Are The Jets About To Be Grounded?

There is a bit of panic creeping into the picture for New York Jets fans. Why? The Jets lead the AFC East division. Because Jets fans have seen epic collapses before, and the current two-game slide by New York has many wondering... will it happen again?

After Brett Favre passed for only 137 yards in the Jets' loss to San Francisco on Sunday, he was asked if the 49ers had done anything in the game to shut the Jets down that was different from what they'd done before.

"No, not really," he replied, noting the 49ers played a little Cover-2 to minimize the chances of deep passes, but not much.

So it obviously wasn't anything the 39-year-old quarterback hasn't seen. Nor is what's happening to his team lately something the diehard Jets' fan hasn't seen before.

There have been some incredible late-season collapses in the team's history, the most recent of which was in 2000, when the Jets stood at 9-4 after 13 games. Needing only one win to secure a playoff berth, coach Al Groh's only Jets team lost three straight and stayed home.

But it isn't fair to burden the current team with the weight of history, especially considering that only one current Jet, Shaun Ellis, played on that 2000 squad. And also consider that in 2006, coach Eric Mangini's first season, the Jets followed a crushing upset loss to Buffalo at home with three straight wins to qualify for the playoffs.

And while the 2008 Jets have gone from 8-3 to 8-5 seemingly in the blink of an eye, the locker room was rather upbeat after the loss to the 49ers.

The theme was simple. The Jets still control their playoff destiny.

"It's a three-game season right now," said right tackle Damien Woody, who owns two Super Bowl rings from his five seasons with New England. "All is not lost. We still have everything in front of us. ... We don't need help from anybody."

That's true. The Jets have home games with Buffalo and Miami left, with a game at Seattle sandwiched in between. If the Jets win out, they would win the AFC East because they would have a better record than Miami, and they would have a better division record than New England. The Dolphins and Patriots currently are tied with the Jets for the AFC East lead.

"If we take care of our business, we'll be fine," Woody added. "We need everybody to step it up, focus and let it go for three weeks."

The Jets seemingly get a break from the schedule maker Sunday, as they will host reeling Buffalo (6-7). The Bills have slipped almost entirely out of the playoff race after a 4-0 start. The Jets beat Buffalo, 26-17, on Nov. 2.

But the Jets must awaken a slumbering passing offense that hasn't found the end zone in the last two games. Against the 49ers, Favre averaged only 4.4 yards per pass attempt, and he was unable to connect on several deep balls.

"Situational football, this week and last week, wasn't too good," Favre said after the game. "It starts with me."

In the losses to San Francisco and Denver, the Jets were 4-for-21 on third down.

"We know we're capable of executing because we did it a couple weeks back," Favre said, referring to the wins over Tennessee and New England last month. "I don't sense any blame or pointing fingers in the locker room. (We've) got to execute, it's as simple as that. I wish I could give you a secret formula but I can't."

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