Why The New York Jets will be in the Playoff Hunt All Season

10/30/13 in NFL   |   pitcher15   |   6 respect

Before the 2013 season even started, analysts, experts, and fans were confident that the New York Jets would be in for a brutal season. Many had the Jets going 3-13, or 2-14, and the end result being the firing of the Jets fiery head coach Rex Ryan.  Now heading into week 9 of the season, the Jets are a respectable 4-4. Few people saw the Jets winning four games all season, so at this point, the Jets have played relatively good football. Of course people still think they are a “lucky “ team after beating the Patriots and the Buccaneers on controversial calls, but I will tell you why the Jets are going to still be fighting for a playoff spot all season long.

The Jets are as inconsistent as it gets. Just two weeks ago, Gang Green was able to pull off a huge come from behind win against division rival New England Patriots in overtime. Future hall of fame QB Tom Brady was not able to throw a touchdown pass, and the Jets flat out dominated the Pats in the second half of the game. Momentum was riding high for the Jets heading out to Cincinnati.  But the inconsistent Jets played their worst game of the season.  Bengals QB Andy Dalton threw for five touchdowns, four of them to lesser known receiver Marvin Jones.  Geno Smith threw two pick six interceptions, and it seemed Bengals receivers were open all day. Put that all together, and it all adds up to an embarrassing 49-9 beating.  But, do not count out the Jets just yet.

The Jets defense is as strong as it gets. Aside from the Bengals disaster, week in and week out, expect the Jets defense to keep them in the game.  Teams have struggled to run the football against the Jets all year.   Big name guys such as CJ Spiller, Doug Martin, and Chris Johnson have had little success running the ball against the Jets strong defensive line. While the run D has been solid, the Jets pass D has had its share of struggles. One reason for this is the poor play of cornerback Antonio Cromartie. While he has not been his normal self, Cromartie is exactly why I believe the Jets will be a tough team the rest of the year. Cromartie is not healthy. Watching him play, you can see he is not his fast, athletic self. Knee and hip injuries are really slowing Cro down. After playing the Saints this week, the Jets have their bye. No player is looking forward to it more than Cromartie. I expect the bye week to give Cromartie plenty of time to rest and heal his nagging injuries, and come back as a true number one cornerback.

While no team in the NF can be taken lightly, the Jets second half of the schedule is much easier than their first half.  After the bye week, the Jets play the Bills, the Ravens, the Dolphins, the Raiders, the Panthers, the Browns, and the Dolphins again.  While their first half was filled with teams such as the Patriots twice, the Falcons on the road, the Titans, the Steelers, and this week’s matchup against the tough Saints. After all that, the Jets are 4-4. I expect the Jets to have an even better second half of the season. 

Being a rookie in the NFL is not easy. For rookies Geno Smith and Dee Milliner, it has been a roller coaster type season. Smith has looked great against the Falcons, the Bills, and their last game against the Pats, but struggled against the Titans, the Bengals, and the Steelers. So far, Smith has struggled against the strong defenses in the league. Looking at the second half of their schedule, there is not a team with a really strong defense that should be a huge issue for Smith. While the Panthers and the Ravens have a good defense, I do not think they are on the same level as the Bengals or the Steelers. I expect Smith to continue to improve as the season goes on as he faces some weaker defenses. Dee Milliner has had a rough season.  The rookie corner had a hamstring injury that kept him out for three weeks. Milliner also missed most of training camp due to injury, and contract issues. Last week, Milliner was exposed. Andy Dalton constantly picked on the rookie, and he had success all day long. Milliner was eventually benched for Darrin Walls. Milliner is another guy who needs the bye week.  Milliner just needs to relax, and trust his talent on the field. Having a week off should help, as he could be a big part of the Jets secondary.

The Jets are a team that makes you believe they are serious contenders one week, and the next week make you think they a mediocre team who has no shot of the playoffs. With their weaker second half schedule and the continued growth of Geno Smith, expect the Jets to be in the playoff hunt all season long.
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10/30/13   |   GFortier   |   520 respect

the short answer: because at worst they'll be 4-5 going into the bye with the toughest stretch of their schedule behind them, and the AFC is very top-heavy. Every team within a shot of .500 or better in the final month of the season will be in the race