For the Jets today at MetLife Stadium, it is about beating their longtime AFL/AFC East rivals the Dolphins and closing this painful season with a robust final quarter. And yet at the same time it's not about that.
"Yeah, it builds momentum to an extent," QB Sam Darnold said about such as season-closing run after the Jets went 4-8 in the first 12 games. "But I think for us as a team, it's about winning games, that's the ultimate goal. So we want to win games. But it really does start one week at a time. If we just win this game then we'll just attack the next week after that and I think that's really our team's mindset right now."
One reason for taking them one by one instead of four to get to the end of the schedule is due to the Jets' injury picture. At times it has gotten slightly better, and then for this game, it has gotten bleaker, predominantly in the secondary, where safety and defensive leader Jamal Adams (ankle), nickel corner Brian Poole (concussion) and four-game starting CB Arthur Maulet (calf) are out for this rematch with the 'Fins. For Adams, this will be his first absence after starting his Jets career with 44 straight starts.
With those injuries plus backup S/special-teamer Matthias Farley (rib/ankle), it'll be all hands on deck for coach Adam Gase, D-coordinator Gregg Williams, DBs coach Dennard Wilson. The choices to move into S alongside Marcus Maye are Blake Countess and Bennett Jackson, as well as versatile DB Darryl Roberts. At corner, rookie Bless Austin will be joined either by recent signee Maurice Canady, Nate Hairston and Kyron Brown.
See the Green and White Arriving for the Week 14 Matchup
On offense, the Jets also took a hit when they announced Saturday that starting tailback Le'Veon Bell will not play due to illness, which kept him out of practices beginning Thursday. But the Jets do have a good contingent of backs to fall back on with Bilal Powell, Ty Montgomery and Josh Adams.
Combined with Darnold's targets of WRs Robby Anderson, Demaryius Thomas and Jamison Crowder plus TE Ryan Griffin and some seeming injury stability on the offensive line, the offense may be able to match scores with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (the Jets' former starter in 2015 and '16, of course), WR DeVante Parker and the rest of the Dolphins.
If so, a revenge win at home after the Jets fell to the then-winless Dolphins at Miami by 26-18 a little over a month ago is possible. If not, the Jets will have to find a way to limp into their final three games of 2019, beginning at Baltimore for their Thursday night matchup with the brawny Ravens.
The Jets' complete seven-man inactive list today:
- CB Arthur Maulet
- RB Le'Veon Bell
- S Jamal Adams
- CB Brian Poole
- LB Paul Worrilow
- S Matthias Farley
- T Chuma Edoga
And Miami's inactives:
- CB Linden Stephens
- G Shaq Calhoun
- C/G Evan Brown
- WR Trevor Davis
- DT Zach Seiler
- DE Taco Charlton
- LB Trent Harris
Can the Jets get a subliminal lift from wearing their new Stealth Black uniforms (with green and white accents) for today's game against the Dolphins? It's their third game in black jerseys and black pants this season, after a primetime loss to Cleveland in Game 2 was followed by a 34-27 win over the Giants in Game 9 four weeks ago. In contrast, the Dolphins are wearing their white jerseys and pants with aqua and coral numbers and trim.
Craig Wrolstad is refereeing his seventh Jets game since 2014. The Jets won the first five with Wrolstad presiding, including the 2014 opener against the Raiders, the 2015 London game over the Dolphins and the 2016 road overtime win over the 49ers, when Bilal Powell had the best road performance of his nine-year Jets career, 145 yards and two touchdowns, including the gamewinner, on 29 carries plus 34 yards on five catches.