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Jets Eliminate Brash Talk Before Eagles Game

Bart Scott puts the confident talk in a corner with Eagles on deck

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Dec 16, 2011  |  Updated 5:57 PM EDT
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The Madbacker tries a different path this time around.

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The Jets have no shortage of reasons to feel good about themselves right now.

They've won three straight games, achieved at a higher level offensively and, as a result, they've moved into one of the two AFC Wild Card spots.

For a team that rarely misses an opportunity to toot its own horn, you'd expect to hear a cacophony of brass blasting in both ears every time the media descended on Jets headquarters.

Yet there's nothing even close coming from the Jets right now. Instead we're getting more measured analysis from Bart Scott, a player who has never been shy about expressing the bright, shining confidence deep inside his soul.

"I don't think we're where we need to be," Scott said. "I don’t think we're a Super Bowl team right now, or even a playoff team. We just have to continue to get better every week, to make sure that we’re good enough to qualify. We're playing better football, but we're not playing nearly the type of football that we're capable of."

Why the change in tune from the Jets? Is it humility borne of losing five of their first 10 games?

Perhaps, but it might also be the experience of the last two seasons taking root in the mindset of the team. They have learned some pretty crucial things in Rex Ryan's first two seasons that would seem to serve them well entering this week's game with the Eagles.

The first is that they always play their best when they have everything to lose. The fact that the Jets need to push themselves to the brink of disaster -- be it in a game or in a season -- before they come up with a maximum effort is frustrating, but it is also something that can be used to their advantage.

If Scott and other leaders of the team avoid the confident proclamations of the past and keep the team's feet to the fire, it can only help sustain the feeling that nothing has been accomplished yet. That's good for the Jets, especially when playing a team with the speed of the Eagles on both sides of the ball. 

They'll need to be determined to keep Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy under wraps while also making sure that DeSean Jackson doesn't beat them deep down the field. Execution will be key on offense as they try to pound the Eagles defense into submission with Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson so that Mark Sanchez isn't forced into the teeth of the Eagles defense.

Over the last two years, the Jets have also learned from the Chargers, Colts and Patriots that having everything going your way in Week 15 makes no difference whatsoever in the larger scheme of things. That gets to the heart of what Scott is talking about when he says that the team isn't guaranteed anything right now and that they need to keep getting better to get where they want to be.

The Jets have peaked at the right time twice in the last two years. Scott knows they need to do it again and it's the most truthful thing he's ever said.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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