Brett Favre, Eric Mangini, Jets Ready for Takeoff?

Mike SullivanContributor INovember 14, 2008

The battle for first place is over. The season series is over. The New York Jets stand atop the AFC East. But are these Brett Favre Jets ready to takeoff?

The opening drive set a tone for this bunch. Two things stood out and made you take notice this was a game to watch.

First, Coach Eric Mangini, without hesitation, challenged a non-catch call, showing a confidence and belief in his team.

The second was ending opening drive with a touchdown against a team which had not allowed an opening drive touchdown all year.

This game in Foxborough was a regular prime-time game for the ages. We saw dominance in the first half, a struggled opening second half, a fourth quarter filled with Calvary charges by both sides. The OT ending with a true poised veteran victory march.

After watching every minute of last night's game, I came away knowing the Jets' players are ready. They have fastened their seat belts and are facing straight forward. The coaching staff, however, may be another story. I am not sure they are ready to press that button yet.

The winding minutes of the first half made me think. After forcing the Pats to turn the ball over on downs, the Jets went into auto pilot and relaxed. Good coaching would have gone for the jugular with the score 24-6.

Instead, on 3rd-and-9, they allowed the play clock to run off, causing a delay penalty, making for a 3rd-and-14. When an opponent of this magnitude is down, do not lift your foot off the throttle.

Calling a time out before the delay, collecting all thoughts, and running a play that would move the chains may have put a dagger in the Pats. The Jets didn't need a score, but only keep the ball in their hands.

Bellichick's Patriots, being the perennial powers they are, would come back like a prize fighter hearing the bell of the next round.

Struggles by both teams opening the second half paved the way for a rock-em sock-em fourth quarter. In the end, these Jets stood tall and weathered a tremendous storm, showing they have thrown their hat into the ring and want to fight.

A word of caution to Jets Nation: Yes, we are atop of the division, but there is a long way to go still. Everything can change in a week. The Jets must now travel and play the only undefeated team in the league.

A loss, coupled with the Pats bouncing back next week, puts us right back to where we were two days ago: tied with the Patriots.

So please hold off on locking up the AFC East crown this early. Let them get a win against the Titans and a two game lead in the division, and then we'll talk.

They must make it down the runway before they can soar high above.