Green Lantern: Jets May Be A Joke, But There’s Always Their DeLorean

If You Say Either Way You Know What's Coming Christmas Eve You'd Be Lying

By Jeff Capellini, CBSNewYork/

NEW YORK (WFAN) — As disgraceful as Sunday was in Philadelphia, the Jets are somehow no worse for wear in the standings.

It’s unbelievable and in no way erases the truth that this team isn’t very good, but it is something to build upon heading into their now pivotal matchup with the Giants on Christmas Eve.

For those of you who can stomach yet another rehashing, let me reveal what happened on Sunday. As you know, the Jets (8-6) were a complete disaster throughout their 45-19 loss to the Eagles. I’ll get to them on the field in a bit. In the interim, it’s important to explain their playoff scenario, because it’s as unfathomable as the Jets’ play has been on the field since, really, September.

Despite a defeat that reeked of a stroll down “Same Old Jets” memory lane, Gang Green still owns the final playoff spot in the AFC and controls its own destiny. Simply put, if the Jets beat the Giants and then Miami, they will open the playoffs on the road, at either Houston, New England or at the Central champ, Pittsburgh or Baltimore.

They are in this position because they got hooked up Sunday by, of all teams, the previously winless Colts and the perennially awful but now very interesting Lions. The Jets currently hold the tiebreaker over the 8-6 Bengals and lead the Raiders and Titans by one game.

But it was those same Raiders and Titans that put the Jets in a position to sort of ask for a mulligan for Sunday in Philly. Of course, I’m not going to give them one and neither will any other self-respecting fan, but the bottom line is the Jets are in great shape in the AFC playoff chase today, just as they were 24 hours ago.

Call it a miracle if you want, but this is how the NFL works sometimes.

The Raiders coughed up a late 13-point lead at home to the Lions, capped by Detroit going 98 yards inside the final two minutes. The Titans decided it was the right time to get into the Christmas spirit by handing the now 1-13 Colts a 27-13 win.

This ridiculous series of events sandwiched a pathetic performance by the Jets that really, let’s be honest now, showed that even though this team might currently be in the playoffs, it is in no way a traditional playoff team. It’s either that or this is one of those years where the NFL has been forced into dumbed-down prerequisites for postseason participation.

It happens from time to time. There have been division winners at 8-8 and playoff teams at 7-9, most recently Seattle last season. The Seahawks were below .500 but won their division and were laughed at league-wide only to shock high-powered New Orleans in the wildcard round.

And now we have the Jets, who could very well end up 10-6, but feel like an around .500 team. I know, you are what your record says you are. But the Jets seem hell-bent on challenging Bill Parcells’ long-alluded-to assertion.

The Jets will almost assuredly have to win 10 games to make the playoffs. The strength of their remaining two opponents seems to suggest they should, but you saw the game against the Eagles on Sunday. You saw this team lay an egg of the highest order and get exploited in ways that were all too familiar all season, only this time greatly magnified. You saw the Jets finally go up against a really good offense and get abused. You saw the Jets on both sides of the ball play as if the game didn’t matter.

Let’s look at the numbers:

* The Jets turned the ball over four times, leading to 21 Eagles points. There’s a stat out there somewhere that states the Jets are second overall in the NFL in this dubious category.

* Mark Sanchez turned the ball over three times, including two interceptions, one that wasn’t his fault and the other which most certainly was.

* Sanchez was sacked four times and pressured God only knows how many additional times. He’s lucky he can still stand upright today after some of the shots he took from the Eagles.

* Right tackle Wayne Hunter proved once and for all that whatever he showed in the second half last season was clearly an aberration. If the Jets had a reliable option they probably would have turned to him weeks ago.

* Santonio Holmes fumbled once, let an easy throw slip through his hands for an interception and then decided the prudent thing to do after scoring a TD that brought his team within 19 points was to get a 15-yard unsportsmanlike flag for doing some stupid dance. Of course, Holmes is a Jets captain.

* The Jets were outgained on offense 420-241.

* The Eagles’ Brent Celek caught five balls for 156 yards and a TD, becoming the latest tight end in the nearly three-year Rex Ryan era to decimate the Jets’ defense.

* The Jets allowed 160 yards on the ground, including a waving-the-white-flag 33-yard scoring run to LeSean McCoy in the fourth quarter.

* Michael Vick was not sacked. Lightning-in-a-bottle pass-rushing linebacker Aaron Maybin was nowhere to be found.

I mean, there’s probably more, but you get the picture.

Now the question becomes: can the Jets rebound from that embarrassment and win their final two? I don’t even want to venture a guess or a prediction, but I will say there’s precedent to believe the Jets can turn it around and turn it around in a big way.

They just need to hope their flux capacitor is still fluxing, because it’s time to go back in time.

In 2009, the Jets suffered a brutal home loss to Atlanta that dropped them to 7-7. A great effort and a gift later, they were the final seed in the AFC and were on their way to getting to the AFC Championship game. Fast forward to the next December. The Jets got pummeled in New England and then followed that up with another one of the worst losses in franchise history the next week against Miami. But they then bounced back to win two of their final three to sew up the sixth spot and eventually fought for another shot at the Lamar Hunt Trophy.

