T he Cincinnati Bengals have their first win. They weren’t at their best in a 22-6 victory over the New York Jets, but a win is a win and they are no longer the sole team sitting with a duck egg in the W column.
But Bengals head coach Zac Taylor isn’t under anywhere near the same amount of pressure as Jets counterpart Adam Gase.
Gase has a 4-8 record as Jets head coach after moving from the Miami Dolphins, where he had 23 wins against 27 losses, which of course doesn’t look good. If you ask Jets fans, they will also tell you that the team seems weak and isn’t even sure about how the coach wants them to play.
The Jets have had losses to poor teams, allowing the Dolphins and Bengals to win their first games of the season against them, as well as five games without scoring a touchdown.
So here’s the thing. Gase isn’t the problem. That statement might enrage Jets fans but the problem is far, far deeper. I don’t even think it’s fair to blame Gase for the poor showing this year.
He has been in the job since January and, while he did have an off-season and huge budget to mould and build his team, he did it sensibly.
Gase committed to a stable and reliable running back in LeVeon Bell and, while Bell hasn’t been up to his previous standard, he is of course only just back from a year’s break.
Gase hasn’t even had one draft to recruit from as previous general manager Mike Maccagnan took control of the draft room in April.
That was no surprise either as the Jets have been awful in the draft over the last decade. Just look back at the picks they have made, and you can see how Gase ended up with so much salary-cap space. The Gang Green have drafted so badly that second contracts never materialised for many of their picks.
If you look at the Jets’ roster today, they have only eight players who they drafted on their second contracts. That’s even more astounding when you consider that’s out of a total of 43 players chosen.
When you look at the players picked, the Jets seem to have been in search of defensive greatness, with only one first-round offensive pick in ten years.
So while Jets fans complain that they want a new coach, maybe they should stop, breathe and take a look. The organisation is a mess but, hopefully, with a little time, Gase and new general manager Joe Douglas could yet save the sinking ship.
The two top seeds in the league lost this weekend, with New England Patriots falling 28-22 to the Houston Texans despite staging a late comeback. That, combined with the Baltimore’s win over San Francisco, means the Ravens take the No 1 spot in the AFC. The Ravens took on the Niners in an enthralling battle which was eventually won 20-17 with a field goal as time expired.
On Thursday in the Thanksgiving games, the Chicago Bears heaped more pain on the Detroit Lions as they overcame a terrible first quarter to sneak a 24-20 win and keep them on the fringes of the wild card race.
Buffalo controlled their game against the Cowboys, winning 26-15 to keep the pressure on the Patriots in the AFC East. The loss still leaves the Cowboys on top of the NFC East, which must be the worst division in the NFL.
The final Thursday night game saw the New Orleans Saints secure the first spot in the play-offs as they won 26-20 over the Atlanta Falcons. On Sunday, Tennessee kept themselves in touch with the Texans with a 31-17 win over AFC South rivals the Indianapolis Colts.
The loss for Indianapolis means it will now be an uphill task for them to qualify for the play-offs.
In the AFC West, Oakland knew a win over Kansas would put them in the driving seat for the division but three quarters without scoring ended any hope for the Raiders. The Chiefs now have a two-game lead after their 40-9 win.
Miami continued their resurgence as they came from behind to beat Philadelphia 37-31, while the LA Rams and Green Bay each won, 34-7 over the Cardinals and 31-13 over the New York Giants, respectively.