On Sunday, the New York Jets became the first team in NFL history to alternate wins and losses for the first 10 games of the regular season.
The Jets are on an unprecedented run of inconsistency, but they're no worse off than the Miami Dolphins, who won three straight to start the season, only to show their true colors over the past seven games and have floated around .500 in that time.
We can argue the validity of that statistic, although it seems perfectly legitimate from this perspective -- if you can't string together wins in the regular season, how can you expect to be able to flip that switch in the playoffs?
While it's indicative of their up-and-down play, one could just as easily point to their opposite records at home (4-1) and on the road (1-4).
That being said, it all begs the question: what do we really know about the 2013 Jets?
Stats don't tell the whole story, but they do tell part of the story, so here's a bunch that give you an idea of what the Jets really are this year:
2-5: The Jets' record when they turn the ball over two times or more as a team. Conversely, the Jets are 3-0 when they turn it over once or not at all. What it means: The Jets are not a good enough team to overcome multiple turnovers from their offense. Geno Smith must do a better job of reading coverage and of putting the ball in spots where only his receivers can make the play. No less than 10 of his 16 interceptions have been a result of poor decisions.
2.9: Opponent's rushing average against the Jets defense. That's the best average in the league. What it means: The Jets defensive line remains one of the best in football. They don't have the gaudy sack stats of other groups, but they're a lunch pail group that can come through in a pinch and is almost always in the right spot.
43.5: Geno Smith's passer rating in the Jets' five losses, where he's thrown one touchdown and 12 interceptions. Conversely, Smith's passer rating is 89.4 in the Jets' five wins. What it means: When Geno Smith plays badly, he melts down. And when he melts down, the Jets lose. Rex Ryan gave Geno a vote of confidence after losing to the Bills, but it's fair to wonder where the breaking point lies; Smith has thrown just one touchdown and nine interceptions in the past five games.
176: The number of first downs allowed by the Jets defense this year, which ranks fifth in the NFL. On the flip side, the Jets offense has 174 first downs, the fourth-fewest in the league. What it means: A defense that prevents its opponents from moving the chains, and an offense that cannot move them on its own. A lot of things have changed for the Jets over the five years of the Rex Ryan era; this, however, is not one of them.
302: The Jets' total rushing attempts this season, the seventh-most in the NFL. Their 310 pass attempts are the fourth-fewest by any team this year. What it means: The Jets are still trying to be a balanced offense, and they largely stuck to that game plan even when losing to the Bills. They ran the ball 52 times in their 30-27 overtime victory against the Patriots. They are at their best when they can run the ball consistently and effectively.
2: The number of teams with a negative scoring differential that have a record of .500 or better. Those two teams are the Jets and the Dolphins (yay AFC East!) What it means: The Jets have won their five games by a combined 19 points (3.8 points per game), but have lost five games by a combined 104 points (20.8 points per game).
6: The playoff seed the Jets would have if the season ended today. What it means: Despite all the problems outlined here, the Jets have managed to win half of their games to this point, and if the playoffs began today, they would be traveling to play the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets have beat good teams in the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots, and have proven they must be taken seriously if they get to the postseason. They can't expect to go far, though, unless they learn how to play good football consistently.
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