Maybe this could be 2009 all over again
After being left for dead, the New York Jets aren’t down yet.
In fact, they’re alive and well.
In the midst of a demoralizing four-game losing streak in which the Jets have seen their magical season evaporate in smoke, New York is within punching distance of the postseason.
Following losses by the Raiders, Patriots, and Dolphins in Week 16, the Jets’ road to redemption is surprisingly clear, if daunting: win your next two games against Seattle and Miami, hope that New England loses to Miami and/or Buffalo, and you’re in.
Alternatively, if the Jets win out and the Chargers lose both conference games (Indianapolis and Denver), the Jets could still sneak in.
FiveThirtyEight's projection now gives the Jets a 92% chance of making the playoffs if they finish 2-0.
Entered yesterday at 53%… they've picked up a 39% boost across two days.
What a Christmas weekend.
— Michael Nania 🧀 (@Michael_Nania) December 25, 2022
Not since 2009 have the Jets gotten this kind of help on the march to deep January football. That year, they grabbed the bull by the horns with a lot of help from Indianapolis (benching Peyton Manning in favor of Curtis Painter) and Cincinnati. In 2015, the Jets just had to win their last game against their former head coach in Buffalo, but a three-pick dud from Ryan Fitzpatrick killed the five-game winning streak and the team’s playoff hopes.
This is what you call help. This is what you call luck.
We are in 88% territory.
The Jets have lost 4 straight, yes, but:
The Dolphins have lost 4 straight
The Patriots have lost 4 out of 5
Welcome to the AFC East playoff race! https://t.co/3LPSZ6STze
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) December 25, 2022
At this point, if the Jets don’t make the playoffs, they likely have no one but themselves to blame. After squandering their best opportunities against teams that they should have beaten, this team is somehow still kicking. If you can’t get motivated for these last two games, you don’t belong playing in the NFL (ahem, Laken Tomlinson).
Obviously, the quarterback situation is a hindrance. If Mike White cannot play, the Jets’ chances against Seattle shrink from fair to slim. The offensive line is killing any hope that the run game can cover for Zach Wilson‘s ineptitude.
Of course, New England could win their final two games, the Chargers could win a conference game, and the two teams could kick the Jets out. However, this is the same Patriots team that has gone into an aforementioned funk of its own. I’d trust Mike White against Seattle and Miami more quickly than Mac Jones against Miami and Buffalo.
The Chargers losing to the Colts and Broncos is a longer shot, which means that the Jets are big Dolphins fans against New England in Week 17 (assuming that they can take care of their own business). Another sneaky team to root for is Kansas City against Denver; this would ensure that Buffalo does not lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC before Week 18, which could lead them to rest their starters against New England in the season finale.
This is the best holiday gift the Jets have received in over a decade. It’s time for them to take advantage of it.