Following the 2010 season, Rex Ryan guaranteed that the New York Jets would win this year's Super Bowl.
His team first needs to make the playoffs, which alone would be quite an achievement.
Needing a win along with several other outcomes working in their favor to make the postseason, Ryan's Jets visit the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Sitting with an 8-5 record heading into Week 15, New York (8-7) seemed to be in good shape to secure a third straight postseason berth. The Jets have looked nothing like a playoff-caliber team in either of their two games since, however, losing to Philadelphia 45-19 on Dec. 18 and falling to the New York Giants 29-14 last Saturday.
Now to make the playoffs, the Jets must defeat the Dolphins (5-10) and have Cincinnati lose at home to Baltimore, Tennessee lose in Houston and either Denver or Oakland lose. The Broncos host Kansas City while the Raiders face San Diego at home.
New York defeated Miami 24-6 on Oct. 17, but hasn't swept the season series since 2007.
"Have we had the results we were hoping for? No, but again, the season is not over,'' Ryan said. "Maybe we'll look at everything, obviously, at the end of the season, but right now we are competing for it. We've got a chance and we need to find a way to get it done this week.''
If the Jets don't, it would be another unfulfilled prediction from the outspoken Ryan.
Weeks after losing a second straight AFC championship game last January, Ryan guaranteed New York would win this year's Super Bowl. The third-year coach, known for his controversial statements, claimed last week that his Jets were the best team in New York, superior to the Giants based on their two previous playoff runs. That statement backfired and may have served as motivation for the Giants.
Mark Sanchez had another rough outing last weekend, and his future with the team is in question. He threw a career-high 59 passes, completing 30 of them, and had a forgettable fourth quarter - tossing two interceptions, losing a fumble near the goal line and getting sacked for a safety.
"It wasn't Mark's best day by any stretch of the imagination," Ryan said. "But we know he's done it, and he's been doing it, and we have great confidence in him, and I have great confidence in him.''
Sanchez, however, also had two interceptions and a fumble in the blowout loss to the Eagles.
"Have we played our best? No,'' he said. "We just have to keep pressing, be smart, win the game and see what happens.''
Sanchez completed 14 of 25 passes for 201 yards with a touchdown in New York's first game of the season versus Miami.
That game's turning point occurred in the first quarter. Up 3-0, the Dolphins were poised to add to their lead, but Darrelle Revis returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown on a pass intended for Brandon Marshall to put the Jets ahead.
Revis, selected to a fourth consecutive Pro Bowl on Tuesday, may have got away with defensive pass interference to make the play. Marshall, chosen to his second Pro Bowl, said this week that a flag would've been thrown "nine times out of 10'' if he wasn't covered by Revis, one of the NFL's biggest defensive stars.
Miami's Matt Moore made his first start of the season in that game, completing 47.1 percent of his passes for 204 yards with two interceptions. He has shown steady improvement since.
He nearly led the Dolphins to an upset victory at New England last Saturday, throwing for 281 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. It was his third three-touchdown game of the season, and he has 11 TDs to two interceptions in the last six contests.
Miami squandered a 17-0 halftime lead to the Patriots, losing 27-24. The Dolphins outgained New England 248-107 in the first half, but were outgained 293-126 after the break.
"This one's pretty tough,'' said Reggie Bush, who ran for 113 yards, his fourth consecutive 100-yard game.
Bush has been ruled out of this game due to a right knee injury, ending his first 1,000-yard season with 1,086. Marshall has 1,177 receiving yards, giving the Dolphins a 1,000-yard runner and 1,000-yard receiver for the first time in franchise history.
New York's Shonn Greene is a yard away from his first 1,000-yard season. He'll be facing a Dolphins team third in rush defense (93.4 yards per game).
Miami's defense has also been strong lately against the pass. Since Week 9, the Dolphins are tied for fourth with 11 interceptions and have the third-most sacks with 24.
One of the pillars of the defense, linebacker Jason Taylor, will be playing in his final game Sunday after 15 NFL seasons. Taylor, who spent last season with the Jets, is second on the Dolphins with seven sacks.
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