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NFL News - February 16th, 2010 - Written by John
When you put yourself out there as much as Rex Ryan did in 2009, it could be a very long season. But the New York Jets backed up their boorish rookie head coach by improving every step of the way, and nearly materialized every prophecy he made. The Jets beat the New England Patriots in what some players called "our Super Bowl" in Week Two, then nearly made Ryan seem like a genius by reaching the AFC title game.
Ryan told reporters before the playoffs that his 8-8 wild card team should be the favorites to win the whole thing. Well, they didn't, but still made a good run at it. After upsetting the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers in the first two rounds, New York finally hiccuped in the conference championship, falling to the Indianapolis Colts 31-14.
Yet, with all the experience young quarterback Mark Sanchez attained, and with a tough defense virtually intact, the Jets are poised to make another run at the division and Super Bowl. Bodog currently has 20/1 odds to win the NFL championship in 2011, putting them in a tie with the Ravens, according to NFL Betting Lines.
New York remains one of the youngest teams in the NFL at it's core positions, with Sanchez and running back Shonn Greene coming into their second seasons, and cornerback Darrelle Revis going for his fourth.
Revis was runner-up to Charles Woodson for Defensive Player of the Year, intercepting six passes in the regular season, and shutting down the likes of Randy Moss and Chad Ochocinco.
On offense, it was the running game that led the way and was one of the league's best in '09. Getting a record year out of starter Thomas Jones meant extra time to groom first-round pick, Greene. Jones dashed for 1,402 yards, third-best in the NFL, and scored 14 times.
And when he fell back in the pack late in the year, it was Greene who picked up the slack, gaining a combined 283 yards in the first two playoff games to key we wins.
A choppy passing game will be the unknown for New York in '10, though. Sanchez was second in the league in interceptions last season, but picked it up in the playoffs. He only turned it over twice in his last five games, and looked far more confident in his passes through traffic.