NFL Predictions 2011: Can Rex & the Jets Get Past the Bum & 70s Oilers Identity

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NFL Predictions 2011:  Can Rex & the Jets Get Past the Bum & 70s Oilers Identity
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Has Rex Ryan Hit His Ceiling of Success?

When trying to describe Rex Ryan, I come up with an identity cocktail of Jackie Gleason, Bum Phillips and say, Bon Jovi with the new leg tat. The Jets are the perfect place for this flamboyant cult character. Rex embraces the media circus and he's in a great position to needle his antithesis colleague Bill Belichick.

This is a critical year for Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez to move forward to the next level. Otherwise, Rex might be remembered as more of an entertainer than a successful football coach. As ESPN Anchor Radio Host Colin Cowherd points out, being funny and drawing attention to yourself doesn't always translate to results, especially in the labor-intensive environment of NFL coaching.

The Jets have indeed been competitive in Ryan's short tenure. The question this year is, have the Jets hit their ceiling as a second fiddle, as a Houston Oilers clone in the Hard Knocks and Big Laughs system. Is Rex just a Bum?  

Here's a capsule of how I see things shaping up in the NFL this season: 



Green Bay          12-4       Much the best in a weaker division...still hard to repeat

Detroit                10-6       Healthy Stafford & surging defense key to a run at playoffs

Jason Miller/Getty Images
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Minnesota           6-10       McNabb Mojo waning with limited offensive weapons; defense solid

Chicago              6-10       Offensive line the worst; regression inevitable with new kickoff rule  


New Orleans      10-6        Sprolls a key replacement for Reggie Bush, maybe even better

Atlanta              10-6        Opening it up on offense doesn’t translate to more success

Tampa Bay          9-7        Opens season against the other NFC upstart; head coach a plus

Carolina             3-13        Deep hole only gets deeper with Cam at QB; Andrew Luck next? 


Philadelphia        11-5       Only the over-expectation hype can hold them back (again)

Dallas                10-6        Better vibe with Garrett; another Dallas upset of a “Dream Team?

Larry French/Getty Images
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NY Giants            8-8        Weaknesses in defensive backfield will cost them (again)

Washington        6-10       My favorite owner Snyder right where he belongs; scrubs at QB


Arizona               9-7        Any semblance of a quarterback rights the ship here

St. Louis             8-8        Sound fundamentals in this Division will make a team competitive

San Francisco     7-9        Harbaugh will be proven over his head just like Singletary

Seattle              5-11        Enthusiasm can only carry you so far, Pete. Get Charlie in there



Pittsburgh          11-5       Provided James Harrison doesn’t start writing poetry to Goodell

Cleveland            9-7       The Holmgren era begins; McCoy sharper; good early schedule 

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Will James Harrison Bring His Brand of Brutal Football to Opposing QBs This Season?

Baltimore            9-7       Another overrated Harbaugh; lost too much on the outside; aging "D"

Cincinnati          4-12       Where's Sam Wyche when you need him? Owner needs a Wonderlic


Houston              9-7       By default with Indy’s lingering pain-in-the-neck; too finesse  

Indianapolis         8-8       2nd half rally might get them close if Peyton returns

Tennessee         6-10       Lost top-5 NFL Head Coach Fisher who was coaching them up

Jacksonville       5-11       Lackluster offense overachieved last year, C-ya Jack


New England      12-4       Improved defense/special teams play enough in regular season

NY Jets             11-5       Becoming the Oilers of the 70s?; or what Phil was to Tiger? 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Can Plaxico Help Mark Sanchez to Take His Game to the Next Level?

Buffalo               6-10       Fairly competitive in most games last season; a few weapons

Miami                4-12       House started to crumble when Parcells bailed


San Diego         10-6       Soft early schedule benefits perennial slow starter; Norv still a scrub

Oakland             8-8        Have some talent; as competitive as they can be with current QB

Kansas City       8-8        Tougher schedule this year; minor regression likely in store

Denver               6-10       Expect better defense and discipline under Fox; Orton OK  

Upstarts:   Detroit, Tampa Bay, Cleveland

Regression Alert:   Chicago, Baltimore; Indy, Seattle, Miami, Jacksonville 

Semi-Resurgence:  Dallas, Arizona

At Ceiling with Current Personnel:  Atlanta, Houston, Oakland

Dead as a Doornail:  Carolina, Cincy, Miami

NFC Championship   Philly over Green Bay    Hard to repeat, so the Pack get beat

AFC Championship   NY Jets over Pittsburgh   Knock the door down Rex, its not a hex

Super Bowl               Philly over NY Jets  Lots of hype from Joe Willie, but not over Philly

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