Back from the abyss, the New York Jets (7-5) are once again a playoff team, now riding a two-game winning streak. It is the team’s first two-game win streak since the season’s first two games.
Two more wins in the final month might let them sneak in, but there are tiebreakers in place with the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders that work against them. Three wins though would be a huge boost if this Jets team wants to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
And a win on Sunday (1 p.m., CBS) against the Tennessee Titans would ensure first-year head coach Todd Bowles that his squad won’t have a losing record this year. It also would double the team’s win total from the previous year, this with three games left to play.
1. More Fitzmagic?
Since trimming his beard two weeks ago, the Jets are not only undefeated but their quarterback looks like Roger Staubach out there. Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for 667 yards in those two games and has six touchdowns. Most impressive, he doesn’t have an interception in the stretch. Fitzpatrick continues to work his magic, systematically moving the ball down the field. And with that overtime comeback win last week over the Giants, the offense has great confidence in their leader.
This is Fitzpatrick’s first two-game stretch this season where he hasn’t thrown an interception.
2. It's never easy
The Titans have one of the league’s better pass defenses, No. 9 overall. They are aggressive and break to the ball well. What is concerning from their perspective is that they don’t have a ton interceptions and their run defense is very average. Look for the Jets to try and run early in this game, forcing the Titans to move their safeties into the box. Then Fitzpatrick can utilize the play-action and out patterns to get the ball quickly down the field. Last week in a win over the Jaguars, the Titans let quarterback Blake Bortles throw for over 300 yards and five touchdowns. So they are susceptible down the field.
3. Young gun
The Titans have their own burgeoning quarterback prospect, Marcus Mariota. Last week, the second overall pick in this spring’s NFL draft threw for 268 yards, completing 20-of-29 passes. He had three touchdowns in the win. Mariota still has a lot of transition to make from Oregon’s wacky, pass-friendly spread offense. But he’s making smart decisions and is growing with the early returns — showing that he’s the best quarterback of this draft class. His mechanics have also been solid even as he has had to adjust and grow now to a pro-style offense.