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Coming attractions: Fitz leads Jets into a meaningful finale

By Jay Skurski


1. It’s win and they’re in. The Jets control their own destiny for the postseason thanks to Sunday’s 26-20 overtime victory over the New England Patriots. Since dropping back-to-back games to the Bills on Thursday Night Football in Week 10 and the Texans in Week 11, New York has won five straight. The last of which came in wild fashion, as the Jets beat New England on Sunday after the Patriots elected to kick off in overtime. Former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led a four-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing possession, meaning Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did not touch the ball in overtime. Fitzpatrick’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker provided the winning points. It was set up by a 48-yard pass to Quincy Enunwa. Because of Pittsburgh’s loss to Baltimore, New York controls its playoff destiny against the Bills.

2. Fitzpatrick is in line for a big contract. Everyone in Buffalo keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop with Fitzpatrick in New York, but it’s stayed on so far this season. Playing in the final year of a contract that is paying him $3.25 million, Fitzpatrick should be able to easily triple that salary as a free agent. With three touchdown passes Sunday against the Patriots, Fitzpatrick tied the Jets’ single-season record of 29 held by Vinny Testaverde. With Decker and Brandon Marshall at wide receiver, as well as Chris Ivory at running back, Fitzpatrick is surrounded by the most offensive talent he’s ever had. Only one quarterback in NFL history, Charley Johnson, has thrown more than Fitzpatrick’s 152 touchdowns without appearing in a postseason game (Johnson had 170). A win over the Bills would guarantee Fitzpatrick doesn’t break that unenviable record.

3. Marshall has been well worth the price the Jets paid. Acquired in a trade with Chicago for a fifth-round draft pick, Marshall has been an absolute stud for the Jets. He broke New York’s single-season receptions record Sunday against the Patriots, a mark that had been held by Al Toon for 27 years, with eight catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Marshall now has 101 catches on the year, 13 of which have gone for touchdowns, setting a personal single-season best. He also became the first player in NFL history to have six different 100-catch seasons, as well as the first to have 1,000-yard receiving seasons with four different teams.

4. Darrelle Revis is still making big plays. Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins made waves after Houston’s victory over New York when he used air quotes talking about “Revis Island” – an indication the cornerback isn’t the all-world cornerback he was when Rex Ryan was coaching the Jets. That might be true, but he’s still darn good. Revis has five interceptions and a team-leading eight takeaways for New York this season, including a pick of Brady on Sunday on a pass intended for All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski deep in New York territory.

5. The Jets will have several big decisions to make in free agency. New York is likely to use the franchise tag on defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, guaranteeing their best player on that side of the ball doesn’t get away. But other key contributors like nose tackle Damon Harrison, running backs Ivory and Bilal Powell and linebackers Demario Davis and Calvin Pace all have expiring contracts. For Bills fans thinking that Ryan may want to pluck some of them for his roster, Harrison is the most interesting name to keep an eye on. He’s the type of big body the Bills could use in the middle of their defensive line.