Darrelle Revis was asked after today's practice if this Jets team has the feel of some other teams he's been on that have gotten hot in December and have gone deep into the playoffs.
He didn't disagree.
"We're playing pretty well right now," the All-Pro cornerback replied. "Especially to win five in a row, that's definitely difficult to do late in the season. We're still up to the challenge, and we have one more challenge this upcoming Sunday."
That's the game at Buffalo that the Jets need to graduate from a 4-12 also-ran to an 11-5 playoff team. And Revis is right. It doesn't happen that often.
How many NFL teams had at least a five-game winning streak going into Week 17 since 2002? Twenty-three of them, and 20 moved on to the postseason, including all 14 since the last team that won five in a row didn't make it, the '06 Titans that finished at 8-8.
And it happened once in each of the previous two seasons, both times in the NFC West, and both times following the Jets' path closely. San Francisco in '13 and Seattle and '14 went from 6-4 to six-game streaks to close their regular seasons. The 49ers lost to the Seahawks in the '13 NFC Championship Game and the 'Hawks lost to the Patriots (masters of the December streak themselves) in last year's Super Bowl.
This is not to say the Jets are on the same championship track. But Revis admitted he was surprised that after rejoining the Jets as a free agent this past March the Green & White got to 10-5 as quickly as they have.
"Guys have been responsive," he said. "We made adjustments in the middle of the season and we focused on what we needed to focus on, and the only words I can probably take out of that is just probably focusing on the details of what we were trying to do as a team."
What will it take to not make Sunday's game against the Bills not too big but just big enough for the Jets to rise to the occasion?
"I just feel we can't beat ourselves," Revis replied. "We had those conversations earlier in the year when we were losing a couple of games in a row, and those were the problems that were coming up, shooting ourselves in the foot, not starting fast. I think we're past that. I think we've grown from then."
And the proof of that could show through the gloom of an overcast, perhaps snowy late Sunday afternoon in Western New York.
Ground Attack Alert?
An alarm bell or two went off regarding the Jets' Thursday injury report and what it might portend for Sunday's ground game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Head coach Todd Bowles said today that RB Chris Ivory (knee) was limited and RT Breno Giacomini (ankle) and RB Bilal Powell (ankle) did not practice for a second straight day.
Bowles admitted there's "a little bit" of concern about his offensive backfield, "but [Stevan] Ridley can play and he's healthy and we'll just go from there. They've been banged up all year so we'll just have to keep rolling."
NYJvsBUF Prep Doesn't Stop on New Year's Eve at 1 Jets Dr.
As for a Giacomini replacement, Bowles said, "We're not going to reveal that at this time in case he doesn't play." On the depth chart, Brent Qvale has put in a handful of plays each game as a blocking tight end and Ben Ijalana has been inactive all season.
But neither Bowles nor Giacomini himself were ruling the big guy out. As Breno said, "If there was a Thursday night game this week, I think I could play. ... I'm day-to-day. I plan on playing."