With the season half-over (more so now, I guess, that the Denver-Cleveland game is well underway), I'm breaking out the baseball season analysis tools to break down the mid-year point of the NFL season. And the Jets.
MOST IMPRESSIVE: I think the Jets secondary deserves this nod - the likes of Kerry Rhodes and Darrelle Revis have been playing very well. The Jets aren't getting beat long - it's the short stuff that turns into big plays that ends up getting them. And the secondary has pulled down its share of interceptions.
MOST SURPRISING: Maybe the fact that the Jets have a legit shot at winning the division. And in Week 9 and 10 it's in their hands. A win against the Rams sets them up for a shot at taking over first place by themselves the week they play New England. Not sure even in my best-case-scenario that I saw that coming.
LEAST IMPRESSIVE: I'm not sure this is least impressive or most frustrating, but it's the tackling on defense. This seems to plague the Jets year after year (and truth be told, it's other teams too that I see week in and week out where the tackling is poor), but with the Jets it seems worse. It seems like the game-changing plays could be stopped if someone could just wrap up the opposing player.
MOST DISAPPOINTING: Definitely the offensive line. The reason the Jets no longer have Chad Pennington is because they couldn't protect him and he nearly died playing quarterback for the New York Jets. Brett Favre is the QB now, and the only difference is he's more durable. He's taken the same amount of hits, if not more, and is getting very little protection. You would have hoped the line would gel by now - that doesn't seem to have happened.
MOST IMPRESSIVE: The New York Giants, easily. Yes, they're Super Bowl champs, but did anyone think they'd come out of the gates at 7-1? I picked them for the post-season, so I'm not shocked they're holding their own in the division, I'm just shocked at how well they've been doing that.
MOST SURPRISING: The most surprising teams are the Tennessee Titans and the Atlanta Falcons. Neither team, the Falcons mostly, did I expect to be in any sort of playoff run, let alone have the Titans be 8-0 and the Falcons a game off the pace in their division. That NFC South is pretty wild from year to year - I love how the last place team nearly always finishes in first place the next year. That's reason enough to root for continued success for the Falcons.
LEAST IMPRESSIVE: The obvious answers are the winless Lions, at 0-8, and the 1-8 Bengals. Or the injury-riddled Colts or Seahawks. But the winner is a team that hasn't dealt with much of that and is still struggling in a year where it's there's for the taking - the San Diego Chargers. And that's why that Jets loss to them looks worse and worse every week.
MOST DISAPPOINTING: A lot of people will probably tell you the Cleveland Browns are the biggest disappointment, but I wasn't buying into them this year. Were you? Though (obviously, since this is a mid-season update) we're only halfway through, the 3-5 posted by the Jacksonville Jaguars has to be the most disappointing thing about the NFL so far. The way they ended last year was so promising - I thought they were a lock for a playoff spot. The fact that the Jets are two games better than them is surprising to me.
COMING UP: Before the games get underway on Sunday I'll preview the Jets' second half.