Few have been more up on the Jets' chances this year than we have — we thought they were the favorites in the AFC, like, six days ago — which is why we hope we have a certain amount of emotional authority saying that if they lose tonight to the Broncos, it's extremely unlikely they will make the playoffs. They should really try to win tonight.
The game — which is being broadcast on the NFL Network nationally, but because Time Warner Cable still doesn't carry that channel (nearly ten years later), it'll be on WPIX Channel 11 locally — could start a four-game winning streak for the Jets that could put them in ideal position for yet another Wild Card spot. (Their third in a row, but who's counting?) But a loss puts them at .500, and it could send their season spiraling out of control. Even if it didn't necessarily eliminate them from playoff contention, it could be the pinprick that ends all of this.
Much of the discussion, as always, has revolved around Mark Sanchez, the supposed savior who appears to be stagnating ... and that's being kind. (Some argue that he's regressed since his rookie year, though that's forgetting the rather terrific game he played in the AFC Championship last year.) It was the center of Gary Myers's column in the Daily News this morning, with the same kind of language everyone always uses about Sanchez: He should be better, why isn't he better, so on. ("The training wheels should be off" is a common phrase.) This frustration is understandable, but again: Sanchez isn't the problem, and he's not a finished project anyway, as evidenced by a convincing piece (registration required) by Aaron Schatz on ESPN. The Jets didn't lose to the Patriots last week because of Sanchez.
And, theoretically, the Jets should be able to handle Tim Tebow and the Broncos. This offense is so strange that Tebow, again, completed two passes last week, and it might not be much more this week. (Darrelle Revis understands, with his "boring" comments yesterday.) The Jets should dominate this team. But they're 1-3 on the road this year and have a short week after a tough loss. We'll know very soon now. It's reasonable to be worried. As many nice things as we've predicted for the Jets this year, we sure are.