New York Jets Progress Report: Assessing the Playoff Chances Headed into Week 10
All in all, it was a productive and necessary bye week for the New York Jets.
A team that has been hit by injuries got a chance to get healthy.
A team that was spiraling out of control, with a 1-4 record in their past five games, got a chance to regroup.
None of it may be enough to get the team into the playoffs. Even if it were, it wouldn't be anywhere close to enough to get the team past the first round.
Not if the second-half Jets look anything like the 3-5 first-half Jets that were inconsistent on defense and consistently struggled on offense.
History does not bode well for the Jets. Since 1990, when the current playoff format was first implemented, 247 teams have started a season 3-5 or worse and only seven have made the playoffs: the 1990 Saints, 1994 Patriots, 2008 Chargers, 1995 Lions, the 1996 Jaguars and the 2011 Broncos.
The seventh team? The 2002 Jets.
So, the organization is no stranger to a dramatic turnaround, but unlike in Hunger Games, the odds are not ever in their favor.
It's not over yet, but the Jets have a lot of work to do if they want to even get close to their goal of the playoffs.
"We’re not even close [right now]," head coach Rex Ryan said (per the New York Post). "We’re not sniffing the playoffs. We’re not sniffing anything, but I want to get there, man. I’m excited about the prospects in front of us."
Point to the fact that they haven't lost to any bad teams; Point to the easy remaining schedule, which features eight teams that are a combined 28-39 and just two teams over .500; Point to the improvement we have seen from the defense in the past few weeks headed into the bye; Point to the middling group of teams in the AFC that sit between 5-3 and 3-5 as reasons why the Jets could leapfrog the competition.
But really, are those reasons for optimism, or against pessimism?
Because there are plenty of reasons for both.
The problem with the Jets right now is that there are too many problems. They lack skill position talent on offense, their offensive line struggles in pass protection and in run-blocking, their running game is overall ineffective and unthreatening, their defense doesn't generate any pressure, they're wildly inconsistent against the run, they're losing the special teams battle (whodathunkit?) and they struggle in the turnover battle (3-0 when they win the turnover battle or break even, 0-5 when they lose it).
Other than that, though, they look just fine.
It hasn't been all bad; according to Brian Costello of the New York Post, the Jets are averaging 4.48 yards per carry over their last 100 rushing attempts and are allowing just 3.01 yards per carry over their opponents’ last 100 rushing attempts.
Will the 2012 Jets make the playoffs?
That still leaves the passing game, offensive line, lack of pressure, special teams and turnovers as glaring problems.
That's a lot to overcome, but luckily for the Jets, they have a soft schedule and play in a soft conference, which should help them along the way.
It's good that the Jets have not lost their confidence—they'll need it if they want to make a serious postseason push. Whether that confidence will help them get back on track and mask the warts that cover this roster team is another question entirely, and one Jets fans may not like the answer to.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.
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