Sunday’s game between the New Orleans Saints and the New York Jets was a tale of two different styles. The Saints run a well-oiled, high-octane offense that will put up huge bunches of points. The Jets, by contrast, like to run the football, winning games instead by keeping the score low. Sunday’s game undoubtedly played in to the Jets’ hands.
Geno Smith only took 19 shots in the passing game for just 115 yards, but the Jets were able to run a ball control offense that ate clock and kept the Saints off the field. Most importantly, the Jets were able to limit their own mistakes while forcing the Saints into negative plays, greatly helping the Jets’ own lackluster offensive attack.
The Saints, in their normal fashion, took to the air early and often, but that didn’t necessarily translate in a positive manner. Drew Brees let the ball fly 51 times for nearly 400 yards, but two interceptions held the Saints back. The Jets may have given up yards to the Saints, but they didn’t break when it mattered most, giving their offense a chance to control the tempo of the game as well as destroying the Saints’ non-existent running game.
At the NFL level, there’s no perfect teams, and on any given Sunday, any team can beat any other team. On paper, the Saints should have won by multiple scores, but the Saints were beat upfront by the Jets, and that’s where many games are won and lost at this level.
With probably their biggest win of the season, the Jets improve to 5-4 and remain in the driver’s seat in the AFC wildcard race. Now the Jets simply have to start winning multiple games in a row, something they’ve been unable to do all season. Usually New York follows up a great performance with a poor showing.
As we head down the stretch, certain teams will begin to emerge as forces to be reckoned with. The Jets aren’t quite there yet, but they showed Sunday they’re no pushover, even against the best the league has to offer. The Jets can control the trenches on both sides of the ball, and when they do so as well as they did today, they can beat any team in the league.