Let me just get this out of the way right now. This article is the epitome of an exercise in futility. There's pretty much nothing I can possibly say here to get the bad taste out of our collective mouths this week. There is just something about a Jets loss that is so much worse than any other one, and so I hope none of you are reading this right now expecting to feel all that much better - that's why I pushed my Fan Notes to yesterday and am getting this one up early. I thought I'd be feeling better this morning after watching Peyton Manning go down at his old stomping grounds last night, but with Wes Welker catching absolutely everything that came his way and Chris Collinsworth doing his darndest to keep a certain drop in a certain game fresh in my mind, I feel as lousy today as I did yesterday. I'll do what I can to ease the pain for sure, and if you look at the game objectively it's really not that big a deal, but I'm not sure how much solace you'll be able to take from this week's Coping With Loss article. Regardless, here are five positives we can take away from the game.
The Jets are now out of our hair. Yes, it was a loss. Yes, it was the absolute worst kind of loss. And yes, a season sweep of the Jets is always a highlight of my year, and that obviously won't be happening now. And while that certainly sucks, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't still glad that the odds are very, very good that that's the last we'll see of the Jets this year (of course, now that I've said that, the Jets are going to go on a winning streak and challenge New England for the division crown). Games against the Jets are like a post-Mexican buffet fart: most of the time they are great and completely live up to the hype, but once in a while they end up completely ruining your day - and those are the ones that always stink the most. Regardless, let's just forget about the Jets altogether unless they give us reason to think about them again - hopefully sometime next fall. If there is any justice in this world, they will keep up with their season patters all the way through to December: they'll lose next week, win the following week, then win, then lose, and finish the year 8-8 and out of the playoffs.
We still control the AFC East. Granted, our hold on the division just got a little more tenuous, but 5-2 is 5-2 and we're still in first place. There is still plenty of time to get that separation back, starting next week when we see the Fins for the first time, and so we all need to keep in mind that just because it's a division loss to the Jets, that doesn't mean that this is some kind of indicator for the future. Division games are almost always tough, and EVERYONE in the AFC East gets up for the Pats. No reason for panic whatsoever- especially since the Dolphins lost as well. Everything is perfectly under control.
Jets defense unique. That Jets defensive front is right up there with the most elite units in the league, and it certainly showed on Sunday. It's interesting to note that, of New England's two losses so far this year, they have been befuddled up front by a strong defensive line that was able to generate pressure rushing only four. The odd thing this time, though, is that the Patriots were able to contain the pass rush in the first half before completely collapsing in the second. While I can't explain exactly why that is, I can say that almost every single time the Pats have lost in the past several years, it has been because they faced a defense that didn't need to blitz to generate pressure and Tommy B wasn't allowed to settle down. That formula for beating the Patriots isn't unique to this season, so it's not like you can blame it on the rookies or anything like that. Luckily, there aren't that many teams in the AFC that can generate that kind of pressure, and there aren't really any left on our schedule this year.
Getting healthier. With each passing week, we're getting closer and closer to getting
Vince Wilfork Jerod Mayo Wes Welker Brandon Lloyd Tommy Kelly, Aqib Talib, Shane Vereen, and Danny Amendola back. We obviously won't get the chance to see this team at full strength all year due to the absurd amount of cap space on IR, but the cavalry is on the way and this team will still be very, very dangerous down the stretch. You never want to blame a game on injuries, bogus calls, or anything else, and I'm not making excuses here either; a loss is a loss. But we will be getting some players back, and that's obviously going to help out.
We still got the Sox. Sure, this loss hurts. And sure, this loss hurts that much more because it was a loss to the goddam Jets. This is one of those losses that sticks with you way longer than it should and the kind of loss that could very well come back to haunt us down the stretch. However, in the grand scheme of things, all it really was was an ordinary regular season game with a whole lot of football ahead of us. The Pats are going to be perfectly fine. More importantly... the Red Sox are in the World Series! Once again, Boston has yet another team in a championship game. If anything can help to wash the stink off losing to the Jets, it's watching the Sox against the Cards as they attempt to bring yet another title home to the greatest city in the country. This was the Jets' Super Bowl, so let them ride high this week; I have no problem with allowing Jets fans to revel in this win. After all, I'll be far to busy watching one of my teams competing in a real, actual championship game.