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One Last Chance for the Jets to Save Some Face

The Jets are still breathing, even if everyone has stuck a fork in them already

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    How long and cold will winter be for the Jets?

    There are a million questions swirling in the air about the Jets right now.

    Will Brian Schottenheimer be back for another season as offensive coordinator? Can Mark Sanchez ever show progress toward becoming a quality NFL quarterback? Is it possible for Rex Ryan to be humbled?

    That's just a taste of the uncertainty that's looming over the team as they head into the final weekend of a season that hasn't gone as planned. Everyone seems to be quite willing to start discussing these and other issues right now, which is odd for a couple of reasons.

    The first is that there's plenty of time in the offseason to parse all the different things that hurt the Jets this season and plenty of time to bounce ideas off the wall about how to improve them in 2012. Jumping the gun isn't going to make a better tomorrow any more likely, especially since the Jets themselves aren't ready to start making any changes.

    More than that, though, the Jets aren't actually dead yet. Sure, things look bleaker than a Siberian winter after two straight humiliating losses -- but there's still a chance for the Jets to make it to the playoffs this season.

    It will take losses by the Bengals, Titans, Broncos and/or Raiders for the Jets to actually punch a ticket to Houston for the first round of the playoffs. That's a lot of things to fall into place all at once, obviously, but it was just two years ago that the Jets got every break to go their way in Ryan's first season as head coach. 

    On top of all those losses, the Jets need to actually beat the Dolphins on Sunday. It would fit all too well in this season of great opportunity -- the Jets are alive despite having three losing streaks of two or more games -- if the Jets actually got all the help they needed while forgetting to take care of business in their own backyard.

    Given how poorly the Jets have played over the last two weeks and how much life the Dolphins have shown in the second half of the season, that seems all too possible and all too depressing a sequence of events. If they aren't going to make the playoffs, you might ask why it even matters if they win or lose in Week 17 but fatalism never gets you anywhere in the NFL.

    It is always better to win than it is to lose, especially for a team that seems to have the attention span and fragile psyche of a puppy, and the Jets could use a win just to restore some faith that someone in the organization knows how to push the right buttons. The changes need to come whether or not they and whether or not they make the playoffs, so why not win and go from there instead of spending the next nine months with the hangover of a three-game losing streak?

    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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