The New York Jets victory over the San Diego Chargers was without question a crucial and pivotal win. It set the table for their upcoming games against the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots to truly be relevant, meaningful games as the Jets are now in the thick of both the AFC East and wild-card race. The impact on the standings was nice but won’t last long if the Jets don’t handle their business after the bye week.
In reality, the main reason the victory was so important was because of how the Jets won. This was a replication of the 2009/2010 Jets smacking around and beating up on a finesse team. Prior to kickoff, LaDainian Tomlinson yelled the following in his pre-game speech –
“We couldn’t be more different. Weakness vs. Strength. Finesse vs. Power. West Coast vs. East Coast.”
He was absolutely right. San Diego is everything the Jets aren’t. They put up big-time stats and win “pretty.” The Jets will never turn heads with their statistics and win ugly. The bigger the game gets, the worse San Diego plays. The later in the game it gets, the worse San Diego plays. In contrast, the Jets thrive in big spots and in late game situations. When it comes down to it, San Diego is a finesse team led by a subpar coach and a quarterback high on passing stats but low on playoff victories, who spent their post-game crying about the officials. The Jets couldn’t let a team like that beat them in their own stadium in a such big spot in their season and they responded by going back to their winning formula, running and defense.
A second half run by the New York Jets is highly plausible. After their back to back showdowns against Buffalo and New England, the schedule becomes more friendly. They fully have the ability to take advantage of it, especially if they continue to thrive in their proper identity.
On offense, Shonn Greene needs to balance the offense with a productive 20+ carries each week. Mark Sanchez plays much better with an effective rushing attack to throw play action off of. There may be times he has to throw 35 passes in a game but for the most part, the Jets will be in a better situation when he has 22-28 attempts per game. His top two targets should most consistently be Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller. Jeremy Kerley should be a third down weapon, working quick outs, whip routes, and the short crossing routes. Plaxico Burress should be the primary red-zone option who provides an occasional big target over the middle.
Defensively, Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine have shown the ability to coach around their unit’s shortcomings in the past and they must do it again. Right now, the Jets are weak at outside linebacker and safety. However, with a young and improving defensive line, Aaron Maybin turning into a legitimate pass rushing threat on third downs, and Darrelle Revis playing at the top of his game the Jets have enough on defense to play their “Ground and Pound” style.
We will learn if the team really turned a corner these next two weeks, when they have a chance to show that they are the team to beat in a division where many think they are the third best team.