You've gotta believe ... that is until the fat lady sings!
How can the New York Jets, a team with a notorious past for disappointing a rabid fan base, go into Foxboro this Sunday and beat a New England Patriot team that handed them a 45-3 pasting a little over one month ago?
Well there are ways, and then there are ways. I mean this is as big as it gets right, so there should be nothing out of bounds for a Jets bunch that has been making brash remarks going back to the days of summer when they were so handsomely cast in the spotlight of HBO's football smash, Hard Knocks.
So without further adieu, let's get our roll on.
Big 'ol Rex, does he have it in him?
The Jets Can Do It: There are some who've come to wonder if once heralded Rex Ryan (and when we say once heralded we mean for a period of about 12 months) has any idea whatsoever what he's doing on the sidelines.
His team goes through periods like they've never played a down of football before, the vaunted D shuts off and the less than lauded offense looks like they're avoiding land mines in the midst of stalling on three and outs.
That having been said, Ryan is the maestro this coming Sunday as the Jets finally get the rush they need out of a somewhat reconfigured six man front that allows for five backs at all times to contend with Brady's myriad weapons.
For the entire sixty minutes the Jets, or whatever portion of the game the Jets defense is on the field, will put heavy pressure on Brady, forcing quick reads into tight coverage that result in endless (at least by Patriot standards) stalled drives.
On the other side, Coach Bill Belichick, who has also been heading up both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball in coordinator roles, has a bad day from minute one; waking to discover his red setter (ironically named Rex) has torn through his favorite wool beanie and sweatshirt combo which has been neatly laid out on a small bedside sofa for a quick morning change.
He rues the fact that he did not sleep in the beanie and sweatshirt as he normally would before a big game and even considers putting Rex down. He is off kilter en route to Foxboro at 6:30 a.m. and in a terrible twist of fate one of the last deer left in the state bolts in front of his car and Belichick ends up swerving clear off the road.
The car is stalled and having forgotten his cell phone, Belichick decides he must hitch-hike to the stadium. He quickly picks up a ride, but shortly thereafter realizes he has been thoughtfully accommodated by a truck full of Jets fans who have been drinking all night en route from New York.
From there the equation is simple enough, neither the truck full of Jets lovers or Belichick ever make it to the game. The Pats, without their Head Coach, Offensive and Defensive Coordinator, flounder.
Combined with Ryan's coaching masterpiece, the Jet's emerge 24-17.
The Jets Won't Win: Because Belichick doesn't even have a dog named Rex, he sleeps at Foxboro the night of the game and on his best day Ryan can't keep pace with the Patriot Maestro and the Pat's run it up on their hated rival 41-14.
P.S. The truck-full of inebriated Jets fans get pulled over by a New England roadie and spend the day in the rankest drunk tank the state of Massachusetts has to offer.
Can Jet receiving crew make all the big catches?
The Jets Can Win: Because Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards rule the day against the Pats young secondary.
Not only don't they drop a single pass between them but they grab everything within wingspan distance, make spectacular runs after the catch and no matter how many points Brady and Co. put on the board this fantastic foursome will not be deterred as the Jets win in a barnburner, 35-31.
The Jets Won't Win: Because the day hasn't yet been created where this aforementioned quartet (with the possible exception of Keller) hasn't dropped at least a couple of critical throws, while the Patriot group, Gronkowski, Branch, Welker and Tate, simply inhale a voluminous breath of perfect tosses from one of the top two or three big game quarterbacks of all time in a non stop effort that leaves all of New England in a happy 38-10 state of mind.
Antonio Cromartie getting beaten early against the Colts by Pierre Garcon
The Jets Can Win: Because big name corners Derrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie (the latter gets two stars for having a big mouth too) along with youngster Kyle Wilson (with lots of safety help from Eric Smith and Brodney Poole) get up and in the faces of Welker, Branch, Tate and Gronkowski all day long frustrating that fearsome foursome with glue like coverage that keeps the Pats from their usual practice of scoring at any time from any angle on the field.
