The more things change, the more they remain the same.
It's a cliché, of course, and when applied to the New York Jets and their annual struggle against AFC foes, you understand why clichés are such an integral part of the language. There's an underlying undeniable truth about them. Here's a look at the competition they'll face this year in the AFC East, and how the Jets will probably fare:
The problem for the Jets, as always, is they share a division with the New England Patriots. As long as Tom Brady is flinging the ball, and the New York Giants aren't on the field with them, the Pats are going to win impressively most of the time. To accompany that machine-like offense, coach Bill Belichik has enhanced the defense somewhat. He's also managed to accumulate most of the great tight ends in the hemisphere. It's the equivalent of a criminal taking all the newspapers out of display case to prevent everyone from reading about his lawless mayhem. Nobody else can have any tight ends because Belichik is stashing them. Factor in their hatred of the Jets, and it's a recipe for also-ran status for Gang Green.
Here is another problem. The Buffalo Bills are infinitely better as well - going one way while the Jets are regressing, moving briskly in the other direction. Naturally, the Bills scored a huge victory by somehow luring Mario Williams to northern New York and away from Houston, Texas - and from a team knocking on the Super Bowl door. If you weren't convinced that money talks before that signing, well, you should have been. The Bills should have a big-time pass rush now, and along with a pretty good quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, they'll be a problem for any team. Ask the Giants about how far a good quarterback and dynamic pass rush can take you.
It's not difficult, though painful, to predict a battle between the Jets and equally dreadful Miami Dolphins, to stay out of the AFC East cellar. Oh, how the recently knighted mighty have fallen.
Glenn Vallach has been a football fan for most of his lifetime, but never played organized pigskin unless you consider the thousands of youth hours running slant routes on city streets with a friend serving as Joe Willie. Don Maynard was his idol, an adulation he took seriously, complete with a number 13 stitched to his sweatshirt. He remains a New York Jet fan through so much disappointment and embarrassment over the years. Coach Rex Ryan has rekindled a dormant fire, but sometimes he feels as if he doesn't understand the likely end result of all his efforts. It has been 42 years, after all.
- Yahoo! Sports New York Jets page
- Yahoo! Sports New England Patriots page
- Yahoo! Sports Tom Brady page
- Yahoo! Sports Mario Williams page
- Howard Ulman, The Associated Press, Prolific Patriots' offense preparing for Titans
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