Maybe I have lost some of my optimism, but I believe it is worth considering the possibility of the New York Jets not running the table, and maybe winning just 2 of their final 3. Does that scenario leave them a realistic chance of being the AFC’s number six seed? It just might…
They have built a one game lead over Oakland, Tennessee, and Cincinnati. We already know they don’t have the tie-breaker with Oakland and as of now they don’t have it with Tennessee or Cincinnati based on conference record, although that could change.
Let’s start with Oakland, who would only need to lose one more game to keep the Jets safe at 10-6. They play Detroit, at Kansas City, and home against San Diego. Right now Detroit and San Diego are better teams than Oakland and Kansas City has already beat them this year 28-0 this season. I think it is a safe assumption that Oakland will lose one, if not two more games.
Tennessee plays at Indianapolis, home versus Jacksonville, and then finishes at Houston. The assumption all along has been that Houston will be resting starters in week 17. As of now, that won’t be the case because they could very well be playing for a bye. Beyond that, they could want to get as much work for T.J. Yates as possible before the playoffs start. Considering that Houston beat the Titans 41-7 in their last match-up, if the Texans don’t rest anybody they should be able to handle Tennessee. Outside of week 17, Indianapolis just might show a little pride at home this week to avoid going 0-16 and there is a good chance Jake Locker will be making the first start of his career on Sunday. Hey, you never know right? Jacksonville also has upset potential because of their running game, defense, and the fact that they beat Tennessee earlier in the year.
Cincinnati travels to St. Louis this week before hosting Arizona and Baltimore to end the season. Again, many people were assuming Baltimore would be resting starters in week 17. However, considering they have the same record as Pittsburgh and they could potentially drop from a 1 to a 5 seed if they lose the AFC North, resting starters wouldn’t be an option as of right now. On top of that, if Pittsburgh falls out of contention for the division title, they are still battling Houston and New England for the 1 and 2 seed. If Baltimore does happen to rest their starters, Arizona is 6-7 and will be far from a walkover for banged up Bengals team.
Of course, it would be much easier if the Jets just took care of their own business and won their last three. However, it remains a very real possibility that they could still sneak in, even at 10-6.