NY Jets, Miami Dolphins, Playoff Scenarios
Sauce Gardner, Teddy Bridgewater, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Getty Images

New York Jets fans, you need to swallow your pride and root for Miami

Let’s just acknowledge it right off the bat: NONE of the information in this article matters if the New York Jets do not handle their own business and defeat the Seattle Seahawks this afternoon. The Jets are eliminated from playoff contention if they lose today.

But if the Jets do win, Jets fans will want a few other games around the league to break a certain way to help maximize New York’s playoff chances.

First off, here is a reminder of the Jets’ lone path to the playoffs:

  • Jets win their last two games (@ SEA and @ MIA)
  • Patriots lose at least one game (vs. MIA or @ BUF)

It’s pretty simple at this point. The Jets need to win out and have the Patriots lose at least one of their final two games, which come at home against Miami and on the road against Buffalo. This is the only way New York can get into the postseason. There are no other scenarios remaining.

With that in mind, I would advise Jets fans to temporarily become Dolphins fans from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. this afternoon. Before the Jets kick off in Seattle at 4:05 p.m., Miami and New England will square off in Foxborough during the early window of games.

A Dolphins win would be massive for the Jets. If Miami wins, New England is eliminated from playoff contention. This means that if the Dolphins and Jets both win today, the Week 18 game between Miami and New York is a win-and-in game with no stipulations. The winner is in and the loser is out. That simple.

But if the Patriots defeat Miami, that Week 18 game will no longer be a clear-cut win-and-in game. To clinch a playoff spot, the winner of that Jets-Dolphins game would still need New England to lose in Buffalo. If the Patriots win their final two games, they are in, and the Jets-Dolphins winner is out. New England controls its own destiny right now but is eliminated with a loss today.

This is why a Miami win today would be huge for both teams. It would remove New England from the picture going into Week 18. The Jets and Dolphins could focus on their own game without having to worry about the Patriots looming.

And, since the Dolphins-Patriots result will come in the early window, if Miami wins, the Jets will enter the Seattle game knowing they have regained control of their own destiny. Go 2-0 and you are in.

However, just in case the Patriots defeat Miami today, there are other teams Jets fans will want to root for.

New England takes on Buffalo in Week 18. There is a possibility Buffalo could clinch the AFC’s No. 1 seed before that game begins. Jets and Dolphins fans do not want this to happen, as if the Bills clinch, there is a strong possibility they will rest some of their starters, making the game much easier for New England.

Because of this possibility, Jets fans should root for Buffalo to not clinch the No. 1 seed by the end of this week, ensuring the Bills will be trying their hardest in Week 18.

Buffalo can clinch the No. 1 seed this week with a win (@ CIN) and a Chiefs loss (vs. DEN).

Kansas City hosts Denver in the early window today. As long as the Chiefs take care of business and win that game, the Bills will not be able to clinch the No. 1 seed this week, and they will certainly be going all-out against the Patriots next week.

If the Chiefs somehow lose the Broncos game, the Bills will have a chance to clinch the No. 1 seed by winning in Cincinnati on Monday night. If the Bills lose, though, the No. 1 seed will remain up for grabs.

Here is your Week 17 rooting guide:

  • 1:00 – Miami over New England
  • 1:00 – Kansas City over Denver (Only relevant if New England defeats Miami)
  • Monday – Cincinnati over Buffalo (Only relevant if New England defeats Miami and Denver defeats Kansas City)

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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11 months ago

If KC wins and Buffalo loses this week, does KC lock up the #1 seed? If so, does Buffalo put up a fight next week or would they really care if they are #2 or #3 seed considering there is no bye (I get that #2 seed may end up with an extra home game over #3, but is that enough motivation for Bills or would they rather rest the last week to be ready for the wildcard weekend game.)