Weekly Storyline: After a disappointing finish to the 2008 season, the Jets spent the offseason revamping their team, including the hiring of Rex Ryan, the signing of Bart Scott and at the draft selection of Mark Sanchez.
On Sunday, the Ryan/Sanchez era begins. The Jets have a rough schedule for the first half of the season, and the game in Houston might be their only shot of winning a game early in the season.
For the Texans, many pundits consider them to be a sleeper in the AFC. Their playoff chances rest on the arm of quarterback Matt Schaub, if he can stay healthy.
Profile: This week's profile is dedicated to the man behind the rebuilding of the Jets since 2005—General Manager Mike Tannenbaum.
You gotta give credit to this guy. Beyond some of the big free-agent signings and trades we've witnessed during his tenure with New York, each year, he has drafted some of the biggest names on the Jets—even with mediocre picks.
In 2006, Tannenbaum rebuilt the line by getting D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, along with a speedy fourth-round draft selection in Leon Washington.
In 2007, he beefed up the defense by drafting Revis and Harris. In 2008 he picked the best young tight end in Dustin Keller. And in 2009 he traded up in a dramatic fashion to select Mark Sanchez with the fifth pick.
Yes, there were some potential bad picks along the way, but no matter how you see it, this 2009 campaign could be the culmination of his draft picks. Make it happen, guys.
Jets Passing Offense vs. Texans Passing Defense: Sanchez is going to make many mistakes all season long, and the Texans' young, but talented secondary will make him pay if he's not careful. If the Jets' offense utilizes the screen pass, they might be able to break out a big one against the Texans. But if they rely only on the speed of their inexperienced receiving corp, they'll be in for a long day in Houston. And Ferguson ... good luck blocking Mario Williams.
Jets Rushing Offense vs. Texans Rushing Defense: Make no mistake ... Thomas Jones, Washington, and Shonn Greene comprise one of the best backfields in the league. Although the Texans can boast about Mario Williams on the right end of the line, on the other side of the line, Antonio Smith has problems against the run. The Texans' defense overall has major problems against the run, so expect the Jets run wild on Sunday,
Texans Passing Offense vs. Jets Passing Defense: Watch out Jets fans, Matt Schaub can be one of the most dangerous QBs in the league when he's healthy. The Texans finally have a stable offensive line and the Jets are going to have problems trying to get to Schaub, especially with Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis facing suspension time. Vernon Gholston has a big task ahead of him. The Jets must provide enough pressure against Schaub. Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, and Owen Daniels want to produce big numbers, but they'll have to contend with the Jets' excellent defensive backs.
Texans Rushing Offense vs. Jets Rushing Defense: Steve Slaton is among the best RBs in the league, just ask any fantasy football expert. With a stable offensive line in place, he can break out a big run at any time. Considering the suspensions on the Jets' defense, the backups need to shut down Slaton. David Harris will have his work cut out for him.
Start: Andre Johnson. Usually can put up big numbers and this Sunday should be no exception.
Sit: Jericho Cotchery. It won't be easy for Sanchez to get the ball to his main receiver. Sit Cotchery in Week One.
Sleeper: Leon Washington. Between short passes and a good offensive line to run the ball, the Jets need Washington to have a good game and expect him to deliver. Could possibly serve as a No. 2 RB in Week One.
Final Prediction: The Jets will have a tough time in Houston. The Texans win, 24-10. Slaton and Johnson will put up big numbers. The Texans will expose many weaknesses in the Jets' defense.