There seems to be a popular theory that the Jets have played worse when they have had extra rest. They lost the opener to the Ravens, the game after the bye to the Packers, and the Monday nighter to the Patriots off an 11 day layoff. I have a different theory, which I found even more troubling. Those were the three most difficult opponents on the schedule, and Gang Green had not raised its game. The Jets had only two wins against a winning record entering the weekend. One of those teams, Miami, only had a winning record as a result of being the Jets last Sunday and is once again a .500 team after a terrible home loss to the Bills.
That's why I think yesterday's win was big. The Jets needed to show they were capable of beating an elite team. The Week 2 victory was a long time ago. This team has taken care of business against the bottom feeders as any club with dreams of contending should do. However, there were legitimate concerns over the ability to step up against better competition.
I do not think a loss yesterday would have necessarily meant the end. There would have been things to build upon, such as the offense finally looking capable of moving the football. With that said, getting the victory is big. With or without Troy Polamalu, the Steelers are an excellent team. The way things are shaping up, the Jets are probably going to have to win three road games against the best the AFC has to offer to get to the Super Bowl, including possibly a return trip to Pittsburgh. This is the kind of win that reassures me with confidence the talent on this roster is capable of delivering against the best.