The New York Jets' (4-3) recent display of dominance on defense has reasserted Gang Green as a perennial playoff contender.
The Jets featured a decrepit rush defense in 2012 that ranked among the worst in the NFL, fueling opposing offenses past the chains on a frequent basis. Gang Green couldn't get its defense off the field last season, but New York has flipped the script in 2013.
The Jets rank second against the run through seven games this season, giving up a meager total of 77.7 yards per game. The defensive backfield, which no longer showcases Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, has efficiently complemented the team's beastly front seven.
Gang Green ranks 10th overall defending the pass, yielding a pedestrian total of 224.9 passing yards per contest.
The Jets' drastic improvement on defense has been ignited by head coach Rex Ryan, who is arguably the best defensive mind in the game. Ryan had previously taken a backseat to former defensive coordinator Mike Pettine but reasserted himself as the primary shot caller on defense before this season.
New York also boasts an influx of youth on defense, revamping the team's formerly prominent pass rush that mounted an inefficient total of 30 sacks last season. In contrast, the Jets have recorded 24 sacks in their first seven games in 2013.
The following slideshow highlights the five biggest reasons for the Jets' defensive improvement in 2013: