JETS NEED QUICK TURNAROUND AHEAD OF THURSDAY NIGHT CLASH
Author: Callum Insull
It’s the week of Christmas, and the New York Jets are 7-7 with a crucial Thursday Night Football matchup on the horizon against the in-form Jacksonville Jaguars.
After losing their third game in a row on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, Robert Saleh’s side are aware of the task ahead if they want to reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 season.
It was a narrow 20-17 loss to the Lions, with a missed field goal from Greg Zuerlein being the difference at the end, although it wasn’t as cut and dried as that. Another missed opportunity you could call it but one the team is determined to put right.
The Jets didn’t quite do enough against the Lions, which can be argued has been their downfall in all losses this season but with just three games remaining, the squad must be backed to make that last final push.
It could be argued that achieving so much in the early stages of the season, reaching 6-3 could have been a damaging factor and part of the reason the Jets are 7-7 right now. However, even if the season ends with the Jets having managed just seven wins, that is still a remarkable progression on last year’s 4-13 finish.
There is still a lot to play for, starting with the Jacksonville Jaguars, under the primetime lights this Thursday Night. Trevor Lawrence and the Jags are 6-8 and have been in blistering form. Coming off the back of an overtime win against the high-flying Dallas Cowboys, spirits will be high, but the Jets must stick together and rise through this adversity, that they haven’t faced too much during 2022.
When Saleh’s men have lost this season, they have always bounced back and responded with a win but after the week 13 loss to the Vikings, that has changed. On a short week, at home, the Jets could right some wrongs and get back to winning ways and get a firmer grip back on a spot in the play-offs.
It won’t be an easy task, as Doug Pederson’s Jaguars are on a roll, like Dan Campbell’s Lions were but the Green and White need to rally and get back to playing the football that Jets fans have been fortunate enough to see for the most part of this season.
Due to not being medically cleared, Mike White had to sit out the Jets’ loss to the Lions and in came a returning Zach Wilson, who had been sitting out for almost four games after getting benched after the loss at the New England Patriots. He regained his spot earlier than expected and for the most part, performed well. There were some sticky plays but eventually, Wilson did do enough to put the team in a position to tie the game and that was eventually not achieved.
If it is Wilson who starts ahead of White on Thursday, no matter people’s view on him, he must be backed – especially at this stage of the season. The game is three phases, and wasn’t solely lost on the quarterback play.
Over the course of 2022, the team has been revitalised by Saleh and the coaching staff, the culture has ripened and there has been a clear progression on the 2021 season. It would be nice to make the postseason, but the building blocks have been put in place and the franchise is well on its way to doing great things beyond this year alone.
One big reason why the Jets are still in contention for a spot in the play-offs is the young stars and the togetherness of the team. He’s had a mention in columns in the past but wide receiver Garrett Wilson is a big playmaker for NYJ and if the quarterback gets him the ball, along with the other offensive weapons, the Jets will always stand a chance.
The culture Saleh has built isn’t to be forgotten, a loss can make a team stronger and while they are on a three-game losing streak, these are the types of things that drive a group of people on and bring out the best in them.
It's onto Thursday night, under the lights, in all black - against the Jacksonville Jaguars…
Let’s go, Jets!>