The New York Jets have been looking up at the New England Patriots for the past 20 years in the AFC East. Gang Green supporters have been forced to watch the Patriots dominate the NFL, winning six Super Bowls during the tenure of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Even with Brady at the age of 41, the Patriots still secured Super Bowl LIII, defeating the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta by a 13-3 scoreline. Although a past tormentor of the Jets - Rob Gronkowski - has retired, as long as Brady and Belichick remain in place no team in the AFC East will feel confident overhauling New England at the top of the division.
New York have been putting plans in place to make a challenge in the future. Sam Darnold was selected third overall in the 2018 Draft and he proved to be solid in his rookie term. It was not enough to save Todd Bowles from being fired after a 4-12 campaign, but the club hired quarterback guru Adam Gase as the new head coach in the hope of building a rapport between the two men that will last a long time at MetLife Stadium. The club spent big to secure the services of running back Le'Veon Bell during free agency to ease the pressure on Darnold, although there remains a lack of talent in the receiving corps.
The defense is rounding into a potentially dominant unit. Jamal Adams is already a superstar and the signing of CJ Mosley at linebacker has added an All-Pro caliber player in the middle of the defense. All eyes will be on Quinnen Williams in the middle of the defensive line to develop into a force. Williams was a standout at the Alabama Crimson Tide, although it's difficult to project how players will translate their form from the college game to the NFL. Alabama are so blessed with talent they're the leading contenders in the American football odds to win the National Championship in the 2019 season. If Williams lives up to the billing as the third-overall pick in the mold of Ndamukong Suh then the Jets will have three dominant players on all three levels of their defense. Leonard Williams has been impressive on the line, but has been the All-Pro that New York would have hoped for four years into his NFL career.
New England proved in the early years of their success that efficient play on offense is good enough to win the Super Bowl with a solid defense to back them up. Gase and new general manager Joe Douglas have the building blocks in place, but it's up to the players themselves to up the ante. There's no excuse for the Jets not to make a significant improvement on their last campaign. The Miami Dolphins look poised to take a step back in the AFC East amid changes in their organization, while the Buffalo Bills are lacking in star talent. Gase will be targeting eight wins or over in the 2019 season, which may give them momentum for a charge in the future. There's talent beginning to emerge on the team, but they need to deliver next term.