Properly, you possibly can’t say this terrain is unfamiliar to the Jets. Approach again when, when the air was thick and heat and the times had been lengthy, again within the peak of summer season, this was a crew burdened by few expectations. They’d gained six video games the previous two years. What was an affordable purpose again in August, 5 wins? Six?

“We all know y’all don’t consider we could be good,” linebacker C.J. Mosley had stated within the days main as much as the season opener towards the Ravens. “We all know what persons are saying on the skin.”

He was proper, you guess he was. This wasn’t some invented circle-the-wagons, nobody-believes-in-us fever dream. It was reality. It was actuality. Few believed the Jets may very well be something resembling good. The Jets had been formally a show-me crew: Till confirmed in any other case, it was going to be one other slog of a season.

Then, throughout 12 weeks and 11 video games, the Jets did every part possible to disprove these doubters, piling up seven wins towards 4 losses with three totally different quarterbacks, an array of featured operating backs, one rookie standout on both facet of the ball and a protection slowly climbing towards elite chiseling a brand new plot for itself.

“This doesn’t shock anybody on this room,” Quinnen Williams stated after the Jets beat the Payments on Nov. 6.

That it shocked nearly everybody outdoors the room was inappropriate. The Jets actually had circled the wagons. They actually had ignored the prevailing perception that they had been nonetheless buried in quicksand, simply as much as their waist this time and never their shoulders. They did that. It was actual. It was legit.

Quinnen Williams and the Jets have been right here earlier than.NY POST Picture/Corey Sipkin

It was fleeting.

And now right here they’re once more, again in a well-known place, the remainder of soccer prepared, if not keen, to solid them out of the “in-the-hunt” graphics and out into the lonely universe of pretenders. It doesn’t take a lot. It doesn’t take lengthy.

They’re on a three-game shedding streak and but the primary two-thirds of it, a gut-punch choice in Minneapolis and a irritating loss at Buffalo, had been handled as constructive indicators. The Jets might hold with the league’s finest.

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However Sunday’s distressing loss to Detroit reversed a whole lot of that momentum. They’re 7-7 now. It’s laborious to search out anybody who isn’t within the make use of of the Jets who believes they’ll do what’s an absolute requirement now: Shut out the season with three wins, get to 10, and drive another person to elbow them out of the 7 seed and a possible journey to Kansas Metropolis.

That begins Thursday, towards the raging-hot Jaguars, recent off an inconceivable comeback towards the Cowboys, a crew immediately within the hunt within the AFC South which already has wins over probably playoff contributors Dallas, Baltimore, Tennessee and the Chargers. And, in fact, has Trevor Lawrence at quarterback, the shiny trophy for having efficiently and barely out-failed the Jets two years in the past, 1-15 to 2-14.

The Jets are slender favorites. That sound you hear is a nation of gamblers falling over themselves betting their Christmas bonuses on Jacksonville earlier than that quantity adjustments.

“You’ve obtained to remain within the second,” Jets coach Robert Saleh stated this week. “You’ve obtained to remain process-driven. Should you begin considering, ‘you’ve obtained to win this-one, this-one, this-one’ … you’ve obtained to win the second. You’ve obtained to win at apply, obtained to win in conferences, win the following day, the following day, do the perfect we are able to within the recreation, and also you belief the consequence might be what you need.”

That’s precisely what Saleh has to say.

However the actuality is starker than that.

The Jets might go 3-0 in practices this week, 30-0 of their conferences, but when they go 0-1 on Sunday, their season might formally die earlier than Christmas Eve. It’s actually that straightforward. The Jets need to win Thursday, savor that for 10 days earlier than flying 3,000 miles to Seattle for New Yr’s Day, then hope to maintain the merry practice chugging to Miami for a recreation by which they may both be battling for a aircraft journey to Arrowhead Stadium or seeking to play spoiler. And who needs to play spoiler?

The Jets thrived finest this yr when there have been a couple of hundred gamers, coaches and employees who believed when no one else did. Properly, that’s certain the best way it feels over again, 14 video games and 15 weeks later. Perhaps it’s simply what they wanted.

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