Despite a surprising start that somehow leaves the New York Jets with a winning record (3-2) five games into the season, fans should temper their expectations.
The New York Jets are not even an average team, let alone one that has a chance at contending for a playoff berth. It is not often (if ever) that Jets fans can say something went better than expected for them. Yet, five games into the 2017 season, that is exactly where they find themselves.
After a 17-14 win over the Cleveland Browns, the Jets are 3-2 and locked in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East.
Anyone who claims that they expected this level of early success from the Jets is either delusional or a liar. The Jets’ roster is pitifully devoid of star power, and pre-season predictions for this franchise were universally negative.
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The Jets were generally expected to win between 2-4 games and to have a serious chance at landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Yet in order to live down to such dire expectations, the Jets would almost have to lose out.
Perhaps the experts were wrong? Maybe the Jets are better than they appear on paper? Could they even emerge as a surprise contender?
Jets quarterback Josh McCown certainly thinks so:
"With prognosticators, what they can't account for is chemistry." – Josh McCown on all the negative predictions about the Jets before season
— Dan Leberfeld (@jetswhispers) October 8, 2017
McCown’s spirit and leadership are commendable, and he isn’t entirely wrong. The Jets have shown significantly more fight and resilience than they did during last year’s 5-11 debacle. Unfortunately, determination and effort can only take a team so far. The Jets still do not have nearly enough talent on the offensive side of the ball to seriously contend.
When taking a closer look at the Jets’ season up to this point, the 3-2 record becomes easily explainable. The team’s three wins came against the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Cleveland Browns, weak teams that have combined for a miserable 5-9 record in 2017.
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An easy opening to the Jets’ schedule pitted them against several cupcake teams. Unfortunately for the Jets, the bakery has now closed. Here’s their remaining schedule:
Based on my own not-so-scientific estimation, the Jets should be heavy underdogs in at least 8/11 of their remaining games. Even if they pull off a few upsets, it’s almost impossible to imagine the team finishing with a winning record or any fathomable shot at the postseason.
Although the Jets’ season is almost certain to end in disappointing fashion, Jets fans should take solace in the realization that their team has significantly exceeded expectations. The Jets are not the laughingstock they were supposed to be (one could argue they aren’t even the worst team in New York).
Rather, the Jets are a gritty squad largely devoid of talent but not of heart.
I don’t know about you, but I can sign on for that.