They're coming off their biggest A-League defeat yet, are winless in six rounds and facing a potential player exodus.
And Newcastle goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says Friday night is a crucial time to make a statement against Adelaide.
The next fortnight shapes as the embattled Jets' biggest test of character yet, when they attempt to arrest their sliding form at home against United before visiting high-flying Western Sydney on Christmas Eve.
Scott Miller's rebuilt and initially revived outfit hit a season low on Sunday when a hapless line-up copped a 4-0 walloping from Melbourne City, leaving the early leaders stranded in seventh place and sliding ever closer to the bottom of the A-League ladder.
"It's a big game," Birighitti said.
"We all know what it means this game and we'll be doing everything we can to not disappoint anyone.
"We set our goals on a six-game block, and we achieved in the first six games what we wanted to achieve.
"This six-game block we haven't reached what we wanted to achieve.
"It's still possible, it's two big games.
"It's still quite close from where we are to fourth or fifth so a couple of wins on the trot and we're back up there."
But things have changed since the sides played out a goalless draw at Coopers Stadium four weeks ago, when Birighitti was outstanding.
If the Jets are heading down the ladder, Adelaide are seemingly climbing from the bottom up.
Talk of coach Guillermo Amor facing the sack has dissipated following victories over Perth and Sydney FC.
And Amor said they would not sit back against the Jets just because they're on the road, with playmaker Marcelo Carrusca likely to again prove valuable.
"Our style is to have the ball, to try to play football ... to create the initiative," he said.
"I don't imagine Adelaide in defence."
It's the way Newcastle do things though, and they'll be boosted by the return of skipper and central defender Nigel Boogaard (ankle), even if permanent left-back Lee Ki-je has flown to Korea for a with K-League side Ulsan Hyundai.
Miller said Lee's impending departure would not rattle his squad as he looks to slot utility Nick Cowburn into the role while a replacement is sought.
But with David Carney said to be in the sights of an unnamed Qatari club, and Birighitti himself reportedly being watched by English Premier League sides Newcastle United and Bournemouth, there is concern the already-thin roster could take a hit in the January transfer window.
"It's just all rumours," Birighitti said of his situation.
"I haven't heard anything about it."
STATS THAT MATTER:
* Adelaide have won two and drawn one of their last three matches against Newcastle.
* They have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three matches against Newcastle, including a 7-0 rout almost two years ago.
* The last time Newcastle went three games without scoring a goal was in October 2013.