Are the Jets for Real?

This has been a question a lot of people have asked me recently as the Jets surprisingly have gotten out to a fast 3-0 start. This achieved through games against the Texans, Patriots, and Titans, with all three of these teams expected to compete for a playoff berth this season. Well the short answer is yes, I believe what the Jets have demonstrated so far has shown that they can be a playoff team this season.

To start off I am going to focus on the player that should be considered the MVP for the Jets so far, that player being Darrell Revis. He has played at a level most believe only Nnamdi Asomugha can. So far he has gone up against Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, and less impressively Nate Washington. He has shut down every one of these players making it an easier decision for Rex Ryan to blitz. To explain this better I’ll equate it to what the Giants went through after they lost Plaxico Burress. With no reciever teams had to worry about doubling, teams were focusing on shutting down the running game and getting pressure on Manning. The thought was with the corners jamming the less talented Giants receivers at the line the team didn’t have to worry about Manning beating them on a blitz. This is the same thing seen with the Jets. With Revis taking away the teams number one receiver, the Jets are less worried about crowding the line of scrimmage and sending blitzes after the quarterback. With a stagnant running game and little time to pass quarterbacks have not been able to get in a rhythm.

While Revis is a big part of the equation he is not the only part as the run defense and pressure has been great. Bart Scott and David Harris have been fantastic in the running game and Kris Jenkins is playing at the high level we saw him play at the beginning of last season. Combining this with great schemes by Rex Ryan and it is easy to see how the Jets have been so effective this season.

Now this isn’t to say the Jets are going to go on to have the best defense in NFL history. Looking at the Jets numbers so far they have blitzed on more than 60% of their plays, far and away the highest of any team. The reality is, even with Revis’s stellar play the Jets can not expect to get away with blitzing 60% of the time, and as the Titans showed teams are going to be able to move the ball on this defense. That means Mark Sanchez and more importantly the running game is going to have to step up. Last week after the first 14 points the Jets only managed 13 the rest of the game, with seven coming off a drive that started in the red zone. That kind of production is not going to get many wins if the defense does not continue its high level of play. The Jets have enough talent to make the playoffs but might not make it far past there. Remember while they are 3-0 their opponents have a combined record of 3-6.

The Jets are a season away from being a SuperBowl contender, but for now they are exceeding expectations making a playoff berth more than possible.

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