullshit weasel word much of the time, conveying nothing and a copout to actually make a claim, but with Houston, it really is true. The matchup against the Jacksonville "offense" (7 sacks and 19 hits) was just a joke. Houston's special teams ripped this game in half (a 53 yarder by Rackers, a punt landing inside the one, a kickoff return of 45 yards and punt returns of 42, 31, 23 and 16 yards) which was good, because the Texans had just about their worst running game of the season (2.8YPC) and now that Tyler Yates is the QB (8/15 for 70 yards)...I was prepared to go to war with Leinart but this is a bridge too far. Hard to take them seriously in the playoffs anymore, sadly.

9-2, 1st NFC WEST
L 6-16 @BAL, next vSTL

A strong defensive performance (Ray Rice was held to just 2.8YPC) was lost in an entirely overmatched offense. They had just 96 passing yards all game and Alex Smith was lucky to survive the onslaught of pass rushers. Some teams you talk about how they have so many ways to beat you, but San Fran seem the opposite - they have so many ways to lose a game. There's no way they can keep up or stop Rodgers, Brees or possibly Brady for example in a track meet. And now we know what happens if they take on an elite defensive team like Baltimore or Pittsburgh (upcoming). My concerns that they just can't beat the best teams has not been responded to. Their previous skins of Philly, Giants and the Lions do not look quite as impressive as they did two or three weeks ago.

9 - DALLAS (+2)
7-4, 1st NFC EAST
W 20-19 vMIA, next @ARI

Easy to point at Romo's interceptions, but they were excellent plays by Miami's corners. Romo (22/34 with 226 yards and a pair of TD)s also made so many throws while being hit it was ridiculous. He really is an exceptional, top five quarterback. He seems to have a genuine rapport with Laurent Robinson (7 catches for 79 yards and a TD), amazingly.

10 - JETS (+2)
6-5, 2nd AFC EAST
W 28-24 vBUF, next @WAS

Rich Gannon made one of the funniest comments about Mark Sanchez (17/35 for 180 yards, 4TDs and a pick). "I think he's the kind of guy that if you're running the ball well, making stops on defense, getting turnovers, giving him short fields, he can...function." So if literally every other aspect of your football team is performing at an exceptionally high level, Mark Sanchez won't completely torpedo your chances of winning, while at the same time providing you with the absolute minimum level of production to ensure your season doesn't end in disaster. I thought this was a little harsh. Anyone that hates Sanchez should be forced to have their eyelids cut off and watch every throw by Blaine Gabbert and Curtis Painter this season. Anyway, we're all stuck with the Jets now it would seem, in their Jerseyesque obnoxiousness...I can just imagine "The Situation" asking "what, you want the fucking Bengals in the playoffs?".

11 - DETROIT (-1)
7-4, T-2nd NFC NORTH
L 15-27 vGB, next @NO

Joe Buck lives for moments like Suh's American History X re-enactment to unleash the full scale of his self righteousness. But the issue was the first half inability to take their chances. The Lions had 218 yards of offense in the first half, 9 first downs (vs 4 from the Packers, 2 by penalty), and no points. That can't happen against Rodgers and company. It's probably fair to say the Lions are thankful for Caleb Hanie.

12 - CHICAGO (-4)
7-4, T-2nd NFC NORTH
L 20-25 @OAK, next vKC

Hanie's first interception was simply unforgivable. He had great protection in the pocket, never seemed particulary interested in running it, and just went outside the pocket where his offensive linemen couldn't help him. He was obviously pursued, and as he approached the sideline, seemed to want to throw it away and instead picked out a pretty fucking conspicuous black shirt somehow. His day (18/36 for 254 yards with three picks and a failed spike - fucking seriously - to end the game) was not to improve.

13 - GIANTS (-)
6-5, 2nd NFC EAST
L 24-49 @NO, next vGB

Both defenses were pretty awful here (1042 yards and ten touchdowns in all), but Norlans is less reliant on theirs. New York don't tackle or cover well. They don't run well. They have too many holes to be particulary scary, even if their strengths (Manning and the pass rush) are pronounced and in important areas. For example, the Packers, who surely the NFC goes through, have exactly the same kind of team, except their quarterback is better (much better, as good as Manning has been) and their pass rush is comperable. For a big man, Brandon Jacobs (46 yards on 13 carries) just goes down too easy. There was one run where he was in the open field against I think Roman Harper, who lowered the shoulder and took him down no problem. Is really a disgrace that a defensive back can take a man this size down one on one. They talk about the toughest pound for pound, Jacobs is among the softest, pound for pound.

