The New York Jets may not get the refs on their side, but there’s still one aspect of luck that has helped them out
There may just be data to support the idea that the Jets are cursed or hated by the refs. For the former, anyway, there’s only one data point necessary: Aaron Rodgers’ torn Achilles four snaps into the Jets’ season.
Still, shockingly, there is one area in which the Jets have received more than their fair share of luck this season. It’s not even halfway through the year yet, and things can change in a hurry. This area has helped them win at least one game this year, though, and has kept them in several others.
Opposing field goal kickers forget how to kick vs. the Jets
So far this season, opposing field goal kickers are 16-for-21 against the Jets. The 76.2% conversion rate is the third-worst against any opponent in the NFL.
Lest you think these are exceptionally difficult kicks, field goal probability tells you otherwise. Based on cumulative probabilities on those 21 kick attempts, opponents would have been expected to make 17.9 kicks. The 16 they made represents -1.93 field goals over expected (FGOE), which is the third-worst rate in the NFL.
In other words, opposing kickers have really stunk against the Jets. Here are all five misses.
Week 3: New England rookie kicker Chad Ryland missed two field goals, one from 48 (73.6% probability) and one from 57 (48.4%). The score was 3-0 and 10-3 in favor of the Patriots on each kick. The second one kept the Jets within one score.
Week 6: Eagles kicker Jake Elliott missed a 37-yard field goal against the Jets while leading 14-12 at 8:17 of the fourth quarter. There was a 90.3% probability of making that kick. Although the Jets did not score on their next drive, the two-point differential as opposed to five completely changed the fabric of the Jets’ later attempt to score.
Week 7: Giants kicker Graham Gano missed 47- and 35-yarders against the Jets. They had 75.3% and 91.4% probabilities, respectively. The second kick gave the Jets their only hope, which they capitalized on by driving 58 yards in two plays to set up a game-tying 35-yard field goal. Had Gano hit even one of those field goals, the Jets likely wouldn’t have had a chance to pull off the comeback.
It’s not the first time, either
In 2022, opponents missed 10 field goals against the Jets — the second-most in the NFL. The 81.5% hit rate and -2.06 FGOE against them were both the sixth-worst.
Does this mean anything at all? Not really, because FGOE takes into account field goal distance. The kickers are legitimately missing more kicks than they’re supposed to.
The one fear is that this kind of luck will even out, as turnover, fumble recovery, and penalty luck often do. Still, if it’s better to be lucky than good, at least the Jets do seem to have some luck this year.
Some semblance of it, anyway.
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