Jets players and coaches were able to spectate on Sunday and watch the NFL while they enjoyed their bye week.
Like many football fans, they watched the thrilling Vikings-Bills game that ended with Josh Allen throwing an overtime interception to give Minnesota a 33-30 win. Unlike many football fans, this result had a direct impact on them.
The AFC East is wide open.
The Bills, who were considered the division favorites, look human after losses to the Jets and Vikings, and are 6-3, the same record as the Jets. The Dolphins improved to 7-3 with their win over the Browns on Sunday and they now have a bye. The Patriots are in the game at 5-4.
If the season ended today, all AFC East teams would be in the playoffs. For the Jets, they now have a chance in the division that no one could have predicted before the season. If the Jets win Sunday against the Patriots, they will be in first place thanks to their possession of the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Dolphins.
“We have a good opportunity, obviously, in the next eight games to do something,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. ” I do not think so [Sunday’s] the games mattered a lot because we are still in a position where we still have to mind our own business. There’s a lot of football to play before you even think about it [playoff] scenarios. We also all have to play against each other. We also have to play against very good football teams. Obviously, this upcoming game is the most important game. There’s so much football to play before you even think about what’s at stake.”
The last eight weeks of the season have turned out to be a fascinating showdown for the AFC East. The Jets and Dolphins each have three division games to play. The Bills and Patriots have four because they haven’t faced each other yet this season.
The Patriots have the toughest remaining schedule and also the most ground to make up for. Their opponents have a combined winning percentage of .594. The Jets have the second toughest opposing schedule with a .539 winning percentage. The Dolphins and Bills both have opposing winning percentages of .500.
The Jets return from their break with a rematch against the Patriots, who beat them 22-17 two weeks ago. This is the first game of the second half of the season. The road to the AFC East title traditionally passes through Foxborough. Saleh was asked if they had to go through the Patriots to win their division.
“I think you can say that about all the teams in our division,” Saleh said. “They are all very talented, as you just mentioned. Every game, I feel like we’re going to stand here and every game is going to carry a lot of weight and it’s going to be the biggest game of the year. Well, it’s the biggest game of the year because it’s the current game of the year. I don’t know if it necessarily comes down to people as much as running our business, our work, and playing to the best of our abilities and believing that if we do that, we’ll like the outcome.
Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios said the Jets are now in a position to do something in the second half, which they always believed they could do.
“I got some crazy looks when I said at the start of the year that we were playing this game for the playoffs, period,” Berrios said. “That feeling hasn’t changed. It was from day one with the arrival of this new staff. We still have a long way to go. We obviously put ourselves in a great position in those first nine games. We have this back half. We all know December football, January football, that’s really what matters.
The margin is so tight in the AFC East that the Jets could wake up to first or last place Monday morning. If they lose to the Patriots and the Bills beat the Browns, the Jets will watch everyone in the division.
“I feel like we have to take it,” cornerback Michael Carter II said of the split. “We haven’t accomplished what we’re trying to accomplish. We have to stay humble in the sense that we are not where we want to be. We still have work to do. These eight games will decide a lot. We just have to keep playing like we have something to prove.
New York Post