The Jets suffered a 24-17 defeat at the hands of the Patriots (and the NFL officiating) as they saw their three game winning streak come to the end. Despite the loss, the presence of the defending champions brought out some tellingly promising performances.
The rankings are meant to list the players in order of greatest net impact on the team over the course of the season. I take into account the season’s full body of work and contribution to wins and losses, not future potential or past reputation.
Check out last week’s rankings here.
10. Robby Anderson, WR (Last week: 9th)
Last week I mentioned how Anderson needs to do a better job becoming a more complete player who contributes outside of his big plays, even though he is getting those more often. That applied again this week. Anderson had a clutch 32 yard catch on 4th & 12 on the final drive, but still caught only 4 of his 12 targets for 76 yards, which isn’t very efficient. Not to mention he failed to show any resistance on the ill-timed Josh McCown interception to end the first half, and this isn’t the first time we’re getting on him for this. McCown’s pick in Cleveland was extremely similar. On the year, McCown has a 46.4 rating targeting Anderson, with 3 interceptions.
Despite all of that, he still deserves to be on here. He’s always been known as a big play threat, and this year he has delivered on that reputation more consistently. He already has five 20+ yard receptions on the year, putting him the top 15 among wide receivers.
9. Jeremy Kerley, WR (Debut)
Kerley debuts on the list after putting on an early spectacle against New England. The veteran had two outstanding athletic catches in the beginning of the game. The second put the Jets up 14-0, while the first set up the first score of the afternoon. Kerley had his first non-caught target of the season, but has put out an impressive body of work so far. Among the 82 wide receivers with at least 20 targets, Kerley ranks 11th in yards per target (9.65) and 1st in catch percentage (95.0%).
8. Morris Claiborne, CB (Debut)
It wasn’t a perfect performance against the Pats that earned Claiborne this spot, but he has played a huge role in helping this secondary overachieve the way it has. Tom Brady only had an 80.7 quarterback rating in this game, one of his worst outputs in recent history. On the year, the Jets rank 8th in the league in opposing passer rating allowed. This is in spite of a nonexistent pass rush and suspect coverage at inside linebacker. With all of that in mind, I think Claiborne deserves a lot of credit. When a #1 corner is struggling, you can tell. You know that if you watched the 2016 Jets. Though he did allow the huge 40+ yard catch to Brandin Cooks that set up a touchdown, Claiborne had a few instances of tight coverage, and continued to be a clean open field tackler.
7. Bilal Powell, RB (Last week: 5th)
Powell was sorely missed against the Patriots. The speed of the offense took a nosedive with Matt Forte taking the carries usually taken by Powell. He remains the team leader in yards from scrimmage.
6. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE (Last week: 10th)
All of the offseason hype about the internal resurgence of a physically gifted player is coming into fruition. Seferian-Jenkins uses his unique size/speed combination to his advantage consistently, proving to be a machine in the red zone and in 3rd & short situations. He had 2 touchdowns* in the game, making him the first Jets tight end to do that since Dustin Keller in 2011*.
But that was not meant to be. Seferian-Jenkins was robbed clean of his second touchdown in one of the most questionable (if we’re being nice) officiating decisions in NFL history. Despite that, ASJ still racked up 8 catches and a touchdown. With a current average of 5.8 receptions per game, he is on pace to set a team record.
5. Leonard Williams, DL (Last week: 5th)
Williams still doesn’t have a sack, and while a concerning fact, he has not gotten a lot of help. With Muhammad Wilkerson struggling, teams are concentrating a ton of attention on Williams. He still managed a couple of strong stuffs in the run game and showcases consistent hustle until the whistle, while the attention he draws should not be undervalued. That’s something that not every Jet defensive lineman can say they have done.
4. Jermaine Kearse, WR (Last week: 6th)
Kearse continues to impress with his efficiency and week-to-week consistency. He caught all 4 of his targets this week for 79 yards, including a wide open 44 yard play on the field goal drive in the fourth quarter. Kearse ranks 16th in yards per target among the 82 wide receivers with at least 20 targets, and 3rd in catch percentage. The last Jets receiver to match Kearse in both yards per game and yards per target over a full season was Santana Moss in 2004. His consistency and chemistry despite coming in so late has been really impressive, and it has stabilized the offense more so than any other factor. He’s caught at least 3 passes in every game this season
3. Kony Ealy, Edge (Last week: 4th)
Ealy continues to be the most productive pass rusher on the team. With two Brady passes batted down, he now has six over his past two games, an absurd number for a defensive lineman. With seven on the year, he has almost twice as many as any other D-lineman. Batted passes aside, he is the only Jet getting consistent wins on the edge and creating pressure on the quarterback. He didn’t register a sack or a tackle in this game, but definitely forced at least a few Brady passes. Here he forces Tom to step up into traffic and toss an incompletion into the turf.
2. Jamal Adams, S (Last week: 2nd)
Adams had a rough game this week. But that’s alright. The Jets threw him in right in there against one of the best offensive players to ever play the game, and while he had his mistakes, he showed he could hang at times as well. Though Gronkowski got the best of Adams for two touchdowns, Adams was on the wrong end of a miscalled pass interference and also had very strong coverage on a potential Gronkowski touchdown later in the game. His positioning and instincts are still special. Being the feisty, motivated guy that he is, he’ll learn with time the little tricks of stopping a beast like #87. He took a major step towards that this Sunday.
1. Marcus Maye, S (Last week: 1st)
Maye was out of position to stop the second Gronkowski touchdown, but likely wouldn’t have stood much of a chance anyway. Otherwise, I thought he was very solid once again. He continues to swiftly fly into the perfect spots to stop potential big plays right in their tracks, including an early Gronkowski catch that could’ve gone far longer than it did. I thought he was mostly up to the challenge against one of the smartest quarterbacks and coaches to ever see an NFL field. If you don’t think you’re seeing Maye pop off the screen enough, just remember 2016. A huge portion of a safety’s job is simply helping the defense avoide catastrophe. With Maye in center field, that has happened so far.
Dropped off list:
Demario Davis: I thought Davis reverted back to some of the habits that plagued him and the Jets over the first few weeks. It looked like he was a big reason for many of New England’s efficient runs throughout the game.
Elijah McGuire: McGuire maintains efficient numbers over the entirety of the season, and flashed with one impressive run against New England despite the offensive line’s struggles. However, he just hasn’t made much of a profound impact outside of the Jacksonville game in which he gained over half of his scrimmage yards on the season. Much of that could be because of playing time and the offensive line, though.
Knocking on the door:
Darryl Roberts: Roberts had a really impressive game with a few good plays in coverage. He and Morris Claiborne have probably been the most consistent corners on the team this season.