The New York Jets are riding high into their bye week. After a huge 26-20 upset win over the New Orleans Saints, the team sits at 5-4 and is currently in position to claim the sixth and final spot in the AFC playoffs.
The Jets were left for dead in the preseason, but they have shown that they can beat anyone on any given week.
However, New York needs to make several key adjustments in the bye week in order to continue its success and make a surprising playoff run.
Solve Inconsistency Issues
The Jets' consistency woes are remarkable and historic. New York has won in every odd week this season but lost in every even week.
There's no direct answer to why New York has been so inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. The Jets have gone from looking utterly terrible one week to appearing like a playoff team the next.
The problem may lie with Geno Smith. The rookie quarterback has managed seven touchdowns and four interceptions in wins this year, but just one touchdown and nine interceptions in losses. But why is Smith so erratic? It's impossible to say for sure.
Maybe the young signal-caller and the team feel more comfortable at home than on the road. After all, the Jets are 4-1 in MetLife Stadium but 1-3 away from New Jersey. However, Gang Green looked flat at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6 and terrific away in the Georgia Dome in Week 5, so that goes directly against that hypothesis.
|New York Jets' 2013 Season|
|Statistic||In Odd Weeks||In Even Weeks|
|Points per Game||26.2||9.5|
|Points Allowed per Game||22.4||29.8|
|Geno Smith TD-INT||7-4||1-9|
|All statistics courtesy of NFL.com|
It's impossible to say exactly why the Jets show up once every fortnight, but the issue needs to be solved sooner rather than later. Unless New York can string together a few solid performances in a row, it will be on the outside looking in by the time January rolls around.
Improve Turnover Differential
Just as in past years, the Jets have struggled to hold on to the football in 2013. The Jets offense is currently tied for third worst in the league in turning the ball over.
To add to the problem, New York's defense has had difficulty forcing opposing offenses into mistakes through the season's first half. Rex Ryan's unit has forced just seven turnovers through the first nine games.
It's incredibly hard to win football games when the opposing team is getting more opportunities than you. The fact that the Jets have managed to go 5-4 when having such a poor turnover differential is incredible.
For New York to maintain its success, it needs to protect the ball on offense and force mistakes on defense.
Cut Down on Penalties
The Jets have also struggled with a lack of discipline in the penalties department thus far.
New York has committed a league-high 76 penalties through nine games. That's an average of nearly 8.5 penalties per game.
Penalties are killers, especially in close games. The Jets are lucky their lack of discipline hasn't cost them a game yet.
For New York to be taken seriously, it has to cut down on the mental mistakes.
Penalties could be the difference between the Jets making the postseason or just being an average team.