On to Tennessee.
Now that the Jets have claimed MetLife Stadium as their house, Todd Bowles’ team has turned its focus to the next challenge: Marcus Mariota and the Titans.
“We’ve got to go back to work now,” said Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was nominated for the FedEx Air Player of the Week award after throwing a season-high 390 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s 23-20 overtime win over the Giants.
“As we continue to win games, the next one becomes that much more important . . . We’re shifting our focus to Tennessee and just figuring out the best way we can get prepared for them.”
The Jets, who came back from a 10-point deficit to defeat the Giants, are still in the thick of the AFC wild-card hunt after improving to 7-5. But while Bowles doesn’t scoreboard-watch, he’s well aware of the position his team is in.
“You know where you’re at,” the first-year head coach said. “If you don’t win your games, you’re not going to be there long.
“We control our own destiny. We understand that we have to win out to try to get in there. We’re just going to take it as that. We can’t look at anybody else.”
The Jets, however, aren’t actually in full control. They’re currently in a tightly packed race with the Chiefs, Steelers, Texans and Rex Ryan’s Bills for two wild-card playoff spots. Even if the Jets win out, they’d lose the tiebreakers with the Chiefs (7-5) and Steelers (7-5), should both Kansas City and Pittsburgh win their remaining games. The Jets also dropped their first meeting with Buffalo on Nov. 12 and lost to Houston the following week.
That means their next four games are critical — especially their Week 16 matchup with New England at MetLife Stadium and their season finale at Buffalo.
But if the Jets don’t beat the Titans (3-9) on Sunday, all of this is moot and the feel-good vibes at 1 Jets Drive will dissipate.
“Yeah, we just keep the same mantra,” said Fitzpatrick, who had a 107.9 rating against the Giants. “We’ll put everything we have into the next opponent and hopefully we’ll win another one this weekend.”
Sunday’s comeback win was an emotional one for Bowles, and particularly Jets owner Woody Johnson, who had never defeated the Giants in the regular season as an owner. But by Monday, Bowles had turned his attention to stopping Mariota, the second overall pick in this year’s draft.
“It’s December. You can’t afford to slip,” Bowles said. “We just have to take it one game at a time and focus on Tennessee and get ready for them.”