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Jets Wild Card Breakdown

Posted Dec 13, 2012

The Jets are not talking playoffs, but that does not mean we can’t break down some scenarios here entering Week 15.  At 6-7, the Green & White still have an opportunity to grab one of the two wild card spots in the AFC.

Randy Lange, our editor-in-chief, and I have reviewed some scenarios this week.  So what has to happen for New York’s AFC representative to claim a playoff berth for the third time in four years?

If Indy & B-More Fall Apart…

The 9-4 Colts, who are still alive in the AFC South race with two games remaining against division leading Houston, appear to be in good position for at least a wild card entry.  They will be a prohibitive favorite over the 2-11 Chiefs in Week 16 and things will only get dicey for them if they lose all of their remaining contests. 

In the AFC North, the Ravens are setting the pace at 9-4.  They can clinch a playoff spot this week with a win over the Denver, but B-More has a treacherous remaining slate.  The Giants will visit the Edgar Allen Poes in Week 16 and then the Ravens fly to Cincinnati in Week 17.  Even if they do collapse and lose out, the Jets would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker to the Ravens based on conference record. 

It would help the Jets if the Ravens win the division because the Green & White can’t win head-to-head tiebreakers with Baltimore and Pittsburgh (more on this below).  A Colts collapse —which again would include a huge upset by Kansas City — would be beneficial because the Jets hold the tiebreaker over the Colts based on their 35-9 trouncing of Indy in Week 6. 

And while it’s still mathematically possible for the Jets to get in at 8-8, that would be a rocky road.  Let’s take a look at the scenarios involving the Jets, the Steelers and the Bengals if Rex Ryan’s club wins out.  Lots of things can happen, but the Steelers/Cowboys contest could eventually play a huge role in all of this if the Jets get hot. 
* To break a tie for the wild-card team with three or more clubs, you have to apply the division tie-breaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. 

Jets Heat Up, Bengals & Steelers Cool Off
Scenario 1
The Jets finish 9-7 while the Steelers and the Bengals both close with 8-8 marks.
NYJ Win Out: @TEN (4-9), vs. SD (5-8), @ BUF (5-8)
PITT Loses 2 of 3: @ DAL (7-6), vs. CIN (7-6), vs. CLV ( 5-8)
&
CIN Loses 2 of 3, 8-8: @ PHI (4-9), @ PIT (7-6), vs. BAL (9-4)
Jets will be playoff bound based on better record as they would finish 9-7 while the two AFC North clubs would finish .500.

Tiebreakers that Tilt to Pittsburgh
Scenario 2
There is a three-way tie at 9-7 and the Steelers advance.
NYJ Win Out
PITT: W @ DAL, L vs. CIN, W vs. CLV
CIN: W @ PHI, W @ PIT, L vs. BAL
All teams would finish 9-7 and the first tiebreaker would be amongst the division teams.  The Steelers would knock out the Bengals based on a better division record (3-3, 2-4).  Then the Steelers would eliminate the Jets based on their head-to-head victory in Week 2.

Scenario 3
Another three-way tie at 9-7 that has the Steelers headed to the postseason.
NYJ Win Out
PITT: L @ DAL, W vs. CIN, W vs. CLV
CIN: W @ PHI, L at PIT, W vs. BAL
Once again, the Steelers would knock the Bengals out first virtue of a season sweep.  Then the Steelers would eliminate the Jets out based on their head-to-head victory in Week 2.

Scenario 4
If the Bengals completely falter, the Jets can’t beat the Steelers in a head-to-head tie at 9-7. 

NYJ & the ‘Nati
Scenario 4 
A three-way tie at 9-7 that would go down to strength of victory between the Jets and the Bengals.  Cincinnati has the advantage there at present time.
NYJ Win Out
PITT: W @ DAL, L vs. CIN, W vs. CLV
CIN: L @ PHI, W @ PIT, W vs. BAL
This one is interesting.  Both the Steelers and the Bengals would have split their season series, have identical 3-3 marks in the division and there would be no separation in common games (8-6).  Then you would move to conference record and the Bengals would have the advantage there (7-5, 6-6), so the Bengals would force a tiebreak with the Jets.   Both teams would be tied in common games (3-2) and conference marks would be identical at 7-5, so you’d have to move on to strength of victory.  This changes weekly, but the Bengals have a decent lead at the moment with three weeks to play.

Scenario 5
The Jets and the Bengals tie at 9-7 and New York’s AFC representative would be playoff bound because of a better mark inside the AFC (7-5, 6-6).
NYJ Win Out
PITT: L vs. CIN and 1 other Loss
CIN: W vs. PHI, W @ PIT, L vs. BAL

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