The New York Jets are looking for their first win of the season. They’re also looking for their first win against former head coach Rex Ryan, and Ryan’s Buffalo Bills, their division rival.
There were two failed attempts, or opportunities, last season. The Jets lost them both. The first was at home, 22-17, in November, and the second was in January in Buffalo, the final game of their regular season, also 22-17. It officially eliminated the 10-6 Jets from playoff contention. One loss—a split—would have been tolerable. Two losses are embarrassing.
Sunday’s 23-22 opening season home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, a game that matched up two of the five NFL African-American head coaches, a game the Jets could possibly have won, puts pressure on Gang Green to win tonight against the Bills if they really are a legitimate playoff team. They must show urgency now, and it’s only the second week of the NFL season. It’s a must-win game.
“There is a sense of urgency,” said Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles. “We don’t want to go 0-2. No matter who we play this week, a division rival or not, there’s going to be a sense of urgency, and hopefully, it’s like that every week.”
The message has filtered down.
“For what we want to accomplish this season, every game, in our minds is a win-type game,” said receiver Eric Decker.
With a short week, Sunday to Thursday, four days between games, only two days to practice, the Jets have to put the Bengals loss behind them and move on. They must put Sunday in the past, but still look back to last season.
“We have to correct the mistakes we made last year, and hopefully play better this year,” stated Bowles. “We have to go out and make plays.”
The Jets must also learn from the mistakes made Sunday and play better. Take better care of the ball. Get it kicked through the goal. Decrease offensive struggles. Receivers have to get open and catch the ball. Blocking must be better. Turnovers must be reduced. They have to show some consistency. Coverage in the secondary has to improve. They have to make adjustments and improve communication on both sides of the ball. All points made by Bowles.
To the Jets’ credit, they logged in seven sacks without Sheldon Richardson in the game, because of a single-game suspension. He returns against Buffalo tonight, which makes this line with Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson even more potent, much more dangerous. But victorious? We’ll see tonight.