While the NFL odds clearly favor the usual suspects there is one club in New York that could upset the AFC applecart and today we look at a Jets team that could be ready for liftoff.
Does Rex Have His Mojo Back?
For the first time during Rex Ryan’s reign as the head coach of the New York Jets every player passed his conditioning test and that is a promising sign for things to come. However, New York must have angered the NFL scheduling gods because theirs is not an easy path to the postseason. Naturally they have to line up against Tom Terrific and the New England Patriots twice as a divisional rival but they must also prepare for the likes of Green Bay (away), Chicago, Detroit, San Diego (away), Denver, Kansas City (away) and Pittsburgh. Not exactly a walk in the park but this season Gang Green may just be up to the task.
CJ the Difference?
It’s a reach to think that a running back could be a game changer in the pass happy league that is the NFL in the 21st century but adding a true elite runner to the backfield could serve as a potent complement to any offense. Adrian Peterson is widely regarded as the best in the game today yet his Vikings are hardly perennial contenders. Nevertheless, with the right components a running back of his caliber can be a vital cog in a Super Bowl caliber team. Just ask the Seahawks how important Marshawn Lynch was to their Super success last season.
But Chris Johnson, formerly running back extraordinaire for the Titans, saw his stock decline rapidly the moment he held out for a new contract a few years ago. He eventually returned but has not been the same devastating runner since but will get a brand new start in New York this season. And it just so happens that the Jets are committed to a punishing ground attack that flies in the face of the more exotic West Coast offenses we have seen propel other teams to championship heights.
It has been reported that Geno Smith will command the offense with Michael Vick used in special packages hoping to keep defenses honest. New York boasts a host of speed merchants at wide receiver whose blazing speed could be the perfect complement to a ground and pound offense that can strike long when the opposition has their run defense on the field. If Chris Johnson returns to form, this could be a huge bounce back season for him and a boon to the Jets.
First round selection Calvin Pryor has already made an impact at safety and is slated to be a starter if he can stay healthy on a defense that has a deep front seven. Michael Vick says that the defense has a series of “bizarre” schemes that are tailored to confuse and create relentless pressure. Whether or not this defensive line has the sheer talent to execute is still a question mark but so far so good.
The line backing corps may be a bit thin but if the pressure up front is fierce then their jobs become a bit easier. They will have to come through in blitz packages and short yardage run stops but if they can handle their business on short routes and flair passes emanating out of the backfield then expect big things from this defense.
As of this moment Bet365.com has the Jets installed at 9-1 in NFL odds to win the AFC East. While that is a tall task considering that the Patriots have ruled the East for so long, Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger and there could be a surprise in the making if Belichick’s Boys were to stumble. That vacuum could easily be filled by the Jets as Miami and Buffalo are, at the very best, on a par with the Jets this season if not slightly below.
But a wild card could be in the offing for New York and if you believe this team is capable then once the playoffs begin, anything can happen. Bet365.com will give you 33-1 if they capture the AFC title and their NFL odds on the Jets winning the Super Bowl are currently 66-1. But perhaps the most reasonable bet if you include the Jets in your NFL future plays would be ‘over’ 6 ½ (-200) or better yet +450 to make the playoffs at Ladbrokes.