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It wasn't hard to find some people gloating about the way the Jets failed to back up their big talk in the wake of the 10-9 season-opening loss to the Ravens. It's awfully hard to find those people this Monday.
That's not just because the Jets were one of the few favorites to walk away with a convincing victory on Sunday. They played a terrific game against the Bills, but no one is going to mistake the Bills for a good or even competent NFL team. The Jets crushed them in all phases of the game, which is simply what you are supposed to do against bad teams when you envision yourself as a championship contender.
It also isn't just because the Bills win leaves the Jets at 3-1 through four weeks with three wins in the AFC East. It's a bit silly to think or talk about tiebreakers with 12 games still to play, but winning games within your division is crucial to winning your division and the Jets have a big leg up. With home games remaining against the Bills and Dolphins, it isn't difficult to see them standing on top of the heap in that regard when the season comes to an end.
The fact that they have gotten so much production from LaDainian Tomlinson is another big reason why you don't hear too many doubters at this point. A bigger reason is the fact that Mark Sanchez still hasn't turned the ball over while piling up touchdowns through the air. He still has a problem making decisions, but this year's problem is that it is hard to choose which weapon to use on any given play. Sanchez had to scan three wide open receivers on Sunday before firing a touchdown pass to Dustin Keller. That's a nice problem to have.
Take all of that, mix it together and you still don't get the overriding reason why even the biggest cynics are keeping their mouths shut at this hour. What is that reason? We can't say it any better than Bart Scott.
"We're not fully Voltron right now," said Scott. "We're like a Voltron, missing an arm."
That arm is coming back this week. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes's suspension is over, which means Sanchez will have even more options available to him going forward. Calvin Pace probably would have played against a higher caliber of competition this week but will certainly be making Brett Favre's life miserable on Monday night. And Darrelle Revis, who has played less than six quarters this season, is also on track to make his return to a lineup that's already doing a more than passable job at stopping the opposition.
That's why people aren't doubting the Jets anymore. In a league that has reasserted its parity/mediocrity over the first three weeks, the Jets have shown more ability than all but a handful of teams. And none of those teams are getting three starters back to help them remain ahead of the pack that cannibalizes itself every week.
Everyone got a good early laugh at the Jets' expense, but football (and life) is often about the guy laughing last.