In eager anticipation of the 2013 NFL season, Baltimore Sun blogger and reporter Matt Vensel will take a daily look at one of the 13 opponents on the Ravens’ regular-season schedule. Today is the New York Jets.
A few years ago, it looked like Ravens-Jets might become one of the best non-divisional rivalries in the NFL. The Jets hired Rex Ryan, the defensive coordinator for the Ravens who was edged out by John Harbaugh for the head-coaching job in Baltimore, and Ryan brought his swagger to the Big Apple. The two teams were similar and successful, and it looked like they could bump into each other in the playoffs. But the Jets have fallen and Ryan might be coaching for his job when the Jets come to Baltimore in Week 12 -- if he still has a job then.
Recapping 2012: The Jets’ season can be summed up in two words: butt fumble. New York's season was pretty much in the tank when the 4-6 Jets played the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving night. In that ugly loss, Sanchez secured himself a permanent spot on NFL blooper reels when he ran into the backside of one of his linemen, fumbled the ball and watched the Patriots return it for a touchdown. It was a microcosm of the season for the Jets, who led the NFL with 37 turnovers. The Jets finished 6-10, ranked 28th in scoring offense and their defense, which lost star cornerback Darrell Revis in September, was 20th in points against.
Cha-cha-changes: The Jets fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum after the season and replaced him with John Idzik. But Ryan was spared and the Jets kept Sanchez, the fifth overall pick in 2009, around, too. They did bring in competition for Sanchez, though, selecting West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith in the second round of the draft. Those weren’t the only changes. The Jets traded Revis, the NFL’s best cornerback, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and used their two first-round picks on Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. They also traded for New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory.
The skinny: The Jets should be bad in 2013. Ryan is a lame-duck coach who could lose the locker room, if he hasn’t already. Sanchez needs a change of scenery and will likely lose his job to Smith at some point this season. The defense will be OK, but losing Revis really hurts. The Jets, who also have major salary cap issues, are a team in transition that should contend … for the No. 1 overall pick in 2014.
Recent history: The Ravens and Jets have played twice since Ryan joined the Jets. The Ravens won a hard-hitting 10-9 game in the 2010 season opener and beat the Jets, 34-17, the following season. They haven't played since. The Ravens lead the all-time series, 7-1.
Degree of difficulty: Because of Ryan’s struggles, this could-have-been rivalry has fizzled out. Rex probably won’t have much to boast or brag about when his brings his Jets to Baltimore. He will have even less when they leave town. This is the easiest game on the Ravens’ schedule and they should be heavily favored to win. I’ll set the degree of difficulty at a pathetic one out of 10.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun