Arizona Cardinals v. New York Jets: Which witless team will prevail?
The upcoming match up between the Arizona Cardinals and the New York Jets will feature two 4-7 teams that have little chance of seeing the post season. There are some people who are holding onto to the hope that if the Jets win the remaining games left on the schedule and finish the season with a 9-7 record, they could still get into the playoffs.
Whether we like it or not, Rex Ryan is the face of the team and he will try to lead us on a journey towards the post season—a journey that must be taken one game a time, starting with the Cardinals. If the Jets intend to go unbeaten for the remainder of the season, this is a decent place to start.
The Cardinals, like the Jets, have had an unfortunate season. They started the season 4-0, but have lost the last seven games and are looking to avoid their first eight-game losing streak since the 2006 season.
Similar to the Jets’ offense, the Cardinals’ offense can’t do much right. There are also issues at the quarterback position. Starting quarterback Kevin Kolb was injured in week 6 against the Buffalo Bills. Backup quarterback John Skelton was not playing well, so the Jets will go up against Ryan Lindley. Lindley is a rookie selected in the 6th round from San Diego State. Last week, he threw four interceptions last week against the St. Louis Rams. The Jets secondary is one of its strongest units overall. Hopefully, we can look forward to some interceptions in our favor for once.
Also in the Jets’ favor is the fact that the Cardinals’ starting center is not playing Sunday due to a knee injury. Muhammed Wilkerson needs to have a stellar day and a weak offensive line will help that. Pressuring the quarterback is the most important element in any defense. Forcing an inexperienced quarterback to make mistakes is a great recipe.
Unfortunately for the Jets, the Cardinals have very talented defense. Not only is their passing defense ranked fourth in the league, they also like to blitz. This is not a good combination for Mark Sanchez. The Jets’ offensive line doesn’t protect him well, and he is not known for having accurate passes. It could be a very long day for Sanchez, who hopefully hit his rock bottom last week against the New England Patriots.
The Cardinals rushing defense is much less impressive, ranking 23rd in the league, allowing 124.2 yards per game on average. The Jets need to establish that run game, preferably early on to keep some pressure off of Sanchez. Let’s hope that Shonn Greene’s performance against the Patriots is a wakeup call for Tony Sparano. Greene does not make adjustments well. The Jets should vary the running game and allow Bilal Powell to have more chances to run the ball.
The Jets’ special teams may attempt to lose the game again. This unit is filled with players who apparently missed class on the day the professor went over ball security in Football 101. This unit has turned into such a nightmare and it’s such a shame. It used to be a bright spot. Now, it’s terrifying to watch them take the field and try to guess which game-killing mistake they’ll make next.
On paper, the Jets are a better team than the Cardinals. If the Jets lose this game, it will say a lot more about the quality of coaching than the talent on the roster. It will also be the final nail in the coffin for the 2012 season.
The Jets haven’t lost to the Cardinals since 1975. The last time these two teams played each other, the Jets beat the Cardinals 56-35 in 2008 at home. This was the season that the Jets had Brett Favre. Incidentally, the Jets went 9-7 that season—that same record that, at this point, is the ideal—but missed the playoffs, finishing third in the AFC East behind the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots.
Angie Kozak is an NFL team writer for TPF and can be contacted at AKozak@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com
Angie Kozak is the New York Jets writer for The Penalty Flag. Angie has had NY Jets season ticket for 13 straight seasons and counting. She graduated from Penn State University in 2010 with a degree in Communications. Although a lifelong diehard Jet fan, Angie can be outspokenly critical of her beloved Jets. Contact her on Twitter @Angie_Kozak.