Ava’s Angle: Are the Jets on the right path to the playoffs?

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The swap of quarterbacks from Zach Wilson to Mike White has changed the dynamic of the Jets and has steered them into a more positive direction to the playoffs.   

The Jets have had success from day one of the NFL season, but it’s come down to the wire now, as the AFC East is a very competitive division with the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills. Recently, Wilson has become somewhat of a problem, which is why New York took action and addressed it. He has acted immature in press conferences and hasn’t taken any accountability for the Jets’ latest losses. It has definitely raised tension within the team which is why Saleh decided the best decision was to bench him.  The organization has not given up on Wilson and wants him to succeed, but he is not the answer right now.  

White has stepped into the role of the starting quarterback and was inserted into the equation of the offense against the Bears where he threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns, completing 22 of his 28 passing attempts. He infused the team with energy, which is something they have been lacking. His decisions have made for an explosive offense, passing and running game that has bolstered the entire team. With White’s performance, the Jets showed what kind of team they can be in their push for the playoffs.  

White has allowed for the offense to come together more than it did previously, managing the game and making the throws expected of him. With weapons on the fence in Garrett Wilson, who has 49 receiving yards, rushed 628 yards and scored four touchdowns, Elijah Moore, who has 20 receiving yards, 284 rushing yards and one touchdown, as well as the running game, the Jets are starting to solidify themselves as a serious playoff contender.  

Despite the quarterback situation, the Jets’ depth tracks back to general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh. They have been able to overcome multiple injuries that have stumped them during this regular season. This is also due to the last two drafts and crafty players that Douglas has brought in through free agency. The draft picks of DT Quinnen Williams, CB Sauce Gardner and WR Garrett Wilson set the Jets up with strong youth and players that could net them a championship for the first time since 1969. Over his last four games, Garrett Wilson has 21 catches, 314 yards and two touchdowns. He is just one of the rookies that ison a roll.  

RB Breece Hall was also a huge contributor to the Jets before he tore his ACL in Week 7 against the Broncos. He led the team in rushing yards and was on his way to be a potential rookie of the year. The Jets quickly filled the void Hall left by acquiring RB James Robinson from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Moves like this have kept the Jets on the top of their game with few bumps along the way. 

Saleh has implemented a plan that has propelled the Jets to success at a very fast rate, with his “all gas, no brakes” mentality. The signings have improved defense, offense and the overall potential of the team’s capabilities.  

Another factor for New York has been kicker Greg Zuerlein. After years of incompetency, he has helped the team immensely by being an above-average kicker. This season, he has been able to show off his leg strength by kicking a 57-yard field goal against the Bears last week, which is just one instance of how impressive and consistent he has been. Zuerlein has played up to par along with the rest of the team, which makes New York that much better.  

Undoubtedly, the Jets defense is what has carried them through this season and what will be their biggest weapon in a potential playoff run. The defense is hard minded and clean with players like Quinnen Williams, Gardner, C.J. Mosley and D.J. Reed in the mix. The Jets defense can be considered top five in the NFL, a high caliber that’ll boost them to the playoffs. 

The cornerback duo of D.J. Reed and Sauce Gardner was unexpected, but something that New York has relied on. Reed was one of the smartest offseason signings by the Jets. He has had outstanding stats this season, allowing only 29 catches on 51 targets for 295 yards and no touchdowns with one interception. Reed joined rookie Gardner in sharing the crown of two of the best cornerbacks in the league. Not to mention CB Michael Carter II, who is another excellent addition to this already elite duo.  

Both units of offense and defense succeeding at a high level puts the Jets in a perfect position to make the playoffs and go far. The organization is quickly building a long-term foundation for many future years of success.  

Up next for the Jets is the Minnesota Vikings. This is a huge week for them to get another win to compete with the Bills and Dolphins. Beating the Vikings would put the Jets in the driver’s seat towards winning the AFC East. After this upcoming week, New York has a somewhat favorable schedule, with some of their division rivals thrown in the mix. The Jets control their own destiny, so if they put all the pieces together, they can be put in a good place. Overall, Gang Green is peeking towards a playoff run with all of their components starting to thrive on the field.  

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