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Jets Winning on First and Second Downs

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Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The distance to go for a third down play can make a big difference. Third and long is a bad scenario for an offense. To pick up a lot of yards on one play, the offense will almost certainly have to throw the ball. The defense knows this so it can prepare with exotic fronts. The pass rushers can fly upfield to try and get to the quarterback without worrying about overrunning the play and a back carrying a handoff past them. Defenses can also show exotic fronts with subpackages. Third and short is the opposite. The offense has the entire playbook to choose from. Defenses are more limited because they have to be prepared for both the run and the pass.

How the offense performs on first and second down determines how perilous a third down is. The Jets are getting themselves into favorable third downs on both sides of the ball. On offense, Jets third down plays average 6.85 yards to go. That is ninth lowest in the league. On defense, the Jets are forcing their opponents to an average third down distance of 7.55 yards. That is sixth highest in the NFL.

Effective play on third down is made easier by effective play on first and second downs. The Jets are getting that.

Offense

Tm To Go
BAL 6.27
ATL 6.41
PIT 6.63
NYG 6.64
NWE 6.72
IND 6.77
DAL 6.82
ARI 6.82
NYJ 6.85
SEA 6.92
CIN 6.92
WAS 6.93
JAX 6.93
GNB 6.95
CHI 7.04
CAR 7.22
OAK 7.27
PHI 7.28
NOR 7.31
KAN 7.36
DEN 7.48
BUF 7.48
SDG 7.56
HOU 7.56
SFO 7.61
DET 7.61
TAM 7.62
MIN 7.71
CLE 7.85
STL 7.87
TEN 7.89
MIA 8.07

Defense

Tm To Go
DEN 8.15
HOU 7.9
GNB 7.77
SEA 7.71
CAR 7.6
NYJ 7.55
IND 7.47
KAN 7.43
CIN 7.42
ARI 7.41
MIA 7.39
JAX 7.36
NWE 7.31
PHI 7.28
STL 7.24
DET 7.22
WAS 7.14
DAL 7.1
TEN 7.08
BUF 7.07
PIT 7.06
CHI 7.04
BAL 7.04
MIN 7.03
ATL 6.85
SDG 6.84
CLE 6.82
NOR 6.76
OAK 6.76
TAM 6.64
NYG 6.36
SFO 6.35