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Jets defense best in NFL when it comes to forcing 3 and outs

Say what you want about the Jets inconsistent defense, but it hasn’t been all bad this season.

Through 11 weeks, the Jets actually lead the NFL in 3 and out percentage, forcing a punt after three plays 39.7 percent of the time, according to NFL Matchup on ESPN

Labeling the Jets as a top defense in the NFL is hard given the fact they allow the 12th-most points per game (25.4) and the 15th-most yards per game (361.6). However, the Jets only allow scoring drives a third of the time (eighth in the NFL) and the defense allows just a 33 percent conversion rate on third downs (second). New York is third in the NFL with 54 defended passes.

The secondary is shutting down pass attempts and the rest of the defense is holding offenses back. Despite all of this, the Jets have allowed more than 30 points four times this season and have allowed less than 20 points only three times. Not great at all, but also explainable given the team’s horrid offensive output recently. The Jets defense is on the field far too often, giving teams more opportunities to drive

Three and outs are big morale boosters on defense, but not if the offense immediately gives the ball back. The Jets defense allows the fewest plays per drive in the league (5.3), yet has been involved in the second-most defensive drives (131) and fourth-most plays (697). Even worse, the defense has an average starting field position of 32 yards, third-worst in the NFL, thanks to the ineptitude of the offense. 

Look at the Jets’ Week 9 loss as a perfect example. The defense allowed only 168 yards of offense and didn’t give up a touchdown, yet the team lost by seven points because of terrible offense. Against the Bills in Week 10, the Jets didn’t even have a first down until late in the third quarter. The Jets offense has the second-fewest first downs in the league with a mere 153. The Los Angeles Rams, by comparison, have almost double that. 

Simply put, this means the Jets defense is gassed almost every game since the offense can’t stay on the field. They can only hold opposing teams off for so long before fatigue, exhaustion and frustration set it.

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