The NY Jets aren't used to receiving national (or even local) praise. Over the last decade or so, the Jets have frequently been the target of national mockery as opposed to anything in the realm of acclaim.
Stephen A. Smith, a notorious Jets critic, appeared on First Take to provide his list of the top five teams in the NFL entering Week 7. While the usual suspects such as the Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, and Kansas City Chiefs were included, Smith made sure to give a special shoutout to the lovable underdogs from Florham Park.
Smith listed the Jets as the fifth-best team in the NFL following their thrilling Week 6 victory over the Green Bay Packers. The longtime ESPN personality was enthusiastic when justifying the Jets' ranking.
"Bam, the New York Jets. They walked into Lambeau Field and handled business with a run game, a [great] pass-rush. They set up and punked the Green Bay Packers. Made them look soft. The New York Jets are coming y'all. I love this cat [Breece] Hall running the football. I love Sauce Gardner — lockdown corner. Here's the New York Jets. They're a top-five team in the NFL."- Stephen A. Smith
Stephen A. Smith quickly changed his tone on the NY Jets
While it might be a stretch to call the Jets a top-five team, it's impossible to ignore the progress they've made and they certainly belong in the top-10 discussion.
This is a Jets team that has outscored their opponents 67-27 over the last two weeks. They're tied for the second-best record in the AFC. They're a good football team.
That being said, Smith's comments come across bit hollow given what he said about the team before the start of the season. Back in May, Smith laughed at the notion that the New England Patriots could finish last in the AFC East because the Jets were also in that division.
We're six weeks into the season and the Patriots have been in last every single week.
Smith also went on a weird, unprompted rant in August about how the Jets "stink" when discussing their season outlook. Why you ask? Because they're the Jets. That was the only rationale needed.
Stephen A. Smith may believe the Jets are a top-five team in the NFL, but rest assured that doesn't absolve his prior comments. When Robert Saleh talked about keeping receipts, Smith's words were likely at the top of that list.
Still, the national praise is fun, if only for the reason of seeing analysts like Smith walk back their previous takes.