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Lucky or Good: For the Jets, It's Kinda the Same Thing

Jets keep finding ways to win games in tough circumstances

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Nov 15, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 AM EDT
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Lucky or Good: For the Jets, It's Kinda the Same Thing

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One of the big debates around the football world is if the Jets are lucky to find themselves with a 7-2 record at this juncture of the NFL season.

It's a fair question. The Jets haven't convincingly beaten an opponent since the Vikings in Week Five, and even that performance was a mixed bag that wasn't over until the final minutes. Their last three wins have come with the help of a pass interference call, key injuries to opposing players and other breaks that one can't really put into the game plan. The loss to the Packers that came in the middle of those wins was an awful performance that certainly fuels the notion that the Jets are winning with a little help from the fates.

While it might be a fair question, it's not a particularly meaningful one. The Jets have found a way to get past the Broncos, Lions and Browns for those three wins. Those wins might not have been pretty, but Roger Goodell doesn't give out style points and there are plenty of teams that don't pull out victories under those circumstances.

If you're going to play the luck card, you really have to explain how surviving three missed field goals by Nick Folk, including a 24-yard try, on a day when you dominate time of possession qualifies as being the beneficiary of a coin flip. Not easy to do, which makes it a bit clearer that luck isn't nearly enough to explain a run like this.  

Teams don't win eight straight regular season road games, as the Jets have done, simply by being lucky. They don't become the first team in history to win consecutive road games in overtime just because they caught a few breaks. That's much too facile an explanation and it is one that doesn't begin to take into account the bigger picture.

These are the kinds of wins that take on a very different look at the end of seasons that end with grand parades. We're not saying that's where the Jets are heading, but being lucky to win quickly turns into having a knack for winning games when the backdrop is a championship run.

They also become things that teams can draw on during those runs. No matter what happens to the Jets in future weeks, there's not much chance that they are going to find themselves in a spot where they don't believe they can come back and win a game. The more often that players step up and make plays in key spots, the more confidence you have in your ability to keep making those plays in the days and weeks to come.

The Jets aren't perfect, but here's the thing: You don't need to be perfect in the NFL. You just need to win.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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