Stillers-Jets Preview(Game #5)
The Stillers travel to New York, fresh off a fairly stunning but convincing win over Jax. The Jets have had 2 weeks off, and should be well rested from their bye week. The Jets come into the game undefeated, but they are about the most underwhelming 4-0 team I've seen in quite some time. What remains unknown, is how this Stiller team will handle it's relative 'prosperity' after the Jax win. Some will say "it's only one win", which is true. But for a team like the Stillers, who have never won in Jax, and were winless this season, it's akin to winning a few grand on the lottery. But like winning a few grand, it's not the end of the rainbow. You win a few grand on the lottery�you can either piss it away with a few nites of partying, or invest it and reap the rewards down the road. Did the Stillers spend this past week, solely basking in the glory of this one win? Or did they realize that another solid foe awaits them, and that several ugly warts still exist?
* When the Jets have the ball, QB Vinny Testicle leads a solid but unspectacular offense. With the loss of Keyshawn Johnson to the Bucs, the Jets WRs consist of starters Ward and Chrebet, along with rookie Laveraneus Coles and veteran Vincent Brisby, which is decent but hardly enough to keep CBs awake all nite. Chrebet is a good, respectable football player who has done well as the primary receiver. What scares me is the man in the backfield, Curtis Martin. The former Pitt star has done well in 2 games against the Stillers -- most notably in the '97 playoff blowout loss to N.E. -- primarily because he's a cutback runner who reaps the benefit of an over-pursuing defense like the Stillers are usually guilty of. FB R. Anderson is a capable, all-around FB who blocks ok and catches the ball quite well, with good results. TE Fred Baxter is fairly solid as well. The OL is anchored by center Kevin Mawae, who is rapidly becoming the heir apparent to D. Dawson in terms of dominating this position. The rest of the OL is adequate, but not worth fawning over. The key matchup will be Mawae vs. Kimo�.Kimo must fight to a draw against Mawae, as I think the rest of our front 7 can acquit themselves well enough against the Jets blockers. Another important item is the pressure on Vinny. Few QBs in the league have had the number of nightmarish games against the Black & Gold. I have to believe that Vinny will never forget those demonic nightmares, and some brutal hitting of Vinny could easily give him the shakes & shivers.
* When the Stillers have the ball, a lot will depend on who is taking the snap from center -- Stewart or Graham. Cowher appears to be trying to hide his hand until the latest possible moment, so we may not know until late Friday or Saturday who is going to get the starting nod. If Graham gets the nod, we can only hope he's able to pick up where he left off in the Titan game, in which he passed for 254 yards and the passing game resembled that of a passing game in the National Football league. If Stewart starts, look for more of the Kevin Gilbride Dink & Dump, in which no pass longer than 10 yards will be permitted without expressed authorization from the NFL and CBS. The fear I have if Stewart starts, is Gilbride thinking his Dink & Dump, along with the Stewart runs, will work as well as it did last week in Jax. It won't. The Jets have had 2 weeks to prepare for this game, and after Stewart started versus Jax, the Jets will be fully prepared to face Stewart. This means the use of a spy, which Jax inexplicably refused to use. The nice thing, for New York's sake, about a spy, is that this same defender is also in the perfect position to stuff the draw play and the screen pass, which are Gaypride's two favorite plays. The Jets spent both first-round picks to improve their front 7 --- one on DE S. Ellis, and one on OLB J. Abraham. The 3-4 LB corps is a wee bit aged but very hard-hitting. Lewis, Cox, Jones, and Phifer man the starting LB spots. The Stiller OL and TE/FB will, unlike last week, have their hands full blocking this LB crew. The Jets secondary is led by Green and Glenn, and overall it has played admirably thus far this season. Burress, Troy and Shaw will need to make some big plays to give our passing game a boost. Expect the Jets to oftentimes put 7-8 men up near the line of scrimmage, in order to slow down The Bus and Fu. The Jets have shown thus far to be a bit susceptible to the run, allowing 3.4 yards/carry, so it'd be nice if Bus, Fu, and Hunt can gash the Jets with some good ground yardage. The key matchup will be the Gaypride Dink & Dump, versus the mobile, hard-hitting LB crew of the Jets. If we can't throw the ball further than 3 yards, then running the ball against this Jet defense will be a painful task. Spreading the field will allow us to move one or two of those LBs out of the box, or even be replaced by a nickel back if we exploit passing matchups on running downs. However, this is a bit too advanced for Gilbride, so don�t hold your breath.
* The Jets have won four pretty close games. They could just as easily be 2-2 as they are 4-0. The opposite holds true for the Stillers, who could easily be 3-1. Cowher has been preaching all season about "learning from mistakes". This will be a good test to see exactly how much this team has learned. With the win over Jax, they should have learned a good deal about what helps a team to win, vice what causes a team to lose. However, I'm not sold on Cowher's ability to learn, so the Jets will win a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck contest, 23-19.
The Still Mill