The NY Jets have been one of the NFL's premier bottom feeders for close to a decade at this point. They're far more often in competition for the No. 1 overall pick than anything resembling a playoff spot.
Playing meaningful December games has been a foreign concept to most in the organization. In reality, it's been a few years since they've legitimately played meaningful November or even October games.
But on Sunday, 75,000 fans will be packed inside the green and white walls of MetLife Stadium as the Jets look to pull off a feat that seemed improbable if not impossible just a month ago.
The Jets have a chance to improve to 3-2 on the season and put themselves not only in the early-season playoff picture but the division race as well. More importantly, they have an opportunity to change the narrative of their entire season.
The NY Jets have a golden opportunity against the Dolphins on Sunday
The Jets haven't won a divisional game since the 2019 season. They've lost 12 straight divisional matchups and haven't beaten the Dolphins since December of 2019. It'll be 1,015 days since they last won a divisional game when the Jets take the field on Sunday.
They haven't just been losing those games either — most haven't even been close. The Jets lost their six divisional games in 2021 by a combined score of 119 points. That was easily the worst divisional point differential in the NFL a year ago.
The Jets have slowly started to change their public perception over the last seven months or so. A strong offseason laid the foundation, and more importantly, the Jets actually won a couple of games in September.
This isn't an 0-4 Jets team limping into their first divisional matchup of the season. This is a 2-2 Jets squad that has clawed their way to two come-from-behind road victories. They came out of their daunting AFC North gauntlet with a .500 record.
The perception is changing, but the narrative is still the same. No one expects the Jets to win on Sunday. Their 2-2 record is more a product of circumstance and some youthful luck than a team that could actually compete for a playoff spot this season. That's the belief shared by many at this moment.
But if the Jets come out on Sunday and beat the Dolphins, everything changes. Suddenly, we'd be looking at a 3-2 Jets team that's squarely in the playoff picture entering the middle of October. A Jets team fresh off defeating a division rival that was undefeated just a week prior.
You want to change the narrative? You want to prove to both your fanbase and the greater NFL world that things are different at Florham Park? You want to prove that you can compete? Beat the Dolphins.
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Sunday's game against the Dolphins is the most important game the Jets have played in years, mostly because there haven't been many "important games" to speak of.
The Jets are playing meaningful October games. That's step one. Step two: win meaningful October games.