When looking at any offense across the NFL, four variables have a very high correlation to whether a team wins or loses: turnovers, first down efficiency, red zone efficiency and explosive plays. While it's tough to project out how the New York Jets will fare in the first three categories, it's clear that the team has much more potential for explosive plays this season. Adding Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson to the backfield makes the Jets much more dangerous play in and play out.
Explosive plays don't have to lead to points to have an impact on the game. Gaining chunks of yardage in one shot changes field position, which becomes especially important for a team that expects to lean heavily on its defense once again this season. Shonn Greene did grind out some tough yards and plodded his way to another 1,000-yard rushing season last year, but he wasn't a constant threat to rip off a 40-yard run.With Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson expected carry the ball quite a bit, a sloppy run fit by a defense could easily turn into a tick in the "explosive play" column, if not points on the scoreboard.
A healthy Santonio Holmes would also go a long way towards upping the number of explosive plays from the Jets this season. More looks for Jeremy Kerley on screens and other quick hitters that get him into space should also help, plus any contribution from Stephen Hill in stretching the field vertically.
Technically an explosive play is any play that gains 20 yards or more. A more specific tracker is any rushing play that picks up 12-plus yards and any passing play that gains 16 or more yards. Creating two more explosive plays than your opponent over the course of a game puts your team's chances of winning the game around 80 percent. Last season the Jets were lucky to create two explosive plays in a game total, let alone two more than the opposition. Speed kills, and the Jets didn't have much last year. Now they do.
The other factors will come into play as well, but creating more explosive plays should bode well for the Jets in the win column this season. If they can protect the ball better than they did last season (it would be difficult not to improve in that category), the Jets will be moving forward as an offense in two of the four categories directly tied to winning games. The other two, first down and red zone efficiency, will come down to game-to-game execution.