Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The last time anybody saw Christian Hackenberg in a game was the preseason finale almost a year ago. It was a disaster. He completed just 11 of 31 passes for 54 yards and threw an interception, too.

It was a much, much different and better Hackenberg that the Jets got to see on Saturday night.

Their 22-year-old, maybe-quarterback of the future wasn't asked to do a whole lot by new Jets offensive coordinator John Morton, but what Hackenberg was asked to do, he did well. He completed 18 of 25 passes for 127 yards in the Jets' mostly forgettable, 7-3 preseason-opening win over the Tennessee Titans.

For the most part, Hackenberg threw all short passes. But he appeared to be really decisive in his reads - a huge difference from last summer - and on target on almost every throw. In fact, he completed his first five passes and 9 of his first 11 - impressive considering the two incompletions were near-perfect passes that were dropped.

He did try a throw down the field a couple of times with no success, but for the most part everything he attempted was short and on the mark. Now, with a running game that was basically nonexistent -- 56 total yards and 1.8 yards per carry, though they were notably without the injured Matt Forte and Bilal Powell -- the Hackenberg-led offense wasn't exactly effective. He didn't lead them on a single scoring drive and wasn't even really close. His day also ended on an unfortunate fumbled snap (that didn't appear to be his fault).

But this summer is about progress for Hackenberg and there's no doubt that he made a ton from last August and September. For a quarterback that many thought was a disaster of a second-round pick, who even drew criticism from his own (anonymous) coaches last year, this was absolutely an encouraging start. 

"He's got some things to build off of," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "He's got some positive we can build on and he's got some negatives we need to correct."

Right. It's a good place to start for the Jets' most important player this season. And that's a heck of a lot better than where he was even at the end of last year.

"I think every rookie coming into the NFL, your first experience, you don't really know what to expect," Hackenberg said. "It's a totally different game, a totally different feel. I think just being able to go through everything that happened last year and learn and see and watch and observe and grow, I think it just helped."

Other thoughts from the Jets' preseason opener …

  • Josh McCown, the other quarterback of interest - and still the likely opening day starter, went 3 of 4 for 72 yards and a touchdown on his lone series. He displayed a very strong and accurate arm on a 53-yard strike to Robby Anderson, who went out of bounds at the 2. It's hard to make judgements overall off a sample that small, but McCown has a strong and sometimes-accurate arm.
  • After an up-and-down training camp, Robby Anderson looked a bit more like a No. 1 receiver. He caught three passes for 71 yards and made a terrific catch and showed great speed on that 53-yarder. He still looks like he needs to get bigger, and to be a true No. 1 he'll need to be better at making tough catches in traffic. He also has to prove he can fight through tighter press coverage than he saw against the Titans. But he's got the speed to be a big-play guy.
  • The Jets defense has enough playmakers on it to keep them in games this year. Their pass rush was strong when the first team was in. There was one early series where Sheldon Richardson and linebacker Freddie Bishop came in on a blitz and overwhelmed Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (and Richardson may have even gotten away with a late hit. Cornerback Buster Skrine also nearly came down with a tough interception deep in Titans territory. Overall, they got strong pressure from their linebackers, especially up the middle.
  • It's hard to know what to make of John Morton's offensive scheme without knowing how much he held back, but other than McCown's 53-yard completion it was a slow-moving, dink-and-dunk offense. The West Coast offense has elements of that - quick, short passes and lots of crossing routes. It's also not the worst way to play for a team that doesn't have a lot of battle-tested playmakers. With their starting running backs back, maybe the Jets can even move the ball that way consistently (albeit slowly).
  • Cornerback Daryl Roberts, who had a few good flashes last season, got absolutely roasted for a 67-yard touchdown pass from backup Titans quarterback Alex Tanney to rookie receiver Taywan Taylor. The touchdown actually got overturned upon review and turned into a 42-yard completion because somehow Roberts made inadvertent contact when Taylor hit the ground at the Jets 25 yard line. But it was a bad play, nonetheless.
  • New Jets kicker Chandler Catanzaro was wide left on a 55-yard field goal attempt. He's been erratic in camp so that didn't help, though it's hardly fair to judge him on one long preseason kick. Ross Martin, who has a real chance to win the job, handled a few kickoffs but did not attempt a field goal.
  • A couple of odd stats, courtesy of Randy Lange of the Jets: The Jets' touchdown drive on their first position was the first time they scored a touchdown on their first drive of the preseason since 2003. And their eight sacks was their most in a preseason game since 2009.
  • S Doug Middleton injured his pectoral muscle in the fourth quarter. Bowles said he would have to go for some medical tests. Also, rookie LB Dylan Donahue sat out the game with a sore shoulder, Bowles said.
Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano

