The New York Jets, believe it or not, are still alive in the AFC playoff race.
After all the heartbreaking losses, after Sunday’s soul-crushing defeat against the Atlanta Falcons, these Jets are still, miraculously, alive.
Their coach, Rex Ryan, acknowledged as much yesterday during his Monday address to the media, after he’d unceremoniously buried his team during Sunday’s postgame press conference.
“You would think the head coach of the team would know the situations and know the playoff scenarios. The only thing that I knew is, in my opinion, I thought we had to win out. We just had a single focus that we were going to have to win six straight games. That’s it, so when I found out this morning, even when I heard, ‘That’s not true, the Jets still have a chance.’ I was thinking, Baltimore has to lose twice and Pittsburgh has to lose twice, which is impossible. That’s not the case at all. We’re actually in a better situation right now this week than we were last week at this time. That’s unbelievable, but again, we’re there. We’ve got a chance to make the playoffs.”
The Jets still sit just one game back of the final AFC Wild Card spot in the midst of a slew of clubs who all sit at 7-7. The Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens hold the remaining playoff spots, but each have very losable games coming up over the next two weeks. The Ravens travel to Pittsburgh next week for a tough divisional game against the Steelers, who also sit at 7-7, and the Broncos travel to Philadelphia this week to take on the red-hot Eagles. The Jaguars, another team who sits at 7-7 and a club that holds the tiebreaker over the Jets, travels to New England with the Patriots having the opportunity to clinch the AFC East with a victory on Sunday.
So all these Jets need to do is win this weekend, and if those teams fall, they’re right back in a tie for the final playoff spot.
The only problem is, they travel to face the undefeated Indianapolis Colts, in Indy. What a time to try to slay Goliath.
“For us, this is our Super Bowl,” wide receiver Braylon Edwards said. “No if ands or buts about it. This is, for us, going to decide what we really want to be on offense. Can we come out and execute. When all the chips are on the line, can we put it together and win a game that we need? Can we be a team that can win in December? Everything we have we need to put on the line in this game. If we don’t make it to the playoffs, we still showed that we were willing to take that step. We don’t need to worry about anything but beating the Indianapolis Colts. They’re a great team. They are the best team in football. It is going to be a tough matchup any way you look at it.”
A tough matchup is an understatement. The Jets defense might be able to at least slow down the high-powered Colts offense and Peyton Manning, but how will Mark Sanchez respond in a huge game, on the road, with everyhing on the line? The Jets will have to play a perfect game in all phases to beat the Colts, the type of game that has eluded them all season long.
While the team has a chance to pull off the monumental upset, those chances might be heightened by the Colts’ not playing their regulars for four quarters. Unfortunately, the Jets won’t know their plans until Sunday, meaning they’ll have to prepare for the top team in the NFL’s best game.
“You prepare for all of them to play and if they don’t, that’s good for us. You have to prepared that they are going to play the entire game. They have a bye, they have that bye coming up. You expect them to continue to play their players and if they decide to take them out then that is what they decide to do. If you go out there preparing for a backup quarterback and end up facing Peyton Manning, you are in trouble. You prepare for all of the all stars that they have and if they chose not to play certain guys, that will certainly help us.”
With the playoffs on the line, the Jets have the opportunity to resurrect their season with a signature victory. Will they pull off the upset of the season? We’ll know in six short days.
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