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2021 NFL Power Rankings Week 18: Looking Up

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NFL: JAN 02 Buccaneers at Jets Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New York Jets lost in the final seconds to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday 28 - 24. This was a game the Jets had no business competing in. The league’s worst defense was matched up against the best quarterback of all time. On offense the Jets had three starters playing and a bunch of backups and practice squad players, matched up against one of the league’s better defenses. It should have been a blowout. Yet the Jets never trailed in the game until the final 15 seconds. The backups and scrubs stood toe to toe with the champs and gave them everything they could handle. The Jets were one 4th down conversion away from knocking the champs out. It didn’t happen, but it was a magnificent performance nonetheless. Things are looking up, even if the Jets didn’t come away victorious.

The Jets record under head coach Robert Saleh dropped to 4-12. How did the power rankings feel about the Jets loss? Let’s find out.

Pro Football Network

31) New York Jets

Zach Wilson looked suspiciously comfortable against a good Bucs defense on Sunday. Michael Carter might have been on course for an easy 100-yard day before suffering a head injury early in the game.

Braxton Berrios has emerged as a legitimate receiving option in Elijah Moore’s absence. Bryce Hall looks like a real starting CB in this league. It’s nice to see some young players making plays for the Jets on both offense and defense.

New York Post

28. New York Jets, 4-12 (28)

The Jets are improving at the end of coach Robert Saleh’s first season. Most importantly, rookie quarterback Zach Wilson played his best game against a tough Buccaneers defense and was not scared by going head-to-head with Tom Brady. Of course, Brady got the last laugh, improving to 30-7 in his career against the Jets.

USA Today

27. Jets (29): Over the last five seasons, their 22-58 is tied for the NFL’s worst – matched only by ... the Giants.

ESPN

29. New York Jets (4-12)

Previous ranking: 30

New Year’s resolution: Get Robert Saleh some players on defense

The Jets, ranked 32nd in points and yards allowed, have surrendered a franchise-record 477 points. It’s not a coaching issue, it’s a talent issue. Consider: The previous high was 457, set last season with a completely different staff and scheme. Saleh, who made his bones as a defensive coach, needs help on all three levels, especially linebacker and safety. The Jets have four draft picks in the first two rounds. If at least two aren’t on defense, there should be an investigation.

Sports Illustrated

28. New York Jets (4–12)

Last week: Loss vs. Tampa Bay, 28–24

Next week: at Buffalo

This team performed at expectation this year, which, when you consider the totality of their experiences in 2021, is pretty remarkable. Robert Saleh’s club beat the Titans, the Bengals and nearly held on to nip the Buccaneers. We said that their 2021 should be measured in an ability to hang tough. Minus some forgettable Patriots games, that seems to be the case.

The Jets moved up a bit in the power rankings despite the loss to the Buccaneers. What do you think? Where should the Jets rank in the NFL power rankings?