Something has been a little off sense this season started. Sure, there has been an extra helping of upsets and strange results, but that isn’t quite it either. The most noticeable difference is actually what’s missing, not what’s new.
The New York Jets now sit with a 3-2 record after beating the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. With the win, the Jets stay just a game back of the Patriots in the divisional race, and more importantly, they’re keeping up with the wildcard race as well.
After a back-and-forth preseason, the Jets’ decision to start Geno Smith was made for them when Mark Sanchez was lost to injury for the rest of the year. Since that point, the New York circus has left town, and it’s been replaced by a low key, under the radar team that’s winning close games in a quiet fashion. More importantly, there’s been no talk of lost locker rooms, angry players or outrageous trash talk.
Going into the season, Rex Ryan was called by some, myself included, a lame-duck head coach. With a new general manager, it seemed likely a poor season would be met with a quick pink slip and an escort to the door. Now, with Ryan’s team winning games, he’s not even on the hot seat radar.
All those positive remarks being stated, there’s still room for collapse. The Jets are getting ready to enter their toughest stretch of schedule, highlighted by games against the Patriots, Bengals and Saints over the course of the next month. If, however, the Jets can come out of the next four weeks still in the playoff race, their schedule turns into a favorable factor.
In the second half of the season, the Jets will get to play teams such as the Bills, Browns, Panthers and Raiders. Each of those games will be very winnable events, and by winning those games, the Jets could legitimately make a playoff push.
So, in hindsight, Rex Ryan may have known what he was doing a little bit more often than we’ve been willing to give him credit for. Still, the season is still young, and there’s plenty of time for a collapse. If, however, the Jets continue to play sound football, don’t be surprised if Rex Ryan makes it through the end of the season with his job status still safe.