Friday , January 15 2021

A hopeful named Lawrence

The New York Jets are beginning to see few opportunities to win one, and they have yet to savour the victory in 2020. After 10 straight defeats, the Jets will attempt to defeat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

It’s Sam Darnold who will be behind the centre, back in the game after missing the last two games due to a right shoulder injury that bothered him for much of the season. But maybe that’s not such good news for the Jets.

Adam Gase’s team may have played its best games of the season in the last two weeks. The Jets lost on the last play of the game in their 30-27 loss to the New England Patriots, then showed some pride by coming back into the game after falling behind 24-6 to the Los Angeles Chargers, who finally won 34-28. Two great moral victories…

Selected third in the 2018 draft, Darnold is still young at 23. So it’s not impossible that he could one day become a good quarterback in the NFL. What we can say for sure, however, is that he is not the kind of quarterback who can carry a team on his shoulders. He’s going to have to be well surrounded to win consistently in the NFL, which is not the case with the Jets at all.

To tell you the truth, Darnold hasn’t had a good relationship in three years. It’s no wonder his career stats are very modest: 39 touchdown passes, 34 steals, an average of 216 yards per game and an efficiency ratio of 78.3. Those are numbers worthy of a good reservist.

The only upside to a 0-10 record for the Jets is that they’re getting closer to the very first pick in the next draft. And unless he chooses to play one last season with the Clemson University Tigers, an option he hasn’t ruled out yet, Trevor Lawrence will almost certainly be the first hopeful selected in April.

Lawrence has shone in the NCAA like few other quarters have in the history of American college football. In his very first season, he led the Tigers to a national championship. That was in January 2019. He led Clemson to the championship game for the second year in a row before suffering his first-ever NCAA loss to Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers.

Lawrence is the kind of player the Jets absolutely couldn’t afford to pass up if they actually had the first pick in the auction in a few months. Talented and charismatic, he seems destined for a great career and the odds are high that he will become a star in the NFL. He would not be affected at all by the pressure of playing in New York.

Sad end for Gore

The “race” for the first pick in the draft will likely be between the Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have a record of 1-9. All other NFL teams have at least three wins except the Cincinnati Bengals, who currently have a 2-7-1 record.

But until the Jets win, they can hope to get their hands on Lawrence. After the Dolphins visit on Sunday, the Jets will take on the Las Vegas Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns and Patriots. They are expected to be largely overlooked in each of their last six games.

Chances are the Jets will become the third team after the Detroit Lions in 2008 and the Browns in 2017 to finish a season with a 0-16 record. And for veteran Frank Gore, that would be unacceptable.

“I don’t want to have a 0-16 record if this is my last season. I can’t end my career like this,” said Gore earlier this week, who stands third in NFL history with 15,794 yards on the ground.

Gore is an example of consistency and endurance, having missed only 14 games in 16 seasons, which is exceptional for a ball carrier. But for Gore to be the leader for ground yards for a team with a 447 crop at this stage of his career, at 37 years of age, says a lot about the Jets’ mismanagement.

If this organization is indeed fortunate enough to have a talent like Lawrence, now would be a good time to do yet another reset, including a change of head coach. In any case, it’s hard to see how Gase could keep his job after such a terrible season.

Miguel Bujold’s predictions

Las Vegas v. Atlanta : Las Vegas

L.A. Chargers v. Buffalo: Buffalo

N.Y. Giants v. Cincinnati: Giants of N.Y.

Tennessee v. Indianapolis: Tennessee

Caroline v. Minnesota: Minnesota

Arizona v. New England: Arizona

Miami v. N-Y Jets: Miami

Cleveland v. Jacksonville: Cleveland

New Orleans v. Denver: New Orleans

San Francisco v. L.A. Rams: L.A. Rams.

Kansas City v. Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay

Chicago v. Green Bay

Seattle v. Philadelphia: Seattle

Baltimore v. Pittsburgh

Last week: 8-5
Season total: 101-49-1

MUST-HAVES

TENNESSEE IN INDIANAPOLIS, SUNDAY, 1 p.m.

If the Titans want to win the American’s Southern Division, a win in Indianapolis is virtually essential. Otherwise, the Colts would have one more win and hold the tiebreaker between the two teams. First place is especially important as several teams will be vying for the top three second-place finishes. The Ravens, Browns, Dolphins, Raiders and the team that finishes second, between the Colts and the Titans, will all be vying for one of those three spots. The Colts easily won their first meeting with the Titans, 34-17, just over two weeks ago in Nashville, benefiting in part from a strong performance by their special units.

KANSAS CITY TO TAMPA BAY, SUNDAY, 4:25 p.m.

Tom Brady is clearly no longer infallible as he was for most of his career in New England. He played a second bad game in three weeks on Monday night against the Rams. Brady was inaccurate all night (54.2% passing) and his two interceptions were awful. He was largely responsible for the 27-24 defeat of his team. Time is running out for the Buccaneers to catch up with the Saints at the top of their division. The Chiefs have won their last five games, but Patrick Mahomes and the offense will be tested against the Bucs’ defense, which will have to excel in order for Bruce Arians’ team to be successful over the next two months.

BALTIMORE IN PITTSBURGH, TUESDAY, 8 p.m.

This game was originally scheduled to be played on Thursday. It was then postponed to Sunday and then to Friday. The NFL has announced that it should be played on Tuesday night. These changes are due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Ravens. At least 12 players on the team were last reported to have tested positive for the virus, including quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens’ December 2 game against the Cowboys has been moved to Monday, December 7 at 5:00 p.m. The Ravens’ game on December 2 has been moved to Monday, December 7 at 5:00 p.m. The Cowboys have been scheduled to play the game on December 2. The Ravens will attempt to inflict a first loss on the Steelers with a playoff berth, but it is still unclear how many players will be missing from the Ravens’ squad. The Steelers were originally scheduled to take ten days off before facing Washington on December 6, but it will eventually be five.



www.lapresse.ca

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