The New York Jets simply have not lived up to their recent potential. They do have a lot of talented players in their ranks, but suffer from off-field issues, including a troubled head coach, a new general manager and a struggling starting quarterback.
Should the Jets manage to put everything to one side and let the players focus on the game, then they are capable of making the playoffs, but for now it looks unlikely. The pre-season has been dominated by the battle between rookie quarterback Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez; if this helps improve performances on the pitch then the Jets should improve this year.
Their head coach Rex Ryan is under pressure to get them firing; another failed season would surely seal his fate. Some key players have left as well as plenty of movement on the staff front, all of which means that the Jets might be in for another season of struggle.
Head Coach: Rex Ryan
Last season: 6-10
Review: Overall, the Jets ended 2012 with the eighth best defense. However, combined with the 30th strongest offense this led to more defeats than victories. There was early promise, however, with an opening-week 48-28 win over Buffalo Bills, but it was not to last.
A second win over a divisional rival, Miami Dolphins, put them 2-1 up which ensured a strong start but after week five they were behind. By the midway point of the season, Jets' troubles were clear after suffering a 30-9 defeat at home to the Dolphins which saw them begin to slip out of playoff contention.
The final eight games produced just three more wins and the Jets were well short of an appearance in the off-season, ending up third in the AFC East. This season will be all about an improvement, which should be possible, but a playoff spot would require some luck too.
Chris Ivory: In one of their first moves of the pre-season, the Jets traded their fourth-round Draft pick for running back Chris Ivory from the New Orleans Saints. With new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's preference for running football, Ivory could become a key player this season, but at least will provide depth.
Geno Smith: It surprisingly took until the second round for Smith to be drafted. He was the Jets' third overall, but is the player who is pushing for a starting berth. At the very least, his inclusion should see Sanchez up his game, otherwise Smith could become a key member of the offense.
Darrelle Revis: The cornerback was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after just two Jets appearances in 2012. However, before that he missed just three regular season games in five seasons, which will make his departure a tough hole to plug in 2013. It did get the Jets the 13th pick in the Draft, which they used on Sheldon Richardson.
Tim Tebow: The troubled quarterback left the Jets at the end of April, before being snapped up by the New England Patriots. He has since left them, too. While he will not be missed with Smith on the roster, getting rid of Tebow shows that the Jets do consider their roster space.
Key Player Offense: Santonio Holmes
Key Player Defense: Antonio Cromartie
Rookie to watch: Geno Smith
Pre-season form: 3-1
Prediction: 8-8. With the work done in the QB area over the summer, results should improve with the Jets. Certainly, they have better players than last season's results suggest. Whether Sanchez or Smith is chosen to lead the offense, the club still need to click in order to take the second spot that is up for grabs in the AFC East. Their chances of the playoffs seem low, but with a good start they have an outside chance.