Yahoo Sports! predicted Gang Green to go 5-11.
And CBS Sports had them winning between three and four games.
Fans and experts everywhere had given up on the Jets during the preseason, and who could blame them?
New York had been stripped of 11 of its 22 starters from 2012. Darrelle Revis, Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, Brandon Moore, LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Matt Slauson, Bryan Thomas, Bart Scott, Shonn Greene and Eric Smith were all gone.
In addition to their losses, the Jets had a quarterback controversy between the much-maligned Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith and had failed to make a major impact on the free-agent market.
Seven weeks through the season, these predictions couldn't be more wrong.
Geno Smith has been superb at times and the defense has been stout, but the real reason for the Jets' success lies with Rex Ryan himself.
Ryan has coached his butt off and then some. He has lit a fire underneath a team that was left for dead in the preseason. He has built a contender not just for this season, but beyond.
As usual, Ryan's success can largely be credited to his ability as a defensive play-caller. Ryan has single-handedly turned one of the league's youngest and most inexperienced defensive units into one of the best.
Ryan's defensive starting 11 consists of just four players (Muhammad Wilkerson, David Harris, Antonio Cromartie and Calvin Pace) who started on the team a year ago.
However, the unit ranks fourth in the NFL in total yards allowed per game, third in yards allowed per play, fourth in opposing third-down percentage, fourth in first downs allowed, second in rushing yards allowed per game, 10th in passing yards allowed per game, third in sacks, and first in rushing yards allowed per attempt.
That's pretty impressive.
|Total Yards Allowed Per Game||302.6||4th|
|Total Yards Allowed Per Play||4.6||3rd|
|Opposing 3rd Down %||34||4th|
|First Downs Allowed||119||4th|
|Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game||77.7||2nd|
|Rushing Yards Allowed Per Attempt||3.1||1st|
|Passing Yards Allowed Per Game||224.9||10th|
All stats courtesy of NFL.com
But everyone knows Ryan is a defensive mastermind and terrific motivator. His real development has come through the way he handles in-game situations and the media.
In the past few seasons, the Jets were plagued by Ryan's bombastic attitude towards the media and questionable in-game decisions. This year, that's all changed.
Should Rex Ryan return to the Jets in 2014?
Rex has not only shut his mouth for the good of his team, he's been smart in the way he handles key moments.
He even told referees to look out for the Patriots' use of an illegal maneuver on field goals before last Sunday's game according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. That illegal maneuver won New York the contest.
Ryan has matured as both a head coach and a play-caller, and it has been key to New York's surprise success. Kicking him to the curb now would stunt many young defensive players' developments and put one of the finest coaches in the league on the open market.
Rex Ryan will be in New York in 2014. And that's exactly where he belongs.