Boastful Jets staring distractions, possible 0-2 start in face

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets scored more points than the 49ers and Cowboys, matched the nine points posted by projected offensive juggernauts Atlanta and Minnesota and lost by a point to the Ravens in the closest game of the NFL's opening week. Several playoff teams -- the Colts, Eagles, Chargers and Bengals -- as well as the aforementioned contenders lost.

Yet, the Jets have been picked apart worse than the rule that denied Calvin Johnson and the Lionsa winning touchdown.

They should be.

In danger of falling to 0-2

Of the teams widely presumed to be contenders before the season, the Jets are among seven already in a hole and must find a way out, writes Vic Carucci. **More ...**

They've been woofin' all offseason and invited the scrutiny. What's that your mama told you about writing a check you can't cash?

They're also embroiled in a scandal that involved a female TV Azteca reporter who allegedly was the subject of catcalls in the locker room.

The NFL is investigating, and the issue is clearly hanging over the building in Florham Park. I was there and a lot of people -- team employees, media -- are concerned, as they should be. The Jets seem to have gotten the message about what is expected from league employees, regardless of the circumstance, but more could come out of this once the league is done with its due diligence.

With this on top of losing to Baltimore, the Jets seem to have gotten the message. From coach Rex Ryan to players, the bluster was gone and more congenial conversation and quotes emanated from the locker room this week. The Jets are very confident they'll get on track but there was no talk of kissing the ring of Patriots coach Bill Belichick or repeated suggestions by cornerback Darrelle Revis of New England wide receiver Randy Moss is a "slouch."

"It's been in his mind for the whole offseason, and he's been working hard for this day to come," Revis said. "I know he's coming prepared. Randy Moss is a hard worker, and he wants to be the best. I'm sure he's going to have some tricks up his sleeve."

So will Revis. His message was one of those cloak-covered compliments that translates as, "Bring it on."

With Revis having missed training camp in a contract dispute, Ryan kept him solely at left corner vs. the Ravens, and that allowed Baltimore to get favorable matchups on rookie nickel back Kyle Wilson. That won't happen against New England. Revis will follow Moss just about everywhere.

That pits Wilson against reception-machine Wes Welker, a matchup New England can live with. The concern for the Jets won't be individual matchups, though. It will be keeping Tom Brady and Co. out of the end zone. New England hung 38 on a good Bengals defense in Week 1. If the Patriots get anywhere near that, the Jets could be looking at an 0-2 start, two games behind New England and maybe Miami in the AFC East.

New York's offense was dysfunctional against Baltimore, but keep in mind, it was the Ravens. Mark Sanchez said things will be better Sunday because of the game plan and because players are stung by the poor showing in the opener.

Wide receiver Braylon Edwards said the albatross on offense isn't the suddenly-maligned Sanchez or the offensive line or running back Shonn Greene's ball security. The problem is players pressing to live up to the self-initiated hype and the play of the defense. They don't like being known as a one-sided team, Edwards said.

Reward in risk for quarterbacks

There are quarterbacks that are willing to take the safe pass rather than challenging an opposing defense down the field. It's tough to win playing that brand of football. **More ...**

They are what they are, though. The defense is what will keep them in games and in some cases, win games. If the offense begins to find its way, then the Jets might be as dangerous as they've told everyone they are.

Several players told me that Sanchez isn't a weak link and that he will be fine. Some echoed what Ryan admitted, that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer might need to let Sanchez cut it loose down the field more.

To that point, players said there were deep pass routes called but Sanchez also opted to checkdown to secondary receivers. It's way too early to get skittish about hearing the "checkdown" phrase with Sanchez, but doesn't that seem to be the newfangled complaint about young quarterbacks who aren't ready to step forward?

Though the outcome against the Patriots isn't the end all for the Jets or Sanchez, it is important. If New York wins, then what happened in Week 1 will be forgotten. If Sanchez plays well in a victory, so will some of the doubts. If things go otherwise, the reaction will be a lot more negative and intense.

And the Dolphins are on deck in Week 3.

I'm picking the Jets to right their wrongs and head to Miami at 1-1.

Week 2 picks: (Last week 10-6)

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