Are The Jets For Real?

Lee TawilContributor ISeptember 14, 2009

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 13: Running back Thomas Jones #20 of the New York Jets celebrates with quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 and center Nick Mangold #74 after scoring on a 38 yard run in the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium on September 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Out of the 14 NFL games that have been played in week one up to this point, I only picked two incorrectly. One of those games included the Jets-Texans game, in which I had picked the Texans to beat the Jets. When I made the pick, I did it more out of respect for the talent that I believe that the Texans have, as opposed to the lack of talent that the Jets have. I feel that the Texans have the offensive weapons to score with anybody, and a formidable defense that can cause problems for inexperienced offenses, which I thought the Jets had, since they were starting a rookie QB. All things considered, I was not totally shocked when the Jets beat Texans 24-7 on Sunday afternoon.

The Jets have upgraded tremendously on the defensive side of the ball with additions like Lito Sheppard, Jim Leonhard, and Coach Rex Ryan. They gave up no points to a great Texans offense who have some of the best offensive weapons in the league. Between Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson, the Jets frustrated many fantasy owners, as the two first-round-caliber guys barely produced anything. In total, the Texans were only able to gain 183 yards of offense against the Jets.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Jets looked comfortable moving the chains behind rookie QB Mark Sanchez. The running game was really strong, as Thomas Jones ran for over 100 yards and chipped in 2 TDs. Leon Washington was also helpful as he had 120 yards of total offense for Gang Green. As long as their defense and running game can remain up to par, as it did against the Texans, they will have the opportunity to be successful in any games they play this season. Also, the defense and running game should take a lot of pressure off of the rookie Sanchez and should help him maximize his potential. Instead of playing not to lose, Sanchez can have the luxury of playing worry-free, which is the key to successful young QBs. As good as they looked against the Texans, I do not think that they are ready to seriously compete with the upper echelon teams of the AFC yet, but I think that they will be able to keep those tougher games pretty close. On that note, I feel that the Jets are headed in a very good direction, and they should be a well respected football team for the next few years if they can keep the cornerstones of their current roster.

The Jets passed their first test of the 2009 season against a team that I consider to be the measuring stick of the NFL. Unfortunately, next week’s test is projected to be a lot more difficult for this young bunch, as they face the New England Patriots, a team that I consider to be the best in the league. They don’t need to win that game to prove that they are a good team, they just need keep it close throughout in order to get the respect that they covet. If they can do that, it will speak volumes of where the Jets currently stand in comparison to the rest of the teams in the NFL.