How Good Are The Jets? Should They Be A Contender Or Pretender?

How good are the Jets? 

They play the 10-5 Browns in Cleveland tonight and will face the league’s No. 1 overall defense as well as the No. 1 pass defense. 


It’s a showdown against the upstart Browns and against ex-teammate quarterback Joe Flacco, who is one of the game’s hottest quarterbacks over the past month and has averaged 326 passing yards during that span. 


This was the same Flacco whose immobility as a Jet made him look much older than his 38 years. As a result, Flacco was turned down by the Jets when he gave them a call in the offseason.  If Flacco continues his passing assault, you cans ee how evenger could be sweet.


Last week, they dominated the Commanders before they nearly suffered a severe collapse before they were bailed out by Greg Zuerlein’s 54-yard field goal. It was an unprecedented defensive collapse against Jacoby Brissett, and an offense that dozed off. 


A week earlier, they were shredded and dominated by the Dolphins in an embarrassing 30-o drubbing. Zach Wilson was lost for the season with a concussion. Prior to that, they dominated the Texans, 30-6, at MetLife.


Go figure. 


Now, the Jets are 6-9 and head into Cleveland, where the Browns will clinch a playoff spot with a victory.


Will this be a tight game with the Jets’ defense keeping it within range for a possible game-winning Zuerlein field goal, or will it be a Browns’ beatdown over at halftime?


It again raised the good is this team?


It’s safe to say that they are out of the deep doldrums that include the Commanders, Titans, Cardinals, and Chargers? You can place the Patriots there, too, but the Jets have to first break the 15-game losing streak against them next week. Even with that, the Jets should be better than the Patriots.


The only other team with a 6-9 record heading into this week’s play are the Bears. Is Chicago with Justin Fields better than them? Hard call there. 


Can we throw the Jets into the mix with the sudden parody packs of 7-8 Broncos, Raiders, Vikings, Packers, Falcons, and Saints, along with the 8-7 Jaguars, Steelers, Bengals, Colts, Texans, Rams, Seahawks, and Bucs?


Are you confident with them on the same field with the Broncos, Raiders, Vikings, Packers, Falcons, and Saints? They did drop games they should have won against the Chargers, Falcons, and Raiders.


And how did this team beat the Eagles and nearly the Chiefs? (Although the Chiefs have certainly slipped.) Are they that much  better than the Giants, who they beat 13-10 this season?


Thi team easily could have been 8-7 if they hadn’t let games against the Raiders and Falcons slip away.  


Remember, this is a team that held on to beat the Bills in their opener, and then got blown out in Dallas. They then lost to the Pats and the Chiefs in relatively close games before they had their highest point total of the season in a 31-21 win at Denver.


We’ll see if Jets’ quarterback Trevor Siemian (27-49, 217 yards, one TD and One INT last week)  can survive an anticipated Browns’ blitzkrieg ignited by Miles Garrett, and if running back Breece Hall can find enough room to wiggle and dance his way to duplicate or better his 95-yard rushing and 12-catch, 96-yard effort from last week.


Rookie running back Israel Abanikanda made a splash with 43 rushing yards, and wide receiver Garrett Wilson caught nine balls for 76 yards.


It has been an inexplicable roller-coaster ride of performances on both ends of the football spectrum. You have to decipher what is real and what isn’t with this team.


Yes, there wasn’t Aaron Rodgers, and his presence didn’t necessarily guarantee a playoff spot. Rodgers and the ‘ol gang of embattled head coach Robert Saleh, offensive coordinator Nate Hackett,  and GM Joe Douglas are back next season. 


Until then, expect a raucous game in Cleveland tonight, and high-profile expected Bill Belichick sendoff to break the curse next week.


But then again with these Jets, you don’t know how good they truly are.




About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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