Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jets Playoff Primer

Playoffs? Playoffs???

Yes, even after the last two games, the Jets still control their own destiny. Beat Buffalo, Seattle, and Miami, three teams the Jets are certainly better than on paper, and the division is theirs.

However, this is the Jets. As we saw in San Francisco and at home against Denver, nothing can be taken for granted, and nothing is ever easy.

So what if the Jets lose one of their last three games? For the Jets' sake, they better hope it's against Seattle because if they beat Miami and Buffalo, they will still be 10-6 overall with an 8-4 conference record. There's no guarantee that would get them in, but it would put them one New England loss away from an AFC East title.

So let's look at a few scenarios. Let's assume the Jets go 2-1 because if they go 1-2 in the last three, let's face it, they'll need nothing short of a major miracle.

First, here's each team's remaining schedule.

NYJ: vs BUF, at SEA, vs MIA
MIA: vs SF, at KC, at NYJ
NE: at OAK, vs ARI, at BUF

Now I'll post a few different scenarios. Wins are in bold.

NYJ: vs BUF, at SEA, vs MIA
MIA: vs SF, at KC, at NYJ
NE: at OAK, vs ARI, at BUF

In this scenario, the Jets win the AFC East, and they head to the playoffs, likely as a #4 seed unless Denver loses twice (at CAR, vs BUF, at SD).

NYJ: vs BUF, at SEA, vs MIA
MIA: vs SF, at KC, at NYJ
NE: at OAK, vs ARI, at BUF

Again, the Jets make the playoffs here.

However, let's look at it if the Jets lose to Miami.

NYJ: vs BUF, at SEA, vs MIA
MIA: vs SF, at KC, at NYJ
NE: at OAK, vs ARI, at BUF

Here, the Jets MISS the playoffs.

Bottom line: if the Jets and Dolphins win their next two games, the winner of their week 17 game wins the AFC East. No matter what happens, that game is going to probably be life or death to one of those teams. If the Jets' loss is to Seattle, it is irrelevant who New England loses to. If the Jets lose to Buffalo this week, the Jets will really need the Bills to upset the Patriots week 17.

As for the wild card, it will not be easy, since the Colts and Ravens are both a game ahead at 9-4. Here are their schedules just for reference.

IND: vs DET, at JAC, vs TEN
BAL: vs PIT, at DAL, vs JAC

The Jets can sneak in with a six seed if Baltimore were to lose twice and the Jets only loss was to the Seahawks. I don't see two losses for Indianapolis, but if they somehow lose to both Jacksonville and Tennessee, the Jets would pass them, too, if the only loss was to Seattle.

So basically, if the Jets plan on making the playoffs, they MUST win this week and week 17, or they will be hoping for a lot of help. Obviously, all three wins is the ideal, as that would give the Jets the #3 seed unless Denver runs the table.

So with all this in mind, here are your week 15 rooting interests, in order of importance.

1. Jets over Bills (obviously, 1:00)
2. Raiders over Patriots (4:15)
3. 49ers over Dolphins (1:00)
4. Steelers over Ravens (4:15)
5. Panthers over Broncos (4:15)
6. Lions over Colts (1:00)

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