The Jets are going from Duck hunting to hunting Buffalo.
Jamal Adams said the Jets are treating Sunday’s finale against the host Bills like a playoff game — the same thing he said last week before the Jets’ defense beat up on Steelers quarterbacks Delvin “Duck” Hodges and Mason Rudolph.
The Bills are locked into the fifth seed in the AFC, but coach Sean McDermott said they would play most of their regulars on Sunday. Quarterback Josh Allen will start, but backup Matt Barkley also will play.
“We’re coming after them,” Adams said during a conference call Tuesday afternoon. “We’re hunting, man. At the end of the day, it’s a playoff game for us. We hear they’re going to start the starters. That’s good. We’re looking forward to the matchup. I’ll tell you that.”
The Jets opened the season against Buffalo and led 16-0 before allowing 17 unanswered points – 14 coming in the fourth quarter after inside linebacker C.J. Mosley left with groin injury.
That set the tone for the season for both teams.
Mosley has played just one game since, and the Jets, who lost Sam Darnold to mono for the next three games, dropped seven of their first eight games. The Bills showed resiliency, which has helped them to a 10-5 record.
The Jets have shown they can battle back as well, albeit a little too late. They have won five of their last seven games and want nothing more than to end the season strong and with another victory.
“It’s important, man,” Adams said. “That’s our goal. We’re treating this game as a playoff game. This our mindset going into it. We’re excited that they’re playing their starters. I can tell you that. We’re going to be out there hunting.”
McDermott wasn’t clear on how much Allen would play, but Barkley hurt the Jets last season in Week 10 after essentially being signed off the street. He threw two touchdowns and led the Bills to a 41-10 win at MetLife that nearly got Todd Bowles fired.
But the Jets are a far different team with a much better defense.
The Jets relished in the fact that they beat Pittsburgh on Sunday in a 16-10 defensive struggle and delivered a big blow to the Steelers’ playoff chances. They can’t do anything to change the Bills’ postseason fate, but their approach is the same.
“Our mindset, our focus isn’t going to change,” safety Marcus Maye said. “We still have a job to do. Even though it’s the last game of the season and those guys have clinched a playoff spot already, we know it’s a divisional game. It will be something good for us to go into the offseason.”
The Jets had a walkthrough on Tuesday rather than a full practice, but had they practiced, Adams would have been listed as limited. Adams made it clear he was playing Sunday, though.
Adam Gase said that Adams “didn’t have a setback or anything.” They’re just being cautious after Adams returned from a two-game absence to play Pittsburgh.
“I’m out there battling,” Adams said. “I feel good. I’ll be out there Sunday for a great matchup.”
Adams said it was a little bit of a struggle against the Steelers because of his ankle, but Gase felt Adams made a big impact in the victory.
“From my angle, I thought he played really well,” Gase said. “Obviously, his standards are extremely high, his personal standards. He probably didn't feel great. That's probably why he felt that way after the game, but he probably feels better after going back, watching (the film), kind of seeing how he played and the things that he was able to do.
“Him being out there, that changes a lot of things not only for us schematically, but just the attitude of our defense. He's the heart and soul of that thing. Guys elevate their play when he's out there.”
If the Jets practiced, Alex Lewis (ankle), Tom Compton (calf) and Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) would not have participated. Kelvin Beachum (ankles), Henry Anderson (shoulder) and Steve McLendon (knee/hip) were considered limited.