At the beginning of the 2013 season, many predicted the Jets would crash and burn. Bill Simmons, whom I love very much despite his being a Pats fan, listed them as the 2nd worst team in the league. The experts who work at ESPN predicted the Jets would finish no better than third in the AFC East. USA Today predicted they would finish 2-14 on the year.
Yet today, the Jets beat the talented New Orleans Saints to go to 5-4. The ferocious defense, powered by the front line of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Damon “Snacks” Harrison, pressured the elite Drew Brees into throwing two picks, nearly intercepted several other throws, and stopped the explosive Saints on a pivotal 4th-and-one. Rookie QB Geno Smith was decent, throwing for 115 yards and rushing for a score, but the real star was behind him in the backfield. The former Saint Chris Ivory, whom the Jets snagged in a offseason trade for a fourth rounder, ran roughshod through the formidable Saints D. He gained 139 yards on the ground and pounded in a TD, much to the delight of Rex Ryan. Nick Folk continued his remarkable season, as he kicked 4/4 field goals to remain a perfect 23/23 on the season.
Stout defense, unexpected producers, and remarkably consistent special teams. These factors have made the 2013 New York Jets (and I can’t believe I get to type these beautiful words) postseason contenders. They have had their problematic games (coughBengalscough) but have come back after each loss and redeemed themselves. They probably shouldn’t have won against the Bucs or the Pats, but in doing so, they gained confidence.
That sort of confidence is what powered previous Ryan-era Jets squads to consecutive AFC Championship Games. The Jets under Ryan have won when they have punishing defense and a good running game, along with a competent play caller, and that is how the 2013 Jets have operated on their best days.
It’s hard to predict how this team will perform the rest of the season because they have been, well, unpredictable thus far. Looking at the rest of their schedule, however, gives me confidence in this team. They play only one more team with a record better than .500 (Panthers). I believe the Jets will make the playoffs, if not as a divisional winner (now I have real reasons to say Brady sucks!), than as a wild card winner. If they get in, who knows? No one expected them to get to two consecutive AFC championship games several years ago. I might be crazy, but I could see them beating the Colts (assuming they get the 3 seed). Only time will tell how this crazy 2013 Jets season will play out.