7-4, 3rd AFC NORTH
W 23-20 vCLE, next @PIT

No team that has allusions to the playoffs should ever, under any circumstances, trail the Cleveland Browns by 10 points. A.J.Green (110 yards on 3 catches) just gets better and better, but a running team needs more than Cedric Benson back there. Their supposedly superb (ranked 1 in the league coming into this game) run defense gave up 134 yards on 4.5 a carry in this game.

15 - TENNESSEE (+3)
6-5, 2nd AFC SOUTH
W 23-17 vTB, next @BUF

Won turnoverpalooza 2011 (9 in all) on the strength largely of smoke and mirrors. The focus, is, of course, going to be on Johnson's "resurgance" (190 yards on 23 carries in this game) but it does make you realise how Barry Sandersesque he is. It's either -3 or 11 yards on each run. If you're gonna be like that you really have to be finishing with TDs, and Johnson couldn't even when he is hot. They need a better back than Ringer to pair with him in order to know...running back stuff. Tennessee have bounced between 15 and 19 in these rankings since Week Five.

16 - TAMPA BAY (-1)
4-7, 3rd NFC SOUTH
L 17-23 @TEN, next vCAR

LaGarette Blount might have had the best game of a running back this year (103 yards on 20 carries but looked so, so much better). I like him an awful lot, in fact I have for a little while, I was just unsure whether I could trust him. I'm rapidly reaching that point. He has all the physical attributes (this stuff happens with alarming regularity), huge but athletic, moves piles and a better ball catcher than you think (3 catches for 56 yards). This is who Brandon Jacobs should have been. Tampa have played well without luck for much of the season, and this was another example. Their defense in particular was better than the numbers (Tennessee had 352 yards) make out - Tampa had a lot more positive plays than Tennessee, but a 3rd and 17 conversion, a few Chris Johnson runs, turnovers (5) and a kickoff returned for a TD killed them.

17 - OAKLAND (+2)
7-4, 1st AFC WEST
W 25-20 vCHI, next @MIA

Can you complete three passes a game of over 20 yards without throwing multiple picks? Congratulations! You are AFC West champs.

18 - DENVER (+2)
6-5, 2nd AFC WEST
W 16-13 (OT) @SD, next @MIN

Ah, a game where both teams are terrified to pass (until the final play of the first quarter, the two teams were 1/8 for 5 yards combined). The NFL at it's finest. Of course, Denver had reason to because their quarterback is universally acknowledged as an incompetant NFL quarterback, and San Diego were scared to death of the Denver pass rush (*whispering* and just quietly, Rivers might also be an incompetant NFL quarterback). I have a lot of respect for McGahee, who had 117 yards on 23 carries (5.1YPC) is essentially running into ten guys with the way Tebow leaves his running backs out to dry with his inept passing - Tebow completed his first pass with 3:56 left in the first half, a deep bomb to a streaking Eddie Royal for a TD. Nah, I'm fuckin' with you, it was a bubble screen for eight yards, of course. Their biggest gainer of the first half was thanks to San Diego causing a fumble they recovered. It honestly seems Denver nevercall pass, like when they do pass it's a kind of broken play or improvisation, like when Rodgers runs. It's absolutely hilarious. I heard the comment; "Tim Tebow brings a linebackers mentally" - and skill set apparently. By the way, I never heard "Donovan McNabb just wins games" or "Michael Vick just wins games"...and they could fucking throw...not to go all Jemele Hill on you. The media coverage of Tebow makes David Eckstein look like Jerry Sandusky in comparison.

19 - MIAMI (-3)
3-8, 4th AFC EAST
L 19-20 @DAL, next vOAK

You have a good defense, it's a 3-3 game, 3rd and infinity with a minute left and Dallas had one timeout in the first half - run the football. You have a good defense. I know a botched snap is impossible to predict, but it could have been an interception or sack/fumble. Just play safe, don't be a hero. Phil Simms was trying to will Reggie Bush (3.8YPC on 16 carries) to be an every down back when there's just no evidence to suggest he can carry defenders at all, it's ludicrous to suggest he'll "learn" this skill after five years. God I hate announcers. Brandon Marshall (5 catches for 103 yards and a score) made some exceptional catches. Sometimes we forget just how exceptional he is - Calvin Johnson like. Some TD grabs are overrated, this is not one, it was with Newman all over him. A great grab. He has the ability to dominate games.

20 - SEATTLE (-3)
4-7, T-2nd NFC WEST
L 17-23 vWAS, next vPHI

It's a credit to Seattle that it took until Week Twelve before they had what could be termed a "bad loss". Tavaris Jackson (14/30 for 144 yards, albeit with 2 TDs and 1 INT) must be better. The offensive line tamed a strong pass rush to the tune of just 2 sacks and six total hits, but Jackson could get nothing downfield. His longest pass all game was 24 yards.

