If the Jets didn't have to worry about this week's game, they could feel sorry for themselves and ask each other why they couldn't be fortunate enough to play in the NFC instead of the AFC. But the Jets play in the tougher of the two conferences, and mediocre teams don't make the playoffs in the AFC. After last week's disappointing -- and one-sided -- loss to Buffalo, the Jets look like just that, a team that's respectable but, in early January, probably will not have a playoff game or a good draft pick. Instead, the Jets could fall back on how close they came. But they're not ready for that either.
If they have any hope of avoiding the sad fate between the playoffs and the land of high draft picks, the Jets must win out. That's not impossible; their three remaining opponents have losing records. Minneosta, Sunday's foe, has been foundering, but winning in the Metrodome is never easy. Moving the ball against the Vikings hasn't been easy either -- they have the fourth-ranked defense (in yards allowed) in the NFL. Alas, their offense has been bad enough for Head Coach Brad Childress to turn to Brooks Bollinger -- remember him, Jets fans? In fact, if Bollinger were healthy, he would be the expected starter against the Jets. He's not starting, and the Jets will do their best to force Brad Johnson into another bad game. Even in the muddled playoff picture, one thing is clear: the Jets need a win.