Sure, they were 9-2, but they had an undeniable dose of good fortune in several of those last-minute victories. A personal foul against the Lions, an ill-timed fumble by the Browns, a pair of defensive breakdowns against the Texans — the case that the Jets were luckier than good continued to build with each passing week.
They flew to New England this week with a chance to end all that doubt. They had a chance to make a statement that they were the best team in the NFL. They had a chance to secure a rather easy road to a division crown.
Instead, they lost 45-3.
Instead, they suffered an embarrassing loss on national TV.
Instead, they flat-out quit in the second half.
It has a lot of football fans wondering: Are the Jets overrated?
Of course, one game, for better or worse, is just one game. A 45-3 win doesn't make the Patriots the best team in the history of football, just as a 45-3 loss doesn't make the Jets the worst.
But after failing to even show up in the biggest game of their season, can the Jets be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender anymore? If they can't win a big regular-season game on the road in December, how are they going to win an even bigger postseason game on the road in January?
Jets fans will point to last year, when the team struggled with a 9-7 regular-season record, only to beat the Bengals and stun the Chargers on their way to the AFC Championship Game. The Jets, though, are already looking forward to getting back to their brand of football next week against the Dolphins.
Yet, while there still may be some confidence leftover in the world of the J-E-T-S, the rest of the country is chanting F-R-A-U-D-S.
Where do you stand?