NY Jets: Team keeps their NFL Playoff hopes alive
The NY Jets continue to play gritty football and even though it’s not always pretty, their win streak has kept their NFL Playoff hopes alive.
The Jets kept themselves alive in the playoff picture with a victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night. The victory brought the Jets to a very respectable 9-5 record with the New England Patriots up next. As a result, Jet fans are celebrating Christmas a bit early this weekend. The fan base is supercharged for a deep playoff run and the calls for a trip to the Super Bowl are once again being heard.
I’d like to say this was a great victory for the Jets, but it really wasn’t very pretty. Like most fans, I’m happy to get the win, but it surely wasn’t the effort I wanted to see. The Jets stumbled through another three quarters of football, before the offense decided to come alive. Penalties and missed assignments were once again what hampered this football team. Look, the Dallas game should have been a statement game headed into the New England game, unfortunately for the Jets, they forgot to send the message.
The Jet offense came out flat again. The past two weeks, Ryan Fitzpatrick had been playing much better football. Last week, Fitzpatrick was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Week. Saturday in Dallas you would never have known it, as he struggled to finish drives.
Fitzpatrick finished the day with respectable numbers, putting up 26 completions on 39 attempts for 299 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Not bad on paper, but the offense didn’t string enough of those catches together to be effective. The Jet run game wasn’t much help either, being limited to just 73 yards on the day.
I’ve been talking about it all year. The Jet offense is an inconsistent group, it shows up at times, but then disappears inexplicably at other times. This group seems to play to the level of its opponents. Against a lackluster Giant team two weeks ago, they did the same thing, penalties and a lack of consistent play almost cost them a football game. In contrast, last week they came out and played consistently throughout four quarters of football and locked down a victory. This offense needs to play more consistently if they want to go anywhere in the playoffs.
Dec 19, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
As the offense struggled, so did the defense at times. The highly touted run stoppers, who have played phenomenally as of late, allowed the Cowboys’ Darren McFadden to put up a hundred yards on them. McFadden and Lucky Whitehead both broke open the Jet defense with 33 yard scampers in the game. This wasn’t the run defense that held the Giants to twelve yards rushing!
With no quarterback to speak of, the Jet defense should have been fired up against the run, but it took some time for them to get going. The Jets need this group to show up and play at a high level from here on out, not a bad outing, but it surely has been better.
The Jet secondary, for the most part, held the Dallas receivers in check all night. Of course they had no quarterback to worry about. Matt Cassel came out struggling, and it was apparent from the get go, he was no threat to the Jets defense. Cassel wound up being benched, making it a short day for Cassel, only completing three of eight attempts for 37 yards and a interception. On a horrendous play by Cassel, he failed to throw the ball away while being chased by the Jet defense and was sacked for an embarrassing 19 yard loss. Exit Cassel.
In comes third stringer Kellen Moore, and it didn’t get much better for the Cowboys. The signal caller came in with no experience and the Jet secondary responded with three interceptions against Moore. The Cowboy offense did get a bit of a spark from the his insertion, as he threw a couple of nice passes, including a touchdown to Dez Bryant. Moore was good for 158 on 25 attempts, 15 catches, three interceptions and a touchdown.
The Cowboys’ offense was ineffective all day, but the Jets only managed to beat them by three points at the end of the day. As I said before, the Jet offense has a bad habit of playing to their opponents level. In a game the Jets should have been dominant, they once again showed up flat. The Jets’ offensive line struggled mightily against the Cowboys’ defense in this game and will need to improve going forward.
It wasn’t all bad for the Jets on Saturday obviously, in the end they brought home the win. Quincy Enunwa is making a name for himself and his development has truly improved this offense. Enunwa caught four receptions for 49 yards, but his contributions don’t end there, his efforts in the blocking game become more apparent every week. His catches and blocking were clutch in this game.
Enunwa has truly earned a spot on this roster. Marcus Williams proved once again that he is the real deal, picking off Moore and sealing the fate of the Cowboys. Williams has six interceptions in eleven games this year, and only played a part time role in the beginning of the season. Leonard Williams had another stout performance for the Jets on Saturday. The young rookie has developed as predicted into a solid contributor for this defense, and he’s not done yet!
A big thanks has to go out to Kenbrell Thompkins who caught two passes for 50 yards for a 25 yard average. His second catch went for 43 yards however and set the Jets up to win. Thompkins, a former Patriot, has not provided a lot for this offense through the year, but he came up big when it counted. Thompkins future with the team might still be in question, but his catch late in the game, surely will be remembered when decision time comes in the off season.
Dec 19, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (10) is chased by Dallas Cowboys free safety Byron Jones (31) after making a catch in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. New York won 19-16. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets won a ball game on Saturday night, they kept their playoff hopes alive and fans are happy to have the victory. As I’ve said all year, this is a talented team, but sometimes it doesn’t play like it. They were flat in Dallas and will need to bring their “A” game for the Patriots game in Week 16. If the Jets want to go into the playoffs, they absolutely need to win out!
There is no guarantee it will get them there, but it is the way they need to end this season regardless. The Jets are developing into a contender, there are still holes to fill in the off season, but if they can win out they set the table for next year. If they want to get to the playoffs, there is no better way to enter them, on a roll! Either way, in or out of the playoffs, if the Jets can win out, this season goes down as a huge success in my book.
Good to get the win on the road, I wish the game was played better by the Jets, but as a fan, I’m ecstatic to get it. The next big test comes next week at MetLife Stadium against the New England Patriots. The Jets will have an extra day to prepare, and they need to be ready for the challenge.
The game will be highly touted and promises to be a good one, it is a game the Jets absolutely have to win. The Jets missed an opportunity this week to send a message to the NFL that they are serious contenders, but a victory over our division rivals will be heard loud and clear heading into the post season. The Jets will need to get it done.
Next: Jets need to capitalize on turnovers
Another week, another victory, the Jets are now on a four game roll. There is a lot to be excited about for Jet fans. The team is developing and if they can play consistent football going ahead, they have a chance to go into the playoffs on an impressive winning streak. They’ll need to win out though. We’ve seen it before in the NFL, an average team catching fire at the right time, and taking that momentum to a Super Bowl run. Could that be the case for the Jets this year? If so, they will need to play much better than they did on Saturday night.
That’s how I saw this game, a mix of good and bad. Of course, that is only my opinion. We here at The Jet Press value our readers opinions, so I’d ask you to please leave us a comment and let us know how you see this team. Join us as we talk Jet Football!!