Aaron Rodgers expects Jets to be in contention by his anticipated return from injury

The Jets’ loss to the Raiders on Sunday night was notable for multiple reasons. First, quarterback Aaron Rodgers told NBC during the game that he was aiming for a mid-December return from the torn Achilles he suffered in Week 1, which would be a stunningly short three-month timetable for what is considered a severe injury.

Second, the 16-12 also marked another week of struggles for the Jets’ offense behind Rodgers’ replacement at starting quarterback, former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson, and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Both Wilson and Hackett have come under widespread criticism for Jets fans as the offense — which Hackett and Rodgers were brought in to help fix last offseason — continues to sputter.

[Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams hung out before Raiders beat Jets Sunday night]

Rodgers supported Hackett, his former coordinator in Green Bay, and Wilson during his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday.

“Yeah, I see it,” Rodgers said of the criticism of Hackett and the offense. “I won MVP twice in the same offense, so I’m a believer. I’m a believer in the offense. There are a lot of positions, you have to play better. But, yeah, it’s easy right now to throw it at the usual suspects, Zach and Nathaniel, but there’s a lot of positions that need to play better.”

Rodgers continues to rehabilitate in Los Angeles from the torn left Achilles tendon that cut short his season after just four snaps in his debut with the Jets. He has traveled to be on the sideline for the past few games, but said Tuesday he would rejoin the Jets on a full-time basis “soon.”

NBC’s Melissa Stark reported during the telecast of the Jets’ 16-12 loss to the Raiders in Las Vegas on Sunday night that Rodgers’ goal is to return to the field by mid-December.

Rodgers said Tuesday he still has not set a firm date for a return, which would also be contingent upon the Jets (4-5) still being in playoff contention — something he also expects.

“If I have a great week this week and next week, that could be accelerated,” he said on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “If we’re not in it in three or four weeks, that could take it a different way. But I expect us to be in it and I expect to come back.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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