HEMPSTEAD, NY -
In the playoffs ball control is the name of the game. And there aren't many teams in the NFL better suited for that style of play than the Jets.
Granted, a little offensive explosion goes a long way, but the Jets grind-it-out style of offense and dominant defense are the formula for post season success.
They Jets have the ability to slow down the game, and keep every contest a close one. They have done this all season long, most notably on the road in New England and Pittsburgh. While Sunday's match-up with the Patriots is New York's chance to prove they can beat an elite team, the Jets have proved they can play with anyone.
We all know though, that competing and winning are two totally different things. Just ask Red Sox fans, who finally know the taste of victory after competing for 86-years.
As the Jets make their push into and trough the playoffs they will have to rely heavily on their stout defense to force the issue and make big plays, especially turnovers.
Sunday will be a perfect test of whether or not offensive coordinator Paul Hackett has the ability to mix some quick strikes into the Jets slowed down offensive approach.
Beyond Sunday's match-up with the Pats, the Jets have the capability to rise above expectations and storm their way through the playoffs.
New York is not an elite team yet, but all the components are in place. A win Sunday would open people's eyes to the Jets potential, but nothing more than that.
No matter how the rest of the season unfolds the Jets are at best the fifth seed in the AFC. This means in order to make it to the Super Bowl the Jets will have to play three road playoff games. It also means the Jets will once again have to play on the road in New England or Pittsburgh, maybe even at both.
Winning road playoff games in the NFL may be one of the hardest accomplishments in sports. Around 70-percent of these games are won by the home team. Jets fans should know this first hand. The Jets have trounced their last two home playoff opponents, Jacksonville in “98 and Indianapolis in '02, but have fallen hard in the following road games.
When playing on the road in a hostile environment what better way to drown out the crowd than three-and-outs on defense and sustaining long, clock draining, pound-it-out drives on offense.
While everyone has been trashing the Jets offense for its predictability and lack of explosion, they have been priming themselves for post season play. Since the Jets have laid the ground work for post season success, it is now up to Hackett and defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson to prepare solid game plans and to have their player ready to perform at their highest level.