Week 18: NY Jets @ Miami Dolphins
Does Week 18 get anymore important for this Jets team?
Earlier in the season, the Jets downed the Dolphins, 40-17, in a huge win. In that contest, the Jets recorded five touchdowns on the ground while rookie Breece Hall was still active.
While the Jets still had Hall active, the Dolphins were without starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, forcing rookie Skylar Thompson into action.
Now with Tagovailoa back from injury, the Jets will need to be ready for all the tricks to be pulled out of the book. The Dolphins remain just one spot ahead of the Jets in the playoff standings, and if the trends continue, they will be side by side fighting to climb the playoff ladder.
The difference between taking on the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round, or the Tennessee Titans/Jacksonville Jaguars, is massive and can potentially make or break a playoff run.
One of the biggest inconsistencies is the Jets' offense, and if that continues to be an inconsistency, the defense will need to step up and showcase the Super Bowl-like qualities that the media has highlighted this season.
With a coach like Mike McDaniel at the helm of the Dolphins coaching staff, each week is practically a fresh start. He has only grown as a coach each week and has taken down defenses with his elite playcalling. The Jets need to be prepared for their defense to have some struggles early in the contest but need to remain confident.
This will also be a big contest for rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner to showcase his defensive capabilities against wideouts Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
This has to be a win for the Jets. Falling to a record of 8-9 pretty much solidifies the chances that the Jets would fall out of playoff contention. Sweeping the season series against the Dolphins would be huge in the AFC East and a sign that other teams need to be on the lookout next season.
With that being said, I do not believe that McDaniel fathoms a loss in Week 18 and blows out the Jets 41-21. This would be a huge loss for the Jets and would almost certainly push them out of the playoffs unless unforeseen circumstances occur.
Final Record Needed for Playoffs:
The Jets need to finish their season with a record of at least 9-8 to have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs.
Anything less than nine wins and it's highly unlikely the Jets make it. A win in Week 18 against the Dolphins would also help their cause and help push them into the No. 2 or 3 spot in the AFC East.
An honest prediction would see the Jets win against the Jaguars, lose to the Seahawks, and lose to the Dolphins. With quarterback inconsistencies, the ceiling for this team falls exponentially. The Jets need to look to load up and make a punch in the offseason to bring in a consistent quarterback.
Only time will tell if this roster can must together a few big wins in the final three contests of the 2022 season to solidify a playoff berth.