With the season falling apart, the Jets took the opportunity to get back on track as the out-of-contention Raiders headed East for the dreaded 10 a.m. PST kickoff.
A solid first half performance saw the Jets up 20-3, thanks to a special teams touchdown and a couple of effective but not especially pretty drives. The Raiders did narrow the gap a couple of times in the second half, but the Jets did well not to go into a shell on offense and pulled out the win to go 6-7 on the season.
While other results didn’t necessarily go the Jets’ way, it at least keeps them mathematically in contention which makes next week’s game interesting. Unfortunately, that’s probably the toughest game in the second half of the season, although the Panthers did get blown out by the Saints (a team the Jets beat a few months ago) last night. They couldn’t…could they?
The game itself was fascinating, as the Jets made a few key personnel and strategic changes, with mixed results. We’ll get into those during the individual player analyses.
It is important to get the win, both for the coaching staff and the confidence of some of the developing players on the team. While their playoff hopes look bleak, meaningful December football is the kind of experience that could be extremely useful to some of these players should they contend again next year.
Also, with the Jets set to have plenty of cap room next year, it is important to portray themselves as a team that was in the mix until late in the year, rather than a team that hung in there for half a season and then fell apart.
Unfortunately, the games only get tougher from here on in. At least they have something to build on now.
Next up…we kick off our player analysis with a look at Geno Smith’s bounceback game.