If Jets Can Handle St. Louis This Week, AFC East Picture Looks Promising

Jonathan SzenicsCorrespondent INovember 8, 2008

Going into tomorrow's showdown against the Rams at home, the Jets have a good chance to start making some noise in the AFC. 

If they can beat the Rams, and the Bills can beat the Patriots, the Jets will be tied with the Bills atop the AFC East, yet they will be in first place based off their win against Buffalo last week, along with their better mark in the division. 

Looking ahead, which is an important factor in the game tomorrow, the Jets have a huge showdown on Thursday night against the Patriots in New England, as well, which will no doubt be a war. 

So what Jets team will show up tomorrow? The team that put up 56 points on a solid Cardinals squad? Or the team that put up 13 points in almost five quarters in a heartbreaking loss to Oakland

Regardless of what happens, the Jets cannot take this game lightly, as previously mentioned earlier in the week. If they do, the Rams will punish them for four quarters, even without star running back Steven Jackson handling the running duties due to an injury. 

While the Rams have meaningful injuries, so do the Jets. David Harris will be out for the game, and possibly up to the next two afterward, as well, with a nagging groin injury. In essence, this cancels out the Jackson factor. One huge player from each team will not be on the field, so anything can happen. 

What will the story end up being on the field? Looking deeper into this question, the Rams, without much of a running game, will probably be pass-oriented, and this will not help them in this game. 

The Jets will be looking to cover the pass. They will force turnovers, which could turn the tide of the game. 

This is if the Jets can hold onto the ball themselves. Brett Favre has to play smart football. While stopping short of "managing the game," he must do the right things and limit his mistakes. This should be the only way the Rams have a chance in this game, if the Jets shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly. 

This will probably end up happening, with the Jets playing smart football, being as the Rams defense hardly shuts out opponents on a weekly basis. Favre will take a few chances, and a few of them may even work down the field. Thomas Jones will end up being the "X factor" in this game, though. 

Jones will run through and around the Rams and he will also be enough of a factor in the passing game to make himself the MVP for the Jets tomorrow. Around 125-150 yards on the ground alone is not out of the question for Jones, which means the Jets should control the clock against the Rams. 

While the score will not reflect it, it will be a close game for the most part because a mistake will probably be made by the Jets somewhere throughout the course of the game. 

After the game is over, though, the score will read Jets 27, Rams 17. The Jets will be 6-3, going into a huge showdown in New England on Thursday, with the Patriots being 5-4 after a close loss to the Bills. They will have a chance to smash the hopes of the Patriots, and, with a little bit of luck, it very well could happen for the Jets. 

The Rams must be beaten first, though, and they will, even if the game is a little more interesting than it really should be at the end of the day.