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NYPost’s Costello: Breaking down what it could take for Jets to make playoffs


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Breaking down what it could take for Jets to make playoffs

November 30, 2022 8:43pm 

By Brian Costello

Robert Saleh has a good reason why he is not letting himself get wrapped up in hypothetical playoff scenarios and going over the Jets’ remaining schedule trying to count up wins and losses. 

“Too much crap to do, man,” the head coach said with a laugh Wednesday. “It doesn’t mean that when you’re sitting there, you don’t take a peek to see what’s ahead, but you quickly got to, like I said, you acknowledge it, and you know it’s not like it’s an elephant in the room, it’s not like you’re not going to acknowledge it, but none of it matters at the end of the day. You got to quickly refocus back to what’s important, and what’s important is this moment.” 

That has been Saleh’s message to the Jets this week — stay in the moment. 

He does not want his players, who are sitting at 7-4 and heading into a showdown with the Vikings (9-2) on Sunday, looking past that game and dreaming about ending the team’s 11-year playoff drought. 

It’s a good message for the Jets … but not for those of us on the outside looking in. 

As the calendar turns to December, it feels like the perfect time to look ahead and dig in on the Jets’ final six games. What will it take for them to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010? 

Let’s go. 

Looking at the AFC standings, there are nine teams for seven playoff spots. Let’s say the Chiefs and Titans win their divisions. The AFC North will go to either the Ravens or Bengals. The AFC East will be won by either the Dolphins or Bills. 

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The Jets have a shot at the playoff, but their remaining schedule says its not a lock. Photo: Bill Kostroun

That would leave the Jets fighting with the runner-up in the North and the East, along with the Patriots and Chargers, for three playoff berths — five teams for three wild-card spots. 

Looking at the way things set up, it is probably going to take 10 wins to get a wild card. 

That means the Jets need three wins. Do your best “Mike and the Mad Dog” impression and go down the schedule, ‘Uhhh, it’s going to be cold, they might be thinking about Christmas, give ’em a loss.’ ” 

Looking at the schedule, you’d expect the Jets to win home games against the Lions and Jaguars, both currently 4-7. That means they would have to steal at least one of these road games: at the Vikings (9-2), Bills (8-3), Seahawks (6-5) or Dolphins (8-3). 

Those are not easy games. You have to expect the Jets will be underdogs in all of those road games. They have the fifth toughest remaining schedule, according to Tankathon. Only one team with which they are jockeying for position has a tougher schedule — the Bengals, who have the fourth-toughest. The Chargers have the easiest schedule of those in contention, at 26th. All of that could lead to major scoreboard watching for Jets fans. 

So this playoff push could come down to the Jets doing what they are supposed to do against weak Lions and Jaguars teams at home — which they have done this year, including Sunday over the Bears — and then finding a way to come out with a win in a road game. 

While Saleh and his team try to ignore the playoff scenarios, everyone on the outside can play the “what if” game. Saleh acknowledged that people in his life, including his kids, want to talk about the playoffs and what it will take to get there. 

“Everyone’s excited and everyone should be excited, but it’s the hypotheticals and all the scenarios that those are great talking points for the rest of the outside world,” Saleh said. “We just have to stay focused here.” 

That is fine for Saleh and his players. But for Jets fans, who are used to discussing who the top draft picks are by this point in the season, this December will be a rare treat. It will be a chance to dream about the playoffs and what it will take for Mike White to lead them there over the next six weeks. 

This could be a December to remember for the Jets.

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35 minutes ago, JoeNamathsFurCoat said:

MW prob feels like he needs to run the table to keep Saleh from going back to his BFF ZW

 

35 minutes ago, JoeNamathsFurCoat said:

MW prob feels like he needs to run the table to keep Saleh from going back to his BFF ZW

If not for Zach's mouth, he would be starting.  I hope Saleh apologizes to the team for keeping Zach out there for so long.

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22 minutes ago, johnnysd said:

Meh. This analysis does not account for the 9 games the teams we are competing with have against each other. It will be really difficult for NE to stay in the race and Cin has a really tough road. Despite not having some tiebreakers the Jets are in a really good spot.

Exactly.  Buffalo still plays us, NE 2x and miami not to mention cincy.  Miami plays SF, chargers, us, NE and buffalo. NE plays buffalo 2x, cincy and miami.  It’s the ravens that have an easier schedule as do the chargers.  

Jets just need to win those home games and worst case they can beat Seattle.  But minny can be had too.

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5 hours ago, Fantasy Island said:

If not for Zach's mouth, he would be starting.  I hope Saleh apologizes to the team for keeping Zach out there for so long.

This a frightening possibility

I think you are probably right though:

Saleh felt he had no choice but to do a 180 after ZW lost the locker room with his dumb answer 

What strikes me as odd in this context is how the team apparently chose this past week to also leak the stuff about Wilson’s lack of confidence, poor fundamentals and yips “dating back to training camp”

The Fox crew mentioned this during the (Bears game) broadcast, so it must have been something revealed during their production meetings with the players / coaches 

If your intention is really to give Wilson back his starting job, why admit all that?  Why let the world know the kid’s confidence is shattered?

Perhaps this Wilson stubbornness / insanity is driven by JD, and Saleh is caught in the middle

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One of Baltimore and Cincy will win their division. They both hold the tie-breaker over us. Ideally Baltimore win the division (they have the easier schedule) and we end up +1 vs Cincy, who have the harder schedule. If Baltimore beat Cincy on the way, so much the better, though it is Week 18 so may not matter to them by that point - other than the rivalry, of course.

