A Tale of Lost Opportunities: The Jets Journey from 3-3 to 4-5
The Jets journey was looking good at 3-3 after stunning the Eagles. It was a great win and it sparked optimism for the rest of the season. Three weeks later the Jets are out of playoff contention. If the three teams the Jets played over the last three weeks were to create a new team from their best players, that team would lose to the Eagles. That is what is so frustrating about the Jets. The Jets could have been 6-3 at this point. They needed to be 5-4 at worst. They stand today at 4-5. The Jets came off the win against the Eagles with three consecutive games against .500 or worse opponents. The Jets lost two of those games and came very close to losing all three games. ESPN now puts the Jets playoff chances at 3%. That is incorrect. The chances are not 3%; the chances of the Jets making the playoffs are 0%. No chance. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. The league’s longest playoff drought will continue. The Jets last played a playoff game in 2010. They last hosted a playoff game in 2002.
So, what’s left? The Jets have eight games left in the season. The players and coaches will point to the fact that the Jets are still mathematically alive for the playoffs. That’s fine. It keeps them going to think that there is a shot. It keeps them from the dead zone. It doesn’t matter; the dead zone will be here soon enough. The dead zone is that part of the season where the team has games left but there is no hope for the post season. The Jets will be in the dead zone soon. Life is hard in the dead zone. You need to play for the sake of playing. You need to play for the love of the game and for pride. You need to play for the guy next to you. For a few players, it will be slightly easier. Those guys on the edge of the roster will be playing to stick with the team. They will be able to play like the postseason was still a possibility. Staying in the league is a major motivator. Coaches are more likely to give those players an extended look. It becomes almost like a second training camp for those players. It will be easier for them than for the established players. Established guys will find it more challenging.
When we get to the dead zone, people will start talking about tanking. Tanking is for losers and pseudo-fans. Losers root for losing. Why give up games to pick earlier in the draft? Draft busts are littered throughout the NFL draft. They come in every round and every position. They appear all the way at number one through number thirty-two. The Jets are just as likely to pick a bust at pick one as they are at pick ten or pick fifteen. Stay true to the team. Understand the challenge of the dead zone and appreciate that the players are still out there and they’re still giving it their best effort. Don’t worry about the draft until the season is over. There is plenty of time. It’s a long offseason. Maybe the Jets can play the spoiler for another team hoping to make it to the playoffs. That’s something. It adds excitement to the game. It helps us forget that we’re in the dead zone. Hang in there, Jet fans.