With the New York Jets game on Monday night, here is the ideal Sunday slate for the team
With a three-game winning streak in the balance, the New York Jets face a pivotal game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 9. Whatever you may feel about primetime games, this one gives the Jets one more day to savor being over .500, much as their path to getting there was ugly and forgettable.
Participating in the Sunday or Monday night game means that there’s an awful lot of football to get through before the Jets game finally comes around. With New York surprisingly in the AFC playoff hunt, it’s not too early to keep an eye on the scoreboard and hope that things fall out favorably for the Jets.
With that in mind, here is your Sunday Jets fan rooting guide for Week 9.
9:30 a.m. ET
Chiefs (6-2) over Dolphins (6-2)
Despite a shocking loss to the Broncos last week, the Chiefs still have a 2.5-game lead in their division. They’re not in the wild card conversation. That means rooting for them over the Dolphins is a no-brainer.
While winning the division is still unlikely for the Jets, the Dolphins are only one game ahead of the Bills and 1.5 ahead of the Jets at the moment. Besides holding out hope for the division crown, the Jets also need to keep pace with their divisional foes for the wild card race. That means rooting against the Dolphins.
1:00 p.m. ET
Vikings (4-4) over Falcons (4-4)
The Jets play the Falcons in Week 13. Ideally for the Jets, Atlanta would be as far behind in the playoff race as possible at that point. Right now, the Falcons are tied for the division lead, so it’s not all that likely that they’ll be out of it. Not only that, but the Vikings are currently the seventh seed in the NFC with their own 4-4 record.
Michael Nania identified the Falcons game as a potential trap game for the Jets before the season. The strength of Atlanta’s team is their running game, and that’s an area where the Jets have struggled this season. The more games the Falcons lose before the December 3 matchup with the Jets (they’re all-NFC games), the better it will be for New York.
Seahawks (5-2) over Ravens (6-2)
In a way, it might be best for the Jets if the Ravens just run away with the AFC North. In 2022, it was hard to know who to root for in that division because the Jets had already lost to both the Ravens and Bengals. This year, the Jets play the Browns in Week 16, but the other teams have relevance mainly as wild card competitors.
The Ravens currently lead their division at 6-2, with the Steelers (5-3) and the Browns and Bengals (4-3) all in pursuit. Without any sort of clarity in the division, it’s better for the AFC team to lose.
Cardinals (1-7) over Browns (4-3)
This is one the Jets would really love to have, but the likelihood of it happening is low. The Browns are getting their starting quarterback back, while the Cardinals are waiting at least another week. Arizona is currently in line for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 draft. Starting rookie fifth-round pick Clayton Tune at quarterback is unlikely to change that.
Still, the Browns’ offense has been lackluster this year even with Watson, so perhaps Arizona can pull out the upset. Any AFC team in the playoff hunt is certainly a weekly root-against.
Buccaneers (3-4) over Texans (3-4)
The Buccaneers are on a three-game losing streak, while the Texans have lost two in a row. Both teams are trying to keep pace in playoff races. The Jets play the Texans in Week 14 and would prefer to see them buried as much as possible before then. New York is also just one game ahead of Houston right now.
Commanders (3-5) over Patriots (2-6)
It was very disconcerting to root for the Patriots two weeks in a row against the Bills and Dolphins. This week, things are back where they belong: Jets fans rooting against The Hoodie. That Week 3 loss to the Patriots looms large at the moment for the Jets’ playoff hopes.
Saints (4-4) over Bears (2-6)
This is a bit convoluted, but for Atlanta to be buried within their division and conference, the Saints need to be better than them. Ergo, it would be better for the Jets if the Saints won and the Falcons lost.
4:05 p.m. ET
Panthers (1-6) over Colts (3-5)
This one is simply an AFC thing once more. The Panthers got their first win of the season against the Texans last week. Can they make it two in a row against AFC South teams?
4:25 p.m. ET
Giants (2-6) over Raiders (3-5)
When Garrett Wilson was asked about the Jets-Giants rivalry, part of his answer was, “We root for those guys a lot of the time.” Part of his comment was in reference to the fact that the Giants play(ed) the other three teams in the AFC East, in which case any rational Jets fan should root for the Giants. But this is the other AFC team on their slate, and it would definitely be better for the Jets to have the pesky Raiders pushed out of the way — particularly with the Jets heading to Las Vegas after their tilt with the Chargers.
The Raiders are in disarray, having benched their starting quarterback and fired their coach, general manager, and offensive coordinator in the middle of the night right after the trade deadline. Burying them once and for all could only be a positive.
8:20 p.m. ET
Bengals (4-3) over Bills (5-3)
At this point in the season, the Jets’ goal is to keep pace with the Bills in both the division and wild card. There’s no rational way to root for Buffalo in this game, even though it could look different in a few weeks.
The Bills look as vulnerable as I expected coming into the year despite their 5-3 record. The Bengals, meanwhile, are coming off a thumping of the 49ers and seem to be gaining their stride. It’s very possible that the Bengals will end up a bigger rival with the Jets for playoff position than the Bills will. Still, as of now, rooting against divisional opponents makes the most sense.
- It’s very hard to find rooting interest in Cowboys-Eagles. While strength of schedule is the fifth tiebreaker for the wild card, since the Jets played both of these teams, one will cancel out the other.
- The only other game with virtually no relevance for the Jets is Rams-Packers. The Rams are 3-5 and the Packers are 2-5. Technically, there could be some interest in the Rams winning to make it harder for the Falcons to stay in the wild card hunt, but that’s even more esoteric than rooting for the Saints to beat out the Falcons for their division.
Happy Football Sunday!
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