It would be hard to criticize the Jets for looking past their game with the Rams this Sunday. They played their biggest and best game of the season in Buffalo and have a showdown in New England looming on Thursday. With first place potentially on the line the Jets eyes are sure to wander a little bit when they see the Rams' subpar record.
Now comes news that Steven Jackson is unlikely to play for St. Louis, making the Rams even weaker in advance of Sunday's contest. Keeping the team focused on the task at hand will be even more difficult for Eric Mangini and company. They've got to find a way to do it though.
The rough three games against the Bengals, Raiders and Chiefs proved that the Jets aren't in a place where they can put in a mediocre effort and cruise through with a victory. They need to put forth the same 60 minute game they played in Buffalo last weekend, and then start thinking about playing the Patriots for a chance to grab control of the division.
The Buffalo game offers them the best blueprint to follow. Nothing fancy on offense should again be the order of the day. A controlled passing attack balanced with a heavy load of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington should minimize the potential for game-changing errors. Kris Jenkins and the defense will be able to keep Kenneth Darby and Samkon Gado from making any gains on the ground. That will open the door for the pass rush, something the Rams leaky line has struggled with all season, and pave the way for a Jets victory.
Anything less than that complete effort will run the risk of a loss, which would erase all the good feelings generated by the win against the Bills. If they do lose, the Patriots game will be a fight for their playoff lives in an unpleasant place to play. That should be reason enough for the Jets to step cautiously to avoid a trap on Sunday.