Can the New York Jets make the playoffs?
Yes, the same Jets team that some people didn’t even have winning five games all season. This is the same Jets team that had a quarterback controversy in preseason that took over the all headlines in New York. This is the same Jets team that has the worst receiving core in the NFL.
Yeah. Those Jets.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for Rex Ryan’s team this season. They have won in every odd week of the season and lost in every even week. Sunday’s miraculous win over the Saints was the latest chapter of a Jets season that has been far better than everyone expected. Just over halfway through the season and the Jets head into their bye week holding onto the final spot in the AFC playoff race. The $64,000 question this week is…can the 2013 Jets sneak into the playoffs?
Their remaining schedule definitely gives them a shot. The teams they play have a record of 26-32. After the bye, the Jets will go to Buffalo to face E.J. Manuel and the Bills, who they beat earlier in the season at home. They will then have to travel to Baltimore to face the 3-5 Ravens, who have been a shell of themselves this season. In week 13, they return home to face the 4-4 Dolphins, who are going through all sorts of controversy off the field. Then the 3-5 Raiders come to MetLife, and they are battling injuries on offense to Terrelle Pryor and Darren McFadden. The toughest game remaining on their schedule comes in week 15 when they head to Carolina to take on the surging 5-3 Panthers, who have won four straight. In their final home game, they will take on the 4-5 Browns, who are definitely beatable. They end the season in South Beach taking on the Dolphins for a second time.
They may not play one playoff team the rest of the season. The Panthers could be that one team they face that could get in, but they are no lock to make the playoffs. The schedule shows the Jets have a chance, but not one of these games is a lock, especially with four of them coming on the road. If the Jets want to shock the world, they need to continue to put pressure on the quarterback and force turnovers like they did against Drew Brees. Coming into Sunday, they were one of the worst teams in the NFL in turnover differential. Another key for the Jets is avoiding turnovers themselves. Geno Smith needs to continue to avoid making rookie mistakes. The problem is one week he is great and the next he is awful. Gang Green’s defense can carry this team as they did when Mark Sanchez was under center his first two seasons. Smith just needs to play smart and run the ball 30-plus times a game.
It’s not unrealistic anymore to believe the Jets can make the playoffs? Do I believe they will get there? No, because they don’t have the playmakers on offense and Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley are hurt. This team has not been consistent, and until they can string a couple of wins in a row together, I think they fall short of the playoffs. With that being said, don’t count the New York Jets out as a legitimate playoff threat in the AFC.