After last year's 9-7 mark, the Jets advanced the AFC Championship Game with a strong late season push and a run through the playoffs that saw them win twice on the road. The Week 17 game with the Bills give the Jets a chance to finish the regular season strong and on a high note heading into the playoffs. It is the first time that the team has made consecutive playoff appearances since they last did it in 2001.
The desire to finish 11-5 and have a two game improvement over last year is tempered against head coach Rex Ryan's desire for postseason success.
"In the long, long haul, does it make that big a difference? Probably not, because we'll probably be the sixth-seed one way or another. There's an outside chance we could be the fifth," Ryan said. "I want to win, but our place in history, winning the 11 games and all that kind of stuff, no. You know what I want to do. I want to win the big ring. We're fortunate. We're in the playoffs. We get a chance that a lot of teams don't get, but that's the thing that I want."
But as important as getting 11 wins would be for Ryan and the Jets, he weighs the cost against the postseason. The Jets have a very slim chance of making the playoffs as the fifth seed so Sunday will afford Ryan the chance to give his starters some rest and let his depth earn valuable snaps ahead of the postseason.
But winning and ending the regular season on a high note has its advantages too.
"Winning two more games than we did last year in the regular season, I think would be good. Just that little edge that we did win our last game, I think there is some truth to the fact that there is momentum. How much that really matters? I'm not real sure," Ryan said. "You look at the teams that were in the Super Bowl last year – [they] lost their last two. I don't want to do that, though. I want to win this game."
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed for Jets news at twitter.com/kdyer1012