The moral of this often sordid story is you just don’t know with this team and though many would like to say this is a different season, all I can say to counter that is these are largely the same players and coaches, with the same approach.

I have no idea what the Giants will bring on Saturday, but if I was a betting man I would say that they will play above themselves, mostly because they also need the game in the worst way and probably don’t want any part of being beaten by their traditional little brothers.

Conventional wisdom suggests that the Jets have greatly underachieved this season, but have they really? Every last fan knows their shortcomings and even if some of the criticism is often misdirected on a week-to-week basis, the end result has justified their record and precarious position. Simply, the fans aren’t fooled. They know the bottom line with this bunch.

But they also know the Jets have had this tendency under Ryan to unzip themselves and step out as new men late in seasons. The Jets could very well do just that again on Saturday and the following week in south Florida.

I’m by no means suggesting the Jets will get back to the conference title game. Nor am I even remotely hinting at the fact that they have the entire league right where they want it right now.

But do they?

I suspect only they really know the answer and have no intention of cluing anyone in any time soon.

Read more columns by Jeff Capellini

Do you think the Jets are done? Or are they simply biding their time between now and whenever? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • cosifantutti

    The only way this team continues is from gifts from others, as may well be the case from the equally inept Giants. Lost in the media hype of glorious “comebacks” in ’09 and ’10 is that half of them consisted of complete el-foldos by bad competitors that should never have been leading (if you believe the hype) the “Super Bowl bound” Jets to begin with.

    Sanchez is mediocre, and only puts up points on bad defenses. This team wins only if the D can shut down the opposition, and the other coaches are not flummoxed by Ryan’s schemes any more. When you add that to the stupid posturing that emanates from the top, you have a bad combination that may get lucky, but likely won’t.

    Consider for just a sec the ridiculous parade of “must wins”, including yesterday. After they lose the must win, there is no consequence other than making the next game the must win. So, if you are one of the not-genius young millionaires listening to this tripe, it must be a tad confusing, where you have to make your own judgment because the coach plays his emotional trump card EVERY WEEK! When you know you are going to the SB before training camp starts, and everyone fears your bad ass so much, gee, coach, how come we be allowing 36 points AVERAGE (NE, OAK, BAL, PHIL) in must wins? Duh.

    • Lantern

      You make some good points and thanks for the response, but the Jets have, under Rex, risen to the occasion while they still had time and margin for error. Now they don’t so we’ll see what they are made of. The Indy gift two years ago is way too overblown at this point because the Jets still managed to win in Cincy and SD the next two weeks when it really mattered. They justified their place in the playoffs. When Rex started in on his Super Bowl or bust mantra it was refreshing, but I’ll admit it’s old now because he’s yet to make good on it. But, at the end of the day, I’d still rather have a coach who sets lofty goals publicly and tries to back them up over a coach who says nothing.

    • OneMan Cland

      I don’t understand your first comment about comebacks or I should say “comebacks”.
      There are 2 types of wins in sports:
      A win= you won the game.
      A win= you won the game. (Wait…)

      There is only ONE type of win.
      I don’t believe in “ugly” wins or “close” wins or “comeback” wins or whatever else you guys and gals are going to come up with next. A win is a win is a WIN! You win, you move on. You win all games in Jan-Feb and you get SB trophy. You can go 9-7, get in the playoffs and still win SB trophy so it don’t matter “how” you win.

      IF you want to get technical (which no one does), EVERY game is a must win. The only ones that don’t count are preseason games. Then a “win” is not a “win”. lol

      I really don’t care what people think about how the Jets win as long as they win.

      I am personally shocked that the Jets have been able to “win” as much as they have with all the holes they have. They “won” with a rookie QB. They won with sub-par safety play (since Kerry was traded). They have “won” with a porous OF line that to me was first shown as susceptible against Dallas in week 1.

      I am shocked that they have a plus record thus far.

      There is no such thing as a GIFT in the pros. Either you “win” or you don’t. I love that comment from Randy McMichael (“it had nothing to do with anyone on their team.”) which is both dumb AND ridiculous at the same time.

      Both teams have a chance to “win” this week. It wont matter how in the end.

      So “WIN”.

      “Stay classy, Commentators,”

    • Terry

      Well this response by cosifantutti is really stupid. First off the Jets dont give up 36pts a gm and only an idiot would pick 4 out of 16gm’s to point out an avg pt per gm stat. Its unrealistic just like your comments.

      The bottomline with the Jets is their def carried them to the AFC championship gm’s and through the season. Their defense isnt as gd this yr and therefore niether is this team. Rex took some very bad advice from his coaches in the beginning of the season and he isnt going to admit it right now. We already (those that watch and know who Schotty is as an OC) knew the offense couldnt do a thing especially with getting ride of Braylon a 6’4 deer, which translated into why Holmes had a ok yr last yr. This is football and football doesnt chg, only the players do and right now the Jets dont have the players to beat certain teams (ie: teams with TE’s) and they dont have a OC that is smart enough to win a gm. If and this is a big if, IF they were to ever make a superbowl the would never win with this idiot OC named Schotty. There is no way all gm you see your RT getting killed and you dont get him help, its poor management by the OC.

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