This time around, the New York Jets get to be spoilers.
In Week 17 back in 2011, the Jets went to Miami needing a win to have any shot of making the playoffs. In a game remembered more for Santonio Holmes' antics, the Jets lost 19-17 and were eliminated from postseason contention
This Sunday, the Jets will visit Miami with the chance to knock the Dolphins out of the race -- the 'Fins cannot make the playoffs if they lose.
Jets linebacker Quinton Coples is excited about getting the chance to derail Miami's season.
"It would be great," Coples said on a conference call Monday. "They’re a divisional opponent. That would be a great opportunity for us to go down there and win. That would knock them out of the playoffs. But our main priority is just to go down and win, it’s not so much to focus on knocking them out, but it definitely would be a little pleasing for us. Let the result be the result."
The Jets entered their bye week at 5-4 and controlled their own playoff destiny, but a horrible stretch after that finished their postseason hopes.
Had the Jets won just once following the break in a trio of games against Baltimore, Buffalo and Miami, they'd be entering Week 17 with a chance to make the playoffs. Instead, by going 0-3 in those games, the Jets put themselves in a hole and were officially eliminated in Week 15.
If the Jets are going to beat the Dolphins, they'll need to play much better than the last time these two teams played. On Dec. 1, the Jets lost 23-3, at home. Quarterback Geno Smith was benched at halftime, as the offense totaled just 177 total yards. The normally stout Jets' rushing defense also yielded 125 yards to the Dolphins, who racked up 453 total yards.
"We’re facing a divisional (opponent), so it means everything as far as bragging rights goes," Smith said Monday. "It just means a lot as far as going into the offseason with something positive to look at and then obviously facing a division opponent, we want to definitely have those bragging rights. They got us the first time, so we want to make it even and then it’s obviously better to be 8-8 than 7-9."
Jets coach Rex Ryan, amid constant discussion of his future with the team, stressed Monday that all the focus is going on the Dolphins. The Jets have now missed the playoffs for three straight years.
"I think the entire organization is committed on trying to find a way to beat Miami. That's the commitment all of us has had to each other. We're working on Miami. That's where the focus is. One hundred percent of the focus," Ryan said. "There's nothing past Miami. It's all about getting ready to play Miami."