PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 02: Santonio Holmes #10 and head coach Rex Ryan (back to camera) of the New York Jets celebrate a touchdown as Mark Sanchez #6 and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer of the Jets look on in a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 2 2010 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Hey haters, it is time for talk about the Jets being "lucky" to stop.
The primary question being asked about the New York Jets this week is if they are lucky or good.
The correct answer is: it doesn't matter.
In case you haven't noticed there is no elite team in the NFL. The Patriots? They lost to the Jets and got smacked around by a 3-6 Cleveland team. The Falcons? They were stomped in Philadelphia...without Mike Vick under center and lost in Pittsburgh. The Ravens? They lost to those same Falcons, along with the Patriots, and the lowly Bengals. The Steelers? They were handled at home by New England and also couldn't defend their turf to the Ravens. As we know, the Jets lost at home to both the Ravens and Packers in somewhat embarrassing fashion.
You get the picture? In the 2010 NFL season, you take every win you can get. This is the type of year where we could be settling in wild-card weekend to watch Chicago in St. Louis, followed the Raiders hosting a playoff game with the Tampa Bay Bucs playing the next day. Who in the world could have saw that coming? The league is wide open this year, which is why victories in Detroit, Denver, and Cleveland who have a combined record of 8-25 is nothing to scoff at.
Keep in mind that Denver team has beaten three teams who currently have winning records: Seattle, Tennessee and Kansas City. Cleveland has beat both the defending Super Bowl Champions and the 7-2 Patriots by double digits. Detroit hasn't been a walkover for anybody this year and has two victories by double digits at home.
So, why are we so quick to criticize the Jets as "lucky" for taking care of business and finding ways to win football games? The ability to come up with plays in big spots and the knowledge of how to win close games are the exact kind of traits that could be a difference in a year like this.
We get it. The football world is sick of Rex Ryan and his Hard Knocking, loud-talking New York Jets. They were pumping their fists in glee when they dropped their opener at home and talking loudly about a potential 0-2 or 0-3 start.
Unfortunately for them they have been twisting their faces in disappointment just about every week since then. Mark Sanchez, the quarterback everybody loves to bash, has played above everybody's expectations, starting with outdueling Tom Brady in Week 2. The Jets then showed their first signs of knowing how to finish games when they intercepted the overhyped Chad Henne late in the fourth quarter to clinch a Week 3 win.
Letdown game against Buffalo? Didn't happen. Brett Favre ripping the hearts out of Jets fans by beating them on a last second drive in his own building? Sorry, Dwight Lowery took him back to the house to clinch another win. A reality check in Denver? Sanchez overcame a poor start and led them to a game winning drive. Cry about the pass interference all you want but Renaldo Hill grabbed Santonio Holmes' facemask, a flag has to be thrown there.
Sure, the Jets had their home hiccup against Green Bay and it looked like it was turning into a mid-season slide as they trailed Detroit 20-10 with five minutes to go in the 4th quarter. Nope, Sanchiz led them down the field for two consecutive scores and then put the game on ice in overtime by finding Holmes for a 52-yard completion.
Everybody loved Cleveland last week in their own building coming off their whooping of New England. It turns out the Jets completely dominated the game after a slow start. As a matter of fact, they held the ball for 47 minutes altogether and nearly ran 100 plays. Somehow, thanks mostly to their kicker, Cleveland still had them in overtime. What did the Jets do? They overcame another missed kick, got the stop they needed and then that Holmes guy made another big play. Game Over. Jets, 7-2.
Complain about luck all you want, it is music to the Jets ears as they keep racking up victories. The team that was supposed to win with defense and running the football, hasn't even consistently done it that well but can still find other ways to win. As of right now, they lead the league in wins, know how to win close games, have a quarterback playing a high level, a very good offensive line, two game breaking receivers, a big time tight end, an elite run defense, and one of the best cornerback duos in the league. In the 2010 NFL, that is pretty damn good.