It’s five games into the season for the New York Jets, and the team is off to a 4-1 start, which most Jets fans, including myself, probably didn’t think would happen. The question now is, if this good start for “Gang Green” is sustainable throughout the rest of the season and the team can defy the odds to achieve a playoff berth.
First, we have to look at what’s made them so successful thus far. The team’s strength of schedule likely has played a role in the team’s 4-1 record. The Jets have beaten the Cleveland Browns, the Indianapolis Colts, the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins pretty handily. All of those teams are 9-14 combined. However, football fans expected the Redskins and Browns to be mediocre this season, but the Dolphins and Colts have underperformed so far, even though both teams seem to be turning it around. The team’s lone loss came at home to the 3-3 Philadelphia Eagles in a mistake-ridden game for the Jets.
The Jets have a very tough game this week, when they head to New England to take on the Patriots. Aside from the two games against the Patriots, the Jets play several games that they should win during the rest of the season. They have home games against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans, as well as road games against the Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans and New York Giants. If the Jets win the games they should, they can very realistically finish the season with an 11-5 record.
New York has also outperformed its opponents thus far as a team. The Jets have outscored opponents 129-75, out-yarded them on offense 1,899 to 1,346, converted 102 first downs to their opponents’ 81 and scored 15 touchdowns to their opponents’ nine. Those numbers show the Jets have had success on both sides of the ball. Again, the quality of the team’s opposition is a factor, but the fact that those numbers are not close is encouraging.
Individual players for the Jets have also been very successful. Chris Ivory, perhaps one of the most underrated running backs in the league, has racked up 460 yards on 83 attempts, finding paydirt four times already. For the most part, wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been exactly as advertised, picking up 511 receiving yards on 37 receptions with four touchdowns. The Jets second-best wide receiver, Eric Decker, has also performed really well this season with 239 yards on 18 catches and four touchdowns as well.
The Jets and its offensive players are achieving this all with an average quarterback like Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick has put up solid numbers in his own right, completing 62.6 percent of his 171 pass attempts for 1,177 yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis returning to the Jets has been huge, as he effectively covers the opposing team’s best target and has three interceptions so far. Safety Marcus Gilchrist and cornerback Marcus Williams also have two picks each.
The Jets figured to have a great defense, but its success on both sides of the ball has been a large factor for the team so far. Solid play from players like Ivory, Marshall, Decker and Revis will likely be a constant for the remainder of the season. That, along with the team’s outplaying of the opposition and tame remaining schedule should lead to a winning campaign for the Jets.