The Jets' 30-9 home loss to the Dolphins a fortnight ago was as thorough and demoralizing a defeat as a team could suffer — the confirmation that the Jets were not the team they'd been claiming to be for, oh, three years now — and they had a full week off to mull it over, to replay it over and over in their brains. It was the sort of loss that leads to soul-searching, some sort of drastic move, maybe even a roster reconstruction. It's the sort of loss that changes everything, that probably should change everything. Unless, of course, you're the Jets.
The Jets are 3–5 and in serious danger of their entire season exploding in a mass of limbs, torsos, and fireman helmets, but to hear them tell it, there's nothing to worry about at all. With a tough Seattle team waiting this week, the Jets want you to know they got this. Yesterday morning, cornerback Antonio Cromartie told the NFL Network that "we definitely are going to make the playoffs this year," and later in the day, Rex Ryan backed him up, saying, "This team believes that we can right the ship and we're going for it."
Now, this being New York and the team of Namath and all that, people always make a bigger deal out of these "guarantees" than they should. They are, after all, just words: If the Jets end up not making the playoffs, neither Cromartie nor Ryan will be shot. (Now that would be a guarantee.) And Ryan, in particular, is always saying things like this, but couching them in qualifiers like, "Why shouldn't we think that way? Wouldn't you want us to?" He's right: Fans should always want their coach to think his team is gonna win. It's just, you know, when it comes to the Jets, everyone's a little tired of it.
But, for the sake of a thorough accounting of matter, do the Jets have a chance at the playoffs? Let's look at the rest of their schedule:
Sunday: at Seattle
November 18: at St. Louis
Thanksgiving: versus New England
December 1: versus Arizona
December 9: at Jacksonville
December 16: at Tennessee
December 23: versus San Diego
December 30: at Buffalo
That's not the worst schedule, actually: Five, maybe six, of those games are extremely winnable, even for the Jets. Of course, the way the Jets have played, what assurances do you have that they can actually win five of those, that they won't falter, never mind upsetting New England or winning on the road against Seattle, a tough up-and-coming team? The schedule is breaking for the Jets, but not much of anything else is. Maybe Mark Sanchez wakes up and pulls it together. Maybe the run game is consistent. Maybe the defense gets its swagger back. Maybe it all comes together because of the bye week. But we wouldn't bet on it. The Jets' long journey out of denial may begin this week. Seattle 23, New York Jets 13.