NFL 2018 Season - Week 14
 

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Off A Win
by Dennis Ranahan

Just how bad are the New York Jets?

Before being overly critical, we have to note that rookie quarterback Sam Darnold has twice led the Jets to victoires. In their opener, on the road in a Monday Night Football affair, the Jets downed the Lions while embarrassing them in front of their home fans, 48-17. In the week and weeks that followed that opening win, the Jets did what all bad teams do after a win … they lost.

In the Jets case, they lost three in a row before hitting a sprockett for last week’s encounter with the Denver Broncos, a game they won by by 18 points, 34-16, at MetLife Stadium. Now the Jets look for a second straight win at home while entertaining the Indianapolis Colts.

How bad are the Colts?

They lost their home opener by double digits to the Cincinnati Bengals, and have lost the past three weeks after an upset road win in Week Two over the Washington Redskins, 21-9. The Colts come into this game with one less win than the Jets, and their 1-4 record has proven two things; Andrew Luck gives all he has for his team and he doesn’t have much talent around him.

On Sunday, at MetLife Stadium, the Colts bring their three game losing streak into this contest and the Jets are off one of their rare wins. From a pure motivational perspective, where one team has something to overcome, Indianapolis scores well.

Then we have the quarterback matchup. The only rookie to start for his team on opening day this year, Darnold has launched his pro career with a high learning curve and flashes of what promises to make him great.

His quarterback competition this week is an established star, and Luck has the advantage of a team around him that may not be very talented, but is certainly capable of beating a Jets squad riding the high of a win.

There are bright days coming for the Jets, they have the right quarterback and the nucleus of a very good football team. The question in New York is whether head coach Todd Bowles is the man to take this squad to the promise land. Now in his fourth season, Bowls is on a list of 15 other Jets head coaches with a lifetime losing record.

Only two Jets coaches in history have ended their tenure in New York with a winning record. Bill Parcells was 30-20 during his three seasons beginning in 1997, and Al Groh rode the team he inherited from Parcells to a winning campaign in 2000 and was out after that season with a lifetime record of 9 and 7.

There are examples of teams that have been built by one coach and taken to the next level by his successor. Bowles, who came into this season with a 20-28 won/loss mark, needs to have the Jets show steady improvement if he is to keep his job for a fifth season.

Improving his job status this week appears a challenge too big to win.

The Colts come to town hungry off three straight losses, and the Jets wade into the game euphoric off the prior week’s lopsided victory. From a week to week flow, and with respect for the veteran against the rookie at quarterback, the Colts win this game.

They get points on the spread too … which never hurts.

Qoxhi Picks: Indianapolis Colts (+2) over New York Jets