The AFC East is notoriously weak — a fact that usually fares well with the dominant New England Patriots. This offseason, however, the New York Jets and coach Rex Ryan have claimed that their team could surprise some people, believing truly that they will be competitive in the conference.
The Jets have made improvements so, of course, they are stepping in the right direction. The Jets, first and foremost, no longer have Mark Sanchez leading the offense, depending now on the young Geno Smith to carry the team to AFC stardom.
New York also has the pleasure of being coached by the outspoken Ryan. Whether you love him or hate him, he is one of the better coaches in the league. He has out-coached Bill Belichick on few occasions, but has proved he can go head-to-head with the living legend when fans, and even the Patriots themselves, least expect it.
In fact, just last season the heavily favored Patriots lost on Jets territory in an overtime thriller, leaving New England fans frustrated and Belichick fuming.
Losing Sanchez was the best move for the Jets, but it’s the acquisitions that truly standout for New York. Adding Michael Vick, who Ryan has claimed is in the hunt for the starting quarterback position, as well as offensive weapon Eric Decker, who signed with New York in the offseason after losing the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos, brings both veteran experience and young talent to the Jets offense.
The wide receiver will certainly be an asset and frequent target for whomever the Jets QB will be, but thinking he will be enough to keep pace with the Patriots, who also improved in the offseason, is foolish.
Perhaps it’s the heated rivalry between Boston and New York that makes this matchup so intriguing and competitive, or maybe the Jets really are better than we all think. Even Darrelle Revis, current Patriot and former Jet, has expressed his prior distaste for Belichick and the New England franchise.
Last season, the Jets finished 8-8 while the Patriots went on to win the conference once again, finishing with a 12-4 regular season record. New York has a few years before it can legitimately compete with Tom Brady and the Patriots, and it may not be able to compete until Brady is celebrating retirement along the beaches of Brazil with Gisele. Until this time, the AFC East is the Patriots’ to lose and the Jets will have to settle with being spectators.