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The Jets made it to the AFC Championship Game the hard way in 2009. They went on the road and pulled off two upsets as a wild-card, built momentum and eventually ran out of steam in the second half in Indianapolis.
We have seen wild-card teams win Super Bowls in recent years, most notably the New York Giants who ripped off three straight road victories before upsetting the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
However, considering the way the AFC looks like it is breaking so far and the 5-1 start the Jets have got themselves off to, there is no reason a minimum of 12 victories shouldn’t be the target for this team. The easiest road to the Super Bowl is getting yourself a bye and then hosting two playoff games, and this Jets team is built to do that. Look at the rest of their schedule:
Week 8 vs. Green Bay – Originally this appeared to be a much tougher match-up but the Packers have been decimated with injuries and could very well come into this game at 3-4. Beyond that, they have a long trip out to the Meadowlands off an emotional prime-time game against Brett Favre, while the Jets will be fresh off the bye week. There is no reason the Jets shouldn’t handle business against this one-dimensional offense, with Darrelle Revis and Calvin Pace likely very close to, if not, 100 percent.
Week 9 at Detroit – The Lions are frisky for a 1-5 team, which means this could be a dangerous game. Yet in reality, the Jets are going to be 8 – 10 point favorites and need to handle business against a team they are far superior to in the talent department. Darrelle Revis/Antonio Cromartie vs. Calvin Johnson? Should be fun to watch.
Week 10 at Cleveland – The Mangini Bowl. Cleveland can be a tough place to play, yet I think plenty of Jets will be up for this game against their former coach.
Week 11 vs. Houston – I love this match-up for the Jets. The Texans are a finesse team that does not match up well against them, as we already saw last year. Beyond that, the Jets get them at home. Yes it is a few weeks away but this feels like a nice double digit smack down.
Week 12 vs. Cincinnati – The Jets back on Thanksgiving, looking to make up for their debacle against Dallas a few years back. I am not sure why I should think the Bengals can come into the Meadowlands and win this game, considering how the Jets played them last year and the fact that Cincinnati has pretty much sucked so far this season.
Week 13 at New England – The Jets get an extra three days to prepare for this game, which will likely go a long way to determining who wins the AFC East. Prime-time. December football. It doesn’t get much better than this. Jets fans are already panicking about Danny Woodhead racking up 150 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.
Week 14 vs. Miami – Good to get Miami at home this late in the year. The Dolphins feel like a .500 team to me right now, so hopefully the Jets can do some serious damage to their playoff hopes this week.
Week 15 at Pittsburgh – Oh boy. Doesn’t this feel like a battle of a couple 11-3 or 12-2 teams for the AFC’s number one seed? Santonio Holmes coming back to Pittsburgh. A couple of powerhouse defenses. This game has to be flexed to Sunday night, right?
Week 16 at Chicago – I am already having visions of Wayne Chrebet getting flipped on his head and fumbling to clinch a killer loss. Regardless of the Bears 4-2 record, I just don’t think they are that good and will either be right at or below .500 coming into this game. What is the over/under on the number times Jay Cutler is sacked this week?
Week 17 vs. Buffalo – We should be seeing some Mark Brunell and Kellen Clemens this week.
When you look at this collection of ten games, it is hard to see the Jets not putting together at least a 7-3 record. 12-4 should be good enough for a bye week in the AFC but may not be good enough for a number one seed unless the Jets can take care of business in Pittsburgh. Does it make me a delirious homer to think there is a somewhat realistic shot the Jets could win 13 games this year?
A 13 win Jets team? Times really could be changing.