The New York Jets (3-3) are within striking distance of the Buffalo Bills (4-2) for second place in the AFC East and have a Week 7 bye to get ready for a late-season surge. Can the Jets qualify for the playoffs and get superstar QB Aaron Rodgers back in the process?
Rodgers Ahead of Schedule in Hopes for a Return to the Jets
According to Marty Jaramillo of CBS Sports, Rodgers is well ahead of his rehabilitation schedule for a torn Achilles he suffered in the first quarter of the Jets’ Week 1 matchup against the Bills and could return for the postseason:
“He’s moving almost three times as fast as traditional protocols,” Jaramillo told CBSSports.com Monday. “No boot, no crutches, minimal limp. It’s quite exponential. There is no precedent for this type of recovery following an Achilles tear. He is beating back Father Time.”
An Achilles tear is a career-threatening injury regardless of the sport played. Minnesota Vikings RB Cam Akers and former Baltimore Ravens star LB Terrell Suggs bouncing back from the injury after roughly five months are two anomalies in the typical road to recovery.
Rodgers has suffered injuries that have sidelined him for multiple weeks in years prior. A torn left clavicle kept him out of nine games in 2013, and a right torn clavicle caused him to miss seven straight games in 2017. He was able to return to action both times, and his MVP-caliber play was not diminished as a result.
The Achilles tear is by far his worst injury to date. At 39 years old, there’s no telling whether the 10-time Pro-Bowler will be able to continue at an elite level when he takes the field again. Can the Jets even upset the apple cart and make the playoffs to put that question to the test?
The Road Ahead for Gang Green
New York is riding high after an upset victory over the reigning NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles. After the bye, the Jets will face the New York Giants (1-5), Los Angeles Chargers (2-3) and Oakland Raiders (3-3) before hitting a tough stretch.
New York will play a rematch against the 4-2 Buffalo Bills in Week 11 before taking on the NFL’s best offense in the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.
The Dolphins lead the league in passing and rushing yards as well as touchdowns on the ground and in the air. The Jets will face them again two weeks later and will have to click on all cylinders to even aim for a split in the season series.
Feasibly, the Jets can go .500 or better as they close out the season against the Houston Texans (3-3), Washington Commanders (3-3), Cleveland Browns (3-2) and New England Patriots (1-5).
New England got the better of New York in a 15-10 upset on Sept. 24. Though the Jets have been able to overcome their 38 rushing yards on the affair with the emergence of RB Breece Hall.
Wilson has played well in Rodgers’ stead and has made plays with his legs when escaping the pocket. However, if Rodgers is cleared by the medical staff, Jets head coach Robert Saleh making the switch at QB won’t require a second thought.