The New York Jets don’t mind the manner in which they’re winning, just as long as the victories keep coming to help bolster their playoff chances.
The Kansas Chiefs feel the same way.
The Jets look for their third straight win Sunday when they host the Chiefs, who haven’t scored more than 10 points in their last five games.
New York (7-5) rallied to beat Buffalo 28-24 on Nov. 27, then overcame a three-point deficit with 7:52 remaining last Sunday in Washington to beat the Redskins 34-19 despite gaining only 266 yards.
After being blown out at home by New England 37-16 on Nov. 13, then allowing a last-minute touchdown in a 17-13 loss to Denver on Nov. 17, the Jets’ playoff chances looked bleak.
Now, New York is in a four-way tie for the AFC’s final wild-card spot.
“We’re a team that just wants to win and get in the playoffs and see what happens,” coach Rex Ryan said. “Our goal is intact, even though it looked really bad a few weeks ago.”
New York may be playing below its preseason expectations, but Ryan said it is prepared to overcome its midseason struggles and make another postseason run after appearing in back-to-back AFC championship games.
“This team has plenty of confidence,” Ryan said. “We don’t lack for confidence, not one bit. We think we can beat any team in this league. Obviously, we’ve lost five games, so that’s not always a fact, but we believe going into every single game that we’re going to win. We’re capable of beating anybody in this league. We just have to put it together.”
Kansas City ranks 25th in the league against the run, allowing 130.3 yards per game. The Jets figure to have an easier time finding room for Greene if right guard Brandon Moore can play, and Ryan expects he will despite sitting out practice Wednesday with a sore hip.
Jones played three seasons in New York and ran for career bests of 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2009 before being released following that season. Currently part of a backfield-by-committee that’s replacing the injured Jamaal Charles(notes), Jones will face his former team for the first time since leaving.
In his only career contest versus the Jets, Jones ran for 121 yards Nov. 19, 2006, while playing for Chicago.
“I think the world of Thomas,” Ryan said. “Just not this week.”
Jones is part of an inconsistent offense for the Chiefs (5-7), who have scored one more point since the beginning of November than the Jets did in Washington.
With quarterback Tyler Palko(notes) struggling to sustain drives, the onus has been on Kansas City’s defense, which didn’t disappoint Sunday in Chicago. The Chiefs registered seven sacks and picked off three Caleb Hanie(notes) passes, helping Palko’s first half-ending Hail Mary TD to Dexter McCluster(notes) hold up in a 10-3 win that ended a four-game skid.
Kansas City is two games behind AFC West co-leaders Denver and Oakland with four games remaining, and is holding onto slim chances to reach the postseason.
“We’re coming on at the right time,” coach Todd Haley said. “If we can figure out a way to win - pretty, ugly or indifferent - we have a chance.”
Palko’s first career touchdown pass didn’t come in a conventional manner, but his showing against Chicago was much better than back-to-back three-interception performances in losses to New England and Pittsburgh the previous two weeks.
Palko, filling in after a season-ending hand injury to Matt Cassel(notes) on Nov. 13, was replaced by Kyle Orton(notes) after a lackluster start last week, but Orton injured his finger on his only play and Palko returned to the game.
Orton’s status for Sunday is uncertain, but Haley described Orton as a “quick healer.”
Despite Palko’s inconsistent play and the team’s overall offensive struggles, the Chiefs remain optimistic. Kansas City will need help to reach the postseason for a second straight year, and Sunday’s contest is almost certainly a must-win.
The Chiefs host undefeated Green Bay on Dec. 18 and Oakland on Dec. 24 before ending the season at Denver on Jan. 1.