By Kristian Dyer
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This isn’t the week for the Jets to hit the panic button. Maybe next week, but now? Not so much.
Sure, there’s a defeatist attitude about the Jets and perhaps rightly so. In Week 3 and then Week 4, the Jets lost their best player on defense and a week later on offense, rendering them without their two key playmakers. There has also been a recent injury bug that has further devastated the offense, causing tight end Dustin Keller and wide receiver Stephen Hill to miss Monday night’s loss to the Texans with their own hamstring injuries.
That along with two straight losses to drop their record to 2-3 this year makes Jets fans feel rather glum about their season.
After all this was supposed to be, in the words of head coach Rex Ryan, the best Jets team he’s had since he came to New York.
But herein lies the rub for the Jets: 2-3 is where they would have been had they been healthy and all things a full-go, even if they weren’t smitten with bad luck this year.
The schedule through the first five games was going to be brutal regardless, with a road game at Pittsburgh and two home games against Super Bowl-caliber teams when they hosted San Francisco and this past Monday against Houston. The Jets lost those games and won the ones they were supposed to in Week 1 against Buffalo and two weeks later when they emerged from Miami a winner.
Simply, despite the odds stacked against them this year, the Jets have performed like expected — so far.
That should be a measure of solace for a team that has faced adversity this season and still must overcome the specter of last season’s meltdown over their last three games, a stretch of three losses that knocked them out of the playoffs. The future is ahead for this Jets team and they have the chance to begin winning some games with regularity now that the toughest part of the schedule is behind them.
No team currently on the schedule for the next five games has a record better than 3-2 and no one among that group has played as tough a schedule as the Jets. If this team shows up and performs as they did on Monday night against a Texans team that is now 5-0, they won’t have a losing record for long. The Jets battled and fought against one of the league’s best teams and nearly came away with a win.
It will take playing at that very high level that they showed this past week to start a streak going but the Jets can do it. Despite the loss of Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes for the year, the Jets still have enough talent to be a playoff team. And they have enough talent to begin the road to the postseason this week.
This is still a Colts team that, despite their 30-27 win over the Packers on Sunday, is young and led by a rookie quarterback. No matter how good Andrew Luck has looked through stretches of the first four games of his NFL career, he’s still a rookie. Two games ago in a loss to the Jaguars, he completed just 47.8 percent of his passes and Luck was facing not an elite NFL defense but a Jacksonville unit that is No. 30 in the league in total defense.
The opportunity is here and now for the Jets to take a step forward and start winning some games. From the next five games, the Jets face four games against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year. If they can flip their season and win three or even four games from this stretch, they can turn around this season and put it right where it should be – right where they should be.
But the time is now and the time is this Sunday to make it happen. If they don’t, then it might be officially past panic mode.
Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and can be followed for news, insight and snarky comments @KristianRDyer.
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