American Football: Jets aiming for quick recovery after Baltimore crash-landing

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The Independent Online

After failing to impress in an opening loss to Baltimore, the New York Jets can expect no respite when they host the New England Patriots this weekend in a resumption of one of the bitterest rivalries in the NFL.

The Jets couldn't run efficiently or pass with any authority against the Baltimore Ravens during a 10-9 defeat. In fact, New York's offense was so poor that the Ravens had the ball for more than 38 minutes, even though they managed only 49 yards rushing.

New England doesn't need to control the clock so much to control games. The Patriots can score very quickly, even against a highly regarded defence such as New York's.

Also, the Jets might not have the offense in place to test a Patriots defence that is in transition. Mark Sanchez is supposed to take the next big step in his development in his second pro season, but he looked a nervous quarterback against Baltimore.

"I wouldn't say that I'm concerned," Sanchez said. "It's way too early to hit the panic button with the guys we have in this room on the offensive side of the ball."

There's been plenty of controversy generated between the teams over the years: from Bill Parcells to Bill Belichick to Curtis Martin to Eric Mangini and Spygate. There was even a further twist to the tale this week between Randy Moss and the Jets cornerback, Darrelle Revis, whom the Patriots star receiver hopes to overrun with touchdown catches.

Revis called Moss a "slouch" during a word-association game on television in January. Not surprisingly, Moss did not take kindly to that description and said that Revis would get "60 minutes of this slouch" on Sunday.

"It's a heated rivalry, no question about it," said the Jets' right tackle Damien Woody, who also played for the Patriots from 1999-2003. "I think it would be even more intriguing if we could win the division because they've dominated it for years."

The Manning brothers, meanwhile, meet for the second time when big brother Peyton leads the Indianapolis Colts against little bro Eli and the visiting New York Giants. Peyton won the previous showdown in 2006, 26-21, in the first NFL meeting of siblings starting at quarterback.

However, as compelling as Manning versus Manning might be, the game could be decided on the ground. The Colts stumbled badly in their opener against Houston, with only their second loss to the Texans in 17 meetings. They couldn't stop the run, and now they are missing key safety Bob Sanders (biceps surgery). Also, their offensive line is in something of a state of flux.

Look for the Giants to run Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, and to count on their strong front four to heap pressure on Peyton. But also keep an eye out for Colts tight-end Dallas Clark to have a big day against New York's mediocre linebackers.

Brett Favre needs two touchdown passes against the Miami Dolphins to become the first player to record 500, but the Minnesota Vikings quarterback looked ordinary against New Orleans without his favourite target, Sidney Rice.

It would be no surprise to see running back Adrian Peterson resume his previous position as the focal point of Minnesota's offense with multiple carries. Although the Dolphins completely shut down Buffalo's runners last weekend, none of them resembled Peterson.

Backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combined for 127 yards and a touchdown in Miami's victory over Buffalo. Miami ran the ball 36 times and passed it 34, a rare occurrence in the glitzy, pass-first NFL of the 21st century. The Dolphins haven't had two straight wins on the road to start a season in 33 years.

Other highlights involve Baltimore at Cincinnati, Pittsburgh at Tennessee, Chicago at Dallas, Buffalo at Green Bay, Philadelphia at Detroit, Houston at Washington, Arizona at Atlanta, Seattle at Denver, Jacksonville at San Diego, Kansas City at Cleveland, St Louis at Oakland, and Tampa Bay at Carolina, while New Orleans travel to San Francisco on Monday.