Misery loves company – and the Jets have a chance to inflict some serious sadness on the Miami Dolphins by defeating them this weekend.
A loss to the already-eliminated Jets would do considerable damage to Miami’s near win-and-they’re-in playoff chances.
The Dolphins are currently tied with the Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers for the final playoff spot in the AFC. Should all three teams win Sunday, the Dolphins own the tie breaker by virtue of having a better winning percentage in conference games than the other two teams and would advance to the postseason.
Miami can also clinch with a win and a San Diego win, or by winning and having Baltimore lose or tie.
There is a scenario where if both the Dolphins and Ravens were to win, and the Chargers were to lose, Miami would not advance due to a head-to-head loss to Baltimore in Week Five.
On the odd chance that all three teams were to lose, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were to win, Pittsburgh would sneak in and claim the last spot.
And though the Jets were officially eliminated from contention two weeks ago, there’s still more to play for than spoiling Miami’s playoff hopes.
Quarterback Geno Smith was benched after two quarters the last time the two teams met. He completed just four passes in 10 attempts and was essentially booed off the field at MetLife Stadium.
Smith grew up in Miami and while one good game in his hometown isn’t going to undo his previous performance against the Dolphins or the 21 interceptions he’s thrown in his rookie year, ending the season on a positive note would be a much-needed confidence boost heading into the offseason.
Fellow rookie Dee Milliner is in a similar situation as Smith. Milliner was also benched when the two teams played on December 1, and has had a rather forgettable first year in the NFL.
To his credit, Milliner is coming off his best game as a pro. Another good outing this weekend can hopefully lay the foundation for a more successful sophomore campaign.
The Jets as a team have an opportunity Sunday to do something that they haven’t done since Weeks 13 and 14 of last year – win two games in a row.
A Jets victory would also assure the Jets of avoiding a second-straight losing season.
The last time the Jets finished 8-8, and closed out the regular season in Miami, was in 2011 when they needed a win of their own to stay alive in the playoff hunt. The Jets squandered the chance though and Santonio Holmes was benched in the fourth quarter due to poor body language.
Although some accused Holmes of quitting that day, the same cannot be said of how the Jets have performed for head coach Rex Ryan this season.
The Jets have at times looked overmatched and made far too many mistakes, but effort hasn’t been an issue.
Ryan’s future with the Jets remains up in the air as of now and even though a victory might not be enough to save his job, it certainly can’t hurt.
Much like their coach, many players will need a good showing in hopes of securing a place on the roster next season.
Regardless of how well they play, it’s likely this will be the last time we’ll see Holmes or cornerback Antonio Cromartie in a Jets uniform. Holmes and Cromartie were two main staples of the glory days from a few years ago but with both having poor seasons and being owed a lot of money in 2014, the odds of them getting invited back are slim.
It’s been a weird past few months for the Jets. The talk before the season of them being the worst team in football was probably overblown, yet it has allowed them to have what many would consider a successful year if they were to finish with eight wins.
Missing the playoffs shouldn’t ever be thought of as a success. But if you can’t qualify for the postseason, you might as well make sure that your rival doesn’t get in either.