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Jets make playoffs despite 38-34 loss to Bears

Marcus Henry | 4/12/2011, 5:25 p.m.

It was another case of the good-news, bad-news Jets.

The bad news was the Jets defense getting shredded by the Bears in Sunday's 38-34 loss. Those bad feelings dissipated quickly, once the Jets learned they earned a playoff berth after Jacksonville's overtime loss to the Redskins.

Clearly, you have to take the good-news angle, because the Jets (10-5) are in the post season for the second straight season under second-year coach Rex Ryan. At times things didn't look promising.

A terrible loss to New England, followed by an absolutely head-scratcher of a loss to the Dolphins.

Those missteps notwithstanding, the Jets didn't back into the playoffs. To have a playoff berth wrapped up in Week 16 is a blessing. Now Sunday's regular-season finale on Sunday at the Meadowlands against Buffalo doesn't mean much. Mark Sanchez may not play, so the Jets could go into the playoffs losers of four of their last five games.

That is inconsequential to Ryan, though, who considers the Jets' slate all but clean now that they've clinched.

"I look at it this way, once you get in the playoffs it's a brand new season. There's no hiding that fact," Ryan said on a conference call. "New Orleans lost two in a row and went on to win the Super Bowl."

You have to admit, it takes a lot of guts to talk about the Super Bowl after the poor effort put forth by the Jets defense. But he has a point. The Giants went on a crazy run a few years ago.

Amid all of Ryan's bluster and bravado, there is a does of reality. And he knows the defense needs to be fixed.

"I think we played against two outstanding defensive football teams and we've really looked good offensively. I think we're peaking at the right time," Ryan continued. "Defensively, obviously, we're not. We had two games that weren't up to our standards, but I think we can fix it."

After getting burned for three third-quarter touchdowns passes by Bears quarterback Jake Cutler, Ryan needs to get back to his mad-scientist defensive roots as soon as possible.