It’s safe to say the 2008 season has not started out the way most Jets' fans hoped it would.
After an incredibly active offseason, in which the Jets acquired future Hall of Famer Brett Favre, as well as former All-Pros Kris Jenkins and Alan Faneca, the Green and White faithful expected their team to look playoff bound immediately.
Instead, the Jets are off to a 1-2 start and suddenly look like a middle-of-the-pack team.
But all is not lost in the Meadowlands. Below are three big reasons why the Jets have a good chance of qualifying for the playoffs this season.
1) The schedule is about to get a whole lot easier.
The one good thing about the Jets’ two losses is that they came against the two teams that played in the AFC Championship Game last season. Sure, the Patriots and Chargers have each had their own problems this year, but the Jets did not catch either team at a particularly good time.
Both the Pats and Chargers were extremely motivated for their games against the Jets. The Pats wanted to prove they could compete with Matt Cassel at quarterback and the 0-2 Chargers were playing a virtual must-win game.
Throw in a Week One game at rival Miami in the September heat, and the Jets have had a pretty challenging start to 2008.
That’s about to change. New York hosts the Cardinals this week, and then, after a bye in Week Five, they face four of the worst teams in the NFL—Cincinnati, Kansas City, Oakland, and St. Louis—in the following five weeks.
The Jets could be 6-3 after Week 10 without doing anything extraordinary, and even at that point will have plenty of winnable games remaining on the schedule.
2) Brett Favre will only get better with time.
This easy schedule will give Brett Favre ample time to get more familiar with his receivers and with the Jets’ playbook. The Jets’ new quarterback has displayed his trademark improvisational ability multiple times throughout the season, but otherwise his timing has looked a bit off.
The next six weeks give Favre a nice opportunity to fix that. Not only will he be facing worse defenses, but he will finally not be playing in the week’s marquee game, week in and week out. This should give Favre a little more time to keep to himself and learn the complexities of the Jets' offense.
Favre also began to show a better rapport with Laveranues Coles against the Chargers, which is crucial to the success of the Jets’ passing offense. Coles is an extremely talented receiver, and if he is at the top of his game, Favre will have another big weapon to work with.
3) The defense looks great.
It might seem like an odd thing to say about a team that just gave up 48 points in its last game, but the Jets' defense has looked like one of the top defenses in the NFL so far in 2008.
The defense was absolutely spectacular against the Dolphins and Patriots, even though the Jets got tired late against New England because they had been on the field for way too long.
And it’s tough to blame the defense for last week’s loss to the Chargers, as multiple first-half turnovers are what sealed the Jets’ fate.
Safety Kerry Rhodes has emerged as a leader, and second-year players Darrelle Revis and David Harris are building off solid rookie seasons and becoming stars at their respective positions. Throw in a rejuvenated Kris Jenkins, and the Jets have all the pieces in place on the defensive side of the ball.
Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals is a big one, as it could be a great way for the Jets to get back on track heading into the bye week. But even if their team loses this week, Jets' fans shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet.