The Jets are struggling right now. Things came to a head on Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. New York lost its fourth game in a row and the fifth of its last six.
This wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill loss, either. Gang Green’s offense looked dead in the water in a 19-3 defeat. Quarterback Zach Wilson did pretty much nothing under center and got benched for Chris Streveler in the process.
With a second-half tailspin in full effect and a 7-8 record to show for it, nobody was thinking about the playoffs heading into the weekend. Heck, not even head coach Robert Saleh was spewing his typical confident positivity on Friday. When asked about the playoffs, he called the idea “far-fetched” and was more focused on finishing the regular season strong.
Well, if they finish their final two games super strong — like, they win both — the Jets could snap the NFL’s longest playoff streak after all. They have other AFC East teams not named the Buffalo Bills to thank for that, too.
For scoreboard-watching Jets fans, the Miami Dolphins-Green Bay Packers Christmas Day matchup was important. If New York wants any hope at reaching the playoffs, Saleh’s squad has to win out. But if the Dolphins won on Sunday, their playoff odds sunk to 57%. If Miami lost, the Jets’ odds jumped to 88%.
If the Jets win out, they have a 70% chance of making the playoffs.
If Miami beats Green Bay today, that drops to 57%.
If Green Bay beats Miami today, that jumps to 88%.
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) December 25, 2022
The Packers won 26-20, meaning the Jets mostly control their playoff destiny, which is astonishing. If they win out and the New England Patriots lose once, Gang Green is in. Yes, seriously.
What’s really telling is that all non-Bills teams in the AFC East are going through a similar second-half spiral. Sure, the Jets have lost four in a row, but so have the Dolphins. And the Patriots have dropped four of their last five.
It literally feels like nobody wants to snag a playoff spot. However, this could play right into the Jets’ favor. The next hurdle? Getting quarterback Mike White and those ribs of his cleared to play.
Who knows if he’s actually the quarterback of the future? And sure, he faced some softer defenses in his three starts in place of Wilson. But it’s not like Wilson didn’t have a chance to make a statement in advantageous matchups the last two weeks, either. At this point, White gives the Jets a better chance of winning. The offense just moves the ball better with him under center.
With the playoffs not at all far-fetched anymore, New York needs to pull out all the stops. It won’t be easy — both of the squad’s final two games are on the road (Seattle and Miami). But after what happened on Thursday, there’s no way the Jets can seriously trot Wilson out there by choice.