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Thursday, December 11, 2008
Dierdorf on Jets: Doubt has crept in


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

CBS Sports color commentator Dan Dierdorf will call Sunday's game at the Meadowlands between the struggling New York Jets and the flatlining Buffalo Bills.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer shared his thoughts on a matchup that has serious implications for the Jets, who have lost two in a row.

On Buffalo being the AFC East spoilers:

Amazingly there is some mathematical permutation in which the Bills can still make the playoffs, but that's pretty much what is left for Buffalo at this point, to be the spoiler.

On the Jets:

The Jets need to right the ship and there is a lot of pressure on them. You go from sailing along at 8-3 to all of a sudden being 8-5, and question marks are everywhere, especially after a couple of poor offensive performances. There is a lot of pressure square on the shoulders of the Jets this week.

On how the Jets can right their ship:

Offensively, they have to find a way to play better football. They've had two really poor performances back-to-back against Denver and San Francisco, with too many three-and-outs and putting their defense in bad field position, the kind of fundamental mistakes that they hadn't been making prior.

It's funny how confidence can come and go in such a short period of time. Sometimes doubt starts to creep in, and that is where the Jets are right now. They need to get out of the box in a hurry against Buffalo. If they struggle early against Buffalo, those question marks and doubts are going to be harder and harder to push back in their minds and keep from bubbling up.

But the Jets still have a lot of things going for them. They can still run the football. They are defending the run well. It's just their passing game that has been out of sync the past couple of weeks.

On the AFC East race:

The AFC East got a little more complicated with Matt Cassel leaving the Patriots due to the death of his father. When your starting quarterback leaves the team for a situation like this, all of a sudden you don't know how long he's going to be gone or what kind of condition he's going to be in when he comes back.

The Jets and Miami control their own destiny. If either one of them wins out, they win the division. The Patriots are kind of on the outside looking in at this point.