Losers of four of their last five games, the New York Jets need to right this ship soon or else that playoff dream from October is gone. Against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday (1 p.m. kickoff, CBS), they face a team that they should beat (and they have beaten already once this season).
Problem is that the Week 4 win seems like a distant memory. The Jets are a much different team on both sides of the football then the team that beat Miami in early October.
Three Things to Watch from the Jets in Week 12 :
1. Is the magic gone?
Ryan Fitzpatrick was once the golden boy of this team but as is likely the case, when the team falls on hard times it is the quarterback who takes the vast amount of blame. In the Jets five losses this year, he has seven of his 11 interceptions thrown (and in the loss at the Oakland Raiders he threw just five passes before injuring his left thumb). When Fitzpatrick can limit mistakes, this Jets team can win. But since that thumb injury, the offense has been in a downward spiral but nowhere near as bad as the last two years under Geno Smith.
2. Getting the rush going
When under pressure, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been prone to major mistakes and costly turnovers. This should be an advantage for the Jets, one would think, especially with the names they have in their pass rush. But the Jets managed just one sack last week in the loss at the Houston Texans. If they can't get to the quarterback and given their injuries in the secondary, this could be a long day for the Jets.
3. Playoff implications
Around Thanksgiving time, the playoff picture becomes a little less muddled and that holds true this year. Outside of the top four teams in each division, the Jets are just mediocre enough to be firmly in the mix for the Wild Card. A win on Sunday would elevate them to 6-5 and would lower the Dolphins to 4-7, essentially putting Miami on the brink. A win would help the Jets and essentially eliminate another team. This is an important win to get.