With the Jets coming into New England it’s almost impossible to overemphasis the importance of this game to both teams. However given what has happened in the last two weeks, with two of the most disheartening losses in recent memory, it wouldn’t be far off to say the Jets season is at a crossroads here today. While it is a game early in the season the Jets desperately need to win, not only for the division race and playoffs, but also to restore their own confidence.
While it seems like the Jets never pay attention to overreactions by the fans and the media, but that strong physique could show cracks if the Jets don’t show up here today. This week seemed tough internally for the Jets, with Rex Ryan reportedly giving the team a tongue lashing on Monday and reports that the receivers are in an uproar over Brian Schottenheimer’s play calling. These are all snippets of information that can only come out when you play like that two weeks in a row. While the Jets have typically played it cool when faced with panic after tough losses that was because all of the players still believed in Rex Ryan and the system in place. If the Jets can’t go back to the ground and pound today it could add fuel to the fire of player grumblings, which the Jets haven’t seen even yet in the Rex Ryan era.
While the Jets face all of that if they lose a win here would obviously change everything. It would once again reinforce the “Us against the world” mentality that the Jets have used when they rebound after tough losses with big wins. A win here be a massive confidence booster going into an easier part of the schedule. It would probably get the monkey of Mark Sanchez’s back, and restore confidence in an offensive system that got the Jets has served the Jets well in the past. Given the current state of the offensive line, it seems improbably that the Jets will be able to run the ball down the Patriots throats, but if they can it would be huge in terms of confidence, and give the Jets much needed momentum going towards a pivotal part in the season.
Besides what this game means to the Jets heads, in looking at their schedule this game is massively important. A win here makes the Jets and Patriots both 3-2, and with the Bill playing the Eagles there could easily be a first place tie by the end of tonight. A loss here and the Jets are in third place, with the Patriots in the driver’s seat and even the Bills with a leg up on the Jets. The Jets still have games against the Chargers, Patriots, Eagles, Giants, Redskins and Bills. While there are still a million question marks as to how good the Eagles Redskins, and even Bills are, there’s no question that a loss today makes many of these games tough must wins. With a loss today the Jets would have to go 8-3 the rest of the way to go 10-6, not an easy task. A win today puts the Jets in first place, gives them a ton of confidence, and puts them on pace to be contenders in the AFC East. The differences are clear, and this is a game that could easily define how the rest of the season goes.