Following their upset win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5, many people were discussing the possibility of the New York Jets making a run at the playoffs. After all, they were 3-2 and right in the thick of things in the early Wild Card race. However, the Jets went back to their old ways yesterday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they didn’t look like anything that even resembled a playoff team.
The Steelers were 0-4 heading into this game and Ben Roethlisberger had even called them the worst team in the league. This game was a great matchup for the Jets on paper, and they had the advantage in every statistical category. However, everyone recognized that this was a classic trap game, and the Jets fell right into it.
Following his breakout performance against the Falcons, Geno Smith reverted to his rookie mistakes, holding on to the ball far too long on several occasions and making some bad decisions. He threw two interceptions and was sacked three times as the Jets could only muster 6 points against a very low ranked defense.
Defensively, the pass defense continues to be a major concern. Roethlisberger completed 23/30 for 264 yards and 1 TD, and Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders had their way with Antonio Cromartie and the Jets’ secondary. The Jets are excellent against the run, but that isn’t worth much when they allow opponents to convert third downs through the air.
The Jets desperately needed this win if they wanted to be a true playoff contender. First of all, playoff teams don’t lose to 0-4 teams at home, ever. Losing to a team like the Steelers shows the Jets are not ready to be a real challenger for a playoff spot, largely because they do not have the focus and consistency needed to win on regular basis.
Looking at the big picture only makes things worse for the Jets. Realistically, both the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs are going to make the playoffs, meaning there is only one wild card spot available for the rest of the AFC. The team that gets that spot is going to need to be at least 10-6, and the Jets can’t afford to miss out on games they should win.
The Jets have a brutal schedule the next three weeks, as they play home vs the New England Patriots, at the Cincinnati Bengals and home vs the New Orleans Saints. No one would be surprised if the Jets lost all three of those games, and heading into the bye at 3-6 would prove all the preseason doubters right.
The challenge of that schedule leaves the Jets in a very difficult spot moving forward, and they are going to be fighting an uphill battle. The Jets blew a huge opportunity yesterday, and they clearly proved they are no playoff contender in the process.