In this final Inside the Numbers installment for the 2017 season, we'll touch on the NFL playoffs.
The Jets aren't in the AFC postseason grid, that's no secret. But one of the reasons that owner Christopher Johnson, GM Mike Maccagnan, head coach Todd Bowles and the players are so bullish on 2018 is because of how they played at their best against some of their better opponents this season.
Specifically, the Jets scored wins over three of this year's playoff teams — Jacksonville in Week 4, Buffalo in Week 9, and Kansas City in Week 13.
This is only the third season in the last 16 that the Jets posted three wins over playoff teams, joining the 2008 and '09 teams.
These games couldn't overcome the Green & White's issues with penalties, pass rush, and starting and finishing games. The Bills and Chiefs wins were, after all, the Jets' only W's in their last 11 games, and as Johnson told reporters this week, "Look, we were a 5-11 team. I'm not happy about that."
But Johnson also said he senses something special happening. "I think most of us see it. I'm in that locker room with them," he said. "There's so much to look forward to with this core we have. We have a chance to build on that."
One more playoff note: Buffalo, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Minnesota, Carolina and the L.A. Rams all didn't make the playoffs in '16 but qualified this year. The Jets will vie for that distinction next year.
And with that, some statistical highlights from those three aforementioned wins this year:
Jets 23, Jaguars 20 (OT), MetLife Stadium, Oct. 1The Jaguars were starting to back up some of the preseason hype with a 2-1 start. But the Jets had just beaten the Dolphins at home and were feeling it this day, especially with a 256-yard running attack that turned out to be the most rush yards in the season for the Jets and the fifth-most by any NFL team so far this year. Leading the way: Bilal Powell, who totaled career highs of 163 rush yards and 190 scrimmage yards and scored the Jets' opening touchdown on a career-long 75-yard burst.
The Jets opened a 20-10 lead through three quarters but the Jags tied it to send it to overtime, where the Green & White specialists came through. Lachlan Edwards launched a 70-yard punt — one of five 70-yarders in the league this year — then the Jets converted the great field position into Chandler Catanzaro's first huge kick of the campaign, his game-winning 41-yard field goal with 28 seconds left in the extra period.
Jets 34, Bills 21, MetLife Stadium, Nov. 2The Jets had lost three straight one-score games and needed a Thursday night win in the worst way over their rivals from Western New York, who came in at 5-2. They got it with one of their most muscular defensive showings of 2017 as they opened a 34-7 lead with six minutes to play.
The Jets' seven sacks were easily their most in a game for the season, with Jordan Jenkins leading the way with two sacks and the team's only strip sack of the season. Matt Forte had probably his best game of the year with 96 YFS and his fourth two-TD game as a Jet.
Jets 38, Chiefs 31, MetLife Stadium, Dec. 3KC and the Jets were both on five-of-six losing skids and seeking lost mojos. The Jets found theirs in this imperfect but wildly entertaining shootout. Their 38 points was their most on the year and the most given up by the Chiefs. The Jets' 488 total yards were their second-most in a home game since 2000, the teams' 962 combined yards the most in any Jets game since the 1998 opener at San Francisco (1,022).
The Chiefs' Alex Smith threw two TDs to TE Travis Kelce in the game's first 4:24, two 40-yards-plus TD bombs to Tyreek Hill in the second half, and rambled on a 70-yard scramble — the longest run by an opposing QB in Jets history. But the star of the game was the Jets' Josh McCown, who passed for 331 yards, either threw or ran for 12 of the Jets' 13 third-down conversions, and set the franchise mark for most 1-yard TD runs by a QB with his third and fourth of the year, the final one putting the Jets ahead for good with 2:15 to play.