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The playoffs will begin in earnest for Jets during final four games of season – Boston Herald

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Following Sunday’s 20-12 loss to the Bills, Jets coach Robert Saleh delivered a stern message to reporters.

“We’re going to see these guys again.”

Now it’s time for Gang Green to prove it on the field during its final four games of the season. Saleh feels like the Jets can go toe to toe with some of the best teams in the NFL after losing to both the Vikings and the Bills the last two weeks. Now we are about to find out if they truly can.

Now it’s crunch time for the Jets as their playoff lives are at stake during the final four weeks of the season. Currently, they are 7-6 but find themselves on the outside the final three wildcard spots in the AFC as the Jets are in ninth place in the conference.

Gang Green was 6-3 during its bye week, but the team has lost three of its last four games. Wins by the Patriots and Chargers last weekend also didn’t help the Jets, as they fell from the seventh spot in the AFC to “in the hunt category” because of tiebreakers.

“At the end of the day, we still control our own destiny,” Saleh said on ESPN New York Monday. “If we just take care of ours, focus on that and find ways to win these games, then it doesn’t matter what happens we will be in.

“The only time it is worth rooting for another team is when you need help. Otherwise, focus on what you need to take care of and don’t rely on other people to do your job. Do your job, take care of what you need to take care of and the rest will fall into place.”

One area that has improved during the last three weeks is the quarterback position. Mike White has given the Jets chances to win late in games after taking over for Zach Wilson, who was benched last month. But the team hasn’t gotten over the hump in contests against the Vikings and the Bills at home.

White has thrown for 952 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in three starts. If he is healthy enough to play after going to the hospital because of a rib injury, White should continue to be the Jets starting quarterback.

However, the Jets offense has struggled to get points on the board no matter who’s been behind center this year. Against the Bills, Gang Green found the end zone just once as the team scored 12 points the entire game as White threw 44 passes without throwing a touchdown.

The truth is, the Jets offense hasn’t been the same since rookie running Breece Hall was lost for the season due to a torn ACL he suffered against the Broncos on Oct. 23. Since that time, the Jets have lost four of six games as their offense has sputtered averaging 17.5 points per game.

As elite as the Jets’ defense has been throughout the year, it’s hard to beat any team scoring less than 20 points per game.

“It starts in practice, maybe we just got to have that mindset of giving a little more,” White said. “Just whatever it is, just keep finding another gear, another something to be able to fix those issues because it’s really hard to play football that way when you aren’t starting fast it’s hard to overcome as an offense.”

Although the NFL postseason starts on Jan. 14, it will begin in earnest this weekend for the Jets. They will host the Lions, who, next to the Eagles, is arguably the hottest team in the league, winning five of their last six games to jump back into the playoff race in the NFC. Then the Jets will host the Jaguars on Dec. 22, who defeated the Ravens and Titans in recent weeks.

Gang Green will then hit the road as it will play at Seattle and Miami to end the regular season. Both the Seahawks and the Dolphins are also competing for a spot in the playoffs.

If the Jets are going to snap the longest postseason drought in the NFL (2010) this year, they’re going to earn it as their remaining opponents all have a combined .500 winning percentage. That is the seventh toughest in the NFL during the season’s final four weeks.

A loss against the Lions and or Jaguars, it will be difficult for the Jets to make the playoffs considering they lose tiebreakers against both the Patriots and Chargers.

“December football is about grit, it’s about strain, it’s about 60%, same things we’ve always talked about and I just believe this team has that mindset,” Saleh said. “If you could bring that every single day and if you can bring that to every game, you’re going to give yourself a chance, especially in the fourth quarter.

“We have, what’s cool about this is we’ve got four playoff games because every team we’re playing is fighting for a playoff spot, even Jacksonville is looking for some help. So, every game has major playoff implications. This is an awesome experience for our group and it’s going to be, it just makes things more rewarding, especially if you can get it done.”

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