After an unlikely defeat of the streaking Colts last Sunday, the New York Jets not control their own playoff destiny as they head into their final game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals.
While other AFC teams have incredibly confusing playoff scenarios, if the Jets win they make the playoffs, if they lose, they go home.
Although the Bengals have been an impressive team this year, they will likely use their backup players quite a bit as they have already clinched the AFC North and don’t have anything on the line in week 17.
The Jets, meanwhile, have had an up-and-down season but the team has won four of their last five games, losing only a heartbreaker to the Falcons. The Jets had led the Falcons all day until Atlanta scored a touchdown that put them ahead 10-7 in the final minutes of the game.
Despite their problems and what their record may say, the Jets have actually been a pretty great team this year. They currently lead the league in defense (fewest points allowed) and rushing yards. No team has ever led the league in both of those categories and not gone on to make the playoffs.
The Jets’ problems have laid solely on the shoulders of their rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez who has just 12 touchdowns with 20 interceptions and several fumbles. If the Jets can contain the mistakes that Sanchez will undoubtedly make (and they have been able to, for the most part, over the past five games), this is a team that can actually go far in the playoffs.
If they can get past the Bengals, that is.