Raise your hand if you have heard this one before: the New York Jets face a must-win game this afternoon on the road versus the St. Louis Rams. With a short week before hosting the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving Night, a loss to the Rams would leave the Jets staring 3-8 in the face with Brady and Co. in town on Turkey Day.
Gang Green is 3-9 in their last 12 games dating back to last year and have not won in 34 days, though for the organization and its fans, it must seem longer than that. The team has been distracted all week after anonymous players ripped Tim Tebow in a Daily News article, general manager Mike Tannenbaum was lit up by WFAN host Mike Francesa on Friday and Jets legend Joe Namath contended that the team is more interested in winning headlines than football games.
If that does not qualify this game as a must-win, what does?
Offenseless in Seattle
Last week versus the Seahawks, Gang Green’s offense was non-existent, with the team scoring their only points on a Muhammad Wilkerson fumble return. Mark Sanchez completed less than 50 percent of his passes yet again, Tebow was a non-factor and Shonn Greene could not establish anything in the running game. The Jets defense did not play a bad game, but a couple of big-play touchdowns was the death knell for a team whose offense was playing so poorly.
"Desperate For a Win"
Ryan said earlier in the week that the Jets needed this win maybe more than any other win since he has been head coach. And he may be right. Making the game even more interesting is that the Rams 24th ranked offense is run by former Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer — his Jets successor Tony Sparano’s unit is ranked No. 30 in the league. Maybe even this week Tebow is finally unleashed.
This has the makings of one of those games that end up being a shootout even though nothing in the stats indicates it should be. The Jets success will depend on Sanchez and how accurately he delivers the football and the quickness of his decision-making.
Defensively, the Jets have not been able to stop the run all season, and the Rams boast one of the better backs in the league in Stephen Jackson. Antonio Cromartie and the Jets secondary will have to shut down receiver Danny Amendola, who despite his size and lack of big play ability, seems to always have 10 catches and close to 100 yards.
State of the Jets
Bilal Powell (concussion) is expected to play, according to Ryan, as is Jeremy Kerley, who did not practice on Friday. Joe McKnight is questionable, along with Sione Po’uha and Bart Scott, though they are all expected on the field this afternoon.
Jets: Sanchez -- 1,860 yards, 10 TDs, 9 INTs
Rams: Bradford -- 2,072 yards, 10 TDs, 7 INTs
Jets: Greene -- 154 carries for 567 yards, 5 TDs
Rams: Jackson -- 137 carries for 504 yards, 2 TDs
Jets: Kerley -- 35 catches for 535 yards, 2 TDs
Rams: Amendola -- 43 catches for 497 yards, 2 TDs
Jets: Harris -- 71 tackles
Rams: Laurinaitis -- 81 tackles
Jets: Thomas -- 2.5 sacks
Rams: Quinn -- 8.5 sacks
JETS @ RAMS
When: 11/16, 1:00 p.m.
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
TV: CBS, Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts
Radio: ESPN New York 98.7
Line: Jets +3