With just three games games left to go, the Falcons were going to be the Jets’ easiest opponent. Instead, Atlanta turned out to be the big spoiler that the Jets were afraid off.
Entering the game in a three-way tie with the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins for the second Wild Card slot, the Jets knew that they had to win this one because their following games would be against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts and the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals.
If the players were watching the scoreboard throughout the game, they also knew that the Dolphins, Broncos, and Jaguars had already lost meaning that if they won they would be tied with the Ravens and Broncos with two playoff spots to go around.
Instead, the Jets blew several scoring opportunities thanks to problems on special teams and Mark Sanchez’s obligatory three interceptions. After the Jets defense had done a great job of keeping the Falcon’s offense to just three points all game, the Falcons scored a touchdown with less than two minutes to go in the game.
With two missed kicks, a botched field goal snap, and three picks, the Jets had managed to score just one touchdown all game and ended up losing the game in disheartening fashion, likely ending their season despite all of the help they had gotten from their competition losing.
For all you optimists, all hope is not lost yet. Although the Jets can no longer finish better than 9-7, if they win their next two games while Jacksonville and Miami both lose one of their remaining games. At the same time, the Jets need either the Ravens or Broncos to lose one more game to clear a spot for them in the playoff standings.
Even if those three teams lose, the Jets would still have to best two of the top teams in the NFL, including undefeated Indianapolis this Sunday.