The fairy tale may have ended, but the quest for jobs and respect is real

Vincent Davis | 11/16/2017, 11:58 a.m.
There are two New York NFL teams, but neither have enough wins between them to get either team to the ...

There are two New York NFL teams, but neither have enough wins between them to get either team to the playoffs.

The Giants, projected at the beginning of the season to be postseason participants, are a dismal 1-8, and the Jets, Gang Green, a team that had been expected to cushion the bottom of the AFC and the AFC East division, are 4-6.

What’s astonishing is that the Jets, early season overachievers, could be a 6-4 team right now this week with postseason hopes if they performed better at home in late October against the Atlanta Falcons, a 25-20 loss, and against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, a game that they were projected to win.

It was there for the Green, but they missed blocks and provided very little protection for their quarterback. Josh McCown was sacked six times. The Jets lacked great play, individually, or as a group. Team penalties mounted early on.

“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Todd Bowles, the Jets’ head coach. “Anytime you start and have 10 or 11 third-and-10 plusses, it’s not going to be a good day. That’s hard for anybody to get those third downs taken care of, if you can’t do good on first and second downs.”

Tampa, now 3-6, was there fighting through a five-game losing streak. Only one win in seven tries. Their backup quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, a former Jet, is now their starter. Through most of three quarters in beautiful Floridian weather, it was nothing more than mediocre, uneventful football. It was 9-3 at the end of three. A salute to both defenses until the Jets D finally succumbed.

“You have to show up every week in this league, or you get it handed to you,” said Bowles. “We didn’t show up today.”

The Jets, currently in last place in their conference, now playing for respectability and jobs, have a bye this week to rest, re-group and prepare. No game until the following Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend against the 7-3 Carolina Panthers led by quarterback Cam Newton, one of the league’s premiere QBs and one of its few Black ones.

The Panthers who were in the Super Bowl two seasons ago, losing to the Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning’s last game before his retirement, experienced a poor performing season in 2016-17 but have improved to be one of this season’s playoff contenders. They also have a bye, an off week to rest and get healthy after decisively defeating the Miami Dolphins Sunday, 45-21. Miami, 4-5, share the bottom of the AFC East Conference with the Jets.