New York Minute

November 13, 2009 4:12 AM

Jets Need to Start Playoff Push

Like a lot of other teams at this point in the season, the Jets find themselves in the hunt for a playoff spot.


If the team is going to have any hope at all of returning to the post season, it needs to start with a victory Sunday over the Jaguars.


Like the Jets, the Jaguars are 4-4. But the Jets have a difficult road ahead of them after Sunday's home contest against the Jaguars. They have a road game at New England on Nov. 22, and then play Carolina and Buffalo.


Those are two winnable games for Gang Green, but the final three weeks are going to be difficult. The Jets will be at home for Atlanta, on the road at Indianapolis, and finish up at home against Cincinnati.

It doesn't look promising for the Jets, as seven teams already have five or more victories in the AFC. They are one of three teams, including the Jaguars, at 4-4. That's why this Sunday's game is so imperative.


It is also imperative that the Jets start to play better.  They got off to a fast start, winning their first three games, before losing to New Orleans. But they have also lost twice to Miami and once to Buffalo, and those losses might be the ones that cost the Jets a playoff spot.


If there is one thing that is going to have to improve for the Jets, it is their defense. Coach Rex Ryan entered the season as a reputation for a defensive master, and the team is ranked second in the NFL in overall defense.


Yet they have not scored a defensive touchdown, and the team surrendered 31 and 30 points in its two losses to Miami. If the team wants to be considered a playoff contender, it needs the defense to get points off of turnovers.


"Let's not just be happy just getting the takeaway,'' Ryan said. "That's great, but we need to be aggressive with our mentality. We have to score when we get them."


The Jets could also do more on the offensive side. Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez has played terrific at times, but has also been inconsistent and downright bad at others. It would help to get a steady ground attack to relieve some of the pressure on Sanchez, but the team misses Leon Washington, who is on injured reserve and was the one breakaway back on the roster. Thomas Jones (4.7 per carry, seven touchdowns) is having a nice season, but he's not a home run hitter like Washington who can score from any where on the field.


It's going to be interesting to see how this Jets season plays out over the final half of the season. Watching the Eric Mangini disaster unfold in Cleveland, it's apparent the Jets made the right call in firing him at the end of last season.


But if this team doesn't at least make the playoffs, you have to wonder if Ryan is the right man for the job. After getting off to a quick start, a lot was expected from this squad, and missing the playoffs would be a sour way to start Ryan's regime with the Jets.

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