New York Jets: Top 5 Most Anticipated Games of the 2011 Season
The 2011 season is inching closer and no team has expectations higher than the New York Jets.
Rex Ryan is again predicting a Super season, and the Jets faithful believe him. In order to get another crack at reaching the Super Bowl the Jets will have to take care of business in the regular season.
They are a headline making team with plenty of intriguing match ups this year, and so here are the top five most anticipated games from their upcoming season.
5. Week 15 @ Eagles—the Nnamdi Bowl
The Jets and Eagles aren't particularly hated rivals. The two fan bases don't hate each other as much as some other New York-Philadelphia fan bases do, but that all might change with recent events linking the two teams.
The Jets were said to be 80 percent sure to sign Nnamdi Asomugha according to Adam Schefter early on July 29th, and all reports indicated they were close. Fast forward and the Philadelphia Eagles are celebrating their signing of Asomugha, leaving Jets fans shocked and wondering what the Jets will do now.
Jets fans heard throughout the Nnamdi drama that he very much wanted to play in New York, and so his decision to go to Philadelphia was perplexing and frustrating. In the minds of New York fans he used the Jets, mislead the Jets, and he decided he didn't want to be a part of the Jets. This does not sit well with Jet fans, and I would bet there are players who feel the same way.
And so in week 15 the two sides will meet in the Nnamdi Bowl, and the game won't be decided by agents and lawyers—only the players on the field.
4. Week 4 @ Ravens—Sunday Night Football
The Week 4 matchup between the Jets and Ravens in Baltimore is dripping with juicy storylines.
There is, of course, Rex Ryan coming back to Baltimore to face his old team, where familiar faces like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed flourished under his defensive schemes before Ryan became the Jets head coach.
There is the revenge factor for the Jets. Last season the Ravens spoiled the grand opening of their brand new stadium in front of the entire country on Monday Night Football and made the Jet offense look embarrassingly unprepared and incompetent.
Then there is the fact that these are two of the premiere teams in the AFC, and this will be one hell of a physical football game. Both teams are renowned for their tough defenses, and both young quarterbacks will have to be at the top of their games to scratch out points. The whole thing will unfold in front of a national prime time audience on Sunday Night Football.
Put it all together and you have a game to circle on your calendar on October 2nd.
3. Week 1 vs Cowboys—Sunday Night Football
The game will be played on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City in 2001, only miles away from the World Trade Center. Emotions will be running high as the city and nation commemorate that tragic day, and after it is all said and done, we will eventually get down to football.
Once we get to the game there is one hell of a matchup to keep your eye on.
Rex Ryan will once again be facing his twin brother Rob, only this time he is not coaching the lowly Browns. In their first meeting last season Rex came out victorious in the waning seconds of overtime. Now Rob Ryan is the defensive coordinator in Dallas and is looking to beat his brother's team for the first time. This week 1 match up pits brother against brother to see who can outsmart the other and stop the opposing offense.
The Cowboys are looking to rebound from a dismal 2010 campaign that saw star quarterback Tony Romo suffer a season ending injury and Wade Phillips get fired. The Cowboys would love to start off 2011 with a win, but that will prove difficult in what will undoubtedly be a raucous New Meadowlands Stadium on Sunday Night Football.
2. Week 16 vs New York Giants—Christmas Eve Battle for New York
Oh boy, this one could get ugly.
The Jets and Giants have not been friendly with each other these past few years, in the media or on the field.
In his book, Rex Ryan said of the Giants, "It seems clear that right now we are the better team, and we are going to remain the better team for the next 10 years," Ryan added. "Whether you like it or not, those are the facts, and that's what is going to happen.... We are going to take over the town whether the Giants like it or not, so those fans on the fence that like both teams are going to be Jets fans in the end."
Giants player Justin Tuck responded, "I'm gonna say this and this is gonna be the last time I comment on anything Rex Ryan says. The last time I checked, I have a Super Bowl ring and he doesn't, so if he's proud of coming up short, I guess he should be proud of that," Tuck said in an interview with the New York Post.
Keep in mind that last season's meaningless preseason game saw Eli Manning exit with a bloody head wound, so you can imagine how physical this game is going to be. Both teams want to dominate New York City and claim the stadium to be "their house."
Compounding the fact that these two teams hate each other is that this game is being played in Week 16! This game will most likely have huge playoff implications for both teams. If the Jets have the chance to stomp all over the Giants' playoff dreams, you can bet there will be some serious hits ringing through the night in East Rutherford.
One New York Fan base will be getting an early Christmas gift this year, the bragging rights to say your team is truly New York's.
1. Weeks 5 & 10 vs Patriots
I couldn't just pick one of the Jets-Patriots match ups this season, both meetings are tied for the most anticipated games of the season.
Last season the Jets took the first game at home in Week 2, 28-14. In the second meeting, the Jets got embarrassed in front of a national audience 45-3, and, of course, the Jets avenged that loss in the divisional round of the playoffs by a score of 28-21.
The Jets and Patriots do not like each other—that much is clear. And every time they play there is a build up the week before that makes this one of the best rivalries in the game.
The schedule makers finally gave the Jets a chance to play New England at home later in the season. Since 2006, the Jets have always played the Patriots at home in the first or second week of the season. Finally, the Jets get home field advantage in the second match up of the year, usually the more significant of the two games.
There will be hard hitting, trash talking, and high quality football. The New York-New England rivalry is burning as hot as ever, and Jets fans know that the Jets-Pats games are the ones you circle when the schedule is released.
If the Jets want to win their first divisional title since 2002, they will need to get past Tom Brady and New England. They've had moderate success vs their rival the past two years but have not challenged for the division. The players are set on changing that.
In the words of Bart Scott, they "can't wait!"
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