It has been years since the Jets have been in Playoff contention this late in the season. With that in mind, I am pleased to bring back the GGN Rooting Guide. The only reason I have been able to publish one of these in recent years has been for Draft positioning.
Obviously the Jets need to beat the Lions this weekend, but which games could help the Jets out?
Bills over Dolphins: Last week’s opposition is this week’s ally. Most of the focus for Jets fans is on passing the Chargers and the Patriots. They are the closest teams in the standings so that makes sense. That said, the Jets still have a chance to get past the AFC East rival Dolphins. Miami is only one game ahead of the Jets in the standings. The Jets already have a head to head win, and the teams have a game left Week 18. If the Jets win out they finish ahead of the Dolphins in the standings, but a bit of help from Buffalo would be nice.
Titans over Chargers: Although the Jets and the Titans have identical 7-6 records, Tennessee looks secure in the AFC South lead so they are not a Wild Card competitor. The Chargers, of course, are direct competition for the Jets.
Raiders over Patriots: The Raiders are still technically in the Playoff race as they are two games behind the Jets, but the Patriots losing takes priority here since they are tied with the Jets for the last Playoff spot and own the tiebreaker.
Buccaneers over Bengals: The games from this point forward are clearly in the second tier. They are nowhere near as important as the Dolphins, Patriots, and Chargers games. It is unlikely the Jets could catch the Bengals since Cincinnati is two games ahead of them and owns the head to head tiebreaker. It still is mathematically possible, though, and the Jets lose nothing from an NFC team beating the Bengals.
Cowboys over Jaguars: The Jets are two games ahead of the Jaguars and need to beat them next week anyway. Still, the same principle of an NFC team winning applies. Maybe a bad loss could demoralize the Jaguars.
Panthers over Steelers: If the Jets lose their two game lead to the Steelers, it probably won’t matter especially since New York has the head to head tiebreak. Once again, though an NFC team winning doesn’t hurt the Jets. The Steelers losing takes one possible rival out of the mix.
Browns over Ravens: The Jets are two games up on Cleveland with the tiebreaker in hand. They are two games behind Baltimore with the Ravens holding the tiebreaker. A theoretical Baltimore collapse would probably help the Jets more than a theoretical Cleveland surge would hurt the Jets so to the extent it matters, a Browns win would be the way to go.