New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles recently said he won't be switching quarterbacks anytime soon, and current starter Josh McCown agrees with him. 

Despite losing four of their last five games, the Jets are still in the thick of the AFC playoff race as they sit just one game back of the final Wild Card spot. McCown has been leading the Jets' offense all season, and with playoff implications still relevant, he doesn't see a reason to change now. 

"I guess we're both kind of on the same page with that," McCown told NJ.com's Darryl Slater. "There wasn't a scenario where I saw it either. I think it's good to hear it, but we were already on the same page. So I don't know if that was necessarily a new thing." 

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The bye week couldn't have gone much better for the Jets, who sat at home getting rest as the AFC playoff picture collapsed around them.

The Jets may have lost four of their last five games, but thanks to a group of increasingly mediocre, imploding, and very flawed teams in their conference, they just can't seem to slip out of the playoff picture. And in part because the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins lost on Sunday, the Jets will return to action this week just one game back in the race for the final wild-card spot in the AFC.

Yes, their schedule is difficult. But at this point, it's possible 8-8 might be good enough to snag the last playoff spot in this top-heavy conference. So the Jets are alive. And here - in current order of the conference standings - is a look at the rag-tag collection of "contenders" that might stand in their way:

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles throws a football during warmups prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles throws a football during warmups prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (4-6) face the Panthers (7-3) on Sunday in Carolina. Here's what's going on Monday:

Need to know

The Jets return to practice today after five days off. SNY's Ralph Vacciano will be attending practice this week. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors.

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Jets mid-season report cards 00:09:19
The Jets Nation crew take a look back at the Jets' first half of the campaign and hand out their mid-season report cards.

Former Jets LB and current SNY Jets contributor Chad Cascadden gives his midseason grades.

Tune in to the Jets Nation Midseason report tonight at 6:30 on SNY!


Offense Overall: (C)

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) rushes for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) rushes for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

When Bilal Powell was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft by the Jets, he was joining a backfield that included the legendary LaDainian Tomlinson. 

Powell only appeared in two games that season but the knowledge he picked up from Tomlinson in the Hall of Famer's final season was invaluable to his career...

Tags: Bilal Powell
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Oct 28, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass against the Washington Huskies during the first quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Nicholson)
Oct 28, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass against the Washington Huskies during the first quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Nicholson)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveThe most important football game for New York will not take place at the Meadowlands on Sunday. It will take place 2,800 miles away at the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the future of one or both of the New York teams may be on display Saturday night.

And yes, both the Giants and Jets will both have scouts in the press box watching UCLA take on USC - along with 18 other NFL teams. Their eyes will be fixed on Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen and Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold - the odds-on favorites to be the first and second picks of the 2018 draft.

The Jets, of course, are desperate to find their franchise quarterback. And the Giants are searching for the heir to their 36-year-old quarterback Eli Manning. Right now, the Giants seem to be in the best position to grab the quarterback they desire. But a few more losses over the final six games, and perhaps a trade up, and the Jets could be in position, too.

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New York Jets corner back Buster Skrine (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets corner back Buster Skrine (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Jets CB Buster Skrine was fined $48,620 for his hit on Bucs WR DeSean Jackson last Sunday, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

The third quarter hit on Jackson yielded an unnecessary roughness penalty. It was the 11th time this season Skrine has been penalized, which is the most by any defensive player in the NFL. 

It is also the second time Skrine has been fined this season. He was docked for a hit on Raiders RB DeAndre Washington in Week 2. 

