Through 12 weeks of action in the National Football League, the New York Jets are sitting atop the AFC East at 9-2 and, with three more victories, will equal the mark for most regular season wins in the franchise’s 50-year history.
If these distinctions aren’t enough to wet the appetites of their Super Bowl-starved fans, the fact that the Jets have the inside track to home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs should send the Gang Green faithful into a virtual feeding frenzy.
Although the Jets are tied with the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots for the league’s best record entering Week 13, they are widely considered mere contenders when the mythical title of the NFL’s top team is passed around from week to week.
This lack of consideration can largely be attributed to the Jets racking up their nine wins against teams with a combined record of 39-68 (.364), including the Buffalo Bills (2-10), Minnesota Vikings (5-7), Denver Broncos (3-9), Detroit Lions (2-10), Cleveland Browns (5-7), Houston Texans (5-7) and Cincinnati Bengals (2-10).
In fact, New York’s margin of victory against the seven sub-.500 teams is 9.3 points per game, with five of those wins (Vikings, Broncos, Lions, Browns, Texans) coming by an average margin of only five points per game.
So this speaks to the notion that the Jets have been playing down to the level of their competition for the majority of the season only to eke out late, and oftentimes come-from-behind, victories against the cellar dwellers in the NFL.
The only team with a winning record the Jets have defeated this season is the Patriots (9-2) in Week 2, while their two losses came against two of the league’s better teams in the Baltimore Ravens (8-3) and the Green Bay Packers (8-4).
However, whether Gang Green is considered more lucky than good, the undeniable truth is they are one of three teams in the NFL with nine wins, which leaves them poised to take a stranglehold of the AFC East at the conclusion of Week 13 action.
Speaking of good, except for the final week of the season when they play host to Buffalo, the Jets’ championship mettle will be put to the test, as their schedule consists of games against teams with a combined record of 32-14 (.696), including three road contests at New England, at Pittsburgh (8-3) and at Chicago (9-3).
Therefore, it could easily be argued that the next four weeks will reveal more about the Jets than the first 12 because they won’t be playing anymore playoff pretenders.
The first examination is a Monday Night Football showdown with the New England Patriots in a battle for division supremacy. And the tests will only get more difficult with each passing week.
Will the real New York Jets please stand up?