Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Olivia Landis will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: What would a season-ending win over the Patriots say about the Jets?
EA: A win over the Patriots would be a fitting way for the Jets to end the 2020 season. This is a group that stuck together throughout the most turbulent of seasons and found dawn after its darkest hour. It is a testament to every man in the Jets locker room that at 0-13, following a gut-punch of a loss to the Raiders and then a blowout defeat in Seattle, they followed it up with not only a road win at the then 9-4 Rams but they came back home and outclassed a Browns outfit that was 10-4. This was a disappointing season, but the Green & White found a winning recipe down the stretch with a relentless defense and an efficient offense. As we enter Week 17, the Jets are playing better than the Patriots. Neither team is going to the postseason and the Jets are locked into the No. 2 overall spot with their first of two Round 1 picks, but this game remains significant for a club that has battled together and improved its complementary game. The Patriots have been everyone's nemesis in the AFC East for the past two decades, but times have changed as the Bills are division champions and the Dolphins are playoff hopefuls. The Jets have lost their past nine regular-season games at Gillette Stadium and it's time that streak is put to bed as we turn the page to 2021.
EG: A win over the Patriots would continue to show the character in the locker room. Losing 13 straight games to start the season could easily fracture a locker room, which was not the case with the Jets. After beating two playoff-caliber teams in the Rams and Browns in back-to-back weeks, knocking off the kings of the AFC East for the past 20 years would be the icing on the cake. The 6-9 Patriots might not be the team the NFL is used to -- they'll miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008 -- but Foxborough has not been kind to the Jets. They haven't won a game there since 2011 -- the divisional round in the playoffs -- and they haven't won a regular-season game there since '08. While a win or loss won't effect the Jets' draft position, I think a win over their AFC East rival would hold weight. No one gave the then-winless Jets a chance against the Rams after losing 40-3 in Seattle and thought they could become the third team in NFL history to go 0-16. To rattle off three straight to close out what has been the most unique season in the NFL -- and a challenging one for the Jets --would be a good omen for 2021.
RL: A year ago the Jets had their 6-2 second-half that ended with wins over then 8-6 Pittsburgh and playoff-bound Buffalo and we no doubt said then that's a good omen for 2020. Didn't roll that way. But I do believe it's always better to end with Ws than Ls, to set the tone for the coming offseason, preseason and regular season. Some may think it a stretch, but the Jets' 2019 finish may have laid the foundation not for wins, obviously, but at least for the attitude and fortitude to withstand their winless start, stand together all season, and conclude with two (and maybe three) victories. Then there's this. What the Jets are trying to do — win their last three after losing their first 13 — has been done only once before in the NFL since the 1978 season and the start of 16-game schedules. Indianapolis in '86 did the same, and it seemed to have had a salutary effect since the '87 Colts went 9-6 and won the AFC East. That's not a lot of historical precedent to hang your hardhat on, but for the Jets to finish with their first win, then their first home win, then their first division win — over the Patriots at New England, no less — would say that at least the Jets' mindset should be good at the start of 2021.
OL:A season-ending win over the New England Patriots this Sunday would say a great deal about the character and strength of this team. Last week, following the team's second victory of the season over the Browns, defensive linemen Folorunso Fatukasi spoke about the adversity the Jets have faced — going 13 consecutive games without winning is difficult both mentally and physically. The veteran DL noted, however, that this season the team has stuck together. The two victories over talented teams the past couple of weeks is an example of how staying together as a team, even when times get tough, has its benefits. With many adjustments this season (injuries, youth, personnel changes, etc.), the only two options were to either fall apart or see it through; the Jets chose the latter. If the Green & White can win in Foxborough for the final game of the season, the Jets will end the season on a positive note and leave the players with something to build on for the 2021 season.