Florham Park, NJ – It’s all gloom and doom with the Jets these days. They had perhaps their best game right before the bye against the Saints, but they are currently on a two-game losing streak. The offense seems to regress each week.
But the season isn’t over. Despite losing almost every tiebreaker at the moment, the Jets are right in the fight for the sixth seed with a 5-6 record. The last time Rex Ryan and the Jets had that record was back in 2009. That team also lost two games after the bye, in fact they were in the midst of a three-game losing streak when they managed to turn it around and win five of their remaining six games.
“We were in the last week,” said Ryan. “And that’s the way the league is. I don’t know if it’s been like this where we had that many teams lumped in with the same record or one game apart. But again, I know the approach has to be focused here. It can’t be long term. It has to be on taking care of the present. I think that’s where the big focus is.”
That present is a Miami team that has had its own struggles on offense. A team that already ranked near the bottom of the league in rushing is without the left side of their offensive line; that same line is on pace to give up a new NFL record in sacks. The Jets certainly have the personnel to take advantage of that.
But with Geno Smith’s struggles, the focus is going to be on the Jets offensive line. And there is one man in particular who can makes things real easy for him, Chris Ivory.
Lost in the shuffle of this latest slump is how well the acquisition of the former Saint has worked out for Gang Green. Ivory is on pace to rush for a career-high in rushing yards. In the three games he has gotten at least 15 carries he has averaged 113 yards and over five yards a carry.
For a big guy he’s even made some big plays, busting for runs of 52 and 69 yards in his last three games. He’s had injury issues all season, and practiced on a limited basis yesterday. But Ryan remains optimistic.
“I saw him out there,” said Ryan. “He looked good today. He was running around pretty good today. Maybe he was limited, but I thought he looked pretty good.”
When he has been healthy he has been the workhorse the Jets coveted, and has helped the Jets fashion a rushing attack that ranks eighth in the league.
Perhaps a return home where the Jets are 4-1 will help, but no matter what Ivory is going to need to get 15+ carries and continue to be that workhorse for the Jets if they want to win this game.
For how great Miami’s defense has been this season, they rank 26th in the league in run defense. They’ve given up over 100 yards rushing in 7 of their 11 games, which includes five straight games.
Smith is going to have to have double-digit completions for the first time in three games to win this one. But this is a great game for the defense and running game to lead the team.