Can the New York Jets Make a Playoff Push?
After watching the Jets during the first half of the season, it's highly comical and laughable to even think about them playing in January for more than a minute.
In April when the schedule was first released, it was widely known the Jets would have a difficult September and October, setting up nicely for a potential Tim Tebow explosion and a struggling Jets team heading into November.
At 3-5, the Jets are two games behind the Steelers for the 6th seed and are currently chasing the 4-4 Chargers and Dolphins and 3-5 Raiders. Sitting currently at 10th in the conference, the Jets will need to win at least six games if they want any shot of making the playoffs. Assuming the Steelers or Ravens will take one wild card spot, the Jets will need to go on a roll in the second half.
While it seems unrealistic, the schedule sets up really nicely for the Jets who will face some of the league's worst offenses over the final eight weeks. The Jets only play two teams with winning records, the Seahawks and Patriots, who they almost beat on the road, and face a handful of inconsistent quarterbacks.
Here's how the Jets could sneak into the playoffs again.
Week 10: At Seattle Seahawks (5-4)
Seattle is one of the league's best home teams. They are 4-0 and if they run the table at home they will most likely lock up a wild card spot.
Led by a tenacious defense and running back Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks are a tough test. They have beat both the Packers and Patriots in fourth quarter comebacks.
The Jets are coming off their bye week, and even though they've won 8 out of their last 10 against Seattle, all signs point to them losing this game in a close battle, bringing their record to 3-6.
Seattle is just too dominant at home and has too good a defense, which is fourth in the league. The Jets' run defense can't stop a nosebleed, to quote Bart Scott.
But there is one side-note.
Rex Ryan hasn't lost to a rookie quarterback since joining the Jets. Even so, it'll be too hard for this Jets team to win in Seattle.
Week 11: At St. Louis Rams (3-5)
Mark Sanchez will have his best game of the year playing against former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
Schottenheimer, now with the Rams, was ripped by the fans and media for years for his questionable play calls and lack of offensive creativity. This year his replacement Tony Sparano hasn't been much better.
The Jets should take care of business against an inferior team. The Patriots dismantled these guys, and the Jets can too.
That is, if Sanchez can lead them to a win much like the game against the Colts.
Week 12: Home vs. New England Patriots (5-3)
The question here will be which Jets team shows up. The team that should have beat the Patriots the first time, or the team who looked asleep against Miami.
If there's any game that the fans, the team and Rex Ryan get jacked up for, it's the Patriots home game. Thanksgiving Thursday night will be rocking and the Jets will finally unleash the hidden wildcat plans for Tim Tebow. The defense will show up and the Jets will play well in prime time.
The Jets will stun the Patriots and quickly jump right back into the playoff race.
Week 13: Home vs. Arizona Cardinals (4-5)
This game originally looked awful for the Jets back in September. After a fast 4-0 start, Arizona has lost five in a row.
In the Jets final game against the NFC, they will face their toughest remaining receiving threat, Larry Fitzgerald. This game will give Antonio Cromartie another chance to shut down another big name receiver.
Shaky quarterback play and injuries have hurt the Cardinals this season. Playing in December in New York favors the Jets. This is a classic Jets win in the Ryan era, with Sanchez outplaying an inferior quarterback.
Week 14: At Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7)
The last time these two teams met, the Jets won 32-3 at home.
This game will have some extra spice to it with Tim Tebow returning to his hometown, but if there's any game the Jets should win, it's this one against one of the worst teams in the NFL.
The Jets should win their fourth in a row, and finally bring their record above .500 for the first time since opening day.
Week 15: At Tennessee Titans (3-6)
After winning four in a row with a 7-6 record, the Jets will be fired up to play on Monday Night against in Nashville.
Another tough test for the run defense with Chris Johnson, but the Jets should win this game.
A classic "same-old-Jets" game would result in a loss, blowing the huge opportunity to return home against San Diego 8-6.
The Jets should win this one though against one of the league's worst run defenses, ranked 30th, and pass defenses, 27th.
Week 16: Home vs. San Diego Chargers (4-4)
The Jets are 2-0 against the Chargers under Rex Ryan, winning one on the road in the playoffs and one last year at home.
The Chargers have been incredibly inconsistent and won't do well playing in the cold, windy Meadowlands in the beginning of winter.
The Jets will win another game, their sixth in a row, bringing their record to 9-6 heading into Week 17.
Week 17: At Buffalo Bills (3-5)
It's always said that if you want to make the playoffs, you need to win 10 games. With the way the second half sets up for the Jets, it's somewhat of a possibility that they could be playing in Buffalo for win number 10.
After losing Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes to season ending injuries, dealing with the quarterback controversy and the aftermath of blowout losses at home, the Jets could have a chance to win 10 games and make it to the playoffs.
Playing on the road in Buffalo is never an easy task, especially during a cold and windy week 17 matchup. If the Jets win six games before week 17 they could be looking at a potential win-and-in game against the Bills.
If the Jets go 9-6 and take a six game winning streak into Buffalo, I'm betting on them to win the game and the Super Bowl.
But this are the Jets we are talking about.
So what will happen?
For starters, they may not even win another game all year. The Jets could get blown out by the Seahawks, lose all confidence, drop a close game on the road to the Rams and come home 3-7 to play the Patriots. Losing that game would take them to 3-8, all but ending their season on their home turf on Thanksgiving night.
There are a lot of "ifs" and possibilities for the Jets, but there's no question that the Jets do have a shot if they can fix the mistakes that plagued them in the first half.
The Jets will end the year the way they started it, blowing out Buffalo, and heading into the playoffs full of confidence and bravado.
The road to the playoffs may be difficult, but there is a real chance the Jets could be playing come January. It all starts in Seattle, where Sanchez will go against his former coach.