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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 1
September 3, 2003
Season Ticket
Thu 9 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
NYJ at WAS DEN at CIN MIN at GB ATL at DAL OAK at TEN
Sun 1 PM HOU at MIA NE at BUF CHI at SF Mon 9 PM
ARZ at DET IND at CLE SD at KC NO at SEA TB at PHI
BAL at PIT JAX at CAR STL at NYG Times EST no byes
   
NY Jets vs Washington Thu, Sep 4; 9 PM on ABC at FedEx Field
  New York Jets Rush Catch Pass
QB Vinny Testaverde 0 0 190,1
RB Curtis Martin 80,1 20 0
RB Lamont Jordan 20 0 0
TE Anthony Becht 0 20,1 0
WR Wayne Chrebet 0 40 0
WR Curtis Conway 0 50 0
WR Santana Moss 0 50 0
  Washington Rush Catch Pass
QB Patrick Ramsey 0 0 240,2
RB Trung Canidate 60,1 40 0
RB Ladell Betts 20 10 0
TE Zeron Flemister 0 10 0
WR Lavernues Coles 0 80,1 0
WR Rod Gardner 0 60,1 0
WR Patrick Johnson 0 30 0

Game Prediction: NYJ 17 , WAS 24

The Jets found themselves dramatically changed in only one preseason play when Chad Pennington fractured his wrist. That one injury changes more than the depth chart, it changes the dynamics of the team and the play calling.

Pennington opened up the offense last year, showing great command with the West Coast offense and making a star of Lavernues Coles in the process. Now Pennington is out, Vinny is in and Coles will ironically be lining up wearing a native American on his helmet. That feather in his cap from last year turned into a feather on his helmet. Testaverde is 39 years old and immobile. The plan is now to de-emphasize the short passing scheme for a bigger running game and keep the game plan a bit more traditional for Vinny.

Vinny is less adept at threading those short passes and tends to prefer locking onto a main receiver instead. This may benefit the speedy Santana Moss the most as he tries to turn the slot into a deep pass play. Newcomer Curtis Conway replaces the departed Coles but with an injury history of his own and advancing age makes him more likely a one season answer than any long term move.

Curtis Martin will be relied on more and as he quickly approaches the traditional wall for running backs, he looks in health again after last season. Martin has been used very sparingly in the offseason and the Jets will try to preserve his health by using Lamont Jordan in goal-line situations and spell Martin in any games that become out of hand in either direction.

The Jets defense was disappointing last season and the linebacking corps is not getting any younger. They should be about as good as last season but the offense will likely place them in tougher situations this year and not unlike most teams, a key injury or two will have significant effects on this unit.

The Redskins start out Steve Spurrier's second season much better on paper. Patrick Ramsey has not only been given the keys to the offense, he also has only Rob Johnson behind him as the Skins decided to go with only two quarterbacks in the roster after spending last season playing musical chairs.

Gone is Stephen Davis and his mismatched power running game. After playing all summer with four runningbacks, Spurrier has settled on Trung Canidate and made that pick more solid by dumping Kenny Watson and retaining the injured Ladell Betts instead. Canidate will be the starter and get spelled with both Betts and occasionally Chad Morton but in this offense a running back is used much differently than most. Spurrier has recently repeated his intention to use all three backs in the game.

A bit more chemistry has been added to the receivers with the pricey addition of Lavernues Coles. Adding a new receiver coming off one big year to a new offense seems the recipe for disappointment but Coles has been everything the Redskins wanted so far and a good effect on Rod Gardener. Rookie Taylor Jacobs has already earned the #3 slot position. Adding in Patrick Johnson and Darnerian McCants makes this group fit what Spurrier wants in the passing game - quick, fast, small receivers that can tack on yards after the catch in a complicated passing scheme. If it works, it will be hard to defend. If it doesn't - Spurrier will have no one to blame.

Taylor Jacobs is stil recovering from his abdominal injury and will miss the game. He will be replaced by both Patrick Johnson and Darnerian McCants.

The Redskins defense is very good on paper as well, but was unable to overcome the field position the offense was giving away last season. With a shut down corner in Bailey and LaVarr Arrington out to hurt people, this unit could very good if Washington can roll up big points Spurrier-style and let the defense have a greater chance at turnovers.

This game has an interesting angle to it - the Redskins raided the Jets' roster in the offseason and will now use four players against their old team - Coles, Chad Morton, OG Randy Thomas and kicker John Hall.

This game goes to the home Skins who are enjoying a new found sense of chemistry and a nice absence of the rotational plans last year which led to inconsistency and poor play. The Jets are still dealing with being a different team so suddenly and though later in the year the Jets might pull this off, the Skins are enough right now to make Danny Snyder smile.

 

Comparative Stats
Starting Week Two

 

Jets (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 @WAS
Week 2 MIA
Week 3 @NE
Week 4 DAL
Week 5 BYE
Week 6 BUF
Week 7 @HOU
Week 8 @PHI
Week 9 NYG
Week 10 @OAK
Week 11 @IND
Week 12 JAX
Week 13 TEN
Week 14 @BUF
Week 15 PIT
Week 16 NE
Week 17 @MIA
Redskins (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 NYJ
Week 2 @ATL
Week 3 NYG
Week 4 NE
Week 5 @PHI
Week 6 TB
Week 7 @BUF
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 @DAL
Week 10 SEA
Week 11 @CAR
Week 12 @MIA
Week 13 NO
Week 14 @NYG
Week 15 DAL
Week 16 @CHI
Week 17 PHI
(Statistics are game averages from current season )