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Four Downs
By Chris Pine
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
September 2nd, 2003
Can the Jets shut this man down?
Can the Jets shut this man down?
1st Down: So here we are, on the cusp of the highly anticipated Jets-Redskins season opener on Thursday September 4th. I don’t think there is a Jet fan out there that does not want to win this game more than any other game scheduled this year. The Redskins are now public enemy number one. The Jets have no choice but to beat them. If we lose we will be tormented by a sarcastic New York media writing headlines like “Jets South Defeats Jets North”. We will have a smug Daniel Snyder call out the Jets with some outlandish insult. We will have to read all of Chad Morton’s claims that this was why he wanted to jump ship knowing that the Redskins were a team on the rise and that his increased playing time will come eventually when they find the right situation to utilize his skills. Does anyone believe that? Or how about Laveranues Coles? It would kill me to have to hear this guy talk about the game afterwards! I can hear it now: “Well I like to channel all my anger of any transgression against me on the team on the other side of the field. Obviously that wasn’t hard when the Jets decided not to show me respect and give me a forty billion dollar signing bonus.” Isn’t Coles the guy who while with the Jets said he uses the fact that the team they were playing passed over him in the draft as motivation to play even harder than normal? Wasn’t he picked in the third round? Doesn’t that mean that every team including the Jets passed him up twice? Was he angry with everyone?

2nd Down: With all of this said though I still believe the Jets have an excellent chance at winning this game. The Redskins in year two of the “Fun and Gun” offense still have a weakness at quarterback, which is far more glaring of a deficiency than the Jets own QB situation. How long before Steve Spurrier starts Rob Johnson? What is the over-under on how many signal callers the Redskins use throughout the season? Four? Five? I also think that the ‘Skins defense is taking a big hit with the loss of Marvin Lewis who left in the off-season for a head coaching job in Cincinnati. As long as Vinny can shake off the rust and the team can remain calm under the scrutiny and mayhem that will be Thursday night they should pull out a victory. The key to this game will be Curtis Martin. Actually Curtis is probably the key to the whole season. If Curtis gains over a hundred yards and Testeverde does not have some heinous lapse in judgment the Jets should be fine and pull this one out fairly easily. The only way the Redskins could pull this one out is if they are underestimated and do not garner the full attention of our boys in green and white. With the specter of slow starts hanging over Herman Edwards head and the Jets penchant for playing down to weaker opponent though I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few sticky situations during the game.

3rd Down: Here is something else I will try to do during the season which is to make some other predictions on a few key games and pit my football knowledge against good old George Washington himself. I will pick some teams and then flip a coin to see who George thinks will come out on top. I will always make the home team heads and the visiting team tails. This exercise will show us one of three things: 1) that picking a winning team is a useless endeavor and the random outcome is unpredictable, 2) that picking a winning football team is a talent combining research and knowledge, or 3) that I am an idiot.

An added note: I am not going to pick with the point spread involved because anytime I think about picking for or against the spread I think about the movie “The Last Boy Scout” which was just an truly atrocious film.

Game 1: New England at Buffalo Chris’ Pick: New England George’s Pick: New England

Looks like we both believe that even with all of the changes that Buffalo has made to improve themselves it just appears as though Drew Bledsoe just cannot beat his former team. Maybe Belichick just has him figured out. I see Drew having two interceptions and the Patriot defense being the difference maker here. George wants the Pats to bring back their old team logo, which I think is tied with the old Tampa Bay pirate as worst images for a football team ever.

Game 2: Oakland at Tennessee Chris’s Pick: Tennessee George’s Pick: Oakland

We split here. I think that a fresh Steve McNair and Eddie George will be enough to get the Titans the win in this rematch of last years AFC title game but George tells me that they will be overaggressive in their attempt for revenge and Rich Gannon will calmly lead the Raiders to a week one win.

Game 3: Tampa Bay at Philadelphia Chris’s Pick: Tampa Bay George’s Pick: Philadelphia

Another title game rematch here for the first Monday night game. I think the combination of a rusty Duce Staley and the fact that the Bucs are just too good will make this game a blowout. George apparently still has a soft spot for the City of Brotherly Love.

4th Down: On a personal note I have moved to a new city, Boston. I can hear the cries of “traitor” already from my Jet and Yankees brethren. There are many reasons I made the move to Beantown. I like the idea of a challenge and trying out new things. For anyone who has been here it is a very beautiful city even if everyone who lives here looks exactly the same. It will be strange though; in New York you can find a fan of every major sports team alive. It doesn’t matter where you are. Here there are only Patriot fans and Red Sox fans. It will be fun to be surrounded by almost exclusively opposing fans at the local sports bar come game time and trading barbs about our teams performances. I will still watch every Jet game as I have done regularly for the last ten years or so. I will still contribute regularly to this website. I will be back home frequently as I plan on seeing my team in person a few times this season.

Hopefully with this new move I can make a good play and convert this fourth down situation into a new fresh set and keep this drive of mine alive. Hopefully I hold onto the ball long enough and score. Hopefully I win big.