The Jets were flying high before their Sunday loss to the Patriots, and it could have serious ramifications for the playoff hopes.
Not many observers were bullish about Gang Green’s chance to see postseason action prior to the year, but they managed to rattle off four-straight wins, and took a 5–2 record into the divisional game on Sunday.
They ended up falling to Bill Belichick’s squad 22–17 as they fell back to earth.
Now at 5–3, the Jets are still in the driver’s seat with the fifth seed in the AFC, putting them currently as the first Wild Card spot. They trail the Buffalo Bills by two games in the AFC East.
So Sunday’s loss wasn’t a season-ending game by any stretch, but they’ll need to seriously rebound to keep the prospect of the postseason alive.
Now, they’ll have a tough run of games coming up, starting with a home game against the Bills this Sunday.
After that, they’ll travel to New England for a rematch against the Patriots, return to MetLife Stadium for a game against the Chicago Bears, visit the Minnesota Vikings, and then head to Buffalo for another contest with the division leader.
Their next five opponents boast a combined record of 25–12.
That will be a daunting task for Gang Green, who are now operating without rookie running back Breece Hall after his ACL injury.
The young rusher was the team’s best offensive weapon during the first half of the season, and they struggled to replicate his production against New England.
If the team is going to make a serious run at the playoffs, they’ll need to find a way to move the ball — which of course means that Zach Wilson needs to play better than he has this season.
On Sunday, Wilson’s play was devastating.
He completed 20 of 41 passes, and threw three interceptions to go with his two passing touchdowns. His 24.0 QBR was 24th among eligible quarterbacks in Week 7.
Still, head coach Robert Saleh gave his vote of confidence to the 23-year-old, and committed to start him going forward, barring injury.
“Every quarterback has their days. But he’s our quarterback because we think he’s going to get better,” the coach said.
Meanwhile, the team’s defensive front, which had been a highlight of the Gang Green season thus far, allowed 127 rushing yards to the Patriots, and the team overall gave up 194 passing yards.
As the team heads into the next slate of games against solid opponents, including three divisional matchups in five games (with a bye in Week 10), the team will need to play better than they did on Sunday, and find ways to move the ball without their star rookie rusher.