NY Jets: Thankful to be 5-3


The NY Jets should be quite thankful to be 5-3 as the Jacksonville Jaguars did everything they could to give Gang Green a key victory.

It’s not quite Thanksgiving yet, but I’m in a thankful mood. After the Jaguars did everything in their power to gift the Jets a home victory against a seemingly uninspired home crowd, the Jets are now in the drivers’ seat for the first Wild Card spot, and a game against an AFC South champion that could be worse than .500. With the Oakland Raiders now a game back and the Pittsburgh Steelers facing injuries, the Jets should feel incredibly fortunate to be in the position they are in.

Despite making costly errors, Blake Bortles seemed to have his way with the Jets’ defensive secondary, which forgot how to cover. On a third and long late in the game, Jaguars’ receiver Allen Hurns burned Darrelle Revis and then out-muscled Rontez Miles in a play that seemed to sum up the day on defense. Besides that play, Hurns had a field day against Antonio Cromartie, as noted by Manish Mehta of the Daily News:

Allen Hurns just beat Cromartie on back-to-back plays for 20 & 30 yards, including TD. Jets 14, Jaguars 10

— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) November 8, 2015

Marcus Williams continues to shine, having tallied 4 picks as a non-starter. His play at the end of the game when the rest of the secondary was gassed sealed the victory for the Jets. With Cro going down with an injury, I hope Todd Bowles saw something that could trigger a switch at the position even when both are healthy. Miles looked confused throughout his time on the field, which should come as a surprise given the rave reviews he’s received from the coaching staff. After having open auditions in practice for the free safety role after the injury to Calvin Pryor, Todd Bowles said the following regarding Miles in an article written by Greg Logan of Newsday:

"“I like Rontez. If he comes up, I’m pretty sure he’ll do a good job.”"

Bowles is a man of few words, but he made his point clear. It is time for the team to reevaluate the secondary situation. The top two receivers for Jacksonville combined for 243 yards. Five Jaguars had a catch of at least 20 yards. The Jaguars’ receiving corps is good, but not that good. You would think the old gunslinger Mr. Brett Favre himself was behind center spewing passes out left and right. You would be wrong. Blake Bortles – despite issues with turnovers – had a game indicative of the Jets’ defensive struggles. I had a feeling this would be a close game because the defense has looked moribund.

With a starting quarterback not at 100%, not a single running back at 100% (at least I assume based on their play) and now uncertainty with the health of the Nick Folk, the Jets are a team that could use a second bye week. Instead, they get a Thursday night matchup against their pal Rex Ryan and his Buffalo Bills team that seems to be regaining its momentum. The NFL is unforgiving, and the Jets may get a dose of something they haven’t had in a while: reality.

Next: Defense comes up big in the clutch

In the first half of the season, the Jets have been like the kid playing sandlot football who says “sorry” every time he tackles someone. He just doesn’t know how to be dominant. Can any Jets fan recall a game where they could truly relax before the clock hit zero? I can’t. After the Jets big win on Sunday, the Jets opponents are a combined 30-36  (.454). Their remaining opponents’ combined winning percentage to date isn’t much better. That’s exactly why the Jets and their fans should be feeling incredibly thankful.

I will be the first to admit that I am incredibly nervous for this upcoming game, possibly even more nervous than I would be for a Patriots game. Even though this team may give us all headaches and indigestion, they are 5-3 and appear as if they will be in the playoff race for the rest of the season. So sit back, relax, enjoy the ride and be thankful.