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The New York Jets are Finally Contenders

The Jets have already passed their projected win total for the season, and they have their elite defense to thank for it.

We need to talk about the New York Jets.

After taking down the Bills on Sunday, it’s officially safe to say the Jets are comfortable in their own skin. They’ve embraced who they are, allowing their defense-first vision came to fruition.

The win epitomized all the Jets hoped to become when they hired Robert Saleh from San Francisco — a defensive-minded team with a knack for the run game. Searching within, their draft picks are panning out and helping to reestablish the same identity they’ve sought since losing in the 2010 AFC Championship when Rex Ryan was head coach.

New York’s success goes beyond this season and this game in particular, but a 20-17 victory against the NFL’s sweetheart Buffalo Bills and MVP-favorite Josh Allen embodied all they’ve become. Allen completed 52.9% of his passes for 205 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs and a QB rating of 46.8. That’s on top of Gang Green’s five sacks.

For a fifth consecutive game, the Jets did not allow a fourth-quarter touchdown. And while standing at 6-3, they’re less than a game from the top of the AFC East, despite playing in a division with the Bills (6-2), Dolphins (6-3), and Patriots (5-4) — the only division where all teams are above .500.

Making matters even better for Gang Green, they eclipsed their projected win total in Week 9. Now they’re allowed to talk their smack. *eyeballs emoji*

We held off for eight weeks, but it’s time we give these guys their flowers. On paper, they’ve already exceeded expectations. But the outlook is solid — whether you’re taking this season into account or the future. For Jets fans, it’s a breath of fresh air. This team has given absolutely zero reason for hope in recent years with a 27-90 (.231) record from 2016-21.

Hold on and enjoy the ride, Jets fans. There’s less turbulence and more to look forward to.

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The Defense

The Jets have completely owned their identity and suddenly find themselves in the conversation for the league’s best defense. Just ask Buffalo’s veteran LB Von Miller.

“Hats off to those guys, man… They’ve built up a great team. Sauce Gardner, he went crazy tonight. Quinnen Williams. That defensive line, as I’m watching on the sideline, they did a great job rushing the quarterback. When I’m sitting there and I’m watching, I’m always drawn to the defensive ends and tackles and they brought the pressure tonight, they really did.”

And look at the numbers:

Defensive Team Stats
CategoryLeague Rank
PTS/G: 19.6T-8th
Y/G: 3127th
INTs: 11T-2nd
Takeaways: 14T-6th
Sacks: 26T-5th
Defensive Finances

Figures via Spotrac

POS.#CAP $CAP%NFL RANK
Defense27$89.2M42.3%9
Offense30$99.7M47.2%5
Special Teams3$4.1M1.9%28

Building Within

Sauce Gardner (CB): No. 4 overall, 2022

Sauce Gardner and DJ Reed have become one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL, and Sauce will tell you as much. Through eight games, Gardner has allowed 44.2 REC% on 323 snaps (fewest among rookie CBs), 12 pass deflections (1st in the NFL), and only 147 yards allowed — also the least among rookie CBs. Dare I say… Defensive Rookie of the Year?

Quinnen Williams (DE): No. 3 overall, 2019

Williams was just named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October. He leads all interior defensive linemen with seven sacks, which is also a career-high.

Zach Wilson (QB): No. 2 overall, 2021

He’s far from perfect and certainly too inconsistent to call top-tier, but he’s showing promise through adversity. After a three-pick Week 8 outing against the Patriots, Wilson came back against the Bills with a 101.1 Pass Rating (career-high) and 72.0% completion percentage, also a career-high.

Garrett Wilson (WR): No 10 overall, 2022

The Wilson-to-Wilson connection is clear. Just don’t tell that to Elijah Moore. The rookie wideout leads the pass-catchers in receptions (42), yards (521), yards/game (57.9), and catches for a first down (25).

Breece Hall (RB): No. 36 overall, 2022

The rookie back was the identity of this offense until he tore his ACL in a win against Denver two weeks back. He’s rushed for 463 yards and four touchdowns in seven games.

Michael Carter (RB): No. 107 overall, 2021

Carter has owned the ‘next man up’ mentality, filling in as RB1 while also serving as a dual threat. In Sunday’s win over Buffalo, Carter rushed for 76 yards with one touchdown. He’s also caught 25 passes for 176 yards on the season.

Futures Odds

Take a look at where FanDuel has the Jets now, compared to the start of the season.

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Preseason:

To win Super Bowl: +25000
To win AFC: +10000
To win AFC East: +2500

Today:

To win Super Bowl: +6000
To win AFC: +2600
To win AFC East: +2000

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a former Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.