When the initial odds came out on the Jets, the betmakers weren't kind, projecting the Jets at 6.5 wins for the 2014 season. ESPN Insider's Dave Tuley kicked off discussing the 2014 over / under season back in April when he looked at all 32 teams over / unders.
"[Adding] quarterback Michael Vick, running back Chris Johnson and receiver Eric Decker ... has pushed the number to 7 and I would be surprised if we don't see 7.5 as the more common number available." Tuley wrote prior to the NFL Draft. "Considering how bad the Jets were at times last year and they still won eight games, it makes sense that people would be think the Jets would be at least .500 again and over the total, but I usually try to avoid jumping on an overflowing bandwagon."
Meanwhile, our friend Will Brinson of CBSSports.com, who references Tuley's article in his, is bullish about the Jets, taking the over on the more recent seven win line.
"Am I the only one getting a little excited about the Jets offense?" Brinson wrote this week. "It's mostly name value, but Michael Vick, Chris Johnson, Eric Decker and Jace Amaro automatically mean this unit's better than we've seen under Rex Ryan. RIGHT? ... all Rex does is coach up defense. With a decent offense on the other side, I'm having a hard time not seeing him get this squad to .500. Rex's 2013 was Coach of the Year worthy."
I'd argue that only the 2010 roster had more offensive talent than this year's version does. The team's top three receivers Dustin Keller, Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes all caught more than 50 passes and running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene combined for more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage, 1,600 of which were on the ground.
Brinson is right in that the name value associated with the Jets in some cases might outweigh the production, but he is also right that the team's skill players are significantly better than they were a year ago. Even if this assembled group of ball carriers and pass catchers can be a middle-of-the-pack NFL offense Ryan is such a good defensive mind that that might be all it takes with a defense led by the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, David Harris and Calvin Pryor.
So what do I think about the Jets over / under number? In the context of the whole schedule, the brutal October stretch (at Chargers, Broncos, at Patriots) doesn't bother me as much as the thought that the Jets might do something at the quarterback position based on how those games go. Would a bad three games from whoever is the starter cause Ryan to pull the plug on that player? Will the quarterback play then be better or worse?
As far me, I'll easily take the over on seven games. After the October stretch, the Jets have seven games alone that all look very winnable. If things go right at the quarterback position for the Jets, a 9-7 season or even 10-6 season is a real possibility.