Friday, November 18, 2011

Rex: Jets' playoffs begin next week vs. Bills

The New York Jets were in a pretty good spot Sunday morning at 5-3, coming off a three-game win streak and prepping for what may have been a season-defining matchup with the New England Patriots coming up that night.

The Jets went on to lose that divisional match and traveled to Denver Thursday night to face the Broncos, where they lost again.

Now, they could be in trouble.

"Our playoffs start right now, there’s no question," Jets coach Rex Ryan told the New York media Friday via conference call.

The Jets have nine days to prepare for a home game against the division rival Buffalo Bills, who the Jets beat decisively two weeks ago. They'll need to do it again if they want any shot at the postseason.

"We have to beat Buffalo," Ryan said. "I don’t see any breathing room. We’ve already used that up. We have to get right back at it. I know this team wants to be in the playoffs. We work hard. This team probably works as hard as any team I’ve been with. I know we want it."

New York's offense fumbled a golden opportunity Thursday night to gain an early lead and force the non-explosive Broncos' offense to play keep-up. Instead, the Jets started slow, and when they finally got the lead, quarterback Mark Sanchez tossed a pick-6 in the third quarter that allowed the Broncos to knot the score with an extra point.

After New York went up by three points, the Jets' defense went on to allow Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow to drive 95 yards and score with less than a minute remaining in the game. The Broncos offense did nothing all game prior to that drive.

Sanchez and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer are taking the brunt of the blame, as usual, for the Jets' struggles. And, as usual, Ryan is defending his guys until the end.

"I believe in every player, I believe in every coach," Ryan said. "I think we’ll get better. I really believe that."

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