The scenario is clear. If the Jets defeat or tie the Bills Sunday in Buffalo, they will earn a postseason berth for the first time since 2010.
"That's all you can ask for," said first-year head coach Todd Bowles. "We have to get in and get to work and get ready to go to Buffalo and play a tough game."
Keeping their collective head down, New York's AFC representative has run off five consecutive wins. And they got the assist they needed before Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with Eric Decker for the OT game-winner Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens upset the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"It's great, but we have to get the job done. We have to work hard this week and go to Buffalo with a million different story lines there," Fitzpatrick said following the Green & White's dramatic 26-20 victory over the Patriots. "We have to win the game. (I'm) excited that that's kind of figured out at this point that we do control our own destiny, but we have to take care of business."
If the Jets win, they'll either enter the postseason as the AFC's No. 5 or No. 6 seed. (The 10-5 Chiefs currently are the AFC's No. 5 seed based on their 8-2 conference mark.) It appears the Houston Texans, who currently are the conference's No. 4 seed, are locked in there barring something slightly miraculous. With the AFC North leading Bengals (11-3) and the AFC West leading Broncos (10-4) set for a huge conference showdown Monday night, things could become even more well-defined Tuesday.
The Green & White certainly has no plans on losing in B-Lo, but there are 2 scenarios where they would earn a wild card entry despite a loss. If the 10-4 Broncos lose both of their remaining games (vs. CIN, vs. SD) ORthe 9-6 Steelers lose to the Browns in Cleveland, Todd Bowles' club will play on Wild Card Weekend. At 10-6, the Jets would get the nod over the Broncos due to better conference record.
On Tuesday, we'll examine how the Bengals-Chiefs outcome changed the conference landscape. But it's very easy for the Jets – keep it simple and win in Western New York.
"That's what football is all about. We control our own destiny now," said Decker. "(If) you take care of business, you allow yourself to keep playing in January. We know that we have a lot of work to do. Buffalo beat us last time here at home. We have to get a good week of prep and get ready to go on Sunday."