With Darrelle Revis out for the year, the New York Jets' path to a Super Bowl championship has the credibility of a story about a presidential race with good candidates. Most teams, though, are still within reach of the Jets, so hope remains alive. There are a number of teams to consider that stand firmly in the way of a playoff berth, of course - too many to cover here. In the NFL's 4th week, here's a sampling of some compelling matchups:
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills - Let's keep in mind that Tom Brady still throws the ball for the Pats. Yes, the Bills have been gallant in surviving a brutal Week One loss to the Jets and stand at an unlikely 2-1. But a Bill victory here would pin the Pats with a 1-3 record. Can anyone see that? The Patriots by two touchdowns.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans - Matt Schaub and the boys might have experienced a letdown this week between games against the Denver Broncos and next week's tilt versus the Jets. But with Darrelle Revis out, the Jets game seems less of a challenge, and that's bad news for the Titans. The Texans won't allow Chris Johnson out of the box. This one could be a laugher.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos - Hmm, what do we make of the Raiders? They were just plain awful for a couple of weeks, and then pulled a rabbit out of the hat against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If this game was in Oakland, it would be tempting to lean toward the Silver and Black. But Peyton Manning knows 1-3 leaves a tough road ahead. Denver by two field goals.
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars - Even bad teams win occasionally in the NFL, and usually at home. The Bengals have a chance here and in the next few weeks to further establish a position as a playoff contender. Oops, that's dangerous. Maurice Jones-Drew runs wild here, and the Jags pick up one of the few wins they'll secure this season.
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. 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.
· Yahoo! Sports New England Patriots page
· Yahoo! Sports Buffalo Bills page
· Yahoo! Sports Denver Broncos page
· Yahoo! Sports Matt Schaub page
· Sean Brennan, New York Daily News, Inside the Matchups