We're 8 games into the NFL season, which means we have half a season to turn this ship around. After finishing strong to end the first half with wins over the Baltimore Ravens and a gutsy come from behind victory in Cleveland, the Jets will be looking to take advantage of an easier schedule to get them back to .500 and beyond.
When you look back on the first half, it's hard to describe the team performances. It started with a tough loss to the Bengals and picked up with a vintage Matt Forte performance in Buffalo. Then we took a bad loss to the Chiefs before falling to a good Seattle team. We then got largely dominated by two offensive powerhouses in Pittsburgh and Arizona before picking up the much needed wins against Baltimore and Cleveland.
We'll now head to Miami looking for our 4th straight victory in South Florida. If we can manage to stop Ajayi who's suddenly turned into Eric Dickerson, we'll have a great chance to move back to 4-5, before welcoming in the inconsistent LA Rams. Move to 5-5 with four straight victories and the momentum all of a sudden can take control. However we're getting ahead of ourselves.
The Jets were 1-5 for a reason. Yes, the schedule was very difficult. Every single team that beat the Jets this year appeared in the 2015 playoffs. It was always going to be tricky, however if you want to be a playoff team, you have to beat playoff teams. We've shown an inability to do that this year, however the Jets will face just one team the rest of the way who made the playoffs last year, and that's the Patriots. In fact, as things stand, the Patriots are the only team over .500 who face the Jets the rest of the way. So the schedule won't stop us.
However the Jets have shown this year that the chemistry and balance they enjoyed last year is in short supply. Revis is obviously declining to a point where he may become a liability if not given support in the 2nd half. Fitzpatrick has been running empty on Fitzmagic, and it doesn't seem as though the Jets have any rhythm to their offense. We'll need to find the right balance between feeding Forte and giving Enunwa and Marshall their targets. Losing Decker was a huge blow to the Jets, one that they've yet to recover from.
There are some big questions that need answering this off-season, but can the Jets patch over the cracks to make a run at the playoffs? Potentially, although that's more down to a weak AFC and a more manageable schedule. Rather than the talent that we currently have on this roster.
The Jets will need to stay healthy the rest of the way to get close to the playoffs. They'll need their offensive line to block better. They'll need the defensive line to get pressure on opposing QB's. They'll need their linebackers to play quicker. They'll need to limit the communication issues in the secondary. They'll need to get excellent special team performance and above all else, they'll need a strong 2nd half performance from Todd Bowles. I've questioned Bowles a lot this year, his in-game management leaves a lot to be desired. However he's a young coach, so hopefully he does what Rex failed to do...learn from his mistakes.
I considered doing first half grades by position, however I decided against it. Performances have been up and down throughout the year. Are we 3-5 because we've turned the corner? Or are we 3-5 because we got to play two bad football teams. Are we a bad football team? Are we just a little better than other bad football teams? Those questions are likely to be answered this Sunday. Miami isn't a good team, but it's also not a horrible team. If we go into Florida and come back with a victory, maybe I'll start to believe a little more. Until that moment, I'm doubtful.
Are we just good enough to screw ourselves over? Not good enough to get into the play-offs, but not bad enough to secure a top draft pick. Right now the Jets are floating in purgatory, Sunday's game against the Dolphins will give us a good idea of our direction. Regardless of how the season pans out from here on in, we're going to have some difficult decisions to make in the Spring.