Sometimes it takes a crushing loss for a team to turn its season around. The Jets are hoping the heartbreaking defeat in Denver in Week 11 will serve as the last blemish on an otherwise successful season. The Green & White took another step toward reaching the playoffs with the 37-10 throttling of the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
"It was a great game, a complete game," said head coach Rex Ryan during a conference call with local media. "All three phases did a tremendous job. I've been around a lot of great defensive performances, but holding a team to 4 yards in the first half is the best I've ever seen."
There is no doubt the Jets defense has been peaking over the last six quarters of football. Since the third quarter of last week's 34-19 victory over the Redskins, the Jets defense has forced four turnovers and allowed one touchdown and 16 points.
The team is now ranked sixth in the NFL in both passing and total defense in advance of tonight's St. Louis-Seattle game and will look to improve upon those numbers even further. Even though they sit at 8-5 and control their playoff destiny, the Jets will not change their mentality.
"Our approach doesn't change," said CB Antonio Cromartie. "We're still in the fight for the playoffs. The biggest thing is to keep our minds focused on one week at a time, and right now it's on a very good Philadelphia team."
The Eagles have not had the type of season they had envisioned, but their roster brims with talent on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they have some of the most electrifying speed demons in the game.
"They have two excellent receivers on the outside with [Jeremy] Maclin and [DeSean] Jackson," said Cromartie. "You have a quarterback [Michael Vick] that's a two-way weapon. You have the running back, [LeSean] McCoy, and other guys have stepped in from [Riley] Cooper to Jason Avant. They're doing a heck of a job."
The Eagles are coming off a 26-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins, who had won four of their previous five. Still, Cromartie has no doubts who the better team will be on Sunday.
"On defense I think we match up well because we have one of the best tandems at cornerback in the NFL," said Cromartie. "We're going to go out, compete, and have fun."
The secondary smothered the Chiefs and QB Tyler Palko on Sunday and, with the help of a ferocious pass rush, held Kansas City to minus-15 net passing yards in the first half. While CB Darrelle Revis has been playing at an elite level all season, Cromartie feels himself turning the corner as the year rolls along.
"I think the last few weeks have been pretty good for me," said Cromartie. "Whatever happened at the beginning of the year isn't my concern. My only concern is going out, helping this team compete and try to win a game."
Unfortunately, the defensive backfield lost one of its cornerstones as S Jim Leonhard is out for the remainder of the season with a torn patella tendon. Cro admitted the injury is a difficult one, but it's a road the team has been down before.
"He's been the head general of our defense," said Cromartie. "Losing him is hard for us, but we have guys that can step in and do a great job. This group has been together for the last two years. We can communicate without communicating."
With Leonhard out, S Brodney Pool will step into the starting larger role and the Jets will look to step further into the playoff picture.