Monday, January 18, 2010

A few lucky breaks aside, Jets have earned their spot in AFC title tilt

The Jets shocked the San Diego Chargers and stunned pretty much every non-Jets fan in the country when they went to Southern California and won yesterday, advancing to the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1998.

You have to give credit where it is due, so I’ll heap some praise on rookie head coach Rex Ryan, whose “bravado” has certainly inspired his team and given them a new attitude. Granted, all that trash talk and confidence means nothing when you don’t back it up on the field but the Jets have done that and playing with a chip on one’s shoulder is never a bad thing.

What’s perhaps funniest about Ryan’s arrogance, though, is that just a few weeks ago he stood in front of reporters and said that the Jets had no shot at making the playoffs. The team had just lost to Atlanta thanks to a late Mark Sanchez interception and Ryan thought New York was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Then he said the Jets should be favorites to win the Super Bowl.

But now we can throw all that out the window. The Jets, as unlikely as it is, are headed to Indianapolis to challenge a Colts team that is largely responsible for “Gang Green” even being in the playoffs in the first place. It was in Week 16 that Colts head coach Jim Caldwell pulled his starters in the second half of a game against the Jets, forfeiting a shot at a perfect season. The Jets won, then pummeled a Bengals team in Week 17 that also rested their starters, locking up a playoff berth.

In a rematch between the two, the Jets squashed the Bengals in the first round of the playoffs. Then the Chargers played their worst game of the season yesterday; full of questionable play calls and decisions by San Diego coach Norv Turner. That’s not to take anything away from the Jets, whose defense is on par with the Vikings and Saints, but the Chargers had plenty of opportunities to put the Jets away in the first half and couldn’t capitalize.

Coming into the season with a rookie quarterback with only 16 college games under his belt and a first-year head coach, no one could have thought the Jets would be one game away from the Super Bowl. But the Jets are there, mostly because they’ve taken advantage of the opportunities they’ve been given. We’ll see if the Colts are so generous this time around.

1 comment:

Eric said...

They may indeed have a 16-college game QB and a 1st year coach but, from our Trench Fantasy perspective, this year the NYJ also had the #1 D-Line and Def Secondary. That may not be enough to put them into the SB but it's a great asset to have going up against Manning and what makes Indy as good as they are.