NY Jets playoff hopes on life support after Zach Wilson's return is spoiled

NY Jets, Zach Wilson
NY Jets, Zach Wilson / Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets went into their Week 15 game against the Detroit Lions needing a win against one of the hottest teams in football. And for the third consecutive week, the Jets were one play away from accomplishing just that.

But for the third consecutive week, they fell just short.

Zach Wilson's return was marred by inaccuracy and mental mistakes, but the second-year quarterback did enough to give the Jets a chance to win at the end of the game.

The Jets held a 17-13 lead with under three minutes to play before a busted coverage allowed Lions tight end Brock Wright to scramble 51 yards for a touchdown.

Wilson was able to get the Jets in field-goal range on the subsequent possession courtesy of a few deep heaves, but Greg Zuerlein was unable to tie the game on a 58-yard kick in windy conditions.

This loss wasn't solely on Zach Wilson. It wasn't solely on the defender who was at fault for the blown coverage. But no matter the cause, the Jets lost — and their playoff hopes are officially on life support.

The NY Jets need to win out following their Week 15 loss

The Jets have now lost three consecutive games to fall to 7-7 on the season. This game against Detroit wasn't necessarily a must-win game, but it was pretty darn close.

The Jets are now forced into a situation where they need to win out. It's highly unlikely they make the playoffs with a 9-8 record which means their backs are against the wall. No more slip-ups. Even a 10-7 finish would require a little additional help from other teams.

That's what makes each of these last three losses so infuriating. The Jets were one or two plays away from winning each of them, but they just couldn't get it done. Sometimes the ball bounces the right way — it just hasn't as of late.

Wilson missed numerous open receivers on that final drive that could have sealed the game, or at least given the Jets a closer field goal. The defense had an opportunity to win the game and they couldn't finish the job.

From a bone-headed interception that led to a field goal to a punt return touchdown, the Jets couldn't get out of their own way. You don't win games by making those mistakes.

The Jets are 7-7, and it's hard to argue they don't deserve to be. The opportunities have been there — the same opportunities the Jets capitalized on earlier in the year.

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Winning teams take advantage of those opportunities. The Jets haven't been able to, and it's why their playoff hopes are dwindling by the week, no matter who is at quarterback.