The start of a three-game season commences Sunday for the Jets. If they defeat the Bills, the Seahawks and the Dolphins in successive weeks, they'll be AFC East champions and will host at least one postseason contest at the Meadowlands.
"We win out — we're in," Damien Woody said today. "That's the bottom line."
Woody, a 10-year veteran right tackle who has two Super Bowl rings from his playing days in New England, says the Jets aren't in panic mode after losses to the Broncos and the 49ers.
"You still have everything in front of you regardless of the fact that we just lost two in a row. There are always going to be ups and downs in a season and there's always going to be adversity," he said. "No one said it was going to be easy, getting this thing done, but we have a bunch of good guys in this locker room and we have a good coaching staff. We know what we're capable of doing."
The Green & White, fresh off a red-eye from the West Coast, fell far short of their expectations Sunday in San Francisco. They didn't handle prosperity well, following a five-game run (including a road sweep of the Patriots and the Titans) with two clunkers.
"Now we have to right the ship, and the only way that it's going to happen is with the guys in this locker room," Woody said. "It's not going to come from anywhere else."
Woody believes everyone on the Jets' roster has to take an introspective look at himself and determine how he can be better.
"All the problems or all the solutions are in this locker room. Each individual guy has to take it upon themselves to go out and make good adjustments that we need to make and improve," he said. "If each guy improves and we go out there and play the brand of football we know that we can play, we'll be fine."
The Jets, joined by the Patriots and the Dolphins, aren't alone in first-place at 8-5, but they have no need to scoreboard-watch. They'll only need help if they don't take care of their own business.
"We just have to do our part. We can't focus on what Miami does or New England. We just have to do our part because if we don't do our part, it doesn't even matter after that," Woody said. "All that's important right now is Buffalo."
After starting the year 5-1, the Bills have lost six of seven and will not make a postseason appearance for the ninth consecutive season. But if the Jets' focus strays from the Bills, the Green & White will lose control of their destiny.
"Nothing else matters if you don't take care of the opponent in front of you," Woody said.