The New York Jets shared some crushing news Monday morning, announcing that All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis will have surgery on his torn ACL and miss the rest of the 2012 season. The Jets, 2-1 and coming off a dramatic overtime win over the Miami Dolphins, will have to adjust to life without their best player. What do you make of New York's playoff chances now? Will the Jets still be a factor in the AFC?
Revis' injury is a major blow to Jets' playoff hopesThis is a MAJOR blow for the Jets. Darrelle Revis is the best all-around cornerback -- maybe the best all-around defensive player -- in the game. Since he can shut down a particular player or portion of the field, Rex Ryan and the Jets' defensive staff can set schemes and call plays in certain ways. They can hide weaknesses and simply be more aggressive at times because they know Revis can lock down the best opposing receiver. Now, the Jets will be much more vulnerable on the back end. I'd guess New York might do a lot more blitzing and other things to generate pressure, because if an opposing quarterback has any time, he'll pick that secondary apart.
The Jets' playoff hopes took a major, major hit. The offense, which has been inconsistent, is going to have to be much better to make up for Revis' loss and take pressure off the defense.
Don't underestimate the power of Rex RyanI was one of only three NFL.com writers (out of 17) to pick the Jets to make the playoffs in the first place. This puts a serious dent in their chances, but I wouldn't completely count them out yet.
I respect Rex Ryan's ability to make the most out of his defensive talent and keep the Jets competitive each week. It's not like the offense can get any worse, and the Jets have already won two games. Don't be so shocked if they still hang in the playoff race by winning ugly and hovering around .500 all year.
Jets in for a long, playoff-free 2012 campaign without RevisThe Jets already had major issues, including a low-functioning offense that features inaccurate quarterback Mark Sanchez. The defense was supposed to be a top-five unit, but its struggles have been more pronounced than anyone anticipated. And now they lose star cornerback Darrelle Revis. It's too much for them to handle.
With one buckled knee, the Jets went from being a long shot to earn a wild-card spot to a team all but guaranteed to miss the playoffs. These Jets simply don't have enough depth. Will former first-rounder Kyle Wilson, who has underwhelmed thus far, step in and be Revis? Nope. Revis covered up for a lot of mistakes, erasing one side of the field and making every team's best receiver a non-factor. Now everyone is a factor against the Jets' defense. It will be a long 2012 for Gang Green.
Don't count Gang Green out quite yet in a very mediocre AFC EastThe Jets were dealt a crushing blow with Revis' season-ending injury, but I'm not going to write them off just yet. First of all, the rest of the division looks very human through the first three weeks. The New England Patriots have offensive-line issues and an inconsistent defense, the Buffalo Bills have been up and down, and the Miami Dolphins aren't much of a threat.
Rex Ryan and coordinator Mike Pettine are two very bright defensive minds, and I trust they will come up with a creative solution to keep their defense playing at a high level. If their young defensive linemen can step up, that would help offset this difficult loss.
Jets face long odds, but there's one saving graceI already thought they'd be on the outside looking in at a playoff spot this year; the flooding of Revis Island only encourages that view. The saving grace for the Jets in this situation is that they face just two teams with outstanding passing attacks through the remainder of their schedule. The Houston Texans come to town in two weeks, and then they face the division rival New England Patriots twice.
They should be able to handle the Jaguars, Rams and many of the other squads they come up against -- IF Kyle Wilson proves himself worthy of that first-round selection a couple of years ago, and the pass rush generates more than the one sack per game they're currently getting.
Revis' injury shouldn't be the death knell, considering the oppositionAs a Jets fan, I think I'm still in shock. And I'm going through all the stages of grief. (I think now I'm on acceptance.) But the bottom line is this: The Jets can still beat teams that lack a true No. 1 star receiver. Revis' impact is lessened in games against teams like the Miami Dolphins, because no one will ever confuse Brian Hartline with Calvin Johnson. And that's what people forget: There are not that many teams with truly great wide receivers. Yes, we saw against Pittsburgh how much the Jets missed Revis, but how many games like that remain on the Jets' schedule? Not many. They'll face the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald and the Texans' Andre Johnson, but the next-best wideout on their slate is probably the Bills' Stevie Johnson. It's manageable.
So Revis' injury shouldn't be the death knell everyone expects it to be. He specializes in taking stars away. But when there aren't that many stars lining up opposite you, losing him isn't the end all, be all. Hey, I'm not saying the Jets are on easy street by any means. Losing a guy like Revis is a big deal, and it certainly does make things harder -- but not impossible.
Let's not avoid the obvious: The Jets are just about finished without their best playerSorry, Jets fans -- don't get angry at me for saying what you, me and Rex already know: The Jets are just about finished without Revis.
One glimmer of hope: The AFC's mediocre middle class. Let's assume the Texans, Ravens, Patriots and whichever West team wins the four-way 8-8 tiebreaker will be the conference's division champs. That leaves two wild-card spots for Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Tennessee and Buffalo. Not exactly a murderer's row ... but they're better than the Jets without their best player.