It’s been almost two months since the Jets faced the defending Super Bowl champions, and Tom Brady and the Patriots look just as dominant, Todd Bowles said.
“Not much different,” he said with a chuckle during a Monday conference call. “They’re winning. They’re beating everybody. They’re finding different ways to do it.”
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In the run-up to their Oct. 25 meeting in Foxborough, which the Patriots won, 30-23, the Jets repeatedly referred to it as just “another game.” But now their season is on the line. The Jets (9-5) will be eliminated from playoff contention if they lose and the Chiefs, Steelers and Broncos win. At this point, they could really use divine intervention.
“You’ve got to win the last two games and then just hope for the best,” Bowles said. “We don’t control our own destiny. We can just control the two teams that we play. So we’re just going to try to win those two games and make positive steps going forward.’’
Speaking of making the playoffs, Bowles said, “If the football gods deem that we’re worthy somehow, and we win these two games — maybe we will, maybe we won’t. But you can’t worry about it because you can’t control it.”
Although the Jets, Chiefs and Steelers are 9-5, Pittsburgh jumped ahead of the Jets in the AFC wild-card race after Sunday’s comeback victory over the Broncos (10-4). The Steelers own the common-opponents tiebreaker against the Jets. But if the Jets win twice and the Chiefs wind up winning the AFC West, the Jets could get in as a wild card because they own the tiebreaker over Denver.
Bowles didn’t see Sunday’s slate of games because he and his staff were busy breaking down tape of their 19-16 road win over the Cowboys on Saturday night and preparing for New England.
The Patriots (11-2) no longer are undefeated, but Brady still is “a great quarterback,” Bowles noted. The Jets, however, may have changed for the better. “We’ve grown some,” he said. “We’re on our way just getting better each week. I think the guys are trusting each other more and they just play for each other a lot more now.”
Sunday’s game now is the most important of their season, but Bowles wouldn’t call it the biggest of his career. “It’s the biggest game this week, because it’s the only game this week,” he said. “Hopefully, I have a long career and have bigger ones to go over, so I don’t worry about that.”
Notes & quotes: X-rays of LB David Harris’ lower back were negative, Bowles said. He is day-to-day, as are CB Dee Milliner (strained hamstring) and TE Kellen Davis (sore back) . . . Sheldon Richardson’s Missouri court case has been continued again, until Jan. 25, according to The Associated Press. The defensive tackle, who was arrested July 14 after a high-speed chase with police, is facing five misdemeanor charges . . . Players will practice Wednesday and Thursday but can spend Christmas morning with their families before coming to the facility at noon . . . Bowles had little reaction to the Odell Beckham Jr.-Josh Norman antics from Sunday’s Panthers-Giants game: “Not my fish to fry.”