The Jets returned from their bye week Monday refreshed and still hopeful of a playoff berth. Mathematically the Jets remain in the playoff picture because they’re just one game out of the No. 6 spot in the AFC.
How realistic that is remains to be seen because four of the next six opponents have winning records, starting with Sunday’s game against Carolina.
Yet the Jets (4-6) are not worried about who they face. They know they must win.
“I think it energizes us more than anything,” quarterback Josh McCown said. “We can’t look back, obviously. Every team that has lost any game this year, across the league, would look and wish they had it back, especially if you are in the AFC. But . . . we’re still in the thick of things here with the last six weeks to play, and we just have to go out and play good football.”
The Jets have missed opportunities to win more games this season. They have blown two double-digit leads and a seven-point fourth-quarter advantage which have led to losses. There have been only two poor performances this season, Week 2 at Oakland, a 45-20 loss, and a Week 10 loss, 15-10 at Tampa Bay.
After winning three straight, the Jets have lost four of their last five games. Their 34-21 victory over the Bills on Nov. 2 was impressive because they did it on a short week. But after 10 days off, the Jets lost the next game, to the Buccaneers when they had a chance to get back to the .500 mark.
“You can’t look at things like that. It will just drain you mentally,” outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “It’s something you don’t want to think about. It’s just so draining on the mind and it will drain you come Sunday . . . What happens, happens, get over it. Turn the page and keep playing.”
Todd Bowles has downplayed any discussions of the playoffs. During his Monday afternoon conference call with reporters, Bowles said the Jets need to win out to control their own destiny.
As it stands the Jets are one of six teams with a 4-6 record so getting out of that log jam seems difficult. The Jets have just one division game left, the regular season finale at New England, and it would appear they need help from other teams to get into contention. The inconsistency of the team has been baffling at times, especially the loss at Tampa Bay, a winnable game considering the Bucs were missing quarterback Jameis Winston (injury) and wide receiver Mike Evans (suspension).
“I think everybody knows we still have a chance at a run for the playoffs right now,” defensive end Leonard Williams said. “The good thing is we played most of our division games already and everybody in our division really hasn’t and so we’re really focusing in on winning the rest of our games and they also have to play each other and knock each other out.”