Tags: Buster Skrine
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The Jets have finally reached their bye week, and it's probably at the right time after a dreadful loss to the Tampa Buccaneers. The guys discuss the defeat, as well as a recap of the season so far.

Click below to listen

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 (Steve Nesius/AP)
(Steve Nesius/AP)

The Jets (4-6) are on their bye week and next face the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 26. Here's what's going on Friday:

Need to know

The Jets are scheduled to return to practice on Monday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors from SNY's Ralph Vacciano.

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Jets mid-season awards 00:05:26
The Jets Nation crew take a look back at Gang Green's first half and hand out their mid-season awards.

The Jets Nation crew take a look back at Gang Green's first half and hand out their mid-season awards.


 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

The Jets (4-6) are on their bye week and next face the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 26. Here's what's going on Wednesday:

Need to know

The Jets are scheduled to return to practice next Monday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors from SNY's Ralph Vacciano.

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Current state of the Jets 00:02:37
Jon Hein and Willie Colon break down the current outlook for the Jets after their recent loss to Tampa Bay that dropped them to 4-6.

Jon Hein and Willie Colon break down the current outlook for the Jets after their recent loss to Tampa Bay that dropped them to 4-6.


NY Jets Special Teams coach Mike Westhoff as the Jets get in practice at the Jets Training Facility during training camp in Florham Park, NJ on Aug. 8, 2011 (William Perlman (USA Today))
NY Jets Special Teams coach Mike Westhoff as the Jets get in practice at the Jets Training Facility during training camp in Florham Park, NJ on Aug. 8, 2011 (William Perlman (USA Today))

Mike Westhoff, who had been working for SNY as Jets contributor, is coming out of retirement to join the Saints as a coach.

The 69-year old Westhoff, who was a special teams coach for the Jets from 2001 to 2012, is joining the Saints in the same capacity.

"I didn't want to regret something I didn't try," Westhoff said, according to the NY Post.

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Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons tackles New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons tackles New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (4-6) are on their bye week and next face the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 26. Here's what's going on Wednesday:

Need to know

The Jets are scheduled to return to practice next Monday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors from SNY's Ralph Vacciano.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Josh McCown, Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, Robby Anderson, Steve McLendon
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 (Jerry Lai)
(Jerry Lai)

Former Jet Bart Scott will join Chris Carlin and Maggie Gray as the team to replace Mike Francesa on WFAN, per the NY Daily News. 

The annoucement has yet to be made by WFAN itself, but it was first reported that Carlin and Scott were to take part of the team taking over for the legendary Francesa. 

Scott currently works with ESPN 98.7 while Carlin talks for WIP radio in Philadelphia. Gray works for SI Now and CBS Sports Radio. 

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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets put together their most complete performance of the season in an impressive 34-21 win over the Bills on Thursday night, rushing for almost 200 yards and racking up seven sacks and three fumble recoveries in the process.

Let's start this week by breaking down the performances on the offensive side of the ball:

Quarterbacks

With the running game working, Josh McCown didn't need to throw much this week, but he was efficient when he did. He threw just seven passes after halftime, completing five. In the first half, while the game was still in the balance, McCown gave the Jets the lead with a touchdown scramble, completing a drive he'd kept alive himself with another third-down run.

Tags: ArDarius Stewart, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Chad Hansen, Elijah McGuire, James Carpenter, Jeremy Kerley, Josh McCown, Kelvin Beachum, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson, Wesley Johnson
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Cast your votes below for the Jets offense, defense, special teams and coaching during the first half of the season and see the results on Jets Nation: Mid Season Report on Thursday 11/16 at 6:30PM.

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Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) drops back against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) drops back against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Jets (4-6) are now on their bye week. Their next game is against the Carolina Panthers on November 26th. Here's what's going on today...

Tags: Jeremy Kerley, Josh McCown
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Unlike the previous week, the Jets offense looked stale in their 15-10 loss to the Bucs on Sunday.

Consistency is what the players didn't see from the unit after the game. As the Jets tried to find a rhythm, something would halt them in their tracks. Josh McCown says it's on the veterans like him because they didn't pull the team together. 

