The Jets have a chance to seize an unexpected opportunity despite my last article proclaiming the Jets’ playoff hopes ended Thursday night. Because I also noted that unless the Jets win their last two games and miracles in their favor occur, all eyes are toward 2023.

Considering that Zach Wilson and the offense imploded once again and the defense struggled, it seemed that the loss on Thursday had all but ended the team’s playoff hopes. But, against all odds, the needed miracles occurred on a frigid Christmas weekend. Somehow, the Jets’ season is not dead just yet!

With Miami, New England, and Las Vegas all losing this past weekend, the Jets now essentially control their playoff destiny. The team must win their final two games, both of which are on the road. The Jets travel to face the Seahawks in Seattle on New Year’s Day, followed by a matchup against the Dolphins in Miami. In addition, the Jets need the Patriots to lose one of their two remaining games; New England finishes their season with Miami in Week 17 and Buffalo in Week 18.

That’s it. If those two scenarios play out, the Jets will make the playoffs and break their playoff drought. Despite the injuries, struggles, and setbacks, the Jets still have a shot at making the playoffs as the seven seed.

Renewed hope for the postseason was not the only good news that the Jets received this weekend, as quarterback Mike White was cleared for full contact. Considering the quarterback play over the past few weeks, White’s return is an immediate boost for an offense that has struggled to find consistency. White showed an ability to deliver throws over the middle of the field, get through his progressions, and operate within the structure of the offense during his time on the field.

In theory, White’s return should also help resuscitate a Jets’ running game that has come to a screeching halt. With defenses no longer able to see out against the run, the Jets should be able to find some lanes to run through. A balanced attack would benefit the Jets, allowing them to keep defenses off-balance and White out of situations where he is getting hit consistently.

Head Coach Robert Saleh spoke Monday about White getting another opportunity to start games for the Jets.

“Anytime you get an opportunity in this league to step out on the field as a starter, it’s a great opportunity — any position. I thought Mike had been doing a great job, thought he did a great job moving the offense, sustaining drives, getting first downs, and much more efficient, the offense was running with some good efficiency. So, yeah, it’s a great opportunity for him. It’s a great opportunity for everybody, anytime you get a chance to step on the field as I said. Really, he just needs to take it one day at a time and go from there.

Saleh also spoke about how the past weekend of games affected the team’s mindset.

“’ I’m sure there’s going to be excitement naturally, but it goes back to the message doesn’t change. This isn’t about playoffs. Obviously, I get it. Just looking at it, we got to get back to what we were the first half of the season — one day at a time, take advantage of the moment, and whatever happens, happens. Stay in the moment, I get there’s something out there, just like there was something out there in the beginning of the season. We still got to find ourselves, we got to find some confidence, we’ve got to get the ball rolling, and it starts with how we prepare day-in-day-out and how we attack these moments. The playoffs, all that stuff, is cool, but we’ve got to stay connected to this moment in Seattle, and Seattle only. So, my messaging, our messaging doesn’t change from what we talked about on Friday.

Jets have a chance to seize an unexpected opportunity

As Saleh alluded to, the Jets need to find their previous form from earlier in the season. Their offensive line needs to protect the quarterback better and open up run lanes for the running backs. The open throws in the middle of the field need to be capitalized upon. The defense must generate more pressure on the quarterback while limiting the yardage gained from underneath passes.

If the Jets can correct their issues, they are well-equipped to face Seattle. The Seahawks have been struggling recently and are dealing with a critical injury to star wide receiver Tyler Lockett. On defense, the Seahawks have a unit that can be exploited in the air and on the ground. The Jets’ defense, on paper, should be able to force Geno Smith into pressure by shutting down Seattle’s outside receiving threats.

Execution is necessary, though. The Jets were better on paper than Detroit and Jacksonville in key aspects, but they still lost both games. In addition, the team failed to capitalize on their opportunities in those games, costing them wins.

The only way the Jets keep their playoff hopes alive beyond this week is by winning, something they have not done in almost a month. They have competed and been close in games but have not finished the job. So, in reality, the Jets probably should not have a chance to compete for a playoff spot.

Yet through a series of events that one could consider unlikely or miraculous, the Jets have something to play for this weekend. The team has one last shot to push towards a postseason appearance, the final hurdle in a season filled with overcoming them.

It is really simple for the Jets. A victory on Sunday most likely sets up the win-and-in scenario against Miami. A loss ends the team’s playoff chances once and for all. It is truly do-or-die, win-or-go-home territory for the Jets, and whatever result happens, the game will show where the Jets are positioned in both the present and the future.

In other words, let the fun begin, as this weekend will be one to remember.