Are the Jets Super Bowl Contenders?
The Jets have received a lot of flak from the NFL community about their decision to “win-now” and approaching the offseason in an aggressive manner. This probably comes from media members and fans bitter about seeing so many good players snatched up by a team who still has “that Geno guy at quarterback.” We’ve all heard the accusations that Woody Johnson made Jets GM Mike Maccagnan go out and get certain players for PR reasons, or that the Jets are simply delusional. These same people bashed the Jets when Idzik sat around and played solitaire the last 2 off seasons, there’s no making them happy. Their belief is unless Geno has been listening to some Shia LaBeouf speeches this offseason and becomes Steve Young the Jets have no chance. Well get your Bart Scott speeches ready because I have a list of obtainable reasons why the Jets can be Super Bowl bound this year.
First off who should the Jets be scared of in the AFC? The Indianapolis Colts have a roster made of Swiss cheese. The team had a lot of WR depth and an excellent quarterback but only a handful of playmakers around that squad. The Colts have invested in getting Luck as much help as possible and rightly so, but you have to wonder how it will be going against Darrelle Revis and company. As for the Cincinnati Bengals, as Colin Cowherd puts it “When my man Adriel Jeremiah (AJ) Green is taken out of the game the ‘Red Rifle’ Andy Dalton begins to look like the ‘Red Squirt gun.” Did anyone watch Peyton Manning last year? I have a lot of respect for the way Peyton had been able to bounce back but eventually multiple spine surgeries and being 39 don’t mix. The Ravens and Steelers have always given the Jets trouble as squads who can match their defense but have clearly better offense. That doesn’t mean these are two dominant squads though. The Ravens offense is a shell of itself. Torrey Smith and Ray Rice have been replaced by Steve Smith and Rookie Breshad Perriman. Joe Flacco hasn’t looked the same since he got paid and neither has the defense since Ray Lewis left. The Steelers combination of Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell is pretty scary but Le’Veon is suspended for substance abuse for three games. It is still unclear how long Roethlisberger can keep taking the extended sacks and hits with his ‘escape artist’ pocket style.
Speaking of suspensions, word came out from ESPN Insider Jason Cole that the NFL is going to fight tooth and nail to try and deliver some form of suspension for Tom Brady over the Deflate gate scandal. Even without the suspension the Patriots had a ton of players leave the roster this offseason including Revis, Brandon Browner, Dan Connolly, and Vince Wilfork. Now please understand each one of these teams were significantly better than the Jets last year and I’m not saying Brandon Marshall and Revis instantly make the Jets close that gap. My point is that there are no unbeatable teams in this division, every team has flaws and can be beaten on any given Sunday which leads me to my next point.
The Jets should have beaten the Green Bay Packers last year. Their defense came out and mauled Aaron Rodgers to start that game and the Jets receivers punished Green Bay’s secondary. The Packers had no answer for Sheldon Richardson other than to double team the Jets big D-linemen. This was leaving Coples and Demario Davis open for pressure and they were hitting home. Green Bay’s response was to go no-huddle and attack the Jets secondary with Jordy Nelson over and over. He ended up with over 200 yards but I wonder what he ends up with if Darrelle Revis is covering him. Cue some goofy calls by the Jets and the infamous non-timeout, with that the Packers manage to claw back and steal a win.
All reports from Todd Bowles indicate someone who is much more organized and strict than Rex Ryan and who wouldn’t let the dysfunction that has stolen so many winnable games from the Jets exist. This also shows how there is going to be some games the Jets defense just flat out hands to them. If the D-line is breaking through and the opposing offense can’t get creative to try to generate some yards up the middle there is going to be a lot of turnovers this year. If the opponent does generate plays up the middle one of the hardest hitting safeties in the game, Calvin Pryor is waiting for them when they catch the ball. Draft the Jets defense in fantasy this year folks. Had the Jets won that game they would have been 2-0 going into week 3 and just beaten a top 3 team in the NFL. We all know how the Jets can be a momentum team, who knows how this would have changed their season.
The Jets schedule is much easier than it was last year. They play the Browns, Raiders, Jaguars, Redskins, Titans and Texans this year. I don’t see how any of those teams score enough points to beat the Jets. I’m not trying to be a homer I just don’t logically see how they could. That’s 6 wins the Jets absolutely should have. We all know the Jets like to throw in a stinker so let’s give them 5. They also play the Giants, Colts, Eagles and Cowboys. Let’s be pessimistic and only give them two games out of those 4. That leaves the Jets at 7 wins. Now we look towards the division. The Jets went 1-6 against their division last year so let’s just say they go 2-4 this year. That leaves the Jets with a 9-7 record that very well could net them a wildcard and put them back into the playoffs and that’s being pessimistic. They manage to steal a game against either the Colts, Cowboys, or either of the Patriots games and you are looking at an almost guaranteed playoff spot at 10-6. This Jets defense shutting down teams like the Jaguars and Raiders is a very reasonable request, the Jets managed to avoid a lot of the heavy hitters in the league.
Last but not least the Jets have won with this formula before. A strong suffocating defense, a mediocre offense predicated on a running game and a creative defensive coach who can get a lot out of nothing. Only this time Bowles is (hopefully) more disciplined than Ryan. This offense is far superior to anything Sanchez got to see, and this defense is superior to the ones of 09 and 10. This roster is loaded and can easily get itself to the playoffs. Once you have a seat at the dance, you never know what could happen. It’s not being unreasonable to see a lot of potential for this season. Mike Maccagnan made the correct call when he assembled this roster to chase after a title this year, not hoping for a miracle pick down the road that becomes the next Andrew Luck. Get excited boys because this is going to be a special year for the Green and White.