New York Jets: Legitimate Playoff Contenders With a Win in Tampa 1
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Believe it or not: With a win Sunday, the New York Jets would be legitimate playoff contenders. Here’s the path to the promised land.

The narrative for the New York Jets was supposed to be “tank for a top quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft.” That’s what we talked about all offseason long.

Now the team is 4-5 and likely will be 5-5 heading into their Week 11 BYE week. A quick detour on this journey, do you remember the last time the Jets were 5-5?

We’ve hopped into the TARDIS and we’re back in 2015, another year that was prognosticated as a lost cause for the Jets. But the Jets were .500 after 10 games and, starting in Week 11, went on a magical five-game winning streak.

Three of the five games came down to the final moments, including two overtime wins for the Jets. The real key during that stretch was suffocating defense and consistent play from the quarterback position.

If you compare Ryan Fitzpatrick (2015) to Josh McCown (2017) at this stage of their seasons (nine games in) there are several similarities:

  • McCown: 1,980 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, seven interceptions
  • Fitzpatrick: 1,983 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, nine interceptions

If you don’t believe me, do the math yourself. Everything is a wash considering Fitzpatrick has two more touchdowns and also two more interceptions.

If this trend continues, what’s in store for McCown over the final seven games?

  • Fitzpatrick’s final seven games: 2,078 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, six interceptions.
  • McCown’s final projections: 4,078 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, 11 interceptions.

That would be the most passing yards in a single season in franchise history. Who would’ve thