Two wins and they're in
The New York Jets received a Christmas present from the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon. In an ironic twist, the Pats' 24-21 victory over the Jaguars means the Jets control their postseason destiny. If the Jets defeat the Dolphins Monday night and then hold serve at home next weekend against the Raiders, the Green & White will be a Wild Card entry from the American Football Conference.
Entering Week 16, there were four AFC teams who shared identical 8-6 records: the Jets, the Bengals, the Broncos, and the Jaguars. Jacksonville fell to 8-7 with its home loss and Denver's defeat of Cincinnati moved the Jets a game ahead of the Bengals.
The only downside to New England's win from a Jets' perspective was the Patriots clinched the AFC East Sunday. But the Green & White now have a great opportunity to join their division rivals in the postseason. Head coach Eric Mangini will lead the Jets onto the field Christmas night at Dolphins Stadium as they'll become the only team in franchise history to play on December 25.
If the Jets drop Monday night's decision, they are still very much alive in the wild card hunt. An 8-7 Jets club would become a postseason participant if any one of the following fourscenarios occurs: 1. Jets defeat Raiders, Bengals lose or tie vs. Steelers, and the Jaguars lose or tie against the Chiefs. 2. Jets beat the Raiders, Bengals lose or tie vs. Steelers, and the Titans top the Patriots. 3. Jets beat the Raiders, Broncos lose at home to the 49ers, and the Jaguars fall at the Chiefs. 4. Jets tie the Raiders, Bengals lose to the Steelers, Chiefs and Jaguars play to a tie, and the Titans play to a tie with the Patriots.