Dec 9, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates sacking Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (not pictured) in the third quarter of their game at EverBank Field. The New York Jets beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Power Rankings countdown: 19. New York Jets

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2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown

19.  New York Jets (AFC East)

2013 Record:  8-8

Head coach:  Rex Ryan - Ryan rebounded from a 6-10 season in 2012 to an 8-8 record last season.  It wasn’t enough to get the Jets to the playoffs, but it was enough to save Ryan’s job.  And now he must build on last year, as another losing season will get him right back on the hot seat, and could cost him his job.

Best offensive player:  Nick Mangold, center - The Jets have signed running back Chris Johnson, but I’m going with Mangold.  He is consistently one of the top centers in the NFL.  He’s a four time pro bowler including last season.  Mangold is also a great pass blocker and the leader of the Jets offensive line.

Best defensive player:  Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive end - Wilkerson has improved in each of his three seasons with the Jets.  He led the team last season with 10.5 sacks, and was selected to the pro bowl.  His size and athleticism makes him extremely hard to block, both against the run and when he rushes the passer.

Rising Star:  Sheldon Richardson, defensive end - Richardson had an outstanding rookie season which led him to being named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.  He had 78 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2013, and he combines with Muhammad Wilkerson to give the Jets one of the most formidable defensive end tandems in the league.

Best new addition:  Eric Decker, wide receiver - The Jets have gone a while without having a true number one receiver.  Decker may not be a true number one receiver, but he’s the closest thing the Jets have to one in a while, and he should give quarterback Geno Smith or Michael Vick a reliable target this season.

Biggest offseason loss: Antonio Cromartie, cornerback - Cromartie didn’t have his best season last year but he was still the Jets number one cornerback.  And now that he’s signed with the Arizona Cardinals the Jets must try to find an adequate replacement, and that might be easier said than done.

Biggest strength:  The Jets biggest strength is their defensive line.  Defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson form one of the best tandems in the NFL, and defensive tackle Damon Harrison had a good first season as a starter and has a chance to be really good.  Also linebacker Quinton Coples plays defensive end at times on passing downs.          NFL Power Rankings

Biggest weakness:  The Jets biggest weakness is at quarterback.  Geno Smith had some good moments but mostly struggled during his rookie season.  The Jets playoff hopes may depend on his development in his second season.  They also signed Michael Vick, who may end up starting should Smith falter, but Vick my have already seen his better days.    2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown

32. Houston Texans

31. Cleveland Browns

30.  Minnesota Vikings

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

28. Oakland Raiders

27.  Washington Redskins

26.  Atlanta Falcons

25.  Buffalo Bills

24.  Tennessee Titans

23.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers

22.  Detroit Lions

21.  Miami Dolphins

20.  St. Louis Rams

 

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