Column: Why the Jets have reason to believe

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles, left, hugs quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo, right, after an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 23-20. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The “same old Jets” days are over. Sitting at 7-5, the New York Jets have a golden opportunity to turn their season around.

After a hot 4-1 start, the thoughts of the playoffs were jumping through the heads of many Jets fans, myself included. But watching the team inexplicably stumble through the middle of the season left many confused and wondering what happened. The start to the season gave fans hope. And, as they say, hope is a dangerous thing.

The low point of this season came in Weeks 9 and 10 when the Jets lost back to back heartbreakers to the Buffalo Bills and the Houston Texans. With an opportunity to bury both teams in the playoff race, the Jets instead let the chance slip away by falling to both teams and a 5-5 record.

 In the past, this is where the season would seem over. It would be time to start looking at mock drafts and what the team could do to improve in the offseason. This team however, did not quit. 

When things were looking grim the Jets rallied together to respond to a low in the season with a new high.

After beating the Dolphins 38-20, they were set up with a make or break game against the New York Giants. This was the type of game that could either crush your season or propel you to new heights for the rest of December.

Trailing in the fourth quarter 20-10, things were looking bleak. The Jets certainly played hard, but they had not made enough big plays as the Giants. A 72-yard touchdown reception by Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. looked like it was going to be the deciding factor in the game.

The Jets however made their big play dung 8:50 to go in the game. On fourth-and-two from the Jets four-yard line, the Giants decided to go for the touchdown and completely ice the game. Instead, Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw into double coverage and Jets cornerback Rontez Miles was able to make an interception to change the momentum.

The comeback was on. Jets would go on to force overtime with a touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Marshall. He was a beast all game for the Jets. This was the type of performance that was envisioned when the team signed the veteran receiver this past offseason. Marshall had 12 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown on the day.

When the Giants missed a game-tying field goal in overtime, the improbable comeback was complete. The New York Jets won a meaningful December football game that they had to have. 

Now it is up to them to build on this momentum. The Jets are currently clinging to the final wild card position, and they have a solid chance to make the playoffs. This week they must take care of business when they host a Tennessee Titans team that is 3-9. Games against the Cowboys, Patriots and Bills make up the remainder of the schedule.

Those are all winnable games especially considering that a banged up Patriots team has lost back-to-back games. With the way the Jets battled back for such an inspirational win on Sunday, there is now hope that they can salvage this season and make the playoffs.


Spencer Mayfield is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at spencer.mayfield@uconn.edu. He tweets @SpenceMayfield.