The New York Jets ended a three-game losing streak with Sunday's 27-13 road win over the St. Louis Rams. While the victory is a stopgap on a—so far—disappointing season, the question is whether or not it will turn the tide on how Rex Ryan is viewed as the team's head coach beyond 2012.
Whether the blame should be centered on the inconsistent play of quarterback Mark Sanchez, the play-calling of offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, general manager Mike Tannenbaum's inability to field a complete roster or said players not executing on the field, the fact that Ryan is the face of the Jets means that he is the natural scapegoat.
While the offseason acquisition of Tim Tebow falls squarely on Tannenbaum's shoulders, it is Ryan's sporadic inclusion of Tebow—or exclusion, depending on your view—that has added fuel to the fire.
However, regardless of the instability of this team within their own ranks, the Jets (4-6) only sit two games out of the AFC playoff picture. And with a closing schedule that includes only one team currently with a winning record, Ryan and the Jets have a chance to put the first half of their season in the rear-view mirror.
Next week's home game with the New England Patriots will be very integral in that happening.
The Jets played the Patriots into overtime on the road back in Week 7; they would eventually lose 29-26.
While another loss against New England would more than likely signal the end of the Jets' postseason hopes, a win would certainly renew faith in Ryan's capacity to lead this team.
If the Jets plan on doing just that, Sunday's win over the Rams would be looked at as the turning point.
If not, however, Sunday's victory will be viewed as one the Jets should have won—something that hasn't happened recently enough for Ryan and Co.