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What to watch for in Saturday's Jets-Cowboys tilt

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New York Jets coach Todd Bowles acknowledged this week that his team has to sweep the final three games of the season to reach the postseason.

The competition is stiff for the AFC's two wild-card spots. Riding a seven-game winning streak, the Kansas City Chiefs are the "hottest team in football." Racking up yards at a historic rate over the past five weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the hottest offense in football.

Fortunately for Bowles, he travels to Dallas to face a reeling Cowboys squad on its longest home losing streak since 1989. Here's what we'll be watching for in Saturday's showdown between the Jets and Cowboys, airing exclusively on NFL Network:

1. After watching six years of Rex Ryan's ground 'n' pound attack set offensive football back to the early 1970s, it's refreshing to see Chan Gailey's spread attack this season. Ryan Fitzpatrick has already won more games and thrown more touchdown passes than in any season over the past decade of his career. Believed by many to be a backup-caliber quarterback masquerading as a starter, Fitzpatrick ranks a respectable 15th in Gregg Rosenthal's QB Index after 13 games. He has nine touchdowns without an interception since shaving his beard on Nov. 25.

If the Steelers boast the NFL's most explosive wide receiver corps, the Jets might have the most reliable duo. Since 2012, Brandon Marshall's 42 touchdowns rank second only to Dez Bryant's 43. Third place on the list? Eric Decker's 38 touchdowns. They each have a touchdown reception in seven different games this season, joining Randy Moss and Cris Carter on the 1998 Vikings as the only set of teammates to pull off that feat.

Not so coincidentally, the Jets rank third in red-zone efficiency, converting 68.2 percent of their red-zone possessions into touchdowns.

2. The Packers rushed for 230 yards versus the Cowboys last week, their most since January of 2008. That would seem to bode well for Chris Ivory, who has gotten his season back on track the past three games. Dallas' run defense isn't abysmal. They simply gave out in the fourth quarter at Green Bay after doing the heavy lifting for an offense that can't muster up sustained drives to stay on the field. For what it's worth, the Jets are 5-0 when rushing for at least 130 yards this season.

3. The decline of Darrelle Revis has been greatly exaggerated. Although DeAndre Hopkins burned him for four receptions, 98 yards and a touchdown on eight targets, Revis has held each of Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, Amari Cooper, T.Y. Hilton and Jarvis Landry to 50 yards or fewer in their matchups.

He's drawing Dez Bryant at the ideal time. Not yet 100 percent recovered from an early-season foot injury, Bryant has been unable to overcome subpar quarterbacking. Bryant is averaging career-worst marks across the board, at 3.4 receptions, 43.9 yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game. Perhaps most telling, Dallas quarterbacks have generated a 56.0 passer rating on throws in Bryant's direction -- the lowest rating of 83 qualifying receivers, per Pro Football Focus.

4. If you're a fan of flashy offensive line play, keep an eye on Cowboys rookie guard La'el Collins, who loves to get out in front of Darren McFadden and pancake-block unsuspecting linebackers and defensive backs. Running stride for stride with McFadden last week, Collins reached 18.25 mph after flattening and out-running Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

5. The Jets have an impressive rookie of their own in defensive end Leonard Williams, who has 10 more quarterback hits than any other rookie on defense this season. In Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison, the Jets have a glut of talent up front -- responsible for their first-place rank in run defense (78.9 yards per game) and first-down percentage (17.1).

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