How many NFC teams are better than the Jets?

Quincy Williams, New York Jets. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Quincy Williams, New York Jets. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

This just might be the year that the New York Jets finally end their lengthy playoff drought.

Not since the days Darrelle Revis, Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez have the New York Jets looked this good.

After a decade-plus of being the worst-run football team in the NFL, these formerly flightless Jets seem to have finally taken off. Gang Green has made a turn for the better, and it could be an all New York Super Bowl this season, as Brian Daboll seems to be the man for the G-Men. We knew the Jets had talent, but it was up in the air if they were going to overcome their innate Jettyness.

So what has gotten into these Jets of late? Well, they seem to have hired a great general manager in Joe Douglas away from the Philadelphia Eagles a few years ago. While it remains to be seen what head coach Robert Saleh will be long-term, we all know that he is keeping receipts. It was a bad first year in East Rutherford, but he has already equaled last year’s Jets win total in just six games.

With the Jets potentially in the mix to end their lengthy playoff drought this January, in the deep AFC nonetheless, let’s ask ourselves this very important mid-October question on the finest of Tuesday mornings: How many NFC teams are actually better than the Jets? Let’s discuss…

New York Jets: How many NFC teams are actually better than Gang Green?

Here are the updated AFC standings through the first six weeks of the season.

  1. Buffalo Bills (5-1)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (4-2)
  3. Tennessee Titans (3-2)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (3-3)
  5. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)
  6. New York Jets (4-2)
  7. Indianapolis Colts (3-2-1)
  8. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3)
  9. Miami Dolphins (3-3)
  10. New England Patriots (3-3)
  11. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4)
  12. Denver Broncos (2-4)
  13. Cleveland Browns (2-4)
  14. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)
  15. Houston Texans (1-3-1)
  16. Las Vegas Raiders (1-4)

Projected playoff teams through six weeks are bolded.

The Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens are your division winners. Buffalo gets the first-round bye, while the Los Angeles Chargers, Jets and Indianapolis Colts are your three wild card teams in the AFC. Kevin James, Adam Sandler and Gary Vaynerchuk have never been happier. Does owner Woody Johnson have a clue what is going on right now?

And here are the updated NFC standings through the first six weeks of the season.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (6-0)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (5-1)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3)
  4. San Francisco 49ers (3-3)
  5. New York Giants (5-1)
  6. Dallas Cowboys (4-2)
  7. Los Angeles Rams (3-3)
  8. Green Bay Packers (3-3)
  9. Atlanta Falcons (3-3)
  10. Seattle Seahawks (3-3)
  11. New Orleans Saints (2-4)
  12. Washington Commanders (2-4)
  13. Arizona Cardinals (2-4)
  14. Chicago Bears (2-4)
  15. Detroit Lions (1-4)
  16. Carolina Panthers (1-5)

Projected playoff teams through six weeks are bolded.

The Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers are your division winners. Philadelphia gets home-field advantage in the NFC with the Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams being the three wild card teams. It should be noted the AFC and NFC have 10 teams apiece with a .500 record or better, as well as six apiece who are struggling.

To figure out where the Jets would fall in the NFC, let’s remove the teams they are clearly better than (Saints, Commanders, Cardinals, Bears, Lions, Panthers) and the teams that are clearly better than them (Eagles, Vikings). By doing just that, the Jets would fall somewhere in the No. 3 to No. 11 range in the NFC, although they are certainly closer to the top than they are to the bottom.

On the season, the Jets have wins over the Browns, Steelers, Dolphins and Packers. None of those four teams would make the playoffs if the season ended today. Their two losses are to the Bengals and Ravens. While Cincinnati is like Green Bay as the first team out in their respective conference, the only team the Jets have played who would be getting in with them in is Baltimore.

Although you cannot control your schedule, this might be a factor in the Jets having a 4-2 record. Time will tell, but that has to be considered. So between the Buccaneers (No. 3) and the Seahawks (No. 10), let’s start crossing off teams and put them on either side of the Jets. The first would have to be the Packers, as Gang Green trounced them in Week 6. It may be an anomaly, but it happened.

Tampa Bay’s best win is over the Cowboys and its worst loss is to the Steelers. San Francisco’s best win is over the Rams, but its worst loss is to the Bears. The Giants’ best win is over the Titans and their only loss is to the Cowboys. Dallas’ best win is over the Giants and its worst loss is to the Buccaneers. The Rams’ best win is over the Falcons and their worst loss is to arch rival the 49ers.

Right now, the Jets are better than the Rams, who have come out flat since winning the Super Bowl. You can probably say they are better than the 49ers, too. While the NFC West is down through six weeks, the same thing cannot be said for the NFC East. The Giants definitely are and the Cowboys probably are better than the Jets. Tampa Bay is not great but has a higher ceiling.

So we have roughly four teams who are definitively better than the Jets in the NFC (Philadelphia, Minnesota, New York, Dallas), as well as a Buccaneers team who will probably get the benefit of the doubt over them for Tom Brady reasons. Surely, Jets fans everywhere will love that. And as far as two teams who have overachieved as well, how do the Jets stack up with Atlanta and Seattle?

Atlanta’s best win is over San Francisco and its worst loss is to New Orleans. Seattle has not beaten a team with a winning record yet (Denver, Detroit, Arizona). Its worst loss is to New Orleans. Atlanta beat Seattle in Seattle, so the Dirty Birds are better than them, and so are the Jets. Because New York did beat Atlanta in the preseason, the Jets edge these rising Falcons out.

Ultimately, the Jets would be the sixth-best team in the NFC behind the Eagles, Vikings, Giants, Cowboys and Buccaneers. More importantly, they would be ahead of 11 teams in the NFC as well in the 49ers, Rams, Packers, Falcons, Seahawks, Saints, Commanders, Cardinals, Bears, Lions and Panthers. What this says is the narrative of the AFC being better than the NFC is total hogwash.

No matter how you slice it, the Jets would be a No. 6 team no matter what conference it plays in.

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