NFL Thoughts; New York Jets Playoff Chances
Week Ten in the NFL brought significant developments and surprises. The Buffalo Bills are facing unexpected challenges, while the New York Giants struggle with injuries and performance. CJ Stroud is emerging as a standout rookie, and the Dallas Cowboys are showing their strength. The Minnesota Vikings are adapting well despite losing their starting quarterback. For the New York Jets, the path to the playoffs seems increasingly difficult, with strategic decisions about their future becoming more pressing. This week’s analysis focuses on these key storylines and what they mean for the teams involved.
NFL Thoughts – Week Eleven
- Sometimes a team’s window for winning closes and the team sees it coming and prepares for it. Other times the franchise is slow to see what’s happening and that makes rebuilding or retooling more painful. The Buffalo Bills fall into the second of those categories. Every indication suggests the Bills thought they would be a Super Bowl contender. They are not.
- The New York Giants are as bad right now as I can remember any NFL team being. The team needs a talent infusion, but they have also been extremely unlucky with injuries. The Giants have been outscored by 148 points. No other team has a point differential above 100 points.
- CJ Stroud is running away with the offensive rookie of the year award. Stroud is 2nd in the league in passing yards and 6th in passer rating, Stroud has thrown 15 touchdown passes and just 2 interceptions. For a rookie to enter the league and have just two interceptions through nine games is astonishing.
- The Dallas Cowboys had their starters in the game on Sunday long after the outcome was decided. Dak Prescott threw a touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb with a minute left in the 3rd quarter to make the score 42-7. It may take a while for the Giants to be in any position to avenge Sunday’s drubbing, but I doubt the team will forget that game any time soon.
- If the season ended today, both the Bills and the Bengals would miss the playoffs.
- The Minnesota Vikings have won five straight and are on the edge of the playoff picture in the NFC. Joshua Dobbs gives the Vikings a chance with Kirk Cousins out for the year. The Vikings have four straight games against teams under .500 and can set themselves for a real playoff run despite their starting quarterback being lost for the season.
- Breece Hall had just 13 rushes against the Raiders. The current coaching staff for the New York Jets does not understand offensive football.
- CJ Uzomah can go now.
- Will Smith’s streak of games making a play ended at one.
- Greg Zuerlein has been solid. He is 22-23 on field goals and his only miss was from over 50 yards. Zuerlein is a perfect 6-6 on extra points. Yeah…I am writing about the Jet’s field goal kicker. It’s been that kinda year on offense. Zuerlein is the Jets’ starting kicker. He has six extra point attempts for the season. The Dallas Cowboy’s kicker was 7-7 on extra points on Sunday.
- The Jets chances of making the playoffs, according to ESPN, is 3%. The actual number is zero. The Jets were 3-3 three weeks ago with three straight games against teams at or below .500. They went 1-2 in those three games squeezing out a win against the Giants who are barely able to field a team right now. The Jets now face a five-game stretch where just one of their opponents is currently under .500. There is no reason to think they will do better against better competition.
- The Arizona Cardinals may end up with the top pick in the draft. The Cards will have one of the early picks if they don’t end up with the first pick overall. If the Cardinals are thinking about taking one of the top-rated college quarterbacks with that pick, The Jets need to see what they want for Kyler Murray. Before you lose your mind, I am not saying we mortgage the future for Murray, I am only saying that the Jets need to see what the Cardinals are thinking. The Jet’s plan was for Aaron Rodgers to play this season and maybe the next and then hand things off to Zach Wilson. Wilson would have had the chance to learn behind Rodgers and theoretically would be better for that learning opportunity and ready to stand in and lead. The only silver lining in Aaron Rodgers’ injury is that we are seeing now that Wilson is not the future of this team or of any team. Nothing that would have taken place with Wilson watching Rodgers for two years would have made Wilson able to play quarterback in the NFL. That is not the silver lining of course; the silver lining is that we know now instead of in two years, and the Jets can proceed into this offseason with that knowledge and act accordingly.
Kyler Murray is a known quantity. We know what he can do and what he cannot do. He is more than good enough to win a championship. Murray may not be happy to sit behind Rodgers, but history indicates that he probably will not have to. The Jets need not only to think about the quarterback position beyond Rodgers; they need to think about the immediate future with him. The Jets need a capable backup. There is a plausible scenario where the Achilles injury is too much to come back from or that it’s just the first of a series of things that push Rodgers into retirement without him playing any significant football again. Rodgers will be forty years old by week one of the 2024 season. He has been remarkably durable, and he appears to be healing in rapid time, but forty is forty. Additionally, most NFL teams lose their starter for at least a portion of the season. Even if Rodgers returns and can play well, he figures to miss some time with injury. The Jets will make improvements on the offensive line in the offseason, but it will be hard to make enough upgrades to turn the unit into a strength. Rodgers will take hits. He will miss time. It will happen. How much time is the only question. Murray will be twenty-seven on opening day 2024. Optimistically, he could be the Jets’ starting quarterback for seven or eight years. Let the Cardinals roll the dice with a first-round quarterback as their future. I like the sure thing. The Jets have a win-now team with a single point of failure at quarterback. It’s worth a call…it’s just a phone call.