Kickoff Can't Come Soon Enough

Three final thoughts on one big Jets game

By Josh Alper
|  Sunday, Jan 17, 2010  |  Updated 4:39 PM EDT
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We've reached the point in the week where Sunday can't come fast enough. You've spent the whole week talking about Mark Sanchez's maturation, Darrelle Revis's magnificence and the need for Braylon Edwards to catch the damn ball. You've read and heard enough about Philip Rivers to write a doctoral thesis on his tendancies and lost more hours of sleep worrying about Antonio Gates than the American Medical Association would advise. 

There is, in short, not much left to say. We'll stop short of offering a prediction on how the game will go, although our heart is absolutely with the boys in green and white, and instead offer some parting thoughts to mull over until the interminable wait for kickoff comes to an end. 

1. This game won't be decided by the strengths - One half of Sunday's game offers a classic matchup of strength vs. strength.  The Chargers have the highest-scoring offense in the league and the Jets have the stingiest defense. You can spin the matchups any which way you like, but you're just going to wind up in the same place: This game is likely going to be decided by the Jets offense and the Chargers defense. By now, you know what the Jets need from Sanchez and you know that the best way to get it is by controlling the ball with the rushing attack. That eliminates long third downs, lessens the kinds of blitzes that cause him trouble and keeps the Jets defense rested and ready for action. 

2. The rise and rise of Shonn Greene - This flows right out of number one and has been building for some time now. The statisticians at Football Outsiders have a stat called DVOA that measures the value of a player over the average performer at his position. Despite his outstanding yardage and touchdown totals, Thomas Jones ranks 32nd in the league in that metric. Greene ranks 19th, which helps explain why he was carrying the load against the Bengals and why you'll see a lot of him against the fleshy Chargers run defense.

3. Rex Ryan is the only guy picking the Jets - ESPN.com offers picks from eight pundits, a computer model and a national poll on each playoff game. All 10 columns have the Chargers logo underneath. Peter King picks the Chargers, so does his SI.com colleague Don Banks. Vegas likes the Chargers by more than a touchdown. The Jets don't believe the Chargers are invincible, though, and you can bet that their coach will make them aware of how few people believe they have a chance in the next 48 hours. Ryan's team has backed up his big talk thus far. A win on Sunday should probably stop people from ever doubting him again.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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