Gang Green, with a "big" win over the once-again lowly Miami Dolphins, are starting to feel good about their playoff chances. There's a 99.9% chance they aren't winning the AFC East, but at 6-5, they're right in the thick of the wildcard race.
"We know we're still in it," quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said Monday. "We also know there's not a lot of room for error."
The Jets had previously lost four of five and were trending down. Darrelle Revis has looked human this season, Antonio Cromartie was getting burned constantly as well and Fitzpatrick has been playing hurt. It seems that Fitzpatrick has turned a corner, however.
As of today, Pittsburgh and Kansas City, also both 6-5, hold the two wildcard spots. The problem for the Jets is that their schedule isn't that much of a cakewalk. Here's what they have left:
12/6 - at Giants
12/13 - Titans
12/20 at Dallas
12/27 - Patriots
1/3 - at Bills
There are three games in there they could potentially lose. The Giants, Patriots and Bills are all more than capable of beating the Jets. They should be able to beat Tennessee and Dallas. Let's assume they lose to the Giants, Buffalo and New England and beat Tennessee and Dallas. They'd finish the season 8-8, which some predicted.
That could be good enough to get them into the playoffs. Pittsburgh's schedule is much more daunting. Their schedule is as follows:
12/6 - Colts
12/13 - at Bengals
12/20 - Broncos
12/27 - at Ravens
1/3 - at Browns
They can win at least three of those games. Even though the Ravens aren't good this year, that game shouldn't be a cakewalk considering how tough those two teams always play each other. Still, that's a winnable game. The Colts have been much better with Matt Hasselbeck under center, but also still very much a winnable game. The Bengals and Broncos are who they are. All of this depends on the health of Ben Roethlisberger. If he misses more than one game, the Steelers' chances take a big time hit.
Kansas City has the easiest schedule of the three.
12/6 - at Raiders
12/13 - Chargers
12/20 - at Ravens
12/27 - Browns
1/3 - Raiders
They have three of their last five games at Arrowhead Stadium, one of the toughest places to play in the league. Two of those games are divisional match ups, which again aren't always easy no matter what the records say. The Raiders are more of a pushover than the Chargers, so we'll see where those games go. The Chiefs are riding high on a five-game winning streak, and there's a chance they could win out.
In any case, the Jets have to win on Sunday if they have any hope of keeping their season alive. In fact, they may just have to win out, which is a tall task. Jets head coach Todd Bowles knows this and knows there is a lot of work to be done from now until the end of the season.
"We've still got to work on finishing," coach Todd Bowles said. "I thought we gave up a cheap one at the end even though we were playing softer defense. We still have to make sure we get off the field and keep continuing to improve until the clock runs out."