The New York Jets have been going through their roughest stretch of their season, losing three straight games and finding themselves dealing with a full blown quarterback controversy. They managed to put all of the distractions aside and play their best football today, winning 37-27 against the Oakland Raiders. This win keeps the Jets’ slim playoff hopes alive for one more week, and it takes some of the pressure off of Geno Smith and Rex Ryan.
Smith had been absolutely awful over the last five games, but he found his form today. Smith completed 16/25 passes for 219 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT, whiled adding 50 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Smith still showed some issues with inaccuracy and poor decision making, but he was hugely improved over the previous month. Smith desperately needed this performance to quiet some of the calls for his job, and it should solidify his position as the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season.
The return of Jeremy Kerley was a big boost for Smith, and the pass game was supported by a strong rushing attack. The defense wasn’t at its best, but they did enough to hold the Raiders in check and get the Jets a win. Ed Reed had a big interception to set up a field goal, and Antonio Allen blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown. This win moves the Jets to 6-7, and it keeps them in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race.
The Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens both squeezed out late wins to move to 7-6, so the Jets are chasing both those teams. The Dolphins at least knocked the Pittsburgh Steelers back to 5-8 in the process, which helps the Jets. The Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers can join the Jets at 6-7 this afternoon, though it is much more likely for the Chargers (playing the New York Giants at home) than the Titans (playing the Denver Broncos on the road).
The Jets have lost to both the Dolphins and Ravens, though they still have one game left against Miami. The Jets will likely need to win out to make the playoffs, which is a huge challenge for this inconsistent team. However, they started to find their form offensively today, and if they can continue to perform at a similar level then they will have a chance. The Jets are still long shots for the playoffs, but today’s win kept them in the hunt.