The Jets have racked up some dramatic wins over the past two years, slowly climbing out of the confines of mediocrity to mingle with other talented postseason contenders.
What the Jets haven’t been able to do, however, is win their division.
New York hasn’t won a game against a team in the AFC East since Week 17 of the 2019 season. That’s 12 straight losses, six in each of the last two seasons.
As the Jets prepare to open their 2022 season by facing the Dolphins in Week 5 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, coach Robert Saleh understands what’s at stake.
“The fastest way to the playoffs is to win your division, right?” Saleh told reporters this week. “That’s the only thing you have control over, beating your division rivals and all that.”
Saleh went on to admit that he turned New York’s winless record against their rivals into bulletin board material.
“It’s on our boards,” he said. “I Conquer the East.” So if you’re trying to be that playoff team, you have to be great in the division and this organization and this team haven’t won in a while in the division. If we want to take that next step as an organization, we have to do better in our department.”
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New York just happens to be in a busy section. The Bills are Super Bowl contenders, the Dolphins have blossomed this year in the early weeks, and you can never count out Bill Belichick’s Patriots.
With that in mind, the Jets have a huge opportunity to build on the momentum they’ve built in their comeback wins over Pittsburgh and Cleveland by showing the rest of the NFL that they mean business by taking down the big boys in the AFC East.
No one expects the Jets to come out and sweep against these three teams, but after two winless seasons against their division rivals, they can take a major step forward this year. A couple of wins sets the table for contention.
That process begins Sunday with the Dolphins coming to town.
“We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made so far,” veteran defensive back Sheldon Rankins said this week. “We’re taking the necessary steps to continue to be a better team and take over this division. We just have to continue to make progress. It’s not going to happen overnight, it’s not something we can just turn around. We have all the talent we need. , we just have to continue to step up consistently and improve throughout each week and throughout this season to continue to close that gap and be where we want to be as a team in this the charge”.
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