When the Jets’ suffered a brutal defeat in Denver on November 17th, I was confident they’d miss the playoffs. It was a depressing loss suffered in the final minute, but perhaps a necessary one – as predicted in the preseason, New York regressed in 2011, and changes are certainly necessary. Not making the playoffs would facilitate said changes.
But with two weeks left in the season, the Jets, miraculously, are still in the playoff hunt. Just like in 2009, they only receive partial credit – the Jets have defeated inferior teams (Miami, Washington, Kansas City) but more importantly, everyone else has been awful (AFC West, Tennessee, Cincinnati). Here’s where things stand:
If both teams win out (ha!) the Jets’ hold the tiebreaker. Here are the official tiebreakers; you have to go all the way to No. 4 and “strength of victory” which sounds nebulous and very BCS. Gross. Here’s a good breakdown of “strength of victory.”
Jets vs. Giants
Jets at Dolphins
Bengals vs. Cardinals
Bengals vs. Ravens
Not sure how this favors the Jets at all. The Bengals are at home twice, face an inferior (but percolating) Cardinals team, and then close against the Ravens in a game that may mean nothing to Baltimore. The Jets’ play a Giants team with a legit shot at the playoffs, and then have to travel to Miami, which has won five of seven.
[Alternative scenario that is too long and boring to get into: Jets and Bengals don't win again this season, and the Titans, Chargers or Raiders win twice. One would steal the Wild Card.]
I’m trying not to wrap my mind around all the playoff permutations because I don’t want to be disappointed when the Jets lose to the Giants (if you care, the Jets are, mindbogglingly, 3-point favorites). The only reason to be moderately excited? The likely* 3rd and 4th seeds in the AFC are Houston and Denver/San Diego.
Um, TJ Yates? The Broncos’ offense? Norv Turner? I’d like the Jets’ chances against either of those teams in the playoffs more than their chances this weekend against the Giants.
* A lot of folks were giving me static on twitter for saying Houston would be 3rd. I guess that shows how much faith I have in TJ Yates. Is Houston a 100% lock to beat Indianapolis Thursday night? If Pittsburgh wins tonight, I’d put the Steelers as the No. 2 seed. Even with a loss, I’d still lean Baltimore or Pittsburgh.