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The Jets are mathematically still in the thick of the AFC wild card race, but if they don’t improve their play it’s not going to matter what the numbers say. Coming off a victory over the Bills in a must-win game, the Jets look to keep things rolling when they travel to FedEx to face the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
New York narrowly avoided a loss and possibly the end of their season when Mark Sanchez found Santonio Holmes for the game winning touchdown with just over a minute left last week against the Buffalo Bills. While they got the win it was hardly a pretty game as Sanchez struggled, despite throwing for a career high four touchdowns, and the defense had trouble stopping a Bills offense which was without its best player in running back Fred Jackson.
Their play wasn’t a good sign for a team likely forced to win at least four of their last five games, if not all, to have a shot at the final playoff spot in the AFC. For the Jets to have success down the stretch, they’ll have to rely on Sanchez to improve his play and lead the team. He completed 48.6 percent of his passes for only 180 yards last week.
The once feared defense allowed the Bills to drive 90 yards down the field for the score earlier in the game, and almost let Ryan Fitzpatrick lead the Bills down the field in less than a minute for the game winning score. Had Stevie Johnson made a wide-open catch on a play during that drive, the Bills probably would’ve scored and won the game.
“We have to keep improving, there’s no question,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “We’re not going to win and we’re not going to reach our goal if we don’t get better. But we definitely plan on getting better.”
“It is funny how if we make a mistake, we’re horrible and it’s, `Oh, they’re terrible,” Ryan said. “That could be bad luck there, too. But if we make a play, it’s, `Oh, we’re just lucky.’ So, maybe it’s the green (team colors). I don’t know. I hope karma is with us. I hope we continue to be lucky, and we’ll take that.
“The old saying, `I’d rather be lucky than good.’ I’d rather be both, and I think we are.” The Jets are hoping for luck, and that they gained momentum heading into the game Sunday because their track record against the ‘Skins isn’t good. The Jets are 1-8 all time versus Washington.
Washington also hopes to keep some momentum going, coming off a close win over Seattle to snap a six game losing streak. The Redskins came back from 10 down in the fourth to score 16 unanswered points. “That’s what you’re in this game to do, is to win,” Washington coach Mike Shanahan said. “But at the same time, when you’re around a football team that’s giving you everything they’ve got, you feel good.
“That’s why I feel good about the character of this football team, and it was nice to find a way to win because they deserved to win. Our players have been working extremely hard, and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Rex Grossman is coming off of one of his best performances of the season completing over 73 percent of his passes and racking up 314 yards. To add to that, rookie running back Roy Helu earned himself the start this week rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown last week. He also caught seven passes for 54 yards as well.
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