The New York Jets are flying high these days, a three-game win streak tends to do that for you.
It’s not just this win streak for the Jets which has been impressive, it’s the way they’ve gone about their business during it.
There’s a grittiness to this group which should no longer go ignored. If before the season you had this team written off and ready to tank the schedule, I hope you didn’t wager any money on that.
It’s night and day compared to last season, when it was clear a youth movement and culture change needed to happen right away.
The Jets, under head coach Todd Bowles, are transforming into a mentally tough group focused on getting better one week at a time.
One telltale sign the Jets are turning the corner is they’re learning how to win ugly against bad teams.
Their latest notch in the win column, a 17-14 road victory over the Cleveland Browns, wasn’t pretty by any means. The first half was not easy on the eyes, at times it was unwatchable.
But despite the horror show which was the first half, the Jets found a way to capitalize on big plays by their defense late in the game.
They rose to the occasion by stuffing Cleveland on fourth-and-2 from their own 4-yard line. There’s already been a handful of big plays this season by the defense with the game on the line.
Josh McCown, meanwhile, continues to bring stability to the quarterback position.
McCown took the Jets on an eight-play 97-yard drive, capped off by a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse. McCown was Cool Hand Luke on that drive, connecting with six different receivers along the way.
Kearse, through five games, has been everything the Jets have wanted since acquiring him from Seattle in the trade for Sheldon Richardson. He’s giving McCown a proven target for getting the football to when it’s time to move the chains.
The Jets are now 3-2 and find themselves in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East division.
This team is on a roll, but let’s not get too caught up in this just yet.
“We haven’t done anything,” Bowles said. “We’ve won three out of five, no matter how pretty or ugly it is, it’s good to string together wins, but by no means are we perfect.”
Bowles was spot-on with his assessment of the team.
The penalties, nine against the Browns for 80 yards, are still an issue which need to be addressed in practice. Bilal Powell’s injured calf could cause concern for the running game, still missing Matt Forte.
The defense, despite their penchant for big plays, still needs better production from the key players on the line – Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson have been inconsistent.
So, there’s plenty to still work on as Bowles is preaching.
The Jets will now get ready for the New England Patriots in what’s become a big game at home. MetLife Stadium is going to be rocking for this one.
Picture this, if you will?
A week six showdown against an archrival with major implications on the division standings?
Show me someone who thought this is where the Jets would be sitting at this point in the season, I’ll need them to purchase my next lotto ticket.