The New York Jets begin the 2014 NFL season with legitimate playoff aspirations but need their defense to improve upon an 11th overall ranking from last season in order for the team to achieve its ultimate goal.
The Jets face vast uncertainty in the secondary, especially at cornerback, where multiple injuries have depleted an already talent-hungry unit. That said, the Jets have one of the best front sevens in all of football.
For the Jets to overcome relatively adverse odds to claim a playoff spot, their defense essentially needs to match its 2013 performance against the run (3.4 yards per carry allowed). Gang Green must also improve upon a pass defense that ranked 22nd overall in 2013 and enabled opposing quarterbacks to register an 86.5 QB rating.
On paper, it doesn't appear as though the Jets are capable of improving their pass defense. The Jets' severe lack of depth in the secondary will compel opposing offensive coordinators to resort to a pass-heavy game plan, especially considering how good New York's run defense is.
The D-line and linebacker corps will anchor the Jets defense in 2014. The following slideshow makes predictions for each projected starter on the New York defense.