Jets fans are not having a Merry Christmas Eve Eve. That was bound to happen after Gang Green fell well short in its Week 16 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It was a must-win scenario for New York, who needed to win out to have a shot at the playoffs. Instead, quarterback Zach Wilson looked terrible and got benched as the Jets’ offense never showed up in a 19-3 loss.
The 2022 season has been a year of memorable soundbites from head coach Robert Saleh. After a Week 1 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, he declared the Jets were “taking receipts” from their doubters. Upon losing a Week 14 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, Saleh said the Jets would see them again, implying they’d meet in the playoffs.
But after yet another loss, this one coming on Thursday Night Football, the head coach sounds resigned to New York’s ultimate fate:
Saleh: "Thinking playoffs is farfetched." #Jets
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) December 23, 2022
It’s even more unfortunate for the Jets upon seeing how each half of their season has transpired. After beating Buffalo at home in Week 9, they went into their bye week with an impressive 6-3 record. These first nine games included a four-game winning streak and victories in five of six opportunities.
The Jets’ playoff hopes have evaporated thanks to a second-half performance that’s been as bad as the first-half performance had been good. Thursday’s loss is New York’s fourth in a row, and fifth in the squad’s last six games.
They’ve completely erased that impressive start. At 7-8, Gang Green is under .500 for the first time since Week 3.
Instead of looking ahead to the playoffs, Saleh and his coaching staff are just focused on finishing the regular season strong. They’ll be headed to Seattle to play the Seahawks in Week 17, but who will be starting under center? Maybe Mike White will be cleared to play. Or, maybe New York will give Wilson another shot after completing 9-of-18 passes for 92 yards against the Jags.
The Jets still do have something to play for, though. If they can register one more victory, it’ll be their most in a season since 2015. If they can finish with a winning record, it’d also be the first time they’ve done that since 2015, when New York went 10-6.
It’ll definitely be a step in the right direction if either of these things can be achieved. However, that won’t take away the disappointment from what could’ve been based on where they were just a few weeks ago.