Tim Tebow, not Mark Sanchez, must start for New York Jets

Is Tim Tebow the long-term answer for the New York Jets? Not a chance. But can he salvage the Jets' 2012 season? Absolutely.

In fact, the Jets might be able to win 10 games if they turn things over to Tebow right now, but they have no chance at winning that many with Mark Sanchez at the helm.

Let's walk through Tebow's 2011 season with the Denver Broncos, who finished a respectable 8-8 and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card round of the playoffs before losing to the New England Patriots in the divisional round. When Tebow took over as the quarterback in Week 7, the Broncos were 1-4, thanks to losses to the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers. In my opinion, Denver could have won at least three of those games if Tebow had been starting instead of Kyle Orton.

I'm not suggesting Tebow is capable of leading an offense that could outscore Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, but there's no doubt in my mind he could have beaten the Titans. Remember, also, that he led the Broncos to victories over the Raiders and Chargers later in the season. So the Broncos potentially could have finished 9-7 or 10-6, instead of 8-8.

Yes, plenty of the Broncos' opponents helped them win games in 2011, but let's face it: Miracles happen when No. 15 is in the game. I'll bet that continues to be true in his tenure with the Jets.

Miracles, of course, are difficult to measure -- or count on. So let's talk facts. The Broncos won in 2011 with good defense, steady special-teams play and a solid run game. Their passing game, primitive though it was, led to few turnovers. Which NFL team excels at defense, special teams, rushing and limiting turnovers? The Jets.

Harrison: Power Rankings
What is the NFL pecking order entering Week 1 of the 2012 campaign? Elliot Harrison ranks every team, from 1 to 32. More ...

Gang Green won't win a Super Bowl by playing "Tebow Ball," at least not with Tebow's quarterbacking skills at such a low level. I do know this, however: A Rex Ryan defense and a Tebow-led offense could work together to easily frustrate 10 teams on the Jets' schedule.

New York's defense matches up extremely well with almost every squad the Jets play this season, except for the Patriots, Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers. If the Jets turn Tebow loose under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, and truly play "ground and pound" football, they could make the playoffs in 2012, rather than miss out for a second consecutive season.

Did you see or hear Darrelle Revis and Bart Scott talking about their big expectations for Sanchez? The lie detector in me was lighting up like a Christmas tree. What is Sparano known for? The Wildcat formation and running the football. What does Sanchez's 47-game tenure as the starting quarterback say? A lot, very little of it good.

If Sanchez continues to lead the Jets offense, which didn't score a touchdown until the preseason finale, the team will put the city that never sleeps to sleep.

The game of football is simple. Put the best players in the best position to play their best collectively. I'm not arguing that Tebow is a better quarterback than Sanchez. But playing "Tebow Ball" is what's best for the team, because it can help the Jets win more than a handful of games.

We've all seen what this offense accomplished in the preseason with Sanchez and Tebow trying to be conventional NFL quarterbacks. Do I really need to post the pathetic stats?

I definitely don't need to post the stats of a defense that, under Ryan, has somehow managed to consistently be among the top five in the NFL, despite getting little to no help from the other side of the ball.

Disagree if you like, but there is a 10-win season to be had if the Jets start Tebow on Sunday.

Heath Evans played fullback for a decade with the Seahawks, Dolphins, Patriots and Saints before joining NFL Network as an analyst in 2011.