BUFFALO — The Jets spent six months on Cloud 8 when Aaron Rodgers took his talents to Florham Park, six months in a euphoric, hyperventilating state when they couldn’t help but feel like destiny’s darlings.
And somehow, after their world came crashing back down to earth along with Rodgers’ 39-year-old left Achilles, after all the Zach Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett versus the end zone foibles, the Jets still have destiny in their own hands.
For whatever reason, the NFL football gods, forever cruel to them across the decades, decided to be forgiving as the 4-5 Jets march into what recently has been a cold, unforgiving wintry place housing a cold-blooded, unforgiving team.
Only in this parity-scorched AFC can a team that has set offense back to the prehistoric leather helmet day, with 36 drives without a touchdown, envision a scenario in which it can be hosting a Black Friday showdown against the Dolphins for the division lead.
“We go out here, win this weekend,” Quinton Jefferson told The Post, “we’re No. 2 in the division.”
Win this weekend against the 5-5 Bills and the Jets are No. 2 in the division.
“We win that Black Friday game, we’re No. 1 in the division,” Jefferson said.
Win this game against the Bills and win that Black Friday game against the Dolphins and they’re No. 1 in the division if the 6-3 Dolphins lose at home on Sunday to the Raiders.
“We still got time to right the ship,” Jefferson said, “get everything going in the right direction.”
A third straight loss would keep everything going in the wrong direction at the worst possible time and leave the Jets on the eve of destruction.
Sometimes it isn’t who you play but when you play them, and the Jets are playing the Bills with a reeling Josh Allen and his new offensive coordinator, Joe Brady.
And the Bills are playing the Jets at the end of a week when exasperated offensive players saw the need for a players-only meeting and Rodgers saw the need to defend Hackett, his embattled/beleaguered OC, and Robert Saleh saw the need to rail against the penalties that reflect poorly on discipline.
“It’s kind of one of those if they win, their hopes keep going on for playoffs, if we win, our hopes for the playoffs keep going on,” Jefferson said. “So to me, this is a playoff atmosphere game.”
The Jets defense continues to aspire to score a touchdown because it is still trying to come to grips with the maddening likelihood that Wilson will again find himself bedeviled by third down and red zone hell.
The Post looked up the definition of touchdown in the NFL glossary and suggests that it would be a good idea for Saleh — someone, anyone — to deliver it immediately to Zachett:
“The most valuable score in the NFL worth six points. A player scores a touchdown if he carries the ball across the goal line into the other team’s end zone or catches the ball within the opponent’s end zone.”
After witnessing Greg Zuerlein forced into action on those occasions when Wilson crosses midfield, The Post decided to take nothing for granted and offers up the definition of the end zone:
“The scoring areas at each end of the playing field bounded by the goal lines, end lines and sidelines are known as the end zones. A player must carry the ball into, or catch the ball in, this area to score a touchdown. Each NFL end zone measures 10 yards by 53 yards.”
Breece Hall needs to be a security blanket for Zachett. Hall was targeted nine times out of the backfield against the Giants, but just three times against the Raiders. When Wilson isn’t targeting Garrett Wilson, he should do himself a favor and get the ball in the hands of his other dangerous playmaker. Why is this so hard?
The point is the Jets will need all the points they can muster against Allen, even if his reckless play has him in the league lead with 11 interceptions — three to Jordan Whitehead in Week 1 — and 14 giveaways.
“I don’t care what happened the past few games, I know he’s gonna be on his A-game this game,” Jefferson said. “Especially they just got rid of the coordinator, all that stuff, so really a lot of onus on him, the spotlight’s gonna be on him how he looks and how this offense can turn around. I know in their head, they’re like, ‘Look, we gotta get back on track,’ and they’re gonna come with some juice. So we gotta match that energy.”
Jefferson disputes the notion that coming off a disastrous home loss to the Broncos, the pressure will be on Allen and the Bills.
“Honestly I think it’s equal pressure because again it’s like so many implications,” he said. “Really it’s for both teams win or go home.
“It’s not a playoff game but it’s a playoff game if you look at how everything’s about to lay out down the line. So it’s a must-win for both teams.”
Must Score, Must Win.