Jets fans may be more used to disappointment than just about any team’s followers in pro sports, but while there’s still 75 percent of the season left to play, this much is already certain: the Jets are a playoff-caliber team. In fact, they’re good enough that, if they don’t make the postseason, it’ll be a disappointment. That’s something the Gang Green faithful surely isn’t used to.
While 9-7 may well be good enough to make the playoffs in an AFC where nearly half the teams have only one win to date, 10 wins should make the Jets a lock. That means winning seven of their last 12. How likely is that?
Well, a quick look at the schedule shows seven games the J-E-T-S should win: this week vs. Washington, at Oakland on Nov. 1, vs. the Jags the following week, Rex’s Bills at Met Life Stadium the week after that, then at Houston on November 22 before the Dolphins come to town on Thanksgiving weekend. A win vs. the sorry Snyders on Sunday, plus a perfect 5-0 November, would put New York at 9-2 (with only the Pats beating them during that seven-game stretch) entering December, which they’ll open against the other New York team.
This is where things look to get interesting. The Jets are clearly a stronger team than the Giants. Then again, the latter could well be undefeated right now, if only they didn’t play like their helmets were far too tight -- and on backwards -- in the season’s first two weeks.
The “visitors” -- I know that sounds weird, but in this case, that’s the Jets -- should prevail, but something tells me the Giants will be far more desperate for a win, so that’s a toss-up. The Titans come to town the next game, and while every time I catch a glimpse of them I wish all over again that GM Mike Maccagnan traded his next 12 first-round picks for QB Marcus Mariota, they’re still a lousy team. If Jets split these two, they go into the stretch run with an impressive 10-3 mark.
It’s a good thing, because they’ll likely be the underdog in those last three contests: at Dallas, with Tony Romo expected back in the lineup and Jerry Jones and Co. likely fighting for their survival after 73-year-old Roger Staubach goes down with an injury in relief of an ineffective Matt Cassel; then the Pats come to New York, probably fighting for nothing since they’ll have secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs by then -- but still, they’re the Pats; and, to finish the season, a trip to the tropical paradise of Buffalo to ring in 2016. Beating the Bills twice won’t be easy, especially if Buffalo still has something to play for (besides pride).
Obviously, no team wants to end its season with three straight defeats, and I think the Jets can and will get a W in at least one of those games. But either way, it isn’t likely that Jets fans will be feeling their usual disappointment, as it appears as there’ll be more games left to play in January.