Games assume importance in a hurry in the NFL, don't they?
One might reason the New York Jets will take the field angry and desperate this week in Miami. They will face a team that would love to send them into a spin, in front of fans who despise them for no good reason other than rivalry, the roots of which are nearly forgotten after so many desultory years of mediocre football.
The Jets have ample reason to be angry, mostly at themselves. They couldn't wait to declare the world incorrect and too quick to pass judgment on their chances for glory this year after bouncing Buffalo up and down the field like a father might do with his toddler child on his lap. Then they were completely embarrassed in Pittsburgh again, unable to conquer the ghosts of past visits, ill-prepared to adjust to situations and injuries, and ultimately broken by a team with a stronger will.
The Jets have even greater motive for desperation. A loss in Miami would send them spiraling into two weeks of virtually unwinnable games against the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans. Together with the New York Giants, they form the triangle at the top of the NFL in terms of talent and potential to win the Super Bowl this year. The chances for upsets in those games are minimal at best, and nonexistent if they lose to Miami, a team most consider to be among several that figuratively line the bottom of the garbage pail in the NFL. Dolphin fans shouldn't feel too giddy about recent success. The Oakland Raiders, the team the Dolphins trounced last week, is another with such an unsightly designation.
Darrelle Revis is back in the lineup, and that should help a defense that relies too heavily on him, and is often riddled by the third proficiency of just about every quarterback in the league. There are demons in Miami, but less so than in Pittsburgh, so the Jets should probably overcome the wretchedness of parts of their game. The Dolphins may not be accomplished enough to expose them. If they do, the Jets might as well pencil in 1-4, and write an early epitaph to a season gone too soon. Jets 20, Dolphins 17.
Glenn Vallach has been a football fan for most of his lifetime, but never played organized pigskin unless you consider the thousands of youth hours running slant routes on city streets with a friend serving as Joe Willie. Don Maynard was his idol, an adulation he took seriously, complete with a number 13 stitched to his sweatshirt. He remains a New York Jet fan through so much disappointment and embarrassment over the years. Coach Rex Ryan has rekindled a dormant fire, but sometimes he feels as if he doesn't understand the likely end result of all his efforts. It has been 42 years, after all.
Sources:Yahoo! Sports New York Jets page
- Yahoo! Sports Miami Dolphins page
Yahoo! Sports Pittsburgh Steelers page
Dennis Waszak Jr., The Associated Press, Jets' Revis cleared, says 'I'm playing' at Miami