The Jets may have faced former QB Brooks Booliger this weekend but unfortunately, he's nursing a sore shoulder. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The New York Jets are on the brink of elimination in the AFC playoff race and have to get past a tough Minnesota Viking team that is relentless against the rush and is hungry to make the playoffs as well.
Last week this game was considered to be an easy win for the New York Jets. The Jets were hot, winners of two straight, they held the final playoff spot with the easiest remaining schedule of the playoff contenders. Now, after a blowout home loss to division rival Buffalo the Jets must either win or wait till next year. The Vikings on the other hand, are trying to get back in the NFC playoff race by winning two out of their last three.
The Jets are looking for a big bounce back from QB Chad Pennington after a game last week in which he had three turnovers. On Wednesday, Pennington offered some words on this week’s game, “Any time you have a loss, you're looking forward to the next game to hopefully get that bad taste out of your mouth and put together a winning effort. That's what I'm focused on, is making improvement. I've got to improve as a quarterback, and I know that.”
WR Laveranues Coles stood up for his quarterback by saying, “Chad alone can’t win it by himself, but then again Chad alone can’t lose it by himself. You have to take that in stride and as a team, put a great game together.”
The Vikings are not taking Pennington for granted though and know he can bounce back and have a great game. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said of Pennington, “He’s not afraid to take risks, he’s a timing thrower. Very smart, I mean he’s orchestrating that offense at the line of scrimmage. I don’t see him as a mistake prone guy at all, I see him as a consummate pro.”
The Jets meanwhile are not taking the Vikings defense lightly. The league’s fourth ranked defense and number one rush defense is playing phenomenal this season. Only two opponents have gained more than 100 yards rushing against the Vikings and the last team to do so was Carolina in Week 2 and that game went into overtime.
Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini talked about the successful rush defense of the Vikings yesterday saying, “It's always interesting when you play teams like this who are dominant in one area, to see the approach of their opponents over the course of the season, especially later in the season.”
The Jets have proved that they can run the ball in past games, and maybe putting up a 100-yard performance against one of the best run defenses in NFL history is just what the doctor ordered. In four games against three of the top ten run defenses this season, the Jets have averaged 100.75 yards per game on the ground.
The Jets while having to worry about their running game also have to deal with the collapse of their defense. After not allowing more than two touchdowns in their previous four games, the defense fell victim to the Bills big play makers. The Bills used RB Willis McGahee, QB J.P. Losman, and their defense to score 3 touchdowns on plays that were at least 57-yards. On top of that, the Jets gave up 31 points to a team that hadn’t scored 30 points since the preseason and that was a home game for the Bills.
When asked if his approach has changed, LB Victor Hobson said, “The same approach goes along with going out there with the goal to win and that’s still our goal, to go out there and win. We want to go out there, improve every week, get better, learn from the mistakes we’ve made and try to capitalize on other people’s mistakes.”
The Jets better improve this week because it would be amazing for an NFL team to get any worse than they looked last week against Buffalo. Pennington is a veteran and should bounce back and if the running game can get anything going it will give Pennington the time he needs to get the ball to his receivers.
- The Jets are 6-1 all time versus the Minnesota Vikings, including a 20-7 win the last time these two teams met which was at the Meadowlands in Oct. 2002.
- That game was also Pennington’s first game as a starter and he proved he could be a NFL starter by throwing for 324 yards on 24-29 passing and a touchdown pass to Coles.
- First year coaches do battle again this Sunday and Mangini has feasted on them so far this season, going 3-0.
- Don’t expect to see Vikings RB Chester Taylor on the field this Sunday as he has missed practice all week after sitting out last week’s game against the Lions due to bruised ribs. RB Artose Pinner will get the start again after a tremendous performance last week, which included 3 touchdowns and over a 100-yards rushing.
- A Jets road win would give them a winning road record for the first time in five seasons, they were 7-1 on the road during the 2001 season.
RICH CIMINI FAN CHAT THURSDAY 12/21!
You are not going to want to miss this!
Be sure to log on to Jets Insider.com on Thursday (Dec 21) at 8:00 PM for a live online fan chat session with NY Daily News Jets Beat Writer RICH CIMINI. Rich will take your questions and talk about all the doings at Weeb Ewbank Hall leading up to the Jets - Dolphins game on Christmas night.
Chat is open to everyone. You only need to be registered on the JI messagebord to participate!
New York Jets
-FB B.J. Askew (Foot): Questionable
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Questionable
-DB Eric Smith (Foot): Questionable
-DE Bryan Thomas (Shoulder): Questionable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Calf): Probable
-LB Brad Kassell (Shin): Probable
-WR Justin McCareins (Foot): Probable
-DL Rashad Moore (Hand): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-DL Dewayne Robertson (Shoulder): Probable
-TE Sean Ryan (Thigh): Probable
-WR Brad Smith (Shoulder): Probable
-S Jamie Thompson (Ankle): Probable
-DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (Shoulder): Probable
-RB Chester Taylor (Ribs): Questionable
-QB Brooks Bollinger (Shoulder): Questionable
-CB Cedric Griffin (Neck): Probable
-LB Napoleon Harris (Wrist): Probable
-WR Marcus Robinson (Ankle): Probable
-DT Pat Williams (Knee): Probable
Game time is 1 p.m. on CBS and can be heard on 1050 ESPN and 770 WABC. JetsInsider.com will have a complete recap following Sunday's game in Minnesota.