The Jets were one of the NFL's surprise teams after moving to 5-2 with an October road sweep of the Packers and the Broncos. But a 2-5 stretch, including their current three-game losing streak has HC Robert Saleh's club against the wall with a 7-7 mark and three games remaining.
"In the first half, we made those plays to win the game," Saleh said. "We were taking the ball away. We were closing the door. We were making plays on offense. In this back half of the season, we're getting stuffed on the 1-yard line, we're giving up punt returns, we're not getting the ball on defense, we're not making the plays in the fourth quarter to win."
After the Jets' 20-17 setback to the Lions this past Sunday, Saleh said that his team needs to win out to make the postseason. The Jets will tango with the Jaguars on Thursday night at MetLife Stadium before finishing the regular season on the road at Seattle and at Miami.
"The good news is that we're in these games and putting ourselves in position to win," Saleh said. "We've got to go back and find a way to recapture what we were doing in the first half of the season over the next stretch of games and hopefully extend it. It starts with Jacksonville. Quick turnaround, but we've got to find a way to finish in the fourth quarter."
Winning out would propel the Jets to a 10-7 finish with 7-5 and 3-3 marks in the conference and the AFC East.
The Jets have a must win on Thursday night. Once that result is in, Jets fans can keep their eye on the following results:
Cincinnati (10-4) at New England (7-7): The Patriots enter the weekend as the AFC's No. 8 seed, but they lost in agonizing fashion last Sunday as wideout Jakobi Myers made an ill-fated lateral attempt that landed in the hands of Raiders defender Chandler Jones. Jones straight-armed QB Mac Jones and then had a clear path to the end zone as a game destined for overtime ended up being one of the zaniest finishes in NFL history. Now needing help to reach the postseason, the Patriots have a bear of a closing stretch with home dates against the Bengals (10-4) and the Dolphins (8-6), plus a road date at Buffalo (11-3) to wrap up the regular season. If the Bengals lose out (extremely unlikely), they have a head-to-head win over the Jets but would have a 6-6 mark in the conference.
Las Vegas (6-8) at Pittsburgh (6-8): Interesting matchup between two teams that have improved in the second half. The Raiders, fresh off their "Fail Mary" triumph over the Patriots, are alive but the schedule is daunting. A 9-8 finish would have to include wins over the 49ers and the Chiefs in Weeks 17-18. The Jets already have a win over the Steelers, and Pittsburgh is 2-7 in the AFC. If the Raiders win out, they'd be 9-8 overall and 7-5 in the conference.
Baltimore (9-5) vs. Atlanta (5-9): The Ravens and the Bengals could play for the AFC North title in Cincinnati in Week 18. But the Ravens will find themselves in a tricky spot if they drop either of their next two games — at home vs. the Falcons and the Steelers. If the Edgar Allen Poes lose to Atlanta but beat Pittsburgh, the worst they could finish would be 10-7, 7-5 in the conference and 4-2 in the division. But if the Ravens beat Atlanta and lose to Pittsburgh and Cincy, they'd finish 10-7, 6-6 in the conference and 3-3 in the AFC North.
Houston (1-12-1) at Tennessee (7-7): All of the sudden, the Jaguars are at the Titans' heels in the AFC South. If the Jets defeat the Jaguars on Thursday, Jacksonville will fall to 6-9. But the Titans have lost four in a row, and they host a Texans team that had a late lead over the Cowboys and took the Chiefs to overtime the past two weeks. Tennessee better hold serve at home because its final two weeks features a Thursday night game vs. Dallas and a road date at Jacksonville.
Green Bay (6-8) at Miami (8-6): Can the Jets get to Week 18 and face a win and they're in scenario in South Florida? The 'Fins are on a three-game slide and the Packers are fighting for their playoff lives. This should be a hotly contested affair before the 'Fins visit the Patriots in Week 17 and host the Green & White. The Jets must stay within a game of Miami the next two weeks. Even if they move to a tie at 9-7, they'll need to complete the season sweep in Week 18. There might not be a scenario for the Jets to make the postseason without beating Miami.
L.A. Chargers (8-6) at Indianapolis (4-9-1): What will the Colts have left on Monday night after taking a 33-0 lead in Minnesota and watching the Vikings storm back to complete the largest comeback in NFL history with a 39-36 OT triumph? On paper, Justin Herbert and the Chargers have a favorable close to the season with games against the Rams (4-9) and the Broncos (4-10). Los Angeles has a better conference record (6-4) than the Jets (5-5).
|Seed in AFC||Team||Record|
|2||Kansas City Chiefs||11-3|
|6||Los Angeles Chargers||8-8|
|8||New England Patriots||7-7|
|9||New York Jets||7-7|