As has been the case most of the season, the New York Jets face a must-win game, this time at home against the struggling Arizona Cardinals, who come into this afternoon's game losers of seven straight after starting the season with four consecutive victories.
If the Jets (4-7) want any chance at the playoffs, they must run the table - and their remaining five games are all winnable ones, and it starts with today with the 4-7 Cards.
Big Turkeys on Thanksgiving
Gang Green suffered one of the most embarrassing losses in team history on Thanksgiving Night versus New England, allowing three touchdowns in a 52-second span in the second quarter en route to being blown out 49-18 and booed out of MetLife Stadium. It was so bad that after the game, Fireman Ed announced that he would no longer lead the fans in the "J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets" cheer.
State of the Jets
Wide receiver Clyde Gates did not practice all week with a concussion and is not expected to play. Tim Tebow has been limited in practice with broken ribs, and reports say there is a chance he could be deactivated for the game, meaning Greg McElroy would be Sanchez' backup.
What to Expect
Looking strictly at statistics, it is hard to see how either team will score many points, meaning the game will probably be a 35-31 shootout.
The Cards rank 31st in the league in total offense, but boast the No. 7 ranked defense, allowing just 327.9 yards per game with 30 sacks. Contrarily, the Jets have the No. 28 ranked offense and the No. 19 ranked defense.
Cardinals rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley started his first career game last week in a 31-17 loss to St. Louis. He was picked off four times - two returned for scores - and completed 31-of-52 passes for 312 yards. Jets coach Rex Ryan should have plenty in store for a QB making only his second NFL start. It could be a big game for the Jets defense, though Antonio Cromartie still will have to worry about all-world receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
The Jets still cannot stop the run (ranked 30th), but luckily for them, the Cards cannot run (ranked 30th), so advantage Jets. And on offense, the Jets may be able to run the ball since Arizona struggles in that department, ranking 23rd in the league.
The pressure, though, will be on Sanchez. The Cards boast the fourth-ranked pass defense, led by second-year standout Patrick Patterson and former Jet Kerry Rhodes, who returns to New York after clashing with Ryan and being sent to the desert. Arizona has 15 interceptions and the Sanchez has turned the ball over 41 times the past two seasons.
There are plenty of empty seats expected at MetLife Stadium, but it would be a good thing for the Jets to play well in front of the fans who do decide to show up.
Jets: Sanchez -- 2,339 yards, 12 TDs, 10 INTs
Cards: Kolb -- 1,169 yards, 8 TDs, 3 INTs
Jets: Greene -- 186 carries for 702 yards, 5 TDs
Cards: Stephens-Howling -- 91 carries for 312 yards, 4 TDs
Jets: Kerley -- 45 catches for 664 yards, 2 TDs
Cards: Roberts -- 50 catches for 639 yards, 5 TDs
Jets: Harris -- 85 tackles
Cards: Washington -- 95 tackles
Jets: Thomas -- 2.5 sacks
Cards: Washington -- 9.0 sacks
CARDINALS @ JETS
When: 12/2, 1 pm
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
TV: Fox, Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick
Radio: ESPN New York 98.7
Line: Jets -6