The Jets, even after Monday night's 45-3 loss, still stand tied with the second best record in the AFC with a 9-3 mark, a win total that equaled their regular season victory mark from last year. On Tuesday morning during his press conference, Ryan speculated that his team had a chance to improve on last year's 9-7 record by at least three wins, but then his theory fell apart.
"As long as I've been in the league, they always say you win the games you're supposed to win, you split with the really good teams and that generally will get you – it's a formula to win 12 games," Ryan said. "That's always been a formula."
But that's where the theory for Ryan fails – the Jets have yet to show that they are capable of splitting against what Ryan called "the really good teams."
The problem for the Jets is that three of their four remaining games are against teams with a .500 mark or better. So far this season, the Jets have just one win and three losses against teams currently with a .500 or better record but they are 7-0 against teams with a losing mark. So for the Jets to reach that 12 win number that Ryan referenced, New York will have to win two of their final three games against teams with a .500 record or better and beat the hapless Bills at home.
And that goes against the trend of the year as evidenced by Monday night's drubbing at Foxboro. Then again, Ryan is conveniently willing to overlook the loss to the Patriots as somewhat of an aberration.
"Throw out last night," Ryan said. "We're just trying to compile as many wins as you can; at the end of the day, that's all they add up to. They add up to wins and losses and that's how they judge the score."
It all points to a worrisome trend for New York. Not only are the Jets 1-3 against teams with a winning record, a record that does not bode well for the playoffs, they also have played down to the level of their lesser opponents on numerous occasions. During a stretch from Week 9 through Week 11, the Jets won three straight games in dramatic fashion on their final offensive possession. The combined score line in the wins over Detroit, Cleveland and Houston was a razor thin 12 points over that stretch.
Those three opponents combined currently are 12 games under .500 as of Week 13's standings.
Ryan said that this isn't panic time and that the looming Sunday afternoon game against a desperate Miami isn't a test of character for his Jets team that was tossed across the field by the Patriots like a rag doll. The Jets coach did acknowledge on Tuesday afternoon that he didn't go home after the loss and stayed at the team's facility throughout the night following the Monday night meltdown.
"That's what good teams do, you win the ones you're supposed to," Ryan said. "Clearly we've got to do a better job. There's a reason we lost three games – we lost to three good football teams."
And the suddenly reeling Jets face three more "good football teams" over the next three weeks, making this time for Ryan's bunch to prove whether they are contenders or just another year of being pretenders. Last year much like this year, the Jets beat New England at home in Week 2 then later in the season travelled up to Gillette Stadium and got manhandled in every aspect by the Patriots.
Yet, perhaps that is the spark and inspiration Ryan is hoping for.
The Jets bounced back from the Week 11 loss in 2009 to win five of their last six games and squeak into the playoffs, where they advanced to the AFC Championship Game. The Patriots, who won the division a season ago, were shockingly upset in the playoffs in the Wild Card round. Ryan is counting on the Jets remembering how they bounced back and finished stronger then the Pats a season ago as he tries this week to piece together the bruised ego of his once boisterous team.
"First off, we got to earn our right to get in there, but we know what the playoffs are all about. The same scenario happened last year. We beat them in week two. They smoked us at their place. Yet I think we went further than they did in the playoffs," Ryan said. "This one won't be our first rodeo. We know what to expect, that kind of intensity. We played poorly. There's no question about it, no denying it."