Florham Park, N.J.– Yes it is only week two and there are still 14 games left to be played after this one. And yes the Jets did win their first game, albeit barely, but this week two matchup carries a bit more significance than one would normally think for a variety of reasons. The significance isn’t emotion related like last week, but the worry of an emotional letdown similar to the one the Jets suffered after beating the Patriots in the playoffs only to come out flat in the AFC Championship game is one of the potential hiccups that is so important for the Jets to avoid.
“That’s what a lot of people are asking. That could be the case but this team, we know it’s another AFC opponent, this has playoff implications down the road, and you don’t want to drop one of these at home.” Mark Sanchez said when asked if they were worried about an emotional letdown. “You have to cherish these games at home and we have a tough three game stretch after this, so we really need to take advantage of this game and play well. But, there’s never going to be a bigger game emotionally than our opener this year, but we need to answer the call and rise to the challenge this week because this is huge.”
Sanchez talking about a week two game being, “huge” may seem like hyperbole, but it’s not. No one is saying the Jets wouldn’t be able recover from a loss to the Jaguars, but if the Jets are who we think they are they should be able to head to Oakland next week at a comfortable 2-0. If however there is a slip up by the Jets they could be in danger of going on a bit of a slide with their brutal three game road trip that starts next week.
A road game in Oakland is always tougher than it sounds, with the cross-country effect and a tough, nard nosed Raiders team that can physically beat up their opponents on any given day. The following week the Jets have to travel to Baltimore, who by the way just absolutely dismantled the Steelers and then from there the Jets take their annual trip up to Foxboro to face the Patriots and you know the story with those guys.
With that type of tough road trip scheduled so early in the season it’s imperative the Jets win the games they are supposed to win easily this season and it starts with this one. With this Jets team you always hear a lot about how important it is to be able to come from behind and have the capability to win close hard fought games and that’s absolutely true. The great teams in this league find ways to win games by any means necessary from time to time, but the truly great teams also roll over the teams that they are clearly better than and the Jets haven’t done a lot of that these past few years.
Sunday is there chance to prove that they can do just that and they know that one of the things they must change to accomplish that is getting out to a fast start instead of waiting for the fourth quarter to show up.
“It’s always good to start off quick. You never want to get in a habit of having to play catch-up in any game. Dallas is a very good team and, luckily, for us we caught a couple of breaks towards the end of the game and we stayed in the game. “Derrick Mason said, “We did not get down on ourselves just because we had a bad half. We stayed in the game. (Mark) Sanchez stayed poised and we came out in the second half and put some points on the board. Our defense played well. We kind of helped them out toward the end, but we don’t want to be known as the team that can’t start fast. We want to be able to come out of the gates, score points and make it a lot easier for our defense.”
“We need a great gameplan to start it off well.” Sanchez said, “The coaches got us off to a good start on this Wednesday and we need to carry it through the week.
“I don’t know if it’s psychological. Nobody thinks we’re going to come out and go three-and-out. I hope they don’t. That’s not the kind of team we have. We’ve been a slow-starting team, for 16 games, like you said. Something’s got to change, maybe it’s just our attitude. I think the play calling is fine. We just need to convert on third down, whether it’s me throwing a more accurate ball or not getting sacked on the first play, that kind of stuff. You take a sack, I think the stat is like, 12 percent of the time you’ll end up scoring a touchdown on that drive, so a sack is a drive killer. We can’t have negative plays on first down. We need to be much better on first down, to convert at least.”
With the Jets having the goal of winning the division and earning home field playoff games, they absolutely have to win these types of games against teams with inferior talent, especially the ones at home. But in order for the Jets to do this consistently throughout the season they can’t keep waiting until the second half to show up.
A win is a win and you’ll always take a win anyway you can get it, but last year the slow starts from the regular season continued into that AFC Championship game and they have to figure out a way to put an end to that and the best way to do that is to jump out on the Jaguars early and never let up.
On Sunday we will see if the Jets can complete this task, or if we will be writing the same article week, simply substituting the Jaguars for the Raiders. Your move Jets, it’s time to show us how things can be different, because if they aren’t any different the end result will likely be the same.
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