The Jets are riding high after a 3–2 start to the season, but they remain well aware that they’ve got much more to prove.
“Only one team in the league is happy at the end of the year, and the goal is to get to that point every year — but to do that, you’ve got to take it one week at a time, and stay focused on the moment,” said head coach Robert Saleh.
The Jets have gotten fortunate with their early-season schedule, having won games against the Browns (without quarterback Deshawn Watston, due to a suspension), the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins (without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa).
Gang Green’s two losses have come against the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.
Thus far on the season, the Jets have recorded 1,780 total yards of offense (12th most in the NFL), and 116 points (11th most in the league). On defense, they’ve allowed 1601 yards to opposing offenses (11th least) and 118 points (18th least).
They’ve been playing with a renewed sense of confidence compared to their lackluster season last year, when they went a measly 4–13, according to Saleh.
“I think confidence is contagious,” Saleh said. “I think our guys deserve the right to feel good about themselves — but at the same time this league is very humbling, and it’ll take it away from you in a heartbeat.”
Now, they’ll face perhaps their toughest test yet, as they head to Lambeau Field to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
The matchup will be should be a strong indicator about whether the Jets are legitimate playoff contenders.
Sunday’s game will also put two crucial rookies to the test. Running back Breece Hall will be rushing against the Packers, who boast the third-worst running defense in the NFL so far this season, and first-year cornerback Sauce Gardner will be facing the most potent passing offense of his young career. Both youngsters are contenders for Rookie of the Year.
Meanwhile, sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson, who made his season debut during their win against the Steelers in Week 4, has earned praise from Saleh — who promised that the young passer will continue to grow into himself at the professional level.
“I think in these two games Zach Wilson has shown he looks like a guy who can put the team on his back,” the coach said. “He’s only had 15 starts, he hasn’t even played a full season yet. He’s so much better than he was a year ago, and he’s only going to get better.”
In all, the Jets are going into the game with confidence — but with the knowledge that they have yet to prove themselves.
“We still haven’t done anything yet,” Saleh said. “It’s a fun group to be around and we’re still going to have our ups and downs.”