The wet day of rain and snow in Western New York and the tear or two that fans may have wiped from their eyes after the 20-12 loss to the Bills did not dampen the Jets' enthusiasm for what may lie ahead for them the rest of this regular season — and yes, perhaps even in the playoffs.
The head coach said so.
"Nothing's guaranteed, obviously," Robert Saleh said in his postgame news conference, not channeling his inner Broadway Joe, "but I've just go much faith in that locker room, in the coaching staff, in everybody that's involved day to day. I know we've got four big-time opponents coming up. Detroit, they're playing frickin' damn good football. But I've just got faith in my group."
Faith to make the playoffs, Coach?
"I think our team is good enough. Obviously, it's week to week. But we've got a good football team."
The players have talked confidently in general as their season reached an initial high point when they beat the Bills at home in November to improve to 6-3 heading into their bye. But now that they've lost three of four to fall back to 7-6, they're even more quietly confident.
"I know the dudes we've got in here," rookie WR Garrett Wilson said. "We go about our business the right way. We left it on the field today and we came up short, but we feel like we've got a great squad. We're going to be in position to win games. But we've got to finish. This week we're going to put the work in and make sure we start finishing games the way we should and starting games the way we should as well."
"In this league, that's all you need is a team that believes they have a chance and are willing to go out and execute that way," veteran DL Sheldon Rankins said. "And I feel like we're the team to do that."
And all the vets and rooks on the roster share the same approach to getting the job done on the field, even if, in Wilson's words, they might come up short.
"That's the standard anytime you're out there," said rookie Jermaine Johnson's whose big play in the fourth quarter was the second blocked-punt safety in Jets franchise history and the first since Paul Crane did the same at the Houston Oilers in 1968. "It's the standard for myself and the standard we all hold each other to: Don't be a non-factor when you're out there. When you have an opportunity, make the most of it."
The playoff calculus won't be clear for a few more weeks. What the Jets know now is that barring a 4-0 finish and an 0-4 collapse by Buffalo, they will not finish ahead of the Bills and are not winning the AFC East title. They have their final two home games of the year coming up in the next 10 days, Detroit on Sunday followed by Jacksonville on Thursday night.
Those teams' combined record seems a manageable 11-15, but both are coming off solid Sunday victories, the Lions by 34-23 over the Vikings and the Jaguars by 36-22 at the Titans. Then the regular season wraps up with road games at always tough Seattle and against a Dolphins team at Miami that may be in the same mood as the Bills were Sunday, wanting to even the score against the Jets, who thumped them at home by 40-17 in Week 5.
In the NFL's new 17-game scheduling, 10-7 probably will get you into the postseason and 9-8 probably won't. But plenty of other developments remain to sort themselves out before the Jets can clinch a berth or be eliminated.
Yet as Saleh suggested in so many words, his team has it in them to clinch, and perhaps also to take the short hop from Newark Liberty to Buffalo Niagara International for a "return return" engagement with the Bills next month.
"Obviously, I love our guys. They fight their tails off," Saleh said. "I think I speak for everyone in that we missed an opp. ... We're going to see these guys again. I just think we are."
See the best images from the Week 14 matchup between the Jets and Bills in Buffalo.