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Saturday, December 28, 2013
New York Jets aim to play spoiler

By Jane McManus

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – The Jets may not be able to get to the playoffs with a win over Miami this weekend, but they still have a role to play when it comes to the playoffs: that of spoiler.

“We definitely want to get the win, finish 8-8, try to play spoiler with them -- they’ve got a chance to make the playoffs,” defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson said on Friday. “At the end of the day we’re playing for pride, playing for our brothers. We’re a brotherhood, we’re a team. Still want to try to finish this thing strong even though we’re not going to the playoffs.”

In the scenarios that don't involve ties, Miami needs to win the game and get help from Baltimore (a loss) or San Diego (a win).

If the Jets need additional motivation today, Wilkerson’s Pro Bowl snub could provide it, especially since the Dolphins' Cameron Wake made the team with inferior stats.

“We owe these guys something from the last time we played,” third-string quarterback David Garrard said. “How we played last time, they came here and embarrassed us a little bit. I’m ready for this team to go out and show what this real team is all about. Anytime you can have an outcome on someone else’s season, that’s big because you don’t have a lot to play for so you’re playing for pride but you’re also playing to be spoiler.”

One person who disagreed with that assessment was coach Rex Ryan, who said the spoiler possibility might be more of a factor against another AFC East opponent.

“If that was New England, I would say clearly that would be true,” Ryan said, “but they’re not your archrival like New England is. The satisfaction is going to come from us competing against them and knowing ourselves, proving to ourselves how much we’ve improved. I think that’s what we’re looking forward to the most, getting back out there [against] a team that totally whipped us in every phase and having the opportunity to go out there and prove it. So I think that is the driving force.”

Spoiler or not, WR David Nelson knows the Jets need to win this game.

“You can’t put a value on it because the year we’ve had not putting together two wins,” Nelson said. “So going into the offseason with two wins, for us going forward as a young team, this would be a huge element for us.”