21 - CAROLINA (+4)
3-8, 4th NFC SOUTH
W 27-19 @IND, next @TB

Very quietly, Jonathan Stewart is overtaking d'Angelo Williams as the Panthers best running back. Both have 280 yards in their last six games, but Stewart has them at 5 yards a carry while Williams is at 4.5. Williams has only three games over 4.6YPC all season. Stewart has six such games this year.

22 - BUFFALO (+1)
5-6, 3rd AFC EAST
L 24-28 @NYJ, next vTEN

Buffalo are not good. Buffalo without Fred Jackson, Kyle Williams, Demetrius Bell and Terrence McGee are really not good. Have not beaten a team other than Philly and Washington (combined 8-14) since the win over the Pats in September. Carolina and Buffalo's rise is a necessary byproduct of the spectacular crashes of San Diego and Philadelphia.

4-7, T-3rd NFC EAST
L 20-38 vNE, next @SEA

Clearly expected Brady's normal methodical approach and cheated up, and as a result got burnt repeatedly deep. Still cannot cover tight ends, unsurprisingly, Gronkowski and Hernandez combined for 121 yards on ten catches. You wouldn't know this was the same defensive group as last week as they made it to Brady just three times. After forcing a punt on the Pats first drive, New England scored all 38 points on their next eight - including only one punt and a missed field goal.

24 - MINNESOTA (+2)
2-9, 4th NFC NORTH
L 14-24 @ATL, next vDEN

Really, to lose by only ten in Atlanta, rushing for 2.7 yards a carry is something of an achievement. Good for Ponder (17/25 for 186 yards and a TD for a 103.1 rating).

25 - SAN DIEGO (-4)
4-7, T-3rd AFC WEST
L 13-16 (OT) vDEN, next @JAX

On Tebow's first run, not only did no one pick him up on the option, but every single pass rusher was pancaked. I mean, the Chargers have never been a tough or physical team but that's ridiculous. Anyway, Antonio Gates - people still talk about him like he's a great player, but he's constantly injured and only really seems to be useful in the redzone, and even then way less than in his 20s. I'm not sure he's even in the top ten tight ends in the game today. I think the myth of Antonio Gates is a better player than actual Antonio Gates. He is on pace this season for 752 yards (if he plays every game) and 6 touchdowns (again, if he plays every game - his lowest total since his rookie year). The days of him getting 950 yards a season and 9 scores are well and truly over.

26 - CLEVELAND (+2)
4-7, 4th AFC NORTH
L 20-23 @CIN, next vBAL

Heard people falling into the bad team, good pass defense trap this week with the Browns - don't buy it. Cleveland rank first this year in yards per game (174.7), but are seventh in yards per attempt (6.6), 20th in sacks (25) and allow a QB rating of 80.3, good for 11th. They also have a pathetic six picks on the entire season.

27 - WASHINGTON (+2)
4-7, T-3rd NFC EAST
W 23-17 @SEA, next vNYJ

Rex Grossman threw for a 154.2 passer rating in the fourth quarter and actually saved his team from the jaws of defeat instead of the other way around.

3-8, 3rd AFC SOUTH
L 13-20 vHOU, next vSD

If this blog is discovered by people thousands of years in the future who want to know what the Jacksonville Jaguars 2011 season was like, just imagine the play beginning at 1:10 of this video on repeat forever.

29 - ARIZONA (-2)
4-7, T-2nd NFC WEST
W 23-20 @STL, next vDAL

People not named Sam Acho hit Sam Bradford once in this game. This team might have only won one game without Patrick Peterson. He has 558 punt return yards and 134 more than second placed Jacoby Jones and 187 more than third place Ben Tate. He has four, count em four TDs.

30 - KANSAS CITY (+1)
4-7, T-3rd AFC WEST
L 9-13 vPIT, next @CHI

Tyler Palko has thrown six interceptions and no touchdowns in 65 throws in his starts.

31 - ST. LOUIS (-1)
2-9, 4th NFC WEST
L 20-23 vARI, next @SF

St. Louis are allowing 159.0 yards per game rushing this year. They haven't even played many great running backs, only McCoy and Rice would be in anyone's top ten running backs as backs they have played. Just awful.

0-11, 4th AFC SOUTH
L 19-27 vCAR, next @NE

Indianapolis have not led a football game for 365 minutes and 15 seconds.


rich said...

watch every throw by Blaine Gabbert and Curtis Painter this season.

