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Jets Seek Recipe for More Scoreboard Balance

Posted Nov 22, 2013

Updated, 4:20 p.m. ET

It's been one strange New York Jets season, by turns uplifting and depressing.

We've extended our picket fence to 10 games — the furthest into a season that any NFL team has alternated Ws and Ls. We've posted some close, exciting wins over some of the best, such as New Orleans and New England. We've suffered some sound losses, to Tennessee, Cincinnati and Buffalo.

All of those trends tie neatly together into an unusual factoid about our season as we head toward Game 11 against the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday. We have scored 183 points this season while giving up 268.

That minus-85 point margin is the lowest in the history of the NFL among the 234 teams since 1920 that were 5-5 after 10 games.

This is an amazing number and yet at the same time perfectly understandable. We are plus-19 in our five victories, all decided by a touchdown or less. Meanwhile we are minus-104 in our five losses.

Even though this is a lopsided break-even point for the Jets, it's still somewhat of a half-full-half-empty proposition. The losses have been thumpings, yet the wins have been heartpumping and heartwarming. And several players chose to take that glass half full today and run with it.

"It shows you that we're capable," said G Willie Colon. "But right now we're just lacking consistency and execution when we really need it. We've got to find a recipe to get it done."

The breakdown almost exclusively appears to be a home (4-1) and road (1-4) issue.

"Obviously at home we're solid," Colon said. "On the road, the biggest thing with us is we don't bleed, we gush. We don't handle adversity right now. The good teams, they can deal with adversity, weather the storm and keep fighting. That's what we need to find out about us."

Colon's teammates were of similar mindsets.

"I think we have to do a better job as a team of paying attention to details, doing our responsibilities, closing out games, and stuff of that nature," said LB Quinton Coples. "I just think we have to make those adjustments and move forward."

"We’re definitely fighters," rookie FB Tommy Bohanon told reporter Charlie Frankel, "and that’s shown through all of our wins that we either came from behind or had to run out the clock and have all close games. So I definitely think that we’re a tough team with a lot of heart and that’s something that will carry over and hopefully help us throughout the season."

Head coach Rex Ryan and his staff have been doing all they can to smash the picket fence and string two or more wins in a row. Ryan, asked at today's news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center about balancing the lopsided losses with the wonderful wins, not surprisingly accentuated the positive and the work that needs to be done to achieve more positives.

"How we think is how we can improve," Ryan said, "learning from mistakes you made the previous week and how you can improve going on the practice field with that purpose in mind. That's really how we handle our business. Wee recognize we're playing an excellent football team in a tough place to play. But again, it's about us. We'll know our opponent, their tendencies. And we have to improve, obviously, a great deal — a ton — from this past week."

Here are the 5-5 teams with the lowest point margins from 1920 through this season:

CLOSE WINS, BIG LOSSES AND 5-5
Team Season    PF       PA    Margin Final Rec
N.Y. Giants 1965 174 245 –71 7-7
Minnesota 2005 174 245 –71 9-7
Denver 2007 187 258 –71 7-9
N.Y. TITANS 1961 207 286 -79 7-7
San Francisco 2006 182 265 –83 7-9
JETS 2013 183 268 –85 ???
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