CINCINNATI - Darrelle Revis mustered a smile as he pondered the Jets' next stop on their seasonlong roller-coaster ride.
"It's been an up-and-down season, and for all we went through and to be in the playoffs, it's crazy, it's crazy," Revis said. "The last two years, I was home at this time . . . We are trying to not focus on how we got in or what our record is or what the other person's record is. Playoffs, everybody is 0-0. Right now, we have a goal that we want to get to."
What the Jets (9-7) hope turns out to be a lengthy postseason run begins at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium when they take on the Bengals in an AFC wild-card matchup. The Jets are making their first playoff appearance since the 2006 season, when they lost to the Patriots in the opening round.
The Jets pasted Cincinnati, 37-0, last Sunday to cement their spot in the playoffs, and although the Bengals (10-6) rested leading rusher Cedric Benson and a couple of key defensive players, Cincinnati was thoroughly outplayed. But what effect that has on Saturday's game is anyone's guess, really, including Rex Ryan.
"Nobody's been through this," Ryan said. "The fact that it was a lopsided score, we're going right back at it in six days. I guess you'd have to ask them or somebody a lot smarter than me. I can't figure it out. I just hope we go out with the same kind of intensity, and I'm sure we will. Knowing that we're going to get Cincinnati's best shot, knowing that they're going to get ours and see if we're good enough to beat them."
D'Brickashaw Ferguson thought it was always going to be like this when he jumped on board in 2006, only to see three years later just how tough it is to be one of the 12 teams to punch a postseason ticket.
"I went to the playoffs my first year and I didn't really know what it was all about," the Freeport product said. "And then I realized how few and rare of an opportunity this is. So now it's like, I know what chance we have, I know what kind of team we have. And it's too much of an opportunity for us not to take advantage of."
Rookie Shonn Greene said, "Like Rex says, a lot of teams don't get this chance."
Although having a rookie quarterback starting his first playoff game - on the road, no less - isn't ideal, the players are convinced they can get the job done simply because they have two things they believe tilt heavily in their favor. They boast the NFL's top-ranked defense and feature the league's best rushing attack, two things that typically lead to success in football. And they aren't about to deviate from what got them here.
"I think we're a confident team that believes in our formula," Brandon Moore said, "and that's defense, and running the ball and special teams making plays. I just feel that's the overall feeling of the team, just to have that belief and confidence, and just make sure we do the little things and not get beat because you don't know what you are doing."