New York Jets Look Like the Best Team in the NFL After Third Straight Win
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With only one more game until Week 4 is settled, it seems a perfect time to make a bold statement about the NFL season so far.
The New York Jets (3-1) are the best team in the NFL.
The case for the Jets is simple: They have no weaknesses up to this point in the year.
While the Ravens are still waiting for Ray Rice and its secondary to get healthy, the Jets have rebounded nicely from their Week 1 loss in Baltimore and run off three consecutive victories against its AFC East rivals.
The biggest question mark for the Jets coming into the year was if quarterback Mark Sanchez could take his game to the next level. Sanchez has stepped up this season, silencing his critics by throwing for eight touchdowns passes and 711 yards while remaining turnover-free.
Sanchez has developed great timing with his receivers as they seem to be on the same page week in and week out. Tight end Dustin Keller and wideout Braylon Edwards have been the most active receivers on offense, combining to catch all eight of Sanchez's touchdowns passes, while both have exceeded 200 yards receiving.
Can the Jets win the AFC?
This upcoming week for the Jets marks the return of Pro Bowl wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who was serving a four-game drug suspension. Holmes' ability to work down the field will help stretch the Jets' offense vertically, opening up more room down the seam and in underneath zones.
A favorite target of Ben Roethlisberger, the former Pittsburgh receiver will have an instant effect on an already-talented offense, as his big-play ability instantly makes him the Jets' most explosive athlete in the passing game.
After only carrying the ball 11 times in each of the Jets' first two games, Tomlinson has emerged as the No. 1 tailback for New York.
With Shonn Greene plagued by ineffectiveness until this week (He rushed 22 times for 117 yards in the win against Buffalo), LT has found the fountain of youth behind one of the league's best offensive lines rushing for 341 yards with an astronomical 6.1 yards per attempt this season.
Tomlinson remains a multi-dimensional back, even at age 31, allowing offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to use him on runs both inside and outside the tackles, and even as a receiver out of the backfield. Greene benefits the most from the presence of LT, complementing the 10-year veteran with his bruising running style and ability to wear down opponents physically, similar to his role behind Thomas Jones last season.
The Jets defense, heralded as one of the league's best before the season began, has been as good as advertised this year. Even after losing Kris Jenkins to a season-ending knee injury, Rex Ryan's defense still ranks fourth-best in the NFL stopping the run as they are allowing just over 15 points per game.
With Darrelle Revis and Calvin Pace on the mend, New York will finally be able to play with its starting defense intact in Week 5.
Putting Revis back in the starting lineup allows rookie cornerback Kyle Wilson to continue to develop in the nickel back role and shifts Antonio Cromartie, who did a serviceable job as the Jets' No. 1 corner, back to the weak side.
Pace's pass-rushing ability will be a boon for a defense that has been relying too much on Jason Taylor from the outside linebacker spot. Coupled with the return of Revis Island, the addition of these two players vastly increases an already stout New York pass defense.
The Jets have a tough road ahead of them, as their last twelve games are littered with nine potential playoff teams. In order to prove that they can be considered a Super Bowl favorite, New York will need to continue to flex its muscle both on offense and defense. By winning the turnover battle and controlling the clock, the Jets can maximize its ability and make a another serious run at the Super Bowl.
Jesse Paguaga is a regular contributor to Baseball Digest. He writes as an intern on the Bleacher Report website. Jesse writes for Gotham Baseball, along with Gotham Hoops and Gotham Gridiron. He can be reached at Paguaga@usc.edu and can be found on Facebook and Twitter (@JPags77).
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