Peyton Manning. Drew Brees. Brett Favre. And … Mark Sanchez?
What a weird playoffs.
San Diego started the season a dismal 2-3, and then won 11 games in a row to finish 13-3. And then they lost their first playoff game, to the Jets, who really shouldn’t have made the playoffs in the first place.
Should Norv Turner be fired? Probably not. But Chargers’ fans have got to be puking their hearts out right now. While Jets fans can’t believe their luck.
Mark Sanchez, the rookie QB from USC who gives Tom Brady a run for his money when it comes to looking more like a super model than a quarterback, has led the J-E-T-S to the AFC Championship game, and is just two wins away from winning the freaking Super Bowl.
I use the word ‘led’ loosely. It’s no secret that the Jets run the ball and play great defense, and they don’t ask much from the quarterback. But I have to wonder… if the roles were reversed, and the Lions drafted Sanchez #1 overall, and then the Jets took Matthew Stafford #6, … what would the postseason picture look like right now?
To clear things up, the Lions wouldn’t be any better off. Maybe 3 wins instead of 2. Whatever. Sanchez would have been crushed.
But how would Stafford have fared in the AFC East, behind the NFL’s best offensive line, playing with three good running backs, an excellent tight end, few decent receivers, a Wildcat QB, and the best fullback alive.
I’ll tell you how. 6-10. Maybe 7-9.
I’m under no delusion that Mark Sanchez is the best player on the Jets team. That’s obviously Darelle Revis. In fact, Sanchez isn’t even a top 10 player on that team. (Mangold, Faneca, Jenkins, Richardson, Scott, Harris, Edwards, Keller, Pace, Sheppard, Jones, Cotchery, Washington, and the list goes on…)
Is Sanchez even the best QB on the Jets? Arguably not. Kellen Clemens has done okay in his limited starts.
But how much better is Mark Sanchez than Matt Stafford? Statistically, it’s not all that different. But in real life, game-time situations?
Let me ask this question: if you surrounded Stafford with the NFC Pro Bowl roster and asked him to play against the Chargers, would he be able to beat them? My guess is no. The D would stack the line against the run and force Stafford to pass in man-to-man coverage, and he would throw crappy passes, or get sacked, or make the wrong reads, or throw more crappy passes.
Just because Sanchez isn’t a Pro Bowler doesn’t mean he’s not valuable to the Jets, or that he’s a quality quarterback. He’s not being asked to do much, but he is being asked to do something.
Something that Matt Stafford isn’t able to do at this point in his young, lucrative career.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Championship Game Picks:
I’m taking the Saints
and the Colts.
Both by at least two touchdowns.
And we should have a really fun Super Bowl.
Although, we’re going to have a fun Super Bowl no matter what …
A Jets-Vikings Super Bowl would be the Brett Favre Revenge Game.
A Colts-Vikings Super Bowl would be the best QB of all time, statistically, against the guy who’s going to beak all his record one day.
And a Jets-Saints Super Bowl would be the best offense in the NFL against the best defense in the NFL.
But what we all really want to see is a Colts-Saints Super Bowl.
The two best QBs in the NFL right now, the two teams that started 13-0.
Two A+ offenses against two pretty good defenses.
An epic game in the making.
Please don’t ruin it, Mark Sanchez.
Last week: 3-1