Jordan Jenkins New York Jets
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The New York Jets found the missing formula on Thursday Night Football and have taken back control of their season.

The New York Jets are headed to the Super Bowl!

OK, perhaps that’s taking things a bit far, but this has been one of the most confusing times during my Jets’ fandom. The media told me that the Jets were going to suck on levels of epic proportion.


The record of 4-5 after nine weeks of play doesn’t really sway from that initial narrative. But that’s why it’s about more than just the box score. The Jets pass the eye test. Well, in every quarter but the fourth, where the Jets have a -60 point differential. That’s one of the worst marks in the league.

Speaking of one of the worst marks in the league, the Jets were at the bottom of the league in sacks with just 11 on the season heading into Week 9. That all changed when the Jets took Tyrod Taylor down seven times. Nearly doubling their mark from the first eight games combined.

What Happened?

A guy we discussed potentially on the trading block ended up finally stepping up for his team, despite dealing with a slew of injuries.

Muhammad Wilkerson played at an elite level. Something Jets fans haven’t been used to over the last year and a half. It was refreshing and creates hope that perhaps he can live up to his contract after all.

Also, this game provided hope for the Jets pass rush which has been nonexistent all season. A head scratcher for sure considering two first-round picks are invested in the defensive line—Wilkerson, 2011 and Leonard Williams, 2015.

But it was more than just the top guys stepping up, the Jets are getting contributions from every level of the defense.

Steve McLendon is a former undrafted free agent who has scratched and clawed his way in the NFL. There was worry before the season that he could be a cap casualty because he was over the age of 30 and his play was up and down last year.

Well, thank goodness the Jets didn’t try and save a little over $2m before the season because Steve McLendon has been phenomenal. He’s a poor man’s Damon Harrison both literally and figuratively.

Although specifically, he’s nearly $6m cheaper than Harrison, per Spotrac.

New York Jets

But Wait! There’s more …

It went beyond defensive line domination for gang green. It sounds cliche but it was a team effort. Jordan Jenkins is a former third-round pick out of Georgia who lived in the shadow of first-rounder Leonard Floyd during his time in Athens.

He wasn’t the rah-rah guy, but he was a blue collar worker who many compared to ex-Jet Calvin Pace. It’s a breath of fresh air to have a consistent pass rusher from the edge, although the consistency thus far has lasted all of 60 minutes.

The true test will be if this defense and Jenkins in-particular can string multiple good games together before fans are buying in. Jenkins finished the game with two sacks.

This team was supposed to be bad and they’ve surprised this season. They sit at 4-5 with one of the hardest schedules remaining down the stretch. But if the defense can continue their stellar play, the Jets will have a chance in any game they play in.

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