New York Jets: To Separate Themselves From the Rest, They Must Stay Focused
In the NFL, good teams win around 10-11 games. They do just enough to win the games needed to make the playoffs. Where they go from there is anyone's guess. The great teams win around 12-13 games and if really elite, 14 or more is possible.
The Jets have thought of themselves as being not good or even great, but elite. Their coach has predicted a Super Bowl win ever since his initial press conference. The Jets nearly did that last season and this season, it's Super Bowl or bust. All the right personnel is in place and the Jets talked more than any team in preseason.
After a disappointing opening week, losing to Baltimore by a point at home on national television, the Jets won their next five games. Some in dominating fashion, like over the Patriots and Bills, and some not great but good enough.
The team was flying high after their come-from-behind win over Denver in Week 6 to claim the best record in football. It seemed as if nothing could stop them and that they'd be on their way to a 13- or 14-win season.
Then came the bye week, right in the middle of the best stretch that any team in the NFL was having. Just when the Jets were continuing to prove all the critics wrong and that they were the team to beat.
The Jets went on vacation for a week before returning to practice. You wouldn't figure anything would stop them, especially with their next game at home against an injured NFC team. Of course the Jets always have a bump in the road to set them back a little bit.
You figured this year's Jets wouldn't have that happen to them. Not only did it happen, but it happened in an embarrassing way. It's one thing to lose at home, but to get literally shut-out is not acceptable. It's not something a 5-1 team of the Jets' caliber should have happen.
Why did the Jets play so poorly on Sunday to the tune of a 9-0 defeat? You'd bet that the Jets would not lose another game all season if they'd only allow nine points. After all, they were the fourth-highest scoring team in the league entering Sunday's Week 8 game against the Packers. They had scored at least 24 points in each of their five wins and at least 28 in the first four.
What went wrong? Was it complacency? Did the Jets just assume they could beat teams no matter how little they tried or how they play the game? It appeared that way.
When was the last time you saw a punter attempt a fake kick on a fourth-and-18? How about while being backed up deep his own territory?
The defense certainly played as good as possible, limiting Green Bay to three field goals. The offense and coaching didn't quite come to play. The offense couldn't score even if the Packers let them, and it seemed as if the Jets were losing 21-0 when it was only 3-0 for the first three quarters.
In the windy Meadowlands, was there a reason to let Mark Sanchez pass the ball 38 times? Their older running back, coming off of a great start to the season, did have a week off to rest.
How about the way Rex Ryan managed the game? because it was worse than his team's offense. Starting to call timeouts, down six points with over four minutes to go is ridiculous. Timeouts in close games should only be taken when the opposing team has the ball with a little over two minutes to go.
Then came the utilization of challenges by Rex Ryan. He used both in the first half of the game, both of which wouldn't have benefited him. One he was clearly going to lose and the other wouldn't have given him the ball back anyway. It's things like this that make fans frustrated.
Even without a 100 percent healthy Darrelle Revis—no matter what he claims—the defense was as good as it has been all season.
Where was the offense, play calling, and game management? They took a second straight bye week. It's pretty clear what happened. They didn't stay focused.
They were too confident and didn't realize that just because they're good doesn't mean they could win with their eyes closed. They basically disrespected their opponent and paid by putting up a goose egg.
If the Jets want to be that elite team that gets a first-round bye in the playoffs and hosts a game, they must concentrate on every game.
For instance, they now travel to the Lions and Browns. Arguably, those are the two worst professional sports franchises in history. How will the Jets respond? It's probably a good thing that they need to win. If they had entered 6-1, who knows how they would treat these next two games.
In other words, a lesson hopefully was learned by the Jets. Respect every opponent, stay focused, and play hard. If that's done, the wins will return.
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