The New York Jets have been featured on the island of irrelevancy for a large period of time.
Free agency busts, draft mistakes, and a propensity to always hire the wrong guy whether at the head coach or general manager spot have held this team back.
Now, despite a 4-12 season to date, there is optimism that the green and white can turn things around sooner rather than later.
One analyst even believes they could go from worst to first next season.
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Are You Saying There’s a Chance?
Kristopher Knox wrote a column for Bleacher Report documenting which NFL teams are the most likely to go from worst to first next season.
Believe it or not, the very first team he listed was the Jets.
The rationale was if the Bengals can go from worst to first in a tough division like the AFC North then “every last-place team should have similar aspirations in 2022.”
Here were some of the reasons why they believe it is possible.
Seismic jump from Zach Wilson
They argued we could see a sophomore pop from Wilson like the ones we’ve seen from Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. The arrow is certainly pointing in the right direction with his uptick in play since returning from his injury.
The Jets are armed with four picks in the top-38 and have over $51 million in projected cap space. That is a lot of ammo to bump up the talent of the roster. There is no question Gang Green is in a great position to make some things happen, but they have to execute.
While the overall record of the Jets has stunk in 2021 (4-12), they pointed at several signs as a glimpse into the future. They mentioned the pair of impressive wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and the Tennessee Titans. Plus throw in the moral cookie of taking the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the brink last week.
“With an influx of talent,” the Jets could be “formidable” next season. Although whether or not they’ll be in the AFC East divisional conversation “will hinge largely on Wilson’s development”, according to Knox.
An Incredibly Difficult Path
I really dig the optimism from a national media outlet, but it is going to be incredibly difficult to pull off.
Out of the four teams in the AFC East, three of them were in the playoffs with just two games to go in the regular season this year. While the Miami Dolphins eventually were eliminated from playoff contention they started 1-7 and then turned it around with a seven-plus game-winning streak.
The Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots aren’t going anywhere either, so this is an incredibly tough division.
Sprinkle in the fact the Jets haven’t won the AFC East since 2002, let’s just say you could make a lot of money if you bet on the Jets right now and they shocked the world.
For it to be possible the Jets are going to have to get the oblong-shaped ball to bounce their way, they’ll have to hit on their draft picks, smack a home run or two in free agency, and avoid the injury bug which they couldn’t this year.
It isn’t impossible to flip the bottle, throughout NFL history we have seen teams do it like the Bengals this year, but by no means will it be a simple task.
The Jets haven’t been to the playoffs in 11 years, let alone win the division (19 years ago), but man it would be pretty cool to see.
‘Formidable’ Jets Have Chance to Be Division Contenders in 2022, Says Analyst