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Inside the Numbers: A Closer Look at the Jets Defense

A closer look shows just how good Gang Green's defense has been

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    The Jets defense has reason to celebrate this season.

    On the surface, the numbers don't quite reflect just how good the Jets defense has been this season. Without perspective, statistics can be deceptive and don't always tell the whole story.

    Gang Green has a mediocre .500 record and is allowing 22 points per game, which is right around the league average.

    Digging deeper and understanding why they're giving up so many points paints an entirely different picture. Using the final score to judge the defense is an unfair measure because of the poor field position they are constantly being forced to work with.

    Thanks in large part to an offense that constantly gives the ball away, the Jets put their defense at a disadvantage before they even step on the field.

    With 12 turnovers, opposing offenses are taking over in prime field position and don't have very far to travel before reaching the end zone.

    On a given drive, the Jets defense is at a near six-yard disadvantage compared to the league average.

    Last week, Geno Smith threw two interceptions and fumbled twice. Three of Smith's four turnovers led to scoring drives for the Tennessee Titans where Tennessee only had to go 18 yards, 26 yards, and 46 yards, respectively.

    The defense was continuously backed into a corner and, in all, the Titans scored 28 of the team's 38 points off of turnovers.

    If Smith and his offense can learn to limit their mistakes, they will become the beneficiary of prime field position themselves.

    No team allows shorter drives than the Jets. They rank first in fewest plays per drive, fewest yards allowed per drive, and have given up less first downs than any team that has played four games.

    ProFootballFocus.com, a website that specializes in advanced statistics, ranks defensive tackle Damon Harrison and rookie defensive end Sheldon Richardson as two of the best in all of football at stopping the run. The strong play of Harrison and Richardson has contributed to a defense that ranks second in yards allowed per game.

    For the most part, the defense is doing their job when called upon. An area where the team could use some improvement is forcing turnovers.

    With just one interception and one recovered fumble on the season, only the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are yet to force a turnover, have done a worse job on takeaways.

    As previously illustrated, forcing more turnovers can have a big impact on putting the offense in better scoring position, and to their detriment, the Jets haven't done that.

    If the defense can get some help on the other side of the ball, the number of points allowed will drop and the number of wins will go up.

    Gang Green has a very impressive defensive unit. It just requires looking at the right numbers and putting things in perspective to see just how good they've been.