Gabbert is a rookie and Painter doesn't take snaps with the first team. Sanchez, in his third year as a starter, is only slightly better than Gabbert (Painter is terrible).

The other thing is this: Gabbert has MJD and a defense, but a mediocre O-Line and a bad group of WRs. Indy has no defense, no running game and an offensive line that's getting old in front of our eyes.

Sanchez, with a good O-Line, a solid running game and passing to Keller, Holmes and Burress manages to still suck.

He makes some of the nicest passes I've seen in the NFL for a while, but then turns into 2011 Donnovan McNabb on the next play.

He doesn't make progression reads and his interceptions are some of the most mind boggling and stupid decisions I've seen a QB make since Eli Manning's first year or two. That interception last week was right to a LB that didn't even move after the snap.

Basically Gabbert is a rookie on a bad team and Painter is supposed to suck. Sanchez was just given a 6 year extension.

They have too many holes to be particulary scary, even if their strengths (Manning and the pass rush) are pronounced

Kevin Gilbride sucks. For the third or fourth week in a row the Giants come out, can't move the ball or score in the first half and then magically manage to put up points in the second half.

The other thing is that Perry Fewell sucks. The Giants LBers are bad, don't get me wrong, but if you have LBers who can't cover... why not blitz them?

Fewell took what led to the Giants winning a SB and then a 12-4 record the next year and just stopped doing it. Granted it was Spags who did that, but it's shocking how different this team was with Spags vs. Fewell.

They have a really good D-Line, but they're defense is really conservative and teams take advantage of that.

J.S. said...

I do not agree that Sanchez is only "slightly better than Gabbert" at all.

Gabbert: 48.5% completion
Sanchez: 56.3% completion

Gabbert: 5.19 YPA
Sanchez: 6.74 YPA

Sanchez: 18 TD
Gabbert: 6 TD

They have even been sacked a comprable amount of times (28 to Gabbert compared to 25 for Sanchez, despite throwing nearly 100 more times). Even in interceptions, he's even with Brees and below Matthew Stafford, Newton, Freeman and, of course, Rivers. Honestly, I think that's an incredibly careless comment Rich.

I don't think the Jets offensive line is what it used to be either. I used to agree with you, but it's not a good line. The Jets are 14th in sacks despite being 19th in pass attempts. And I'm not sure what NFL you've been watching but the running game also is poor (27th in YPC, 3.8) with only 7 TDs.

The wideouts are clearly strides ahead of Gabbert and (maybe?) Painter, but honestly, there's no comparison here I can see. The Jets offense is not playoff calibur, and Sanchez doesn't help, but he's about league average...Gabbert and Painter are not "slightly worse" than league average. Not even close.

Murray said...

The Jets are like Frankenstein. I just can't figure them out. As a Pats fan I would love to declare them done but I can't. They really are like a box of chocolates

rich said...

Again, Gabbert, given what he has to work with (MJD and a whole lot of nothing) is doing okay. He's a rookie thrown into a bad situation with a coach who just got fired.

Is the Jets running game very good? No, but they're averaging 100 yards a game, so teams at least have to respect it.

Heck, the Jets are tied with the Jaguars for rushing YPC, so if you think the Jets offense isn't "playoff caliber" then what does that make the Jags?

He threw the pick six that lost them the game vs. Denver and he threw an absolutely terrible interception against Buffalo (again, the LB didn't have to move). The last game he didn't have an interception? Week 6. He's thrown at least one interception in every game but two. Even Eli isn't that bad and teams know the Giants are passing.

Against Buffalo, he went 17 for 35 for 180 yards. That's not league average, that's downright terrible.

The Jets average 214 yards passing yards per game, good for 21st in the league. They have 11 interceptions, good for 13th in the league. They're 22nd in YPA.

Again, this is a QB in his third year in the offense and he still plays like a rookie. He holds the ball for long periods, he makes bad decisions in the red zone and doesn't go through his progression.

Was a exaggerating when I said Gabbert was slightly better? Probably, but the fact is that Sanchez is the weakest link on the Jets.

I mean you said: So if literally every other aspect of your football team is performing at an exceptionally high level, Mark Sanchez won't completely torpedo your chances of winning

That's a guy you're trying to tell me is "average"?

J.S. said...

How do you have to respect a running game that is 27th in the league per carry? The fact that they do something poorly, but often, is not really a compelling argument to me.

I'm not singing the praises of the Jags at all, I appreciate that the receiving corps in particular is poor, but really, Gabbert has been an abortion, there's been no redeeming quality in his play at all. In almost any statistical measure, he's been the worst quarterback in the NFL. I'm not sure on what basis you are claiming he is nearly at Sanchez' level - he should be better than this.

