Jets fans will be able to relax and enjoy Sunday's game against the Bills in a way they have not been able to enjoy in twelve years. For the first time since 1998, the Jets enter Week 17 knowing they are going to the Playoffs. Since then, all five of New York's trips to the postseason were clinched on the final week.
In 2001, the Jets beat the Raiders in Oakland Week 17 to clinch a Wild Card spot in a game originally scheduled for Week 2 but postponed for the September 11 tragedy.
In 2002, the Jets beat the Packers in the Meadowlands Week 17 to clinch the AFC East title after New England's victory over Miami gave Gang Green the help it needed to make the game meaningful.
In 2004, the Jets lost to the Rams in St. Louis Week 17 but clinched a Wild Card spot when Pittsburgh defeated Buffalo despite the Steelers, who already had the AFC's top seed clinched, playing backups for most of the game.
In 2006, the Jets beat the Raiders in the Meadowlands Week 17 to clinch a Wild Card spot.
In 2009, the Jets beat the Bengals in final game in the old stadium Week 17 to clinch a Wild Card spot.
The Jets have also been alive heading to Week 17 but failed to make the Playoffs twice in that spot.
In 2000, the Jets lost to the Ravens in Baltimore Week 17 when a victory would have clinched a Playoff spot. It was a third straight defeat with a chance to clinch to end the year. The Jets still had a chance to make the Playoffs later that day if Minnesota defeated Indianapolis and San Diego defeated Pittsburgh, but neither happened.
In 2008, the Jets were eliminated Week 17 when New England defeated Buffalo and Baltimore defeated Jacksonville. The Jets lost to Miami in the Meadowlands that day as Miami clinched the AFC East title, but the Jets would have missed the Playoffs even with a win that day.