Although they currently sit at 9-5 the New York Jets will need a major Christmas Gift to sneak into the AFC Playoffs.
By Paul Newbold
The New York Jets have had a successful season in 2015. With two games remaining they stand at 9-5 with the playoffs in sight. The Jets season has been led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is arguably playing the best football of his career. The Jets defense has been led by Muhammad Wilkerson, who is having a career year for himself.
This team has assaulted the Jets record books this year, and a couple of long standing records in Jets history have fallen by the way side. The Jets are building a contender for the future, but the players and fans would like to make the playoffs to put the icing on this season.
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Against the Miami Dolphins, this defense set a record that will likely not be broken. The Jet front seven entirely shut down the Dolphins running game, allowing them only twelve yards of rushing yardage. It doesn’t get much better then that!
Offensively, the tandem of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall have put up 21 touchdowns this season combined. That record broke the long standing marks of Al Toon and Wesley Walker set back in 1986. It also overtook Don Maynard and Art Powell’s mark set way back in 1960. It’s been a great year for them as a tandem and as individual players as well.
Marshall is threatening the single single yardage by the Jets, he’s currently third all time in Jet history with his 1,261 yards. Against Dallas his four catches for 74 yards tied Al Toon for the most receptions in a single season with 93.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 390 yards against the Giants this month. Fitzpatrick’s yardage was the most thrown by a Jet QB since 2000 when Vinny Testaverde threw for an amazing 481 yards. Fitzpatrick also threw four touch downs in a game with no interceptions, and that hasn’t happened since Chad Pennington did it in 2002! Fitzpatrick is having a career year, he’s set his personal marks for touchdowns in a season with 26. His 3,428 yards to this point in the season is his second best, but he should have no problem setting a new high mark with two games still remaining. Fitzpatrick has proven he was a steal in the off season.
Defensively, Muhammad Wilkerson set his all time career high for sacks in a season with 12 this year, and the big man isn’t done yet. Marcus Williams virtually comes out of nowhere to put up six interceptions, marking his personal best in his short career, and his mark is good for first on the 2015 Jets. Darrelle Revis continues to shut down opposing number one receivers, and has posted 4 interceptions himself.
All this is great stuff for the team, the players, and most importantly, the fans. The Jets stand at 9-5 and have the potential of making it to 11-5 this year. Fans haven’t seen a team play this well since 2011, the last time the Jets managed a playoff birth. It’s been a far cry from 2014 and a 4-12 finish for the Jets.
Despite all of that, the Jets may just go 11-5 and not make the playoffs. It sounds a bit ludicrous as its likely there will teams at or below .500 in the NFC East and the NFC South playoffs. Yet those are the facts. The Jets can win out and still not make it to the playoffs!
The first thing the Jets will need to do to make it to the playoffs is to “win out.” Their remaining two games however are divisional games against the New England Patriots, and the Buffalo Bills. Both these teams know this team well as they play each other twice a year. Ironically both head coaches the Jets will face closing this season out, are ex New York Jets head coaches. Belichick was the Head Coach for a day, and Rex Ryan was here from 2010, until being fired at the end of 2014.
The road to winning out won’t be an easy one though. The Patriots are still playing for home field advantage and don’t want to see the Jets a third time this year in the playoffs. These games are hard fought football games, and more times then not the Patriots walk away with a victory, as they did earlier in the season against the Jets. This Sunday’s game is the biggest test of the season for the Jets and they’ll have to win to stay alive in the wild card hunt.
If they manage to take down the rival Patriots, the Jets will need to face the Buffalo Bills in hopes of getting to the “Promised Land.” Make no mistake, despite some of the niceties that have been reported between the Jet organization and Rex Ryan this year, Rex Ryan is out to beat the Jets at every opportunity! Rex will come “loaded for bear” and he’d like nothing more then to sweep the Jets and knock them out of the playoff pictures. The Bills are a talented team, and if Rex can get them fired up for the season finale, they just might spoil the Jets dreams.
Assuming the Jets can win out, they will still need help to get into the post season. In essence the Jets will need a late season Christmas present to get to where they want to be in two weeks: an AFC wild card spot.
The New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers are all vying for the same wild card spot, and they all currently hold records of 9-5. The Jets are in a tough race with both Kansas City and the Steelers playing top notch football at the moment. Both teams are hot handed and both own a tie breaker over the Jets should they all win out. The Steelers hold the advantage over the Jets by having a better record against shared opponents, and the Kansas City Chiefs would win out in a tie with the Jets based on conference records.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ schedule is set up for them to run the table with their team set to play the Baltimore Ravens, and the Cleveland Browns to close out the season. The Ravens are 4-10 and offer little threat to upsetting the Steelers this year. The Cleveland Browns have spent another season being kicked around by opponents and stand at 3-11. Both of these games are also divisional games, so the Steelers’ coaching staff will have them prepared to play.
The Kansas City Chiefs have caught fire and playing top line football at the moment. Their schedule has them facing the Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders to make it to the playoffs. Neither team has much of a chance to knock off the Chiefs, if the Chiefs continue to play at the level they have recently.
The road to the playoffs is a tough one for the Jets. There are scenarios that will take them there, but the Jets need to win out first to get to them. Of course should either the Chiefs or Steelers lose, a Jet win would change the picture entirely.
Maybe the best scenario for the Jets to get into the play off is this one. The Jets would benefit greatly if the Denver Broncos lost another game and the Chiefs win out. In that scenario, the Chiefs would win the AFC West and the Jets would hold the tie breaker over the Broncos for the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs. For the record, the Broncos have two tough games ahead of them that see them playing The Cincinnati Bengals and the San Diego Chargers.
If the Jets can’t make the playoffs with an 11-5 record, it will be a huge disappointment for their fans. The Jets haven’t been to the playoff since 2011, and the fan base has suffered some tough years in between. Jet fans deserve a trip to the playoffs this year. They are a long suffering, but loyal fan base, and they will certainly fill Met Life Stadium to make some noise this Sunday as the Jets face the Patriots.
The road ahead to making the play offs is not an easy one for the Jets and their fan base. They possess the talent to handle their end of the deal which simply put as win or go home. If they win out, and don’t make it, then fans will have to find solace that Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles turned this team into a winner in a single season. The Jets were a 4-12 last season and were barely watchable, this year they are fighting to keep a playoff birth alive. Fans should realize how far they’ve come.
Jet fans are used to scenarios like the ones that are facing them now. The Jets haven’t been in this position since 2011, but a wild card birth is a familiar one for Jet fans. As incredulous as it may seem,the Jets haven’t won their division out right since 1998.
The table has been set. The challenge has been laid out. Win out and hope for the best is the only thing the Jets can do this point. They need to come out the next two weeks and play mistake free football, play hard, and bring home the victories. The coaching staff will have them prepared, and the players must all bring their “A” games to get it done. They still have a shot at this yet! Win out and hope Santa brings a late Christmas present for the fans.
Merry Christmas all. I’ve just started writing at Elite Sports NY, so I don’t know many here yet, but from my family to yours “May You Have a Blessed Holiday.” See you all next week. Ho-Ho_Ho!!!