Sep 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan (R) hugs Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell (L) after their game at MetLife Stadium. The Lions won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Every season has it’s “watershed” moment. Every year, a team has that point in the year that defines that season for all time. It’s moments like these where you learn what your favorite team is really made of.
The Jets have one of those moments coming up on Sunday in San Diego.
We don’t have to dwell on what has gone on so far. The Jets are 1-3. They beat the Raiders on opening weekend, and lost three in a row. The Jets could have won all three, or two out of three, but they fell short. They haven’t been able to put together a full 60 minutes of football together. So, here they sit, in last place in the AFC East.
However, all is not lost. The division has not been great so far. We all saw how our favorite team looked this past Monday night. It was like Hanukah came early, to see Tom Brady sulking on the sidelines. Frankly, it almost made up for the Jets’ loss the day before. The Jets are in last, but the rest of the division is tied at 2-2. The Jets are only one game behind, the division is still up for grabs.
The Jets head up to New England in two weeks. The Patriots are quite beatable, as we saw the other night. The Chiefs are good, but I don’t think anyone expected them to pound the Patriots like they did. The Jets can beat this team. The Broncos can be beaten as well. Granted, it will be a tough chore, but it has already been done this season. It can be done again.
All is not lost.
Tension has begun to mount around the Jets. As the losses have accumulated, so have the chants for Michael Vick. Geno Smith has been getting it pretty bad. It’s been so bad, that Geno lashed out at an unruly fan, as we all heard about after the game. He apologized soon after, but the fact remains that it happened. Sheldon Richardson told the fans to “shut up”. We aren’t in the locker room, so we don’t know the level, but it is abundantly clear that things are getting tense.
How do you fix tension on a football team? Win. That’s how.
Sep 28, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterbackPhilip Rivers
(17) is all smiles on the sidelines during the closing minutes against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers rolled to a 33-14 win over the Jaguars. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
The moment of 2014 comes this weekend, when the Jets take on Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers. The result of Sunday’s game will say a lot about the future of the 2014 New York Jets. It’s a must-win, plain and simple. Yes, it’s early in the season, but the Jets have to have this one.
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After the Chargers, the Jets come home to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos, and then to New England to face the beatable Patriots. From there, the schedule backs off a lot. The Bills lead off a second half plus of football that is a lot more manageable than the first half.
If the Jets win on Sunday, all of a sudden, they are 2-3. They go into a set of two games that 1-1 is a legitmate hope, and that would bring them out of the tough stretch at 3-4. Looking at the schedule during the preseason, I think we all would have been happy with the Jets starting out 3-4, considering the opponents they had to face.
On the other hand, if the Jets lose, 1-4 heading home to face Manning is real trouble. They very realistically will be 1-5, heading to New England. Best case scenario from there is 2-5, and they are digging out of a whole that is nearly impossible to dig out of. The losses begin to mount, the tension continues, and an ending that reminds us of 2011 seems all to real.
How do the Jets fix it? Win this weekend in San Diego. It’s going to define the season. If they don’t, we could be in for a long autumn.