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The Jets (6-5) beat Houston 26-11 last week after losing 10-0 to Chicago on Nov. 19. Pennington had contrasting performances in both games, completing a season-high 77.4 percent of his passes for 286 yards and a touchdown against the Texans after throwing two interceptions in the loss to the Bears.
“Even when we’re talking about the Chicago game, when I mention there are a lot of things he did really well, he does them well each week,” Jets coach Eric Mangini said. “Sometimes they result in touchdowns, the big plays. Sometimes they result in getting out of a bad play.
“Even though it’s a gain of one or two, it’s a heck of a lot better than what would have happened if you had kept the original call on. He’s done that since training camp. It’s a great quality. Chad is the type of guy that’s not going to be denied. That’s how he approaches everything.”
Pennington has completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 1,320 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions in New York’s six victories, while posting a 56.4 completion percentage, 854 yards, three scores and nine picks in the five defeats.
Despite his inconsistency, New York is just one game back in the hunt for a wild-card spot in the AFC thanks to solid play from its defense. The Jets have allowed 35 points with nine sacks over the last three games.
“We’ve been for real,” defensive end Shaun Ellis said. “Now, we’re just starting to jell a little bit more and we’ve just got to play more consistent and just get better every week.”
The unit snapped a nine-game streak of allowing opponents at least 125 rushing yards when it held the Texans to 25 on 14 carries.
“The defensive line played real well,” linebacker Victor Hobson said. “They were able to put pressure on the quarterback and that makes it easier for the whole defense.”
The defense will now attempt to put pressure on Brett Favre, who threw for 266 yards and a season-high three interceptions in a 34-24 loss to Seattle on Monday night. The performance came a week after the 37-year-old quarterback completed 5-of-15 passes for 73 yards in a 35-0 loss to New England.
The Packers (4-7) hope to avoid a three-game slide that would virtually knock them out of the NFC playoff race and only assure them of, at best, a .500 record.
To do that, they need to stop making mistakes and capitalize on turnovers. Green Bay caused four against Seattle, but committed four of its own.
“When you have four turnovers like we did and you don’t generate point production on two of them, that speaks volumes,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
The offense was unable to generate much of a running game in the snow at Seattle, totaling 51 rushing yards. Green Bay has just 142 yards on the ground in its last three contests.
Ahman Green has 127 of those yards, including 44 against the Seahawks.
“I thought Ahman ran the ball very hard,” McCarthy said. “I thought the fullbacks were OK with their fits. We just were not in sync like we should have been. And we had a number of good looks just as far as the fronts we were getting.
“In hindsight, I really feel good about the plan, and how we went about it. But our execution was not there.”
If the weather was a factor in Green Bay’s inability to run the ball Monday, it could take its toll again Sunday as temperatures are expected to be in the mid-20s with snow possible at Lambeau Field.
The Packers have stumbled at home, winning only once in five tries this season. They’ve been outscored 132-78 there while being shut out twice.
The Jets have won the last two meetings with the Packers, including a 42-17 victory on Dec. 29, 2002, at Giants Stadium which clinched their last division crown.
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