The New York Jets have played like a playoff team all season. After tough, backbreaking losses, they’ve responded well and have come to be known as a team that few teams want to face.
Head coach Robert Saleh has his team playing excellent football in each phase of the game leading a defense that is fifth in the league in yards and fourth in points.
It doesn’t get any easier though for New York. In fact, the next two weeks will ultimately tell us just how far the Jets can go this season. Over the next couple of weeks, Gang Green will take on the Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills, with both games on the road.
The combined record between the two teams set to face the Jets is 17-5. In an AFC playoff picture with teams like New England and Los Angeles biting at their heels, New York enters a “do or die” situation that seems crazy to believe for a 7-4 roster.
If the Jets split their upcoming two games against the league’s best, they will position themselves well for the stretch run of the season. Matchups against Detroit, Jacksonville, and Seattle await after.
New York’s improved offense can offer some comfort in their next couple of matchups as well. With Mike White at the helm, the Jets’ offense took off Sunday against Chicago putting up team highs in total yards, and top marks in scoring and passing.
Chicago’s total defense is very poor compared to the Vikings and Bills, but all three teams have a consistent weakness. Minnesota’s pass defense ranks last in yards while Buffalo ranks 19th through the air.
Even with the differences between the opponents New York will face, their head coach has remained steadfast in his overall process.
“We got a great opponent we’re going to go visit. They’re vying for their number one seed. They’ve got championship thoughts on their mind, so we got a great challenge on our hands, but for us, we just got to stay in the moment and focus on us.” Robert Saleh said Monday. “Just like you dig on the tape when you lose to find ways to get better, you got to do the same digging when you win and find ways to continue to get better.”
A strong performance from Mike White will only help ensure he remains the starting quarterback for the rest of the year. A win against Minnesota or Buffalo will put the Jets in the driver’s seat for the AFC playoffs just two years into the Robert Saleh era.
Splitting two games is the barometer for the much-improved New York Jets. Anything less, and the playoffs become less attainable.
It’s do-or-die time in New York.
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