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NFL Playoff Picture: Broncos-Bengals Monday Night Game Still Has Significance for Jets

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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Jets now control their own destiny for a Wild Card spot in the AFC. With a win against the Bills on Sunday, the Jets will be in the Playoffs for the first time since 2010. Tonight's game between Denver and Cincinnati still has meaning for the Jets, however.

A Broncos loss to the Bengals puts the Jets in control of their own destiny for the five seed in the AFC. This is significant because it means a trip to either Houston or Indianapolis in the Wild Card round to take on the champion of the AFC South rather than a visit to the AFC West champion or the Bengals. The South champ certainly sounds like a more favorable matchup.

The other reason a Denver loss helps is it keeps a potential alternate path to the Playoffs alive for the Jets. Right now there are three ways they can get into the Playoffs.

A. Win over Buffalo

B. Cleveland beating Pittsburgh

C. Denver losing twice

Obviously, A is the most desirable and simplest of these outcomes, but it is always good to have as many alternatives as possible.

Here are the full AFC standings as of right now.

1. New England 12-3

2. Cincinnati 11-3

3. Denver 10-4

4. Houston 8-7

5. Kansas City 10-5

6. Jets 10-5

....................................................

7. Pittsburgh 9-6

8. Oakland 7-8

9. Buffalo 7-8

10. Indianapolis 7-8

11. Jacksonville 5-10

12. Miami 5-10

13. Baltimore 5-10

14. San Diego 4-11

15. Cleveland 3-12

16. Tennessee 3-12