Let's not resort to the old joke - the New York Jets can't lose this week because they don't play. It's based in truth, though, since the Jets don't gain much by not playing. The prospects of winning any of the next three games are slim. Where's third string quarterback Greg McElroy when you need him? The Jets look up to a number of teams with a better chance at a playoff berth - too many to cover here. In the NFL's 9th week, here's a sampling of some compelling matchups:
Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants - Both these teams have winning DNA, and play up to the competition. The Giants, though, are too "up" for the Steelers, who will fly in on the day of the game because their hotel in Jersey City doesn't have power. The Giants are a juggernaut, and win even when they don't play particularly well - like last week against Dallas. Eli Manning vs. Ben Roethlisberger is compelling, but not even Big Ben can shed that pass rush. The Giants should win by 10.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns - You wonder just how affected the Ravens will be without Ray Lewis in the middle of their defense. The team has some character, more than the Jets, for example, and should emerge from the post-injury funk. Here's a good place to start, with a pathetic Browns team that occasionally provides a decent fight - not enough against a desperate Ravens squad. Ravens crush them by 17.
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts - Who would ever have considered this would be an eventful matchup? Both teams are unexpectedly still in the playoff hunt. The Colts don't have much of a schedule to navigate either, based on their horrendous record last year. The Dolphins defense is respectable, and that's not based solely on their pillaging of the Jets. Dolphins sneak through by a field goal.
Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans - At one time, the Bills seemed poised to compete. What the heck happened? The Texans might win this game by 28.
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 Eli Manning page
· Yahoo! Sports Ben Roethlisberger page
· Yahoo! Sports Buffalo Bills page
· Yahoo! Sports Ray Lewis page
· Sean Brennan, New York Daily News, Inside the Matchups