The Jets Test: Can Defense Overcome an Offense in Disarray?
Sunday’s game against the Giants was a must-win game, and the Jets won it. There are no points for style in the NFL. That is good news because the Jets would not have scored any style points on Sunday…not one. It was as ugly as an ugly win gets. It was ugly and the Jets had two weeks to prepare for it. What would the offense have looked like with only the standard amount of preparation time? The results of two weeks of preparation were a grand total of 13 points. Ten of those points came during the first 60 minutes of the game. The Jets offense needed extra time to break through double digits into the teens. The Giants came into the game, allowing 25.8 points per game. The Jets got about half of that with twice as much time as normal to game plan. I know…it was raining. They still play football in the rain.
The Jets face the Los Angeles Chargers this week. The Chargers will not be running the ball exclusively like the Giants did Sunday. They will not be using a game plan devised by the Naval Academy in Annapolis, nor will they be asking the US Military Academy at West Point for any assistance. The Chargers will make the Jets defend every little bit of the field. The Chargers can score from anywhere. They have an elite playmaker at running back, another at receiver, and one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Justin Herbert. Herbert was drafted sixth overall in 2020 out of the University of Oregon. He took the starting spot from the day he arrived at camp, and he has not looked back.
The Jets can score from anywhere. The Jets have rookie of the year, Garrett Wilson, at receiver, and they have the rare game-breaking ability at running back in Breece Hall. The Jet quarterback is an early-round one draft pick as well. Zach Wilson was the second overall pick in 2021 out of BYU. Wilson took the reins as soon as he arrived at camp, and the Jets booted draft bust Sam Darnold out of town. The similarities to the Chargers on offense stop there. Wilson is terrible and we have all looked back. Wilson is tentative, he doesn’t read defense well, and he is inaccurate. The Jets win games despite their quarterback, while the Chargers win games because of theirs.
I am all out of blind optimism for the Jet offense. You may want to stop reading if what you hoped to read was how great it is that the weather was bad, and Jets managed to pull it out Sunday against the 2-5 Giants. The Jets play losing teams almost every week the rest of the way. I expect them to be a playoff team with the schedule they have left. It’s a realistic expectation. I expected them to beat the Giants. Two weeks to prepare and thirteen points isn’t good enough. That same effort against Los Angeles this Sunday will not be good enough.
Figure something out. The quarterback stinks, so what? Figure it out. He runs well, but this team doesn’t appear to have any RPO plays in its playbook. Put some together. Roll the kid out, he seems more comfortable throwing on the run. They have a home run hitter at running back that got less than half the touches the Giants running back got Sunday. Fix it. The Jets should not have another game where Hall touches the ball less than 25 times. The Chargers have the second-worst defense in the league. They allow just under 300 yards per game passing and 24 points per game. Make some plays on Sunday. Score 24 points. It would be an average day, according to the numbers. It’s a realistic expectation.
The defense will have a very hard time keeping this offense to 10 points. It’s too much to ask. If the Jets can get 24 points, they will win. The Jets have a huge edge on defense this week. It should be enough of an edge to get a win at home if the offense shows up in just an average way. That is the reality of Sunday’s game, and reality is what I have left.