This week the Jets will be playing the Houston Texans, who are coming off two difficult losses to the Jaguars and Chargers. Meanwhile, the Jets rebounded from a shutout by the Packers more than two weeks by going on the road and beating the Browns and Lions in overtime.
The biggest issue with the Jets since ending their bye week and playing the Packers is the fact that they're no longer playing like the Jets. Since preseason, the Jets mantra has been, "play like a Jet." Although people will say the Jets are 7-2 and settle for nothing more or nothing less, there is still so much of the season left.
While teams like the Lions and Browns have gotten bad wraps over the last few years and have improved since then, a team as good as the Jets shouldn't need overtime to beat them.
Comparing Weeks Two and Three—when the Jets played the Dolphins and Patriots—to the last two weeks shows a dramatic difference.
Against the Browns, the Jets could not finish drives and the Browns capitalized, which allowed them to stay in the game until overtime. Against the Patriots, who were embarrassed by the Browns, the Jets were able to defeat them 28-14 and a week later were able to beat the Dolphins, 31-23.
In order to prepare for teams like the Patriots, Steelers and Dolphins—who the Jets will play next month—they need to take advantage of games against the Browns and Lions where they can continue to perfect the way they play together. That three-week stretch is what could make or break the Jets season.
In the Browns game, kicker Nick Folk missed three field goals. If Folk had made one of those field goals, the Jets may have avoided overtime for a second straight week. The next few months will include several close games where the Jets may depend on Nick Folk to make clutch field goals and they cannot have an undependable kicker on the sidelines, especially if they want to win their first Super Bowl in over 40 years.
On offense, the offensive line needs to step their game up. For years, the Jets have been known for their strong offensive line. Judging by the way they played in Cleveland, I would not be surprised if red flags begin to appear.
Against the Browns, quarterback Mark Sanchez injured his calf on a sack and for a few minutes it seemed Mark Brunell was going to go under center, but Sanchez was able to re-enter and finish the game.
As defensive coordinator on the Ravens, Rex Ryan was known for his elaborate blitzes and his amazing defenses over the years. Last year was no exception as Ryan was able to build the No. 1 defense in the NFL with Bart Scott leading "Gang Green's" defense.
Recently, the defense has been shaky.
When it's mattered, the defense has been able to come through, but at other times they've gotten lucky. Such as in overtime against the Browns, when Chansi Stucky saw the ball pop out of his hands while being tackled.
As a whole, the Jets need to get tougher. With a stretch of hard games coming up, they cannot have a repeat of 2008, where they were doing well and then collapsed at the end of the season, missing the playoffs by one game.
While they may be funny, Rex Ryan should spend less time planning his next joke for his next press conference and he should focus on his game plan so his team only has to win in four quarters. Expect nothing less than hard-fought games throughout the next few weeks as the Jets will try to remain the No. 1 team in the AFC East and possibly the National Football League.