Jets ready to take care of business, extend playoff hopes to final week
The Jets can’t go winless in Seattle.
A loss to the Seahawks on Sunday would render the Jets’ Week 18 game in Miami meaningless and extend the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 12 years.
The Jets (7-8) have to win their remaining two games and New England (7-8) has to lose or tie one of its last two (at home vs. Miami, at Buffalo). You knew Bill Belichick would have a say in whether the Jets finally ended that postseason drought.
“We need to win. That’s all that matters,” Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said. “It doesn’t matter if somebody misses a field goal, somebody trips on their shoelace. It doesn’t matter if we don’t win. For us the focus is on taking care of business this week and then following it up with taking care of business next week. The rest will play itself out.”
- The Jets must win both of their remaining games — at Seattle on Sunday, then at Miami on Jan. 8.
- New England must lose or tie in at least one of its final two games (Sunday vs. Miami, at Buffalo on Jan. 8).
- If the Dolphins and Jets both win this weekend, it would set up a playoff play-in game between the two in Miami on Jan. 8. A win by the Jets would give them the series sweep and the head-to-head tiebreaker. -- Nick Klopsis
If the Jets and Dolphins (8-7) win Sunday, next week will be a winner-take-wild-card game in Miami.
The Jets put themselves in this position. They were 6-3 at their bye week and 7-4 heading into December, still in control of their own destiny, but then lost four straight games.
Thanks to help from around the NFL, though, the Jets still could have a Happy New Year. For that to happen, they can’t drop the ball against Seattle (7-8) and former Jets quarterback Geno Smith.
“If we don’t come back with a victory, we know exactly what that’s going to look like,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “We got to go out there and make sure we’re giving everything that we have because pretty much there’s no tomorrow after Sunday if we don’t come back with a victory.”
There will be no postseason in their tomorrows, at least not this year. Just more disappointment and many more questions, starting at quarterback.
Mike White, who missed the previous two games with fractured ribs, is back, and the Jets are trusting him to put the offense in position to score. Zach Wilson didn’t do that enough in White’s absence and has been benched for the second time this season.
White has an opportunity in these last two games — and possibly the playoffs — to show the Jets he can be their quarterback for the long run. He said it’s not all about him and that “football is the ultimate team sport,” but he believes every Jet is excited about this moment.
“Every competitor is going to welcome that,” White said. “That’s what you grow up wanting. Every kid is in the backyard, it’s always bases loaded, 3-2 count or on a two-minute drive, or playing soccer, it’s penalty kicks and stuff like that when the stakes are the highest.
“I feel like it’s similar to that situation. In football, it’s a team sport so you never feel like you have to do it yourself.”
White recalled a personal storybook moment. He was 10 and playing baseball in St. Augustine, Florida. His team was down by a run with runners on first and second and one out when he came to the plate on his father’s birthday.
“It was my first-ever home run in a game,” White said. “I hit it dead center. I’ll never forget it. I hit it so pure that I didn’t even hear it hit the bat. My dad was our third-base coach, and as I’m rounding third base I said, ‘Hey, happy birthday’ or something like that. My dad still has the ball.”
Now he and the Jets have a chance to do something big.
“Everything that happened that needed to happen almost felt like a sign, a second chance almost,” White said. “Maybe a little extra life breathing in the locker room.”
Said Rankins, “We just got to take care of business. That’s our sole focus . . . If you start scoreboard-watching, if you start looking at ‘well, if they lose, we’ll be fine,’ if you start thinking like that, you’re already giving yourself an out. For us, it’s just about winning these last two, doing everything in our power to take care of business.”