New York Jets Could Make Playoff Noise in 2008-09
At 5-3 and in the middle of a great AFC East race, the division could go either way. The possibility of a wild card berth is high as well because of the weird state of the AFC this year.
First, Eli Manning proved last season that anybody can go on a streak and lead his team places. While Manning is a great quarterback, he is no Favre, at least not yet. Both are solid quarterbacks, but Favre has been doing it for much longer. As long as Favre can keep the turnovers down, and if the Jets get in, he could literally will the team to great new heights.
In addition, with all of the weapons on offense, many opponents would not even know where to start with covering the Jets. Does one worry about Favre and the passing game with all of their weapons? Or does one worry about Thomas Jones, who is quietly having an All-Pro-like season?
These are not easy questions to answer, and many teams probably do not want to face the Jets as a result.
The defense has playmakers aplenty all over the roster. This team can tackle well, pressure the quarterback, force fumbles, and intercept passes, as has already been seen many times this season. Defense wins championships, and while this defense is still growing together, they could grow into a unit to fear down the line.
The special teams, led by the amazing Leon Washington, can run with any team in the league. More importantly, Reggie Hodges has solved the punting problem up to this point, and how many times does one play, or a lucky bounce, determine the course of a playoff game?
Now, more than ever before, the Jets have the players that could make these important bounces go their way.
With Favre at the helm, even though at times he has looked dreadful, he still has the respect of the entire AFC. He is in the back of many teams' minds, and moving forward he can take advantage of these fears, and move the Jets deeper and deeper into the playoffs simply because he is in the heads of all.
Finally, let's look at the rest of the AFC this season. In the East, the Bills, Patriots, and yes, even the Dolphins, can make noise. The Jets have beaten the Bills and Dolphins in their buildings, and can beat the Patriots very easily when they meet again because they know what they are dealing with in Matt Cassel this time around.
Throughout the rest of the AFC, yes, the Titans are undefeated, but whom have they played? They are a solid team, and one that will probably go about 13-3 or so, but in one game against the Jets, could they come up with enough to win? They have not yet proven that they are as good as that record, so who knows at this point?
The Browns are disappointing, the Ravens are too young (maybe in a few years, they will be a huge force to be reckoned with), the Broncos are too streaky, the Chargers are not what they should be, and the rest of the teams in the AFC do not have the personnel to become a threat, except for one usual suspect.
That's the Pittsburgh Steelers. At this point, they are probably the class of the AFC because all of the factors just mentioned are in their favor. Would they be a tough test? Without a doubt, yes they would be. The Jets could handle them as well, though, for one main reason.
What is that? The Steelers' offensive line. They let their quarterback get hit way too much, which leads to the wideouts having to work extra hard to get their yards. They also leave much to be desired for lead blocking for their running backs. These running backs are fragile as well, and, going back to the quarterback play, the Jets' athletic defense could make life for the Steelers miserable in a single game.
What's the moral of the story here? As long as the Jets can get in the playoffs, they could not only go to the Super Bowl, but win it, even though the NFC is the stronger conference at this point.
After all, the Giants slayed the dragon last season in the biggest upset of all time, proving that in a single game, anything can happen.
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