The New York Jets didn’t play a game in Week 10 but that didn’t stop fans and media members from spectating on Sunday’s action.
During the 1 p.m. slate, all eyes were on AFC East rivals Buffalo and Miami, who had tough matchups versus the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns. At the end of the first half, morale was certainly down after the Dolphins and Bills took big leads over their opponents.
Miami never let up on that hot start, rolling straight past Cleveland to move to 7-3 on the season. Buffalo on the other hand did not share the same success, letting the Vikes back into one of the crazier regular-season outings of 2022 so far.
In the end, the back-and-forth overtime affair was lost on a Josh Allen interception, and that result set the stage for a pivotal Week 11 rematch for Gang Green in New England.
Jets-Patriots Rematch Could Have Pivotal Ramifications
The Jets have not beaten the Patriots since 2015, and the Bill Belichick-run franchise has already become a thorn in the side of newcomers Zach Wilson and Robert Saleh. Both are 0-3 against the long-time rival since arriving in New York, although the young QB left one start early with an injury.
After the Bills’ Week 10 loss, the Jets community reacted on Twitter by noting the importance of their upcoming test in New England. “The Jets will be in first place in the AFC East if they beat the Patriots next week,” informed The Jet Press, adding: “Conversely, if the Jets lose to the Patriots next week they will likely be in last place in the AFC East.”
That’s how thin the margin for error is in this division right now with the Dolphins at 7-3 (on a bye next week) and the Bills and Jets hot on their tail at 6-3. The Green & White currently hold the head-to-head tiebreak over both Buffalo and Miami, meaning a 7-3 record automatically shifts them into first place.
As stated above, however, a loss could drop them to fourth — so long as the Bills win. The Patriots (5-4) would tie New York in record if they keep their recent streak going in Week 11. The two head-to-head victories would then push them past Gang Green in the standings via tiebreak.
Based on all this and more, Will Parkinson of the “Turn on the Jets” podcast described the upcoming face-off as a “season-defining game.”
He explained: “Not to be overdramatic but the Jets vs Patriots is a must-win game for the Jets for like 12 reasons but first place at Thanksgiving on the line and overcoming your demons versus your rival stand out as the biggest.”
Considering how competitive the AFC is this year, a loss next week might also have pivotal ramifications long-term. It’s very unlikely that four teams make the playoffs from one division, so you don’t want to put yourself in a position where tiebreakers can keep you out.
New England could put the Jets in a proverbial stranglehold with a second victory and if things broke wrong with Buffalo, they might find themselves a game back of the two teams they beat — with a second head-to-head looming. At that point, you almost have to sweep both the Bills and Dolphins in 2022 and that’s no easy feat to rely on.
As Parkinson put it, Week 11 could be a season-defining game.
AFC Landscape After Week 10
There’s still one AFC team in play — the Los Angeles Chargers are currently up against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football. If they win, they’ll become the seventh team in the conference with six wins or more.
Those seven would be the current postseason contenders, but franchises like the Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals are knocking on the door at 5-4. Both currently hold head-to-head tiebreakers over the Jets and as mentioned above, New York would dig themselves into a real hole by falling to 0-2 versus New England.
A loss would not only drop them to last in the division, but it would also most likely knock them out of the playoffs heading into the holiday season.
The silver lining: No matter what happens next week, Gang Green will finally play meaningful football this December. Let’s be honest though — with every upset win and impressive performance, the expectations are changing at One Jets Drive. Losing is no longer an option.