Ryan, Jets Need Many Feet for NFL Playoff Dance

Joe LaTengo | Updated Dec 27, 2011


The N.Y. Jets have the playoffs to gain and a lot to lose in their matchup against the Miami Dolphins. Here’s what Joe LaTengo thinks.

Rex Ryan knows how to use his mouth, and for more than just (allegedly) sucking his wife’s toes. Unsexy Rexy likes to give juicy quotes to the media, and it helps to take the heat off his beleaguered New York Jets. That’s not going to help them in their upcoming game against the Miami Dolphins, though.

Heated words were exchanged between Ryan and Giants runnning back Brandon Jacobs immediately after Rex’s team lost to their stadium-sharing rivals 29-14 in what was supposed to be a “home” game for the Green and White.

The outspoken Jets’ head coach can yap all he likes, but he can’t justify his team blowing the opportunities they’ve had to write their own destiny for the playoffs. They not only bowed to the Giants on Christmas Eve, the Eagles blew them out in Philadephia 45-19 the week before. Now it gets tough: Not only do they need to beat Miami, but Baltimore must also down Cincinnati, Houston has to defeat Tennessee, and either Denver (hosting Kansas City) or Oakland (at home to San Diego) must lose. While it’s not impossible to have all those pieces fall into place, it’s extremely unlikely. A bold bettor could probably retire if that parlay comes through.

Now Miami, they have every reason to be up for the game. For one thing, they’ve been playing well lately. They had New England down 17-0 at halftime at Gillette Stadium, and they ended up covering the spread after the Patriots rallied for a come-from-behind 27-24 win. The week before, they beat Buffalo 30-23 on the road, and two weeks before that they pounded Oakland at home 34-14.

Then there’s the idea of upsetting their divisional competitors in the AFC East. Dolphins players should be looking at this matchup with their mouths watering. The Jets are an inconsistent team with a mediocre quarterback in Mark Sanchez, and a suspect defense other than Darrelle Revis. The Fish should also want to avenge the 24-6 beating at the hands of the Jets on Monday Night Football in Week 6. The Jets have also had a tough time winning on the road in 2011: their record is 2-5 away from MetLife Stadium, beating only Buffalo in Week 9 and Washington in Week 13.

No one should be surprised that as of this writing, Rex Ryan’s team is the underdog in the early NFL betting. The Jets are in big trouble, and no amount of talking is going to enable them to tiptoe around the issue. Now they have to win, and they need plenty of help to attend the postseason dance. It looks like it’s too much to ask.