It’s week 6 of the NFL season, and although they share the position with the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots, a three-way tie, a screen shot of the NFL standings has the New York Jets 3-2 atop of the AFC East Division. As with Howard University’s road win over the University of Nevada Las Vegas in September and Derek Fisher’s three episodes of “Dancing With the Stars,” let’s live in the moment. Show the Jets some respect.
After losing their first two games of the season, road losses to the Bills and to the Oakland Raiders, the Jets have won three in a row, against the Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars, both at home, MetLife Stadium, and the Cleveland Browns, a 17-14 road win Sunday. One or two more than was predicted at the start of the season.
“Good to get a win on the road,” said Todd Bowles, the Jets head coach, who has been defying the odds but keeping the team’s consecutive wins in proper perspective.
Bowles has a good understanding of his team and each player. Despite their 45-20 loss to the Raiders, their second game, Bowles believes that loss is what brought his team together. “We spoke about it after the game,” he said. “We played hard, but by no means does the score indicate what occurred. But we came together, and the fight was there, the belief was there, and the effort was there, and guys understood what we had to do to start winning. I think they came together as a team on that day.”
Despite their win streak, he recognizes that the Jets need improvements on both sides of the ball and to reduce their penalties. “We have to get the penalties down which keeps hampering us every week,” said Bowles. “Some of them are ticky-tacky. Some of them are legit. Some of them you can question, but either way, we have to get them down.”
And he’s right. On offense, the Jets got off to a slow start against the 0-4 Browns. It took them close to two quarters just to secure a field goal, a 57 yarder by kicker Chandler Catanzaro, the longest field goal in New York Jets history. “In pregame, I hit it from 60, 62, something like that,” said Catanzaro postgame. “The ball was flying really good in that direction.” Three zip. Jets up at the half.
The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots play here Sunday, a team who themselves have had some problems at the start of the season, losing their opening game at home, a blowout, 42-27 to the Kansas City Chiefs, 5-0, the league’s last undefeated team this season, and Game 4 to the Carolina Panthers, 33-30 on the road.
“They are still the same Patriots,” noted Bowles. “You have to knock them off the ladder. They are kings of the division right now. They won the Super Bowl.”
New England comes to the Jets’ stadium well rested. Their last game was a week ago Thursday, a road win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, giving the Pats 10 days of preparation before they take the field against the Jets.
To Bowles it’s simple. “We have to come out and work on us and play hard, and go into the game and try and compete and win,” he said.
Win or lose, at this point, the Jets are still ahead of the game.