FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Like Christopher Nimbley put it: It was all good just a week ago. But with one unsightly loss at the hands of their most hated rival, the Jets are faced with a must-win situation on Sunday.
At 9-3, the Jets are far from playoff elimination. But with the season dwindling down to the final four games, they face a slight uphill battle to get in. As of right now, their record holds them in the fifth playoff spot and would visit the 7-5 AFC South-leading Jacksonville Jaguars.
Certainly nothing is set in stone, as the the Jets will face three teams trying to propel themselves into the postseason. The first challenge is the 6-6 Miami Dolphins, currently on the outside looking in. They, along with the Colts (who won last night), the Raiders and the Chargers all will need to win out to even have a shot at sniffing the playoffs.
While the Dolphins have had their share of problems (injuries to the quarterback position, lack of a ground game and the disappointing play from receiver Brandon Marshall), but they have always played the Jets tough, in particular with Chad Henne under center.
In the three games Henne has started against the Jets, the Dolphins have won two. He’s averaged 239 yards and has a 5-1 TD-INT ratio. This game cannot be taken lightly.
But the road doesn’t get easier for Team Gang Green. They then travel to Pittsburgh (currently the no. 2 seed) to play in the hostile Heinz Field and the even colder Soldier Field in Chicago to visit the Bears (also the no. 2 seed in the NFC). Against teams with winning records this year, Ryan is 1-3.
The Jets do control their own destiny, and as along as they split their last four games, will get into the playoffs. But should they lose three of their last four, putting them at a 10-6 mark, they will need some help from others.
At 8-4, the Baltimore Ravens hold a two game lead on the sixth and final playoff spot. Should the Jets and Ravens end the season with the same record, the Ravens hold the tiebreaker with a 10-9 Week 1 victory over the Jets.
The Indianapolis Colts, who helped their cause with a 30-28 victory last night, control their own destiny. They host divisional leader, the Jacksonville Jaguars, next week before visiting 6-6 Oakland. They end the season with a home game against 5-8 Tennessee. Should they win out, which is certainly plausible, they will be in.
The Oakland Raiders, perhaps the most surprising team still in the hunt. With a 4-0 divisional record and a 4-4 conference record, their best shot is to beat out Kansas City for the AFC West crown.
And last but not least, the San Diego Chargers round out the ninth spot, but still hold a puncher’s chance at punching their playoff ticket. It all starts with a win this week against 8-4 Kansas City, otherwise it would eliminate the Chargers from AFC West contention and most like playoff contention as well. But with a favorable final three games (home against the 49ers, at Cincinnati and at Denver), you can’t count out Philip Rivers and the Super Chargers.
A win for the Jets this week will take that cinder block off the chests of Jets fans, and would make tough games at Pittsburgh and Chicago easier to swallow. They still control their own destiny, but the sense of urgency has kicked in as the second NFL season looms large.
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