The Jets hold the Pats to a pair of touchdowns, a pair of field goals and slip away with a 21-20 victory.
The Jet's Won't Win: Because Cromartie is all talk, the Jets couldn't shut down the Pats a little over a month ago, couldn't shut down the Chicago Bears a few weeks ago and will get shredded by the combination of the most creative game planner the NFL has to offer, Bill Belichick.
And the aforementioned, extremely motivated group of pass catchers who will find the pickin's easy as they run sixty minute circles around a beleaguered Jet defensive backfield who have absolutely no comment at all for the New England press in the aftermath of a 38-17 rout.
The Jet Defensive Front
The Jets Can Win: Because the defensive front, massive NT Sione Pouha, Ends Mike Divito & Sean Ellis, along with some combination of line backers Bart Scott, David Harris, Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas and Jason Taylor (who only managed to combine for 18.5 sacks during the regular season, forcing the New Yorkers into all out blitz packages which left Revis, Cromartie and rookie Kyle Wilson out on very lonely, often indefensible islands) dominate the veteran Patriot offensive line, effectively shut down the run, hitting Brady hard and often which at least disrupts his rhythm to a certain extent.
On the flip side; Pro Bowl-caliber LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, LG Matt Slauson, Center Nick Mangold, RG Brandon Moore and RT Wayne Hunter continue to play great football. The Jets run the ball down the Patriots throat, Sanchez manages the field, New York controls the clock and escapes with a 28-24 victory.
(This by the way is the most realistic scenario for a Jets victory.)
The Jet's Won't Win: Because the Patriots are well rested, their young defense has really emerged over the last five or six weeks anchored by Vince Woolfolk in the middle who is having a sensational defensive player of the year type season.
With Brandon Spikes back from suspension, the linebacking crew of Rob Ninkovich, Jerod Mayo, the combination of Tully Banta Cain and athletic pass rusher Jermaine Cunningham (rook out of Florida who's been wreaking havoc on opposing offenses) is whole again.
In frigid Foxboro conditions, New England's front seven will ultimately lay the Jets' running game to waste leaving Sanchez to his own erratic devices.
It won't be enough enough as the Pat's run away 35-14.
The Jets Can Do It: Because Tom Brady will become violently ill very late Saturday night with the stomach flu of the century and despite all of Gisele's best home remedies, a pursuant visit by the team doctor at 2 a.m., Tom Terrific persistently upchucks through the wee hours and quite literally falls asleep with his head atop the ceramic throne (with Gisele cuddled up next to him of course) and is barely able to drag himself to Foxboro on Sunday.
Pumped up with fluids, and with a bucket at the ready on the sidelines, Brady is still sub par and the Pats' offensive juggernaut is slowed to a Volkswagen's pace.
On the other hand, Mark Sanchez has gone beyond the notion of regular game planning and/or film sessions and spent his Saturday evening locked in a room alone with nothing other than a pristine video copy of the Jets' Super Bowl III win over the heavily favored Colts.
He watches Namath run a balanced offense. Throw quick, accurate, mostly short passes against an aggressive Colt D and handsomely mix in the run with bruising back Matt Snell to great effect.
The impact is revelatory as Sanchez channels his own inner Namath on Sunday, sticks to three step drops, puts the ball right on the hands of Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery, lets them earn tough yards after the catch, while mixing in the run beautifully via the savvy vet Ladainian Tomlinson and the Jets own young bruiser Shonn Greene.
The end result. While Brady struggles through one of the toughest days of his career, the Jets control the clock, put twenty four points on the board and eke out a 24-21 victory.
The Jets Won't Do It: Because Brady has a typically wonderful night cozied up with the aforementioned Brazilian supermodel, comes out pumped to not only beat the Jets but shred them altogether in the aftermath of Antonio Cromartie's rather salty remarks.
While the Patriot offense rolls, Sanchez is his typically erratic self and throws two picks in the second half as the Jets try to make up a ten point half time deficit and from there the Pats roll 35-14.
That's all she wrote,