Patsies - we have to end up +1 vs. them. End of story. If we (as fans) focus on the WC only then we want Buffalo and Miami to beat the snot out of them. Winning the division ... that's a harder story.

Chargers - I don't have a lot of faith in them but they do have an easier schedule. Not sure how it works out if we end up tied, I guess that's still TBC.

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Exactly.  Buffalo still plays us, NE 2x and miami not to mention cincy.  Miami plays SF, chargers, us, NE and buffalo. NE plays buffalo 2x, cincy and miami.  It’s the ravens that have an easier schedule as do the chargers.  
Jets just need to win those home games and worst case they can beat Seattle.  But minny can be had too.
No reason the Jets can't take Minni .. their defense is not good

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The Detroit and Jacksonville games are critical for us.  Those are the 2 more winnable games on the schedule.  We can't stumble in either.

I think all the games are potentially winnable, btw, though at Buffalo seems like the most difficult.  At Miami in the season finale is going to be rough too.  It'll be a terrific test for our secondary, that's for sure.

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11 minutes ago, jamesr said:

One of Baltimore and Cincy will win their division. They both hold the tie-breaker over us. Ideally Baltimore win the division (they have the easier schedule) and we end up +1 vs Cincy, who have the harder schedule. If Baltimore beat Cincy on the way, so much the better, though it is Week 18 so may not matter to them by that point - other than the rivalry, of course.

Patsies - we have to end up +1 vs. them. End of story. If we (as fans) focus on the WC only then we want Buffalo and Miami to beat the snot out of them. Winning the division ... that's a harder story.

Chargers - I don't have a lot of faith in them but they do have an easier schedule. Not sure how it works out if we end up tied, I guess that's still TBC.

This is a good synopsis of the situation as far as a potential WC berth

Have to root for Buffalo tonight because the Jets lose the H2H breaker with NE

If they can shore up their tackling, get the OL back to optimal health / efficiency, and avoid ST lapses / breakdowns, (with MW running the show) I think the division title is still a realistic possibility  

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2 minutes ago, TuscanyTile2 said:

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The Detroit and Jacksonville games are critical for us.  Those are the 2 more winnable games on the schedule.  We can't stumble in either.

I think all the games are potentially winnable, though at Buffalo seems like the most difficult.  At Miami in the season finale is going to be rough too.  It'll be a terrific test for our secondary, that's for sure.

Von Miller is out indefinitely with some kind of nebulous knee injury

That’s a significant boost to the Jets’ chances @BUF, TT2

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2 minutes ago, Dunnie said:

In a 17 game season is 10 enough still ?

Sent from my Pixel 7 using Tapatalk
 

Well, they did another playoff team too.  One new game, one new playoff team.

Definitely not a lock but my guess is probably.  I have to run to work otherwise I would look it up since the change and see how many 10-7 teams made/missed the playoffs.

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3 hours ago, FidelioJet said:

Well, they did another playoff team too.  One new game, one new playoff team.

Definitely not a lock but my guess is probably.  I have to run to work otherwise I would look it up since the change and see how many 10-7 teams made/missed the playoffs.

Since the NFL expanded the season to 16 games there have been 20 10-6 or better teams that missed the playoffs. 2 of them were 11-5. The most recent example was the 2008 Patriots who missed the playoffs at 11-5. Being an 11-win team is even less now that there's an extra game. In this conference I wouldn't be surprised if 11-6 isn't enough. Small chance but still possible

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47 minutes ago, FidelioJet said:

This might be right, but all of a sudden the Jags aren't a pushover.

Honeslty, we should win 11 games.

I could see there being 4 more wins on this schedule.  Maybe split the next 2, beat Detroit and Jax, then split the final 2 road games.  

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21 minutes ago, TuscanyTile2 said:

I could see there being 4 more wins on this schedule.  Maybe split the next 2, beat Detroit and Jax, then split the final 2 road games.  

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A loss at home to Detroit would be right out of Same Old Jets central casting. Especially if it follows a win in Buffalo.

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6 minutes ago, RutgersJetFan said:

I'm confused why the division will definitely go to Miami or Buffalo given the schedule. The Jets still play both again after having a win against both, right? Am I missing something? 

Yes, you're missing something.

You forgot that Costello is a moron.

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Those 2 losses to the Patriots loom especially large for the Jets. The losses to the Ravens and Bengals I can live with.

I do think the Patriots will fall out of it. If the Jets didn't give them 2 wins they would be 4-7 right now. Yes, you have to give the Patriots credit for finding a way to win and capitalizing on the Jets bad QB play, but I don't believe in that team. I'm rooting for the Bills tonight to knock them back another game and hand them their 6th loss. After the Cardinals and Raiders games, the Pats finish with the Bengals, Dolphins, and Bills. If they lose tonight I don't see them winning more than 9 games.

10 wins should get the Jets in. 

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3 hours ago, Lith said:

Road to the playoffs seems pretty simple at this point:

  • Win the next two and we are playing for the Division.
  • Split the next two and we are playing for the WC with an outside shot at the Division
  • Drop the next two and we are watching other teams every week looking for help.

I guess there's only one thing left to do then...

 

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1 hour ago, RutgersJetFan said:

I'm confused why the division will definitely go to Miami or Buffalo given the schedule. The Jets still play both again after having a win against both, right? Am I missing something? 

Bingo. 

The goal is the division. 

A wild card is the consolation prize. 

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