The NY Jets’ chances of going winless likely lie in the hands of the New England Patriots.
The NY Jets have three more chances to avoid the ignominy of a winless campaign. It has only been done twice since the NFL switched to a 16-game schedule — the 2008 Detroit Lions and the 2017 Cleveland Browns. Neither team was as hapless as these Jets.
The common consensus is that yes, the Jets will indeed run the table and go 0-16. The three teams that are left on the schedule range from .500 to Super Bowl hopefuls. Clearly, the Jets are not capable of winning any of those games.
Or are they?
Those who subscribe to the “Any Given Sunday” theory will say yes. There has to be some hope, right? Sure – Any Given Sunday. The fallacy of believing that because it happens occasionally, it could happen here.
That is not to say that the Jets are completely incapable of pulling off an upset. The whole idea behind “Any Given Sunday” is that you never know what could happen.
These are all NFL-caliber players, athletes hundreds of times better than the average person, tens of times better than most college players. Surely in the right circumstances…
There could be injuries. This is also 2020 where the ever-present specter of COVID-19 looms large. Turnovers or a fluke special teams touchdown could alter the outcome. Players could have “off” days – you just never know.
Any Given Sunday.
But all things being equal when one takes into consideration the time of year and that these teams are playoff hopefuls jockeying for position in the NFL playoffs, it is doubtful that the Jets could win either of the next two games.
The Los Angeles Rams are loaded and fighting for a division title. They have weapons on offense. A ferocious pass rush led by All-Pro Aaron Donald, a lock-down corner in Jalen Ramsey on defense. A solid, if not spectacular, young quarterback in Jared Goff.
This one is likely to be ugly.
Next is Cleveland. Similar to the Rams, the Browns have weapons and a pass rush along with a dynamic young quarterback in Baker Mayfield. The Browns are more inconsistent than the Rams, but they have looked scary good in recent weeks. This is also likely to get ugly.
That leaves one realistic opportunity for the Jets to win a game — Week 17 against the New England Patriots. The only realistic chance to avoid the indignity of not winning a single game through an entire season.
Could the NY Jets actually beat the New England Patriots in Week 17?
Logic dictates that the Patriots, as well-coached and prepared as they are, aren’t a real opportunity for the Jets to win.
The Patriots have dominated the Jets for two decades. The Jets haven’t beaten New England anywhere since 2015, and in New England since 2010 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The “can’t wait!” game. You have to go back to 2008 for the last regular-season victory in Foxboro.
Yet, the Jets nearly beat them earlier this year, blowing a late 10-point lead to lose 30-27 at the final gun. These Patriots aren’t those Patriots. Tom Brady isn’t there to torture the Jets any longer. This team is beatable.
And there’s one other factor that a lot of folks toss around — Belichick throwing the game. It seems ridiculous, why would Belichick want to be the only blemish on the Jets perfectly imperfect record?
He spurned the Jets in 2000, resigning as the head coach of the organization one day after he was announced as the head coach.
Belichick hates the Jets.
But what better way to stick it to an organization he despises — and also a division rival — than to rob them of the potential chance to turn it all around? Belichick is certainly not ashamed to play the long game.
The Patriots play footsie with the injury report all the time. Does anyone doubt that Belichick would consider deactivating key players if it could put his team in a better position for the next decade?
If the Jets have a shot to fall out of the number one spot by beating New England, then all bets are off.
If Jacksonville, the Jets’ only competition for the No. 1 spot in the draft, wins another game before Week 17, then you can bet your mortgage, your house, and everything in your house that the Jets will go 0-16. Belichick wouldn’t for a single second give the Jets their only win of the season.
Not if he could punch the Jets ticket to the NFL Hall of Shame.
Unless of course in doing so he could crush the hopes and dreams of Jets fans everywhere.