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Silverman: Soft Schedule, Slight Improvement Will Give The Struggling Jets A Shot

By Steve Silverman
» More Columns

Things may look awfully glum for the New York Jets after suffering back-to-back defeats against the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Take a look at the schedule. While the Giants are going to be hit with a series of body shots as they try to defend their Super Bowl championship, the Jets have winnable games the rest of the way (except when they face New England).

The Patriots games appear to be out of the Jets' grasp this season. New England is just as vulnerable to the pass as they have been in the past, but the Jets have no kind of passing game, and it would be difficult for Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano to convince themselves of anything to the contrary.

The Jets are 28th in passing, but the wonder is how they're not 32nd. With the combination of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow at quarterback -- along with a crew of highly deficient receivers -- the Jets are likely to get worse in the passing game and not better.

However, Ryan made it a point this week to talk about his team's running game, which has also been painful to watch this season.

But there's a chance for this unit to get a lot better in the coming weeks, starting this week against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts are a team that is on an upward tick, with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck breathing new life into the franchise. This has manifested itself with a couple of surprising wins at home against the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers.

However, the Colts are anything but a complete team, and going on the road against a desperate team -- which is exactly what the Jets are -- is out of their point of reference.

They are still basking from the high of their victory over the Packers and coping with the illness of head coach Chuck Pagano. Putting together a string of well-played games is not on the horizon for the Colts

The Jets are looking at their running game, and Sparano thinks that they are close to turning this part of their game around. Quite simply, the blocking has to get just a bit better for this part of the game to get to a level where it has been in the past.

Shonn Greene looks like the bad guy because he is averaging 2.9 yards per carry and has gained just 217 yards through five games. But the Jets can't give up on him or the running game. They have been strong in past years, and they have a much better chance of improving in this area than they do in picking up the passing game.

As the shock of losing Darrelle Revis on the defensive side wears off, the Jets are going to get much more competitive on that end as well. All it takes is one good game to get rid of the self-doubt and pain that comes from getting pushed around by the Niners and Texans.

There was a huge difference in those two games. San Francisco exerted its will and dominated the Jets; the Texans did not. They were the better team and won the game, but they had to fight for it.

The Jets have winnable games against the Colts, Dolphins, Seahawks and Rams coming up. Going 4-1 in the next five weeks would leave the Jets with a 6-4 record going into the final six games of the season.

They are not going to win the division, but they can take baby steps, and that will put them in contention for an AFC Wild Card spot.

It looks hopeless right now, but the schedule makers have given them a chance to rise up out of the muck.

All hope is not lost.

Do you still have hope that Gang Green can make a run this season? Let us know in the comments section below...

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