When it was announced that the New York Jets would be sending the most players of any team to Hawaii this February, the fan response was met with hesitation. How could a team that’s lost to so many sub-.500 teams have so much of the best talent the NFL has to offer?
For the fourth time this season, the New York Jets will be heading out west to take on a team whose season has been a disappointment.
The Jets’ losing trend on the West Coast is a troubling one. Losing on the road is one thing—but consistently losing to teams they should easily dispatch of is another.
Its not what’s expected of a true contender.
On Sunday, the New York Jets will be in Seattle for a game against a struggling team. It will be Mike Holmgren’s final game at Qwest Field, coaching a team that lacked any kind of consistency 2008.
Sparked by Seneca Wallace’s fresh legs, the 3-11 Seahawks could make the Jets’ trip out west more difficult than it should be. It’s the classic scenario of a bad team playing the spoiler role for a team with playoff aspirations.
But maybe we’re all reading too much into the Jets’ misfortunes on the other side of the country. After all, the Jets’ losses were in California—not exactly Seattle.
Time for Those Seven Pro Bowlers to Show Up
The word is out. The New York Jets have a very talented roster. Seven players were selected to go to Hawaii, with five more waiting as alternates.
The majority of the Pro Bowl voting may have been done while the Jets were on a five game win-streak in October and November. It opened the eyes of NFL fans to the talent all across the New York Jets’ roster.
But their recent two-game skid—which allowed the Dolphins and Patriots to break the AFC East wide open—made people second-guess just how good the Jets really are.
What better way to prove one’s worthiness than with a win over a team they need to defeat? It’s an opportunity for the men selected to represent the NFL’s best to step up and prove they deserved their votes.
However, it’s not all about they can do as much as it’s about how they’re utilized.
Leon Washington is going to Honolulu as a kick returner, but he’s been a game-changer all season. In Buffalo, his one offensive carry resulted in a 47-yard touchdown scamper.
There are only but so many plays an offense can run in a game. It’s a chess match to see what works and what doesn’t, for the most part.
But with two Pro Bowlers on the offensive line, and two Pro Bowlers that can run the ball and control the tempo of the game, it seems illogical to leave the ball out of one of their hands for so long.
Defensively, Kris Jenkins has been playing through pain while offensive lines devise schemes to neutralize the big man. And Darrelle Revis is a lonely shutdown cornerback in a secondary that allows everyone else to catch the ball for tons of yards.
The Pro Bowl announcements should put some more bounce in their steps. It has to.
Make Seattle Play Like Their Record
The majority of the Jets’ losses this season came against teams with something to prove. Too many games in 2008 have seen the Jets abandoning their gameplan as they fall to opponents who execute at will.
With two games left until the playoffs begin, it’s no longer acceptable for the Jets to take the “Well, they get paid, too” approach to football.
The Seahawks have been bad enough of a team to lose 11 games, and its the Jets’ job to remind them why. They need to put foot to throat and show Seattle why they’re worthy of the opportunity to get to the Super Bowl after Week 17.
It’s about sending a message.
But most importantly, it’s about building enough momentum to carry them through February. Too often, the Jets have allowed themselves to fall into the proverbial quicksand during a game, and not have the fortitude to pull out the victory.
Last week’s game against Buffalo may have gone the same way if not for Abram Elam and Shaun Ellis’ huge defensive play.
The Jets have shown what they’re capable of when clicking on all cylinders—its essential they do it again against a team that has no business being on the same field with them.
Angel Navedo covers the New York Jets for Examiner.com. His work can also be found on NYJetsFan.com, where he is the Head Writer, and on MyGridironSpace.com—a premier social networking site built exclusively for NFL fans.
He is also a Senior Writer at the Bleacher Report, where he is one of the New York Jets Community Leaders.