Can the New York Jets dethrone the Super Bowl champs?
The New York Jets are hoping to make some noise in what is expected to be a competitive AFC East this upcoming season. For that to happen, the Jets have to be successful against top division foe and defending Super Bowl champion, the New England Patriots.
The Pats have won the division 12 out of the previous 13 seasons, amassing four Super Bowl titles along the way. In 2010 both the Jets and Pats made it out of the AFC East, with the Pats claiming the division title. The Jets went on to defeat the Pats in the Divisional Game at Gillette Stadium in one of the most exciting games ever for Gang Green fans.
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Quarterback Tom Brady was sacked a post-season record five times in the 28-21 final score. It’s possible 2015 sees two AFC teams in the playoffs once again. Do the Jets have the magic to once again pull an upset on the mighty Pats, Brady and head coach Bill Belichick? My answer for this season is yes, a very cautious yes.
Let’s state the obvious early; no one in the AFC East will challenge the Pats for offensive supremacy. Brady is a future Hall of Famer with minimal signs of slowing down going into his 14th season as a starter. The Pats coached by Belichick with Brady under center have proven for over a decade to make the most out of an offense even if it’s full of concerns. Oh, and there’s that monster Rob Gronkowski at tight end. Shivers.
What make’s the Jets an optimistic choice to finally dethrone the Pats, whether as regular season division champs or in a meeting during the playoffs is their stout defense. Signing away and bringing back Darrelle Revis from the Patriots is huge, as is his partner in crime Antonio Cromartie returning to man the corners. With the addition of Marcus Gilchrist at free safety and young talent up and down the depth chart among defensive backs, makes the Jets a formidable opponent to Brady’s air assault.
Cornerback Buster Skrine has high praise for his defensive teammates according an ESPN article written by Rich Cimini. He is what he said on the potential of the Jets’ defense:
"“I’ve never played on a defense with this much talent,” Skrine said. “Our front seven has all-stars and then in the back end, we have all-stars. I’ve never seen anything like this.”"
Up front we’re expecting the birth of Sack Exchange 2.0. Despite Sheldon Richardson‘s four-game suspension, the defensive line still boasts the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, and promising rookie and college phenom Leonard Williams. With Quinton Coples having a great off season so far and veteran Calvin Pace still in the mix, the defense is stacked and ready to make Brady work this season. Jets fans are hoping this defensive front can produce a steady stream of highlights in their two matchups this season.
But the big question remains within the Jets’ offense. They’ve got proven play-maker Brandon Marshall ready to make his debut in green and white, leading fellow receivers Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and 2015 second-round pick Devin Smith. With all these options down field, is Geno Smith finally ready to make the leap to the franchise quarterback the Jets hoped he’d become?
New offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is expected to implement a shotgun heavy spread offense that Smith excelled in during college. Smith is a gifted quick rhythm passer with great arm strength and pin point accuracy. We’ll have to see if he’s capable of making those flashes of brilliance consistent and if the under-performing offensive line can protect him long enough to make the improvements necessary.
Here is what our friends at 120 Sports had to say about Smith being able to hopefully turn his career around this upcoming season:
Of course with all that said, there are 14 other games on the schedule in which the Jets have to perform well and win plenty of in order to compete with the Pats. The other two AFC East teams, the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, have also made significant upgrades and are set to compete well with the rest of the division. The Jets also have a huge test Week 2 at the Indianapolis Colts, Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles at home in Week 3 and a game in London against the Dolphins in Week 4.
All of New York has December 6th circled on their calendars when the Jets take on home town rival and MetLife Stadium roommate the New York Giants. They make a trip to Dallas Week 14 which proves the road isn’t exactly all that smooth to make a run in the NFL Playoffs.
All that said, I’m a believer in this team and can honestly see them giving the defending champs a run for their money. With the defense as good as it is, although we’re still waiting for the season to prove it lives up to the hype, I can smell the upset from as early as now. I’m ready to see the 5 car pile-up that is the Jets’ defensive line on Brady and rest of the opponents on the schedule.
Hopefully come January, the Pats are on the outside looking in.
Next: Coffee with the New York Jets: Williams continues to impress