The 2008 New York Jets are starting to prove that they belong at the top of the AFC East. After this past weekend, they find themselves just one game out of first place. A team that was 4-12 last year is only one win away from matching that mark after Week Six.
The Jets are a completely different team this year, which is why people need to stop saying, "Yeah, but it's the Jets."
The addition of NT Kris Jenkins was huge and he's been a great player in Mangini's 3-4 system. The same goes for LB Calvin Pace, who has had 3.5 sacks in five games, along with two forced fumbles.
Second-year player Darrelle Revis has been good in the secondary, racking up three interceptions so far. MLB David Harris—an absolute beast—is also in his second season and is leading the Jets with 37 tackles.
Rookie DB Dwight Lowery has been good while Justin Miller recovers from injury.
The Jets can stop the run. They've only given up 69 rush yards per game, good enough for third best in the NFL.
Whoa, the Jets are third best at something?
The secondary is the defense's weakness but when you can shut down one dimension of any offense, it's huge. And right now, the Jets don't need to have great secondary play.
Taking a look at the Jets' opposing quarterbacks this season, other than maybe Philip Rivers, the Jets have not faced a top-flight quarterback yet. And the next two games come against Oakland with an unproductive JaMarcus Russell and Kansas City with Tyler Thigpen? Who? That team doesn't have one good quarterback.
The Jets' secondary will have to improve, however, if they want to compete in meaningful January games. Whenever CB Justin Miller returns, he could add depth.
Offense coming together
The Jets can move the football. I don't remember the last time this offense was actually exciting. Brett Favre has been great for the New York Jets and for the NFL.
He has been exactly what the Jets needed him to be, and he's only getting better in his new system. Favre's thrown 13 touchdowns to this point with the Jets. Backup Kellen Clemens has thrown five in his career.
The wideouts--LC and J-Catch, Coles and Cotchery, are Pro Bowl caliber players that actually keep their mouths shut. The two of them have combined for seven touchdowns this season. And despite only ranking 22nd in pass offense, the Jets come in at sixth in the NFL in scoring.
Rookie TE Dustin Keller has been good.
The revamped offensive line has done its job and has given Favre ample time to sling it all around the field. Remember, three years ago the only current starter that was on the Jets roster was G Brandon Moore.
The run game, however, has not been very productive. They rank 27th in the NFL in rushing. And although Thomas Jones is coming off a two-rushing-touchdown performance, the Jets will still have to improve on the ground.
The Patriots were blown out by the Chargers, who did the same to New York earlier in the season.
The point is, If you show me a team that can stop the run and the move the football, I'll show you a team that's playoff bound. The New York Jets are scoring touchdowns this year- something they weren't very adept at doing in seasons past.
And when you have a combination of a team that can score touchdowns and play defense- watch out, they could be dangerous.