The Best Case Scenario for a New York Jets Postseason Run

  • Dave Ragazzo
PHOTO COURTESY:  JOHN MUNSON/THE STAR LEDGER

PHOTO COURTESY: JOHN MUNSON/THE STAR LEDGER

You want to hear something crazy?  Richie Incognito is a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award!  Okay, that’s not really believable but something that is almost as crazy is actually a possibility.  The New York Jets are 5-4 entering their week 10 bye and if the season ended today, they would be in the playoffs.  This means that postseason football is actually a possibility for Gang Green, a team that was 32nd in the ESPN Power Rankings at the start of the season.  Shocking and impressive to say the least.

But what are the Jets chances to actually make the postseason this year?  For me, the most pessimistic Jets fan that has ever lived, I’m not getting my hopes up just yet, but I am starting to believe just a little bit.  I have enjoyed watching this team surprise me so far, especially Geno Smith who I thought needed to sit at least a year before playing.  However, this does not make them a lock to make the playoffs, even with a favorable schedule ahead of them.  They made it through their toughest stretch of the season at 3-2 (weeks 5-9) and are now approaching the “home stretch” where their opponents have a combined record of 26-32.  If they can finish the season 9-7, they will have a very good chance at grabbing one of the two wild card spots

After their bye, they play the Bills, which will not be an easy game despite their 3-6 record.  Buffalo has competed in every game and E.J. Manuel should be back barring any injuries this week.  This will make them a tough out, especially in the cold weather of Buffalo.  I think the Jets will be able to get a win out there, and will likely need to since they tend to split with Miami every year.  If the Jets can go 2-1 through their final three division games, they will be in excellent shape for postseason play.

They have a chance to sweep the NFC South and if you would have told me at the beginning of the year that their toughest game from that division would be the Carolina Panthers, you would have been ridiculed.  The Panthers have been playing as good as anyone in the league over the last five weeks and their defense is the real deal.  This will easily be the Jets toughest game for the rest of the year and it will be one that I do not see them winning.  So through their remaining games that I have dissected so far, I see them going 2-2.

The final three games that they have that have not been discussed will be games that they need to win against teams that this team has to believe they are better than.  They host the Raiders and the Browns in weeks 14 and 16 respectively, but the toughest game will be in Baltimore in week 12.  One year removed from their Super Bowl win, the Ravens are struggling to stay relevant this season.  However, Rex Ryan has not fared well against his former team.  It would be their second straight road game in an even numbered week, which has been their Achilles heel this season.  I do not expect them to lose every even numbered week this season, but week 12 will be a surprisingly difficult game that I see the Jets losing.

So where does that leave our beloved New York Jets?  Fans can start to believe that this team has a shot to make the playoffs, because they do.  A favorable schedule mixed with a top defense means that at the very least they should be in every single one of their remaining games.  None of them are locks by any means, but all are winnable.  Realistically I see the Jets finishing 8-8 or 9-7, and if they finish with a winning record, they should have a chance to claim one of the two wildcard spots.  This is not where I or anyone else thought they would end up, but it is realistic at this point.  Of course nothing is guaranteed in this league and anything could happen.  Hopefully for Jets fans and for New York football’s sake, the Jets will be able to represent the state in the playoffs this winter.  Because things aren’t looking too good for either the Giants or the Bills.

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Dave Ragazzo

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