It’s extremely rare I get to watch the Jets in the AFC Divisional playoffs, but today will be the third time in the last eight years.
Which for this woeful franchise, qualifies the past decade as almost a dynasty.
In 2002 the Jets went to Oakland, had a tremendous roll going with a young quarterback named Chad Pennington, and got their doors blown off by Rich Gannon (Delaware Blue Hen!) and his friends.
Three years later came one of the most agonizing losses of my Jets lifetime. Doug Brien misses two late field goals, including one that would’ve won the game, and the Jets lose to Pittsburgh on the road, 20-17.
Today could be the day. All week I’ve been reading and hearing that my beloved Gang Green have a chance.
Here are the ways it can happen:
— The Chargers can’t run the ball, so the Jets No.1-ranked defense stuffs the rushing game, then harass QB Phillip Rivers into some interceptions and sack him a bunch.
— Darrelle Revis, the Jets’ awesome cornerback, shuts down Vincent Jackson of the Bolts.
— Mark Sanchez makes a few big plays, and the Jets running game, led by Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene, gashes a bad San Diego run defense.
— Chargers coach Norv Turner, last seen advising Napoleon that Waterloo “would be a piece of cake, no problem” could do something monumentally stupid and cause his team to lose. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before.
Look, this can happen. I’m not deluding myself, nor were the other writers, pundits and friends who I talked to or read this week. It’s entirely possible I’m going to be going out of my mind with joy around 8 p.m. tonight, as the Jets would be one game away from the Super Bowl (and believe me, if the Jets get to the Super Bowl, I will be there. I don’t care how much it costs.)
But I just don’t think it will. San Diego is really, really good. Rivers is a sensational quarterback on a wonderful, and the Chargers have too many weapons on offense.
I think my boys will keep it close, and it’ll be something like 20-13 going into the fourth quarter, and I’ll be walking around Houligan’s bar telling everyone the Jets are in it, they’ve got a shot, and talking myself into it, too.
But I just don’t think my boy Sanchez is ready to win this one yet.
And by the way, if you’re a Jets fan and that video above didn’t get you fired up, you might not be alive.
Final prediction: Chargers 23, Jets 16. And a hell of an entertaining season for my Jets.
***Couple thoughts on the two NFL games Saturday:
–Arizona gave up 90 points in two playoff games this year. NINETY! Hard to do.
— Another sign of Peyton Manning’s greatness: Twice Saturday when he was about to get hammered, he went down himself and saved himself the punishment. As Joe Theismann once said, you don’t have to be a genius like “Norman Einstein” to play this game.
But it helps.