FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Last season the Jets were one touchdown away from making the playoffs. In a perfect world, a 10-6 record would surely get a team into the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Jets, the odds fell against them leaving the team on the outside looking in on a highly competitive AFC post-season field.
We know how popular the what if game is so lets take a second to reminisce on a hypothetical Jets playoff berth. The Jets would have been a sixth seed with teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots waiting in the fold.
Would the Jets have been able to ride its hot streak to the Super Bowl? Combine the dominant trio of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, along with a top five defense, the Jets would've ran through the gauntlet that is the AFC right? Fans can only wonder.
However, the off-season signing of running back Matt Forte puts the Jets in position to achieve what they didn't last season. I can't remember the last time the Jets had this much offensive firepower on their squad. Not saying that Forte is the next Curtis Martin, but the numbers show that he can be the missing piece for the Jets to become AFC contenders.
Despite a run first mentality, It's safe to say that the passing game was the Jets strong suit last season ranking sixth in the AFC's total passing yards category, while amassing 33 touchdowns. Fitzpatrick was also heavily protected by a strong offensive line. Led by 11-year veteran Nick Mangold, the unit gave up only 22 sacks last season which was second fewest in the league.
The Jets rushing attack had the third most yards in the AFC last season, averaging 4.2 yards per attempt with Chris Ivory leading the way. With Forte currently at the forefront, can he be the same all-purpose back we've grown accustomed to seeing during his tenure with the Chicago Bears?
Forte's numbers dropped in his last three seasons with the Bears. Last season he posted a career low in rushing yards and was hampered by an MCL injury. Despite that underwhelming season, Forte's ability cannot be questioned. Since entering the league in 2008, the two-time Pro Bowler has been a versatile back who can run inside and outside. He's also proven that he can be a receiving threat especially on screen passes.
Forte has the fifth most rushing yards out of any active player in the league, and the fourth most touches out of any player as well. He's also had five seasons where he's finished top 10 in yards from scrimmage, and four seasons in the top 10 in rushing attempts and rushing yards per game.
You could argue that the addition of Forte makes the Jets a formidable threat in the AFC. With a stingy defense, top-flight passing game, and a balanced running game, the sky is the limit for the formidable bunch who are led by a talented head coach in Todd Bowles.
Marcus Reynolds is a staff writer for Jetsinsider.com He can be reached on Twitter (@Marcus_JRNL) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org)