As of right now the Jets are in a log jam for the wildcard with what seems to be half of the AFC. The main competitors for the wildcard spots are the Texans, Chiefs, Jets, Steelers, Raiders and Bills. It is almost a foregone conclusion that the Patriots will win the Division so the only chance right now for the Jets is via wildcard.
Even if the Jets win out they still do not control their own destiny. Let’s go over scenarios in which the Jets can make the playoffs with probability percentages.
Scenario 1: The Jets win out and either the Texans or Chiefs lose one game. 5%
This scenario is almost as farfetched as expecting the Patriots to lose out so the Jets can win the Division. The Jets are bound to lose at least one game going forward. With that being said it is hard to see the Texans and Chiefs not doing the same thing. That leads us to the next scenario.
Scenario 2: The Jets lose to a non AFC team (Giants, Cowboys) and the field lose two games. 15%
If the Jets lose to an AFC team it opens the flood gates for the Pittsburg Steelers. The last thing the Jets need is the Steelers sticking around. Out of the teams in the wildcard hunt the Steelers are the most complete team. The Jets can afford a loss to the Giants or Cowboys if the field lose to two games. A loss to the Cowboys is unlikely but a loss to the Giants is another story.
Scenario 3: The Jets lose two games going 9-7 and the field lose three games or match the 9-7 record 25%
This scenario is the most likely scenario out of the field. The Jets will need to go 3-2 in their final 5 games and those loses need to not be against division rivals. Based on the remaining schedule many teams will drop off. If the Jets play strong they may be able to sneak in at 9-7. No 8-8 team will make the wildcard based on matchups.
Let’s look at matchups going forward.
Looking at the schedule it breaks well for the Jets.
December 6th the Texans face the Bills. One of those teams will lose and put the Jets in better position. That same week the Raiders face the Chiefs. If the Raiders defeat the Chiefs and the Jets defeat the Giants the Jets will be in the wildcard spot and control their own destiny aka Scenario 1. Also on December 6th the Colts take on the Steelers. All Jets fans should be rooting for the Colts in this game. If the Colts lose it springboards the Steelers and also may throw the Colts into the wildcard talk.
Rooting for: Raiders/Bills/Colts
December 13th will also be vital for the Jets. Three top wildcard competitors have tough matchups. Texans take on the Patriots, Raiders take on the Broncos and Steelers take on the Bengals. Jets however are going against the battered Tennessee Titans.
Rooting for: Patriots/Broncos/Bengals
December 20th Texans face the Colts. Another game Jets fans should be rooting for the Colts. If the Colts lost the previous week Jets fans should be rooting for the Texans. Jets hold a head to head tiebreaker against the Colts. The Raiders will have a tough game against the Packers and the Broncos play the Steelers.
Rooting for: Colts/Packers/Broncos
December 24th-28th will be the biggest game for the year for the Jets. The Jets need to defeat the Patriots for not only a conference win but a Division win as well. The rest of the field have pedestrian matchups that week. If the Jets lose it could inevitably end their season.
Rooting for: Jets
January 3rd another huge week for the Jets as they go up against division rivals the Buffalo Bills. This game may decide if the Jets get in or are eliminated. Jets need to win this game. The Raiders also play the Chiefs this week which will possibly affect the Jets.
Rooting for: Jets
Essentially the AFC wildcard is wide open unlike the Division champions. The Patriots, Broncos and Bengals have almost signed their ticket to the post season. The Colts are an entirely different story that could factor into the wild card race. As of week 12 there are no AFC teams officially eliminated. The 2-9 Titans along with the 2-9 Browns should be eliminated by the end of regulation in week 13. The 4-7 Dolphins, Jaguars and Ravens will soon also follow suit.
The race for two AFC wildcard spots will come down to the Jets, Steelers, Texans, Chiefs, Raiders, Colts, and Bills. Either the Texans or the Colts will win their division so that leaves 6 teams competing for two spots. Can the Jets secure one of these spots? Time will tell.