The Jets got some happy news about cornerback Darrelle Revis on Thursday.
After suffering a concussion while playing against the Bills, and missing the Steelers game and Wednesday's practice as a result, Revis was cleared to return to full practice, including contact, by doctors. Revis made it through a full session and said afterward that he will play on Sunday.
The Jets haven't been as forthcoming about Revis' status, but it's a pretty safe bet that his appearance on the field Thursday foreshadows an appearance on the field come Sunday. Not only is Revis the team's best defensive player, but he hit on something very true while speaking to the media on Thursday.
"This is a must-win for us," Revis said, via Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com.
On the surface, this makes no sense. It's the third game of the season and the Jets are 1-1, so there's plenty of time for the team to switch directions regardless of what result they get in Miami.
Dig a little deeper, though, and Revis makes all the sense in the world. Everyone does the thing where you look at a team's schedule when it is first released and mentally tally wins and losses to see what kind of record to expect in the season to come.
The two games against the Dolphins aren't just games that people circled as victories. They are games that were circled in permanent marker with giant arrows pointing to them and there might have even been some highlighter use to make sure that the point was driven home.
Why? Because it is 100 percent a must-win.
The NFL is an unforgiving league and losing games to teams with inferior talent is the surest way to send your season into the dumpster as quickly as possible. And the Dolphins clearly have inferior talent to the Jets across the board.
If you can't win these games, there's no reason to believe that you can win any of the more difficult ones that will follow later in the season. The same was true of the Bills game in Week One, because taking the games against Buffalo, Miami and the other weak opponents on the schedule make it easier to swallow losses like the one the Jets suffered in Pittsburgh.
Lose this game and you're looking at a need to beat the 49ers, Texans and Patriots if you want to have any chance to make the playoffs. Given those choices, you'd much rather face the Dolphins with the mindset that losing would make a mess of your hopes of success in the year to come.
The Jets might be able to beat some of those teams listed above, but it will be much easier for them to navigate this season if they take care of business right now and then see what happens down the road. That makes this game one the Jets have to win, even if you'd be right if you pointed out that there aren't any actual doors closed if the Dolphins find a way to get the win.
Inexplicable and unacceptable losses to the Dolphins have happened too often in the brief Rex Ryan era. Another one this week would be a very bad omen for the rest of the year.
So Revis is right, which makes it all the better to know that his body is right.