Sunday’s drubbing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers puts your New York Jets in the thick of a bonkers AFC Wild Card race, and just one game behind the AFC East-leading New England Patriots.
At 7-6, Gang Green is still holding on to the slimmest of hopes to earn a postseason berth, and got a little help from the Miami Dolphins, who beat the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend to put all three teams at 7-6.
The only problem with that is, both teams hold tiebreaks over the J-E-T-S, and a fourth team, the Baltimore Ravens, are also 7-6.
So while this team is still mathematically alive in the AFC playoff race, they still need a little bit of help, and a little bit of luck.
“All I’ve got to say is it’s improbable,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “That’s the way everybody will approach it right now. Our stance is we believe we’re going to win every game. That’s the way it’s been from day one. That’s the way it will always be. We’ll go into every single game, no slight to our opponents, but we’re going to believe in ourselves. We believe in our players, the coaches, the organization and that hasn’t changed since I got here.”
Taking a look at the AFC landscape after week 14, it doesn’t seem quite as improbable as it did three weeks ago. A win against a never-say-die Atlanta Falcons team, who will probably not have quaterback Matt Ryan in action, and suddenly this team is 8-6. The Colts have already stated that “healthy” players will play from here on out, but how much do you anticipate Peyton Manning playing in week 16 in a meaningless game for Indianapolis? This team cannot look ahead, because one slip-up and the 2009 season is over for Gang Green. But if they can stay the course, and keep stayin’ alive with each passing week, you could find this team sneaking in the back door of the playoffs, with a defense no team will want to face come January.
It still remains uncertain whether or not rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez will play Sunday against Atlanta, but #6 did receive treatment throughout the weekend on his ailing knee, and Coach Ryan is optimistic he’ll be able to go Sunday.
“Much like last week, I’ll check with the medical staff and make the decision based on the player first and our team record. I’ll never put a player in a situation where he can’t protect himself, number one, or if it is not in the best interest of himself or the team. We’ll see how it is. I have confidence, though. I thought he would play last week at the beginning of the week on a Monday, but I was wrong. I think we made the right decision. Those three extra days of treatment are going to help Mark. We’ll see what it’s like on Wednesday.”
A cautious approach must be taken with the young Sanchez. He’s entirely too valuable to the organization’s future to send him out there less than 100% for the 2009 Jets. You have to applaud the discipline the coaching staff and the organization is displaying here. He probably could have played Sunday, but they decided to keep him out and let him fully heal, so the injury doesn’t become major. It should certainly pay dividends down the road, maybe even as soon as this Sunday.
The team returns to the practice field Wednesday for a workout beginning at 11:50 AM. Be sure to check back to JetsInsider.com for all your news and updates.