We have all heard the saying “Defense wins you the Super Bowl” and in the past few years the AFC East has followed that philosophy through the draft and free agent acquisitions. In 2012 the Patriots drafted defensive end (Chandler Jones 21st. pick) and a line backer ( Dont’a Hightower 25th) both of which have been stellar with New England. The Bills acquired defensive end Allen Branch from the Seattle Seahawks in April of this year, in 2011 they drafted Marcell Dareus (DT 3rd round) but the most significant move came from the signing of Mario Williams in 2012 for $100 million. The Dolphins moved up the draft this season on a trade with the Oakland Raiders and took Defensive End Dion Jordan and surprised everyone, the Dolphins also upgraded it’s speed with the signings of Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe in the pre-season.
The Jets meanwhile seem do have done the most through the draft without any big free agent signings other than the 2008 acquisition of Calvin Pace from the Arizona Cardinals. Muhammad Wilkerson (1st. Rd Pick 2011), Damon Harrison (UFA 2012), Sheldon Richardson (1st. Rd 2013), Demario Davis (3rd Rd 2012) all starters this year. Add those first and second year players to the likes of Quinton Coples, David Harris, Sheldon Richardson and you have one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL and the best in the AFC East.
Combined, the New York Jets defensive line has accumulated 227 tackles, 20 sacks and 1 interception. 6th in yards allowed and 1st in rushing yards allowed makes the Jets a tough opponent to go up against. Even though they land in the middle of the pack in passing yards allowed at 15th, this front seven bring enough pressure on quarterbacks making it the most well-rounded unit in the NFL. Statistically, no one else compares – certainly not in the AFC East.
|Adj. sack rate (FO)
|Adj. line yards (FO)
|Power success % (FO)
With a young set of players like these, one can stack the Jets defensive talent next to anyone in the NFL and the result will always be – Advantage: Jets. The bold determination, brashness and athleticism of this line have football people talking. After seven games, the unit has become a formidable foe in 2013 – a lesson future Hall of Famer Tom Brady learned the hard way in Weeks 2 and 7. This is just the beginning for the Jets, with the better than expected play of Geno Smith and Running Back Bilal Powell a bright future for this team seem inevitable and the AFC East better start taking notice and begin plans to build tougher offensive lines since they will face this front seven twice a year from here on out.
By Sergio Peralta