So far, the Jets have lost once when they were expected to win, in that ugly-looking creature that was the "game" at the Meadowlands against the Buffalo Bills. That's the one that made everyone so nervous in the first place: The Jets overachieved for three games, played tough in losses in two others ... and then went poof last week. A team like the Jets — talented but not that talented — can't drop games like that one, and they definitely can't drop games like Sunday's against the Raiders. Because the schedule's about to become a lot harder.
The next two contests after this one — at home against Miami and Jacksonville — are winnable, with the bye week right after that. But check out the final three games of the season: home against an ascendant Falcons team, at Indianapolis, and home against the Bengals, who will likely be fighting for a playoff spot of their own. (Perhaps against the Jets.) The Jets also have to travel to New England and, ominously, to Toronto to play those pesky Bills. If that game is anything like last week's, Canadians will flock to the CFL in droves.
This is to say: The Jets need to turn this around and start compiling wins right now. Because they will need them.
The key Sunday, obviously, is Mark Sanchez: If he can't reverse this crazy slide he's in — the man has eight interceptions in the three losses — the Jets are doomed. (Particularly with Kris Jenkins out for the year.) Theoretically speaking, the Jets should be able to handle the Raiders. But theoretically speaking, the Eagles should have killed the Raiders last week. Didn't happen.
What happens in Oakland on Sunday is going to change the way you think about this entire season. If the Jets can pull a win out, there's still hope. If they can't ... well, hey, Rex Ryan sure is funny, ain't he?