New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, left, intercepts a pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes (10) in front of Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington (25) during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
If the Jets are serious about contending and being the surprise team of the National Football League, they’ll need to start winning on the road.
It’s no coincidence the Jets have played poorly away from home the past two seasons and failed to make the playoffs. Not including this year’s forgettable trip to New England, the Jets are a combined 5-11 in road games since they last played in the postseason.
As disappointing as the past two years have been, Gang Green actually won a respectable nine of their 16 home games over the course of the 2011 and 2012 campaigns.
For comparison’s sake, the Jets were a combined 11-5 on the road during the regular season when making the playoffs in 2009 and 2010. Along the way to back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances, the team was a very impressive 4-2 in road playoff games.
While the old adage is to take things one game at a time, two weeks straight away from home are up next on the 2013 schedule, and could mark a pivotal turning point in the season.
Gang Green’s first road game this year, a 13-10 loss to the New England Patriots, was the type of performance where a team might as well burn the game film rather than review it. Dropping six passes and turning the ball over four times is a recipe for disaster, regardless of where the game is played.
When the Jets travel to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans, that type of performance won’t get the job done.
The Titans, like the Jets, are off to a surprising 2-1 start. Tennessee is one of just two teams that has yet to turn the ball over on offense. The Jets, however, ranks near the bottom of the league with eight turnovers.
Gang Green should be able to neutralize a very good Titans rushing attack so limiting their mistakes and not giving away possessions could be the difference in what should be a close game.
Following their Week Four matchup, a Monday night game awaits the Jets when they arrive in Atlanta.
The high-powered Falcons have been one of the league’s most disappointing teams thus far, winning just one of their first three games. With a tough game against the Patriots up next, the Falcons could be in desperation mode by the time the Jets come to town.
Despite the slow start, Atlanta has the type of passing attack that could threaten Gang Green’s one weakness on defense. The Jets haven’t gotten much help from their cornerbacks and defending a skilled set of wide receivers could be an issue.
Though a lot could change before the Oct. 7 meeting, Falcons wide receiver Roddy White has been slowed with an ankle injury and might be one less headache come game time.
When the Jets return home in Week Six to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, a much clearer picture will be drawn of the current season.
The team needs to start winning games on the road. Their continued success depends on it.