If the NFL season ended today, the Baltimore Ravens would be the No. 6 seed in the AFC. But there is little separation in terms of wild card positioning because the 5-5 Ravens and Bills are followed by six-team group — including the Jets — that have 4-6 marks.
"Even if things hadn't (shook) out the way they did after Sunday, we still would've had the same mentality in taking it one week at a time," said OLB Jordan Jenkins. "I guess it can sort of boost morale, but we were never down going into the bye week because we knew as long as we kept playing well and control what you can control, things might come our way and things might not. But it doesn't change the way we approach the game."
While a .500 team could reach the postseason, the Jets have no business looking ahead. They'll open up a two-game homestand with a visit from the 7-3 Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
"I feel like we can beat any team we line up against. It's just a matter of what New York Jets team shows up," Jenkins said. "The one that played dominantly in every phase of the game or the one that might shine offensively, but not show up defensively and on special teams. If we want to keep winning, we have to find a way to shine in all three phases. Otherwise, chances are slim for us."
Setting the tone for his club, third-year head coach Todd Bowles said the Jets have six one-game seasons remaining.
"Well we have six games to go. We control what we do," he said. "We take them one at a time, and we have to try to win them all."
The challenge immediately on the horizon will be a difficult one as the Panthers have the NFL's second-ranked defense (278 Yds/G) and the league's fifth-ranked scoring "D" (18.0 Pts/G). Veteran QB Josh McCown, set to make his 11th consecutive start, said the Green & White came back a rejuvenated and focused group after the late rest.
"I think one thing that is sometimes not talked about is just the ups and downs, the ebbs and flows (and) the emotional kind of wears of the season," he told reporters on a conference call. "So to have a week off where you catch your breath and mentally and emotionally and spiritually just reset yourself, that's healthy for players. That has been nice — to get away and now we can dig back in and get ready to go. The bye week was great, it was good to get some time away and I think everybody has come back with a renewed energy and focus to go get it done."