Turn On The Jets AFC Mid-Season Power Rankings

Turn On The Jets mid-season power poll for the AFC, a conference filled with mediocrity

Nothing like an arbitrary power poll based on no system whatsoever, right? The AFC remains a conference stacked with mediocrity, however we are starting to get an idea of what the playoff race is going to look like throughout November and December. Voice your disagreements in the comments section or over on Facebook or Twitter

SUPER BOWL CONTENDER

1. Houston (7-1) – A balanced team, who can beat you in a number of ways. It is still hard to trust Matt Schaub in a big spot until he wins a few big games though. Regardless, they should cruise to the AFC South title and a bye.

2. Pittsburgh (5-3) – Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Nobody could watch the past few weeks and honestly say they haven’t looked substantially better than the banged up Ravens. Pittsburgh has a Super Bowl winning QB playing a high level and a Super Bowl winning coach, along with enough playmakers to make noise in January. Look for them to win the AFC North, despite currently being a game behind Baltimore.

3. New England (5-3) – Won’t win their regular 12-13 games but they won’t need to in the AFC East this season. Not sure if they end up getting a bye because of how soft Denver’s schedule is down the stretch and the fact that they still have to play Houston, San Francisco, Miami twice and the Jets once.

4. Denver (5-3) – Looking at their schedule, hard not to see them finishing at least 11-5 and likely getting a first round bye. You also get the feeling that Peyton Manning is only going to get better down the stretch.

NOT QUITE THERE YET

5. Baltimore (6-2) – Too many injuries. They are still going to be a playoff team in this conference but don’t expect them to finish strong enough to take the AFC North crown.

6. Indianapolis (5-3) – A feel good story. They haven’t proven they could win on the road consistently yet and they have a fairly difficult second half schedule. Regardless a 4-4 finish likely gets them enough wins to sneak in as a wild-card.

7. Miami (4-4) – A popular playoff pick for many pundits but with two games left against New England, a road trip to San Francisco and a game against Seattle still on the schedule, don’t bank on them getting there.

CRAP-TASTIC

8. San Diego (4-4) – Could very well see them losing their next 5 games (at TB, at DEN, vs. BAL, vs. CIN, at PIT) and Norv Turner getting fired after as the house cleaning starts in December.

9. New York Jets (3-5) – Their next three games are brutal before the schedule softens up. They likely dug themselves too big of a hole to make any real noise in the playoff race.

10. Cincinnati (3-5) – Outside of AJ Green, they don’t have much going for them on either side of the ball. The schedule isn’t friendly enough for them to even be a .500 team.

FIRING SQUAD

11. Oakland (3-5) – How is that Carson Palmer trade looking these days? Oakland needs to dump him and anybody who remains in the organization who thought it was a remotely good idea.

12. Buffalo (3-5) – The worst offensive contract in football belongs to Ryan Fitzpatrick. The worst defensive contract in football belongs to Mario Williams. Oh and they need a new defensive coordinator and head coach.

13. Tennessee (3-6) – What is this team’s identity? They are looking at a disappointing drop off from last year’s surprise 8-8 record.

BOTTOMING OUT

14. Cleveland (2-7) – They can build around Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson and Josh Gordon on offense. Outside of that, it is time to clean house.

15. Jacksonville (1-7) – TEEEE-BOWWWW

16. Kansas City (1-7) – Crennel and Cassel. How did anybody pick this team to win more than 4 games this year?

New York Jets – Sink or Swim In The Second Half?

Will the New York Jets sink or swim in the second half?

Have you seen the standings in the AFC at the halfway point of the season? Even the most pessimistic New York Jets fan can’t proclaim their season over yet, particularly when taking the team’s schedule into consideration.

There is no question the next three games are going to be difficult. The Jets are rightfully 6.5 point underdogs this week and will be underdogs the following two weeks on the road against St. Louis and home against New England. Their final five games are against teams that I would argue the Jets are better than, despite how awful they have looked at times this season. There is no excuse for a 4-12 or 5-11 year. This team should not win less than 7 games unless they completely tank the rest of the way.

We are going to learn a ton about Rex Ryan and how his players respond to him these last 8 weeks. Do they quit and embarrass themselves in Seattle, in primetime against New England and against the mediocre slopfest that they play weeks 13-17? Or do they keep themselves relevant in the playoff race into December by scoring an upset or two in the coming three games and handling their business against inferior teams down the stretch?

The Jets defense has steadily improved in recent weeks. Outside of facing Tom Brady, they are facing a collection of unproven and inexperienced quarterbacks the rest of the season. You want hope in Seattle? Remember what the Jets defense did to Andrew Luck a couple of weeks ago. Russell Wilson is an impressive rookie but he is still a rookie and a much less talented one than Luck. Sam Bradford and Brian Schottenheimer’s offense? You better have a shutdown performance. John Skelton. Blaine Gabbert. Jake Locker. Ryan Fitzpatrick. The ghost of Philip Rivers. How about it, Rex? Kenrick Ellis will be back on the defensive line, more playing time should be given to Demario Davis, Antonio Allen, Aaron Berry and Marcus Dowtin and this defense must round into form to give the Jets a fighting chance.

On offense, the situation at running back will improve with a healthier Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell back. But ultimately it will come down to Mark Sanchez finding some measure of consistency. He must protect the football. He must improve his accuracy. The players around him must also elevate their play. No more drops from Stephen Hill. No more matador blocking from Matt Slauson and Austin Howard. If necessary get Vladimir Ducasse and Jason Smith in the starting line-up. If Sanchez is sputtering, give Tim Tebow a full series to run the offense. Yes, even this Sanchez apologist can admit the Jets offense could use a kick in the ass with more Tebow involvement…not as a starting quarterback but as a weapon in the running game and occasional downfield passing game.

Rex Ryan needs to show he won’t lose this team for the second season in a row. There is no excuse to get blown out in Seattle. There is no excuse not to steal a road game against the Rams or to be right there with the Patriots in the fourth quarter. There is no excuse not to find a way to beat Arizona and San Diego at home or to go on the road and handle Jacksonville or Buffalo. This team is lacking talent in plenty of areas but so are all the teams remaining on their schedule.

Sink or swim. What do you think Jets fans?