Win and they're in: New York Jets take care of business in Orchard Park on Sunday and they are in the playoffs. It is as simple as that.
The task is nowhere near that easy, as Rex Ryan’s Bills should bring as much ammunition and trick plays as we can imagine.
For these Jets, they are trying to shed an old mantra while creating a new one: out with “Same Old Jets” in with…well, whatever Todd Bowles wants these guys to be.
One thing is for sure, this team is all business and stays level headed—a stark contrast from their former Headmaster, Rex Ryan.
Bowles, with the help of veterans such as C Nick Mangold, LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, newly acquired WR Brandon Marshall, and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, has gotten his team to buy-in to his even-keel mentality.
Bowles professes not getting to high or too low with each peak and valley, and currently has his team staring down the barrel of a playoff appearance for the first time since the Jets lost in the AFC Championship back in the 2010-2011 season to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Another veteran, OLB Calvin Pace, has taken an even bigger leadership role, and along with MLB David Harris, have been the quiet, business-like leaders of the defense.
“It’s fun man,” says Fitzpatrick about the current five-game winning streak, which included the a big home win in OT against the New England Patriots last Sunday at MetLife.
Speaking of Fitzpatrick, the journeyman who was slated to begin the season backup to Geno Smith, tied the Jets’ single-season record for passing touchdowns last week, with 29 (Vinny Testaverde holds the current record and is now tied with Fitzpatrick).
Meaning one more TD this Sunday, which will likely have to happen for the Jets to win, and Fitzpatrick becomes the first Jets QB to ever, EVER, throw for 30 touchdowns.
Fitzpatrick actually has 31 total touchdowns (two rushing, 29 passing) to 12 interceptions. Not too bad for guy who has been on six teams.
Bowles has already expressed his desire for Fitzpatrick to return, so that will have to be addressed in the off season, but the Jets are only focused on this upcoming Sunday.
According to Bowles, there is no added pressure because the Jets “have been playing a playoff game every game for the last five weeks,” citing that his team was aware they had no room for error, yet did not want them looking ahead.
“We just focus on what we do, and the game in front of us.”
Fitzpatrick has lead multiple game-winning drives to keep the Jets in playoff contention and now has the team in a position to win 11 games for only the fifth time in 55 years.
Fitzpatrick credits his OC Chan Gailey with his resurgence, noting that the two have familiarity from their time in Buffalo, as well as citing that Gailey coaches with no ‘agenda’ and will adjust at a moment’s notice.
The Jets will be tested one final time this Sunday, where you can bet that Rex Ryan will throw everything at them, including the kitchen sink.