After starting the season well above expectations at 7-4, the NY Jets have hit a bit of a free fall with a four-game losing streak that has them on the outside of the playoff picture.
In a season that saw a dramatic improvement year over year from a competitiveness standpoint, it feels like there are certain knowns and unknowns that fans can mostly agree upon.
The head coach and general manager, while not perfect, are the best pairing that this franchise has seen in at least a decade. There is a higher level of young talent on this team than there has been in quite some time with the early success of the draft classes over the past two years.
The main unknown centers around the most important position in sports. The quarterback is once again the missing piece in a situation that otherwise has a lot of bright spots.
The ability of this team to have seven wins and a shot at the postseason speaks to the effort of the organization amidst poor and inconsistent quarterback play. The Jets have also been bit by the injury bug this season, which feels like a common trend year after year.
In addition to this, they have gotten relatively subpar play from some of their highest-paid players. Carl Lawson, Corey Davis, and George Fant account for nearly 20% of the team's salary cap and their play (when healthy) has not measured up to their salaries.
In what has been a season of hope for many fans, seeing the team with a winning record, winning divisional games, and being the top storyline in given weeks of the season, there has been a drop in optimism after a disappointing four-game slide.
Each of the past few weeks has felt like a potential "biggest game of the year" candidate based on what a win could represent.
Against Minnesota and Buffalo, beating a top-seeded team would have solidified a good chance at a playoff spot. Versus Detroit and Jacksonville, they were chances of restoring some amount of hope that Zach Wilson could have a long-term future on the team.
With all four being losses, the results give credence to the notion that this Jets team is a bit further along than many thought to become a true contender.
However, due to a bit of luck beyond their control, this team has the ability to change the narrative and restore the joy that many felt halfway through the season.
The NY Jets can still make the playoffs this season
Winning out and a loss for the Patriots would put the Jets in the playoffs. This starts with an all-important game in Seattle before setting up what would likely be a win-or-go-home situation in Week 18 in Miami.
A ticket to the playoffs would make everyone forget about this valley in the season, as it is an accomplishment that fans haven't seen since 2011.
The other positive that could come out of the remaining games for the Jets this season is this ability to see if Mike White will be part of the team's plans at quarterback in 2023. As of right now, it appears that Zach Wilson's future within the organization will be coming to an end soon.
If Mike White is able to play as well as he was over his three-game stretch and also lead the team into the playoffs, it will go a long way in having him involved in the quarterback equation next season. A decision that the team must get right this off-season.
The Jets have a few factors in their favor for this week's clash in Seattle beyond White being back. The team will have had 10 days to regroup and get healthy, most importantly for Quinnen Williams who was dominant in limited action against Jacksonville.
Seattle has lost five of their last six games, three of which have come at home. The Seahawks have also averaged less than 16 points per game over their last three outings. The Jets are catching this team at the right time in the season.
In addition, this game has implications for Rookie of the Year awards which will get players like Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson even more amped up.
It would be a big step forward for this organization is they can at least have a chance at the playoffs in Week 18 where they can put their players in position to play in a big game with something major on the line.
The Jets have made massive progress this season, even if the drama and chaos along the way may not make it feel like it. However, for morale inside and outside of the Jets locker room, they would greatly benefit from not ending this season on a six-game losing streak.
With a win this week, the team can make up some of the recent negatives by showing their resolve and having fans come out of this season thinking that with serviceable quarterback play they could be a legit playoff contender.