The New York Jets were expected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL this season, but after a 0-2 start to the season, the Jets reeled off three straight wins and found themselves tied with the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills for the division lead.
Since then, the Jets have lost three straight games, and find themselves needing a win against the Bills this weekend to keep themselves in the AFC playoff picture.
After a close loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, and the Bills’ surprising win over the Oakland Raiders, the Jets vs Bills betting odds are very close this week, with the Bills favored to win by three points.
After blowing a late lead in their loss to the Falcons, Maurice Claiborne said the Jets have to defeat the Bills on Thursday before their season spirals out of control.
Head coach Todd Bowles echoed Claiborne’s sentiment, and said the team needs to get back to winning if they want to salvage the season.
Claiborne called Thursday’s game against the Bills a “must win” for the team. He added that if the Jets want to turn the season around, it starts on Thursday against Buffalo. The cornerback added that the Jets are fortunate a lot of teams in the AFC playoff picture are still within reach of each other, so if they can get a win on Thursday, they are still in the playoff conversation.
Realistically, the Jets weren’t supposed to contend for the playoffs this year, and the fact that they are still in the conversation at the midway point of the season is a testament to the team’s resolve and their coaching staff.
Even if they can’t make the playoffs this year, the players know they can still save their head coach’s job, which is something they hope they can do, after Bowles was put in a no win situation with the offseason roster purge.
The Jets would have more wins this season if they had been able to play four full quarters in some of their losses.
The Jets had a late lead against the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago, but the team couldn’t hold on to the lead and ended up losing in overtime. The same thing happened a few weeks ago against the Patriots, but the team blew a 14 point halftime lead and lost the game.
Against the Falcons, the Jets had one point lead going into the 4th quarter, but also failed to keep the lead, before eventually losing the game.
Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley said the reason the team is struggling to close out opponents is the fact that they are a very young team. Kerley added that once the team gets more experienced, they will learn how to close out games.
Veteran receiver Jermaine Kearse said he doesn’t think the team is far off from contending. Kearse believes that once the team cleans up the silly mistakes they make during games, they can really flourish.
One of the mistakes he thinks they need to improve on is their late game turnovers and bad plays and penalties that cost them yards. If they can avoid making those mistakes in the second half, Kearse believes the team will become a contender.