You may be asking yourself why I'm so confident in the Jets despite their inability to put away clearly inferior teams.
Why, a week after I criticized the positive attention the Patriots were getting for narrowly winning ugly games, did I continue to ask for positive attention for the Jets in the same situation.
Why, even though the Patriots got what was coming to them when they lost to the Browns, do I not think the Jets will suffer a similar fate?
Well, the answer is simple - I'm buying in to this team 100%.
I have a strong suspicion that the Jets are better at game-planning teams like the Patriots or the Steelers or, say, next week's opponents, the Texans, than they are teams like the Browns or the Lions. I don't know why...but I just do.
I feel like they have a better shot at beating the Texans more handily next week than they did in their back-to-back overtime wins these past two weeks.
And if not handily, at least I'm confident that the Jets will win against Houston. Here's why:
I've sat through many a Sunday that bore a strong resemblance to either of the past two Sundays. And I've felt awful Sunday night and Monday morning and Tuesday morning and even Wednesday because of how I wasted Sunday because the Jets lost a game they should have won. Many a Sunday.
Sunday's game against the Browns, and last Sunday's game against the Lions, followed that script almost exactly - with one huge difference. The Jets won. Let's examine Sunday afternoon against the Browns:
The game is on pace to end about 3:45pm. That would still leave about 45 minutes of daylight for my wife and I and our daughters to go for a walk in some unseasonably warm weather. I feel great about that. Then the Browns march down the field to tie the game, and instead of a game ending at 3:45, overtime is just getting underway. And not only does overtime start, it takes nearly the entire period for the Jets to finally win the game. And they win it after nearly losing it in overtime. These things just don't happen to the Jets. So it's closer to 4:45 now, pitch black outside, I've missed some quality time with my family......but I still feel great. It's not the usual post-Jets blown game-funk....it's a great feeling. I'm shaky with nerves because I've come to expect the worst...but the Jets won again.
I feel like the Jets can't keep this up. I feel like if they keep walking on this edge, they're going to fall off, and it's going to be painful when they do. But remember, this team has yet to get really hot. They've been a lot of lucky to this point - pass interference in Denver, the Lions' clock management, Chansi Stuckey's fumble - but luck is the residue of design, as they say. And none of those lucky instances directly caused a Jets win - the Jets still had to finish the job. And they did.
So I'm a believer. I'm not naive enough to think the Jets will go undefeated the rest of the way - they'll lose once or twice. But those wins will end up helping them as they march through the playoffs. Their coaches and their quarterback will learn from the losses.
This is a division-winning team. This is a first-round bye kind of team. I've seen enough losing teams to know the difference.