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NY Jets: Elimination Day

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets are still technically in the playoff hunt.  What it would take to get them into the playoffs is so wildly improbable it isn't really worth discussing, but the Jets have not been mathematically eliminated yet.  When will it be a mathematical impossibility?  As early as late Monday night.

Currently the Jets have eight losses, meaning at best they can finish 8-8 on the year.  They have already been eliminated from the AFC East title competition.  Four playoff spots are taken by the four division winners; since the Jets won't be among them, they are currently only alive in the wild card race.

In the AFC West the Oakland Raiders have nine wins, so the Jets can't beat out the Raiders. The Kansas City Chiefs have eight wins and have the head to head tie breaker over the Jets, so the Jets can't beat out the Chiefs.  That means the Jets already lose out in the wild card race to at least one AFC West team, regardless of who wins the West.  If the Denver Broncos end up winning the West then the Jets cannot make the playoffs, since the Raiders and Chiefs both will beat them out of a wild card spot.  If the Raiders or Chiefs win the West then whichever team doesn't win will beat out the Jets. That leaves the Jets at best fighting for the sixth and final playoff spot.

There are two AFC teams with seven wins on the season, the Miami Dolphins and the Denver Broncos.  The Dolphins own a win against the Jets this season but cannot yet clinch the head to head tiebreaker because the two teams will meet again in week 15 of the season.  The Broncos will not play the Jets this season so there is no head to head tiebreaker. The next tiebreaker after head to head competition is conference record, but it is too early in the season for any team to have clinched the conference record tiebreaker yet. Bottom line here is that for the Jets to be eliminated from playoff contention this week at least one of the two seven win teams will have to win to get to eight wins, and the Jets will have to lose to get to nine losses. At nine losses the Jets cannot beat out the Raiders, Chiefs, and any other eight win team.

Elimination Day is coming, we just aren't quite sure when yet. The Broncos visit the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Dolphins visit the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.  The Broncos game seems pretty likely to end with Denver's eighth win. If it does, or if the Dolphins beat the Ravens, then all it will take is a Jets loss to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts for the Jets miserable season to finally run out of even the faintest hopes.  Sometime around midnight Monday, the Jets may officially be out of the playoff race.