"Myself and the other veterans have to pull these [young] guys along, help us find consistency and be better," McCown told Jets.com's Ethan Greenberg. "Because every unit, at some point this year, has played and shown that they can play with the best in the league. But we have to do that for four quarters week in and week out and we didn't do that today. We have to take these next two weeks to get healthy, look in the mirror and figure out ways to do that and be better, so we can make a run down the stretch."

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

The University of Tennessee has expressed interest in Jets DC Kacy Rodgers to become their next head coach, per Newsday's Calvin Watkins.

Tennessee fired Butch Jones on Sunday, leaving the school to hire a new coach following the season. No interviews have been scheduled as the talks are just beginning between both sides. 

Rodgers played for the Vols from 1988-1991 was he was a linebacker/defensive end. He was also born in Humboldt, Tennessee. 

The Vols do not need permission from the Jets to talk to Rodgers about the position. 

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

After the win against Buffalo, there was a lot of hype about the "resurgent" Jets and some talk of Todd Bowles as a coach of the year candidate. However, after yesterday's dispiriting loss, the reality is that the Jets have lost four of five with their only win coming over a Bills team whose 37-point loss to the Saints yesterday suggests they have been overrated. Heading to the bye, it's probably time to reset our expectations.

Let's start this week by breaking down the performances on the defensive side of the ball...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

After playing their best game of the season against the Bills last Thursday, the Jets looked lethargic in their 15-10 loss to the Bucs on Sunday. 

It didn't look like the same Jets energy that ran all over MetLife Stadium a week prior. Head coach Todd Bowles noticed a lack of spirit to start the game, and it would last until the final whistle. 

"You've got to show up every week in this league or you get it handed to you," Bowles told The Post's Brian Costello. "We didn't show up today."

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Josh McCown, Kelvin Beachum, Morris Claiborne, Robby Anderson
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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

Buccaneers QB Ryan Fitzpatrick got his first start on Sunday against his former team, and made the best of it with a victory. 

"It was special to me to be able to win that game," Fitpatrick told NJ.com's Connor Hughes.

Fitzpatrick led the Bucs to a 15-10 win as the Jets suffered their sixth loss of the season. It wasn't his best performance as he finished 17-for-34 for 187 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. But his fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Charles Sims would be the deciding score, and the feat Fitzpatrick was hoping to achieve. 

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 11/12 00:11:49
The Jets Post Game crew hands out report cards following the Jets' 15-10 loss at the hands of the Buccaneers.

Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen (16) reacts with a towel over his head during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen (16) reacts with a towel over his head during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

What a waste of an opportunity.

That's the only way to describe that hideous, 15-10 loss the Jets had on Sunday to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jets had showed so much promise in recent weeks. They were 10 days removed from their best win of the season. They were getting everyone excited as they sat on the edge of the AFC playoff picture.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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Bowles, McCown on 15-10 loss 00:02:04
Jets head coach Todd Bowles attributes the team's 15-10 loss to sloppy overall play, while QB Josh McCown credits Tampa Bay's game plan.

The Jets struggled on offense and former Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bucaneers to a 15-10 win on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.  >> Box score


 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Josh McCown, Robby Anderson, Ryan Fitzpatrick
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Dr. Levine on treating soldiers 00:03:37
Dr. David Levine discusses his experience treating both professional athletes and soldiers. Demario Davis talks about their relationship.

Oct 8, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) runs the ball as New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) comes in for the tackle during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports (Ken Blaze)
Oct 8, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) runs the ball as New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) comes in for the tackle during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports (Ken Blaze)

Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson is active and CB Morris Claiborne is set to return on Sunday when the team faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a road matchup.

Claiborne returned to practice on Thursday after he was sidelined last week with a foot injury, while Wilkerson is set to go after resting during the week.

Tags: Matt Forte, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Jets (4-5) at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

We'll be shivering up here in the Northeast all weekend, but not so much down in Tampa. Temperatures should be in the low 80s throughout the game under partly cloudy skies, moderate winds, and a tiny chance of showers at some point...

Tags: Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vacc's 3 Keys to a Jets win 00:01:24
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

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