Sunday is about payback. Especially for Muhammad Wilkerson.
After the Jets got beaten badly by the Bills at MetLife Stadium in Week 8, Rex Ryan and his players are preparing for a trip to Buffalo this weekend. And there's an extra level of motivation for this game, Wilkerson admitted.
"Those guys came in our house and put a whupping on us. We know that. Everybody knows that," the Jets' star defensive lineman said Tuesday on WFAN. "So of course, we've got that on our minds. Go up there and return the favor."
Their 43-23 loss to the Bills on Oct. 26 signaled a dramatic shift in the Jets' spiraling season: the demotion of incumbent Geno Smith and the start of Michael Vick's run as the team's starting quarterback.
Smith threw first-quarter interceptions in three straight possessions against the Bills, prompting Ryan to bench him in favor of Vick, who lost two fumbles and threw a pick.
The Jets committed six turnovers, thanks to their quarterbacks. Vick finished 18-for-36 for 153 yards, rushed eight times for 69 yards and led the Jets to 23 points. The next day, Ryan announced the veteran would start against the Chiefs.
"That wasn't our style of football," Wilkerson said. "Too many turnovers and a whole bunch of other things that caused us to lose the game. But that's in the past and we're getting ready for this tough Buffalo team."
There isn't much left for the Jets (2-8) to play for besides pride.
The playoffs are a pipe dream, thanks to their record, and the offseason likely will bring plenty of changes within the organization. But Ryan and his players say maintaining motivation the rest of the way won't be an issue.
"We have six one-game seasons and that's kind of how we look at it," Ryan said Monday. "We know our entire focus is on the Buffalo Bills and playing them and then after that, the end of that day, we have five more left.
"I think this is a prideful team. I know it is. We're going to do our very best to go out and win every game that we can."
The energy was high during Monday's practice, Vick said, adding that he reminded his teammates in the huddle that "we still have jobs to do and let's get it done."
Their mind-set for the next six games is simple: Win every one.
"It is not hard to stay motivated," Vick said Monday. "Like I say each and every week, you're going to be evaluated by somebody, even if it is by someone who admires you, one of your fans who likes the way you play, who appreciates your game.
"Even though the playoffs are not in the picture, we have to understand that a strong finish is very key. It is important for the morale going into the following year or whatever it may be, or just for you yourself. I think you just have to keep the right mind-set and keep plugging away."