The Jets are 21st in passing, in part, for a reason you allude to - they run all the fucking time - they don't throw the ball. They are essentially the same rank in passing they are in attempts, and considering Schottenheimer calls so many checkdowns and every second throw is to Keller, I'm not sure how much more downfield you want Sanchez to go.

As for your final comment - I was quoting Rich jest...and disagreeing with him.

He's not that bad - Shonn Green is more of a problem than Sanchez IMO.

Anonymous said...

Sanchez has thrown more INTs. I do get the feeling JS is a Jets fans though. Holding out hope beyond hope

J.S. said...

Nah, I don't follow any team Anonymous (and apparently have no soul, going by a letter Ben posted recently) - plus, I figure it's Jets fans that hate Sanchez the most. He's just fineishly average - there are a LOT of bad quarterbacks in this league and Sanchez isn't one of them. He's not a good one either mind you.

rich said...

JS- you have to respect it because they still run. They may only average 3.8 YPC, but they still gain 100 yards per game on the ground.

This isn't like say, Brandon Jacobs in the backfield and teams not really caring.

Think back to the those playoff runs the Jets have had. How did they win? Defense, running and Sanchez not playing like an aborted fetus.

Yes, Gabbert has been the worst full time starter in the NFL this year, but you're comparing a rooke with a terrible offense all around him to a third year QB behind an O-Line with two Pro-Bowlers, with two former Pro-Bowlers as his WRs.

they don't throw the ball.

Have you looked at Sanchez's stats lately? He's average 35 attempts a game over the past five games.

On those 35 attempts, he's averaging 229 yards a game or a 6.5 YPA.

For reference McNabb had a YPA of 6.58 this season.

Like you noted, his season YPA is 6.74, putting him a stone's throw from Tavaris Jackson and squarely in the bottom third of the league.

Is Sanchez the worst QB in the league? No and it's not really debatable.

Is Sanchez a bad QB? Yes.

I went through the list of starting QBs and here are the ones I would actually take Sanchez over:


Nine guys, so 23 teams have better or comparable guys. Not exactly an amazingly high number. Then consider that 4 of those guys are backups and one is a third stringer.

I mean, for Christ's sake I'd take Tebow over Sanchez simply because Tebow doesn't turn the ball over every game (11 games played, 9 games he's had a pick).

At his best, Sanchez is really good, unfortunately he spends more times throwing check-downs and interceptions than being good.

My apologies for not picking up on the disagreement, I just don't see how you can disagree with what Gannon said, it's entirely accurate.

J.S. said...

Well, we've really hit a wall of argument and just opinion, I would add to your list;

Moore (even with the recent nice play)
Tebow (I can smell your shock from here)
Palmer (see: Moore)
Smith (turnovers be damned, Mark Sanchez is better than Alex Smith)

That puts him at 17, but again, we're just at the point where we just disagree...

Bengoodfella said...

I don't want to get in the middle of this discussion, but perhaps the rest of the year will bear out how bad/good both QB's are. I will add in that I don't know if we can really know too much about Gabbert's ability since he got forced into the job basically and didn't have an entire training camp to work. I am willing to give him an entire year with a training camp before deciding he sucks. I don't know if the Jags feel the same way.

On an unofficial list of QB's being ranked I would put Sanchez at #18-#20 I think. Though I would have to probably rank the rest of the QB's as well.

J.S., Jonathan Stewart is a better RB than Williams. His problem is he runs to contact, which isn't going to do anything for his durability. I like him better than Stewart and he fits the offense better.

I am not a Saints fan. They looked good, but I am not a fan of the defense. That has to bite them in the ass at some point.

I'm telling you. Atlanta v. New England in the Super Bowl. We will get the storylines about how both teams built through the draft and how Dimitroff of Atlanta was in NE...blah, blah, blah. I can already hear it.

#7 a bit high for Houston, J.S.? I actually like how you don't rank them lower until they show they suck with T.J. Yikes at QB.

My bottom line w/ the 49ers is they are good defensively but are very one dimensional on offense. I just can't believe Alex Smith is a quality NFL quarterback or even a quality game manager. I look forward to him proving me wrong.

Vince Young just won games in Tennessee. Look where it got him. A back up job and Kerry Collins took his previous job.

rich said...

J.S. We'll have to agree to disagree, but your list includes three guys who started the year as a backup (one being a rookie) and a guy who was just dragged out of retirement.

Even then, if we say he's the 17th best QB in the league, this does not make him average. It just means there's a lot of bad QBs in the league (and I would be partially inclined to agree here).

But again, a guy in his third year in the same offense with a lot of the same players should not be playing worse than he was in his first two years.