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Jets Must Stop Turnovers in Second Half of Season

Turnovers have played large role for Jets in 4-4 start

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    When Geno Smith struggles, so do the Jets.

    Good luck trying to make sense of the Jets after eight games. Yet to win or lose two games in a row, they look so different on a weekly basis that sometimes it makes you wonder if you're even watching the same team.

    Turnovers are arguably the biggest tipping point in their performance as they tend to come in bunches. No team in the league has a worse turnover differential than the Jets. Their 17 turnovers are the third-most committed while their five takeaways are the second-fewest gained. It shouldn't be too surprising then that they have turned the ball over 12 times and recorded just one takeaway in their four losses.

    Quarterback Geno Smith has accounted for 13 turnovers via interceptions, while the defenses has picked off just three passes. Smith has thrown nine of his interceptions in losing efforts, which is as many as 26 teams have thrown all season.

    Not a single Jets cornerback has intercepted a pass this year and they've been largely responsible for allowing a total of 1,000 yards passing in defeat, compared to 897 yards in games won. That might not seem like a huge discrepancy on the surface, but the Jets lost two lopsided games in which the opposition stopped throwing for much of the second half.

    The defensive front seven and the running game have been the only real constants for the team but they can only do so much.

    Strength of schedule is usually talked about more when discussing college football but it's played a part in how the Jets have fared.

    In the four games the Jets have won, they've beaten teams who have a combined record of 11-19. As exciting as the come-from-behind win in Week One over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was, the Bucs haven't won a game all season.

    The Buffalo Bills are a below-average team and defeating the Atlanta Falcons looks less impressive every week. The Falcons have been one of the league's biggest disappointments and have a chance to be on the wrong side of history this season. as they're not even on pace to gain 1,000 yards rushing. The best win thus far was an overtime victory over the 6-2 New England Patriots, but that was against a banged up team and it took a rule that had never been enforced before to put the Jets over the top.

    The competition was a bit stiffer in the team's four losses, as the opposition in those games is a combined 17-13. The Jets lost to the Pats the first time the two teams met, shooting themselves in the foot and turning the ball over four times in a three-point loss to New England. Two blowout losses on the road to the Tennessee Titans and Cincinnati Bengals were bad, but perhaps the worst loss came to the lowly 2-5 Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jets turned the ball over twice to a team that struggles with takeaways just as much as they do and it epitomized just how mystifying Gang Green can be.

    The second half of the season kicks off Sunday with a very tough game against the 6-1 New Orleans Saints. After that, the schedule features a slate of winnable games versus teams who are mediocre at best.

    Given what lies ahead for the Jets, it shouldn't be asking too much to cut down on the turnovers and get improved play from their secondary. The next eight games are not only valuable teaching moments for a young team. If mistakes can't be corrected, they will also determine who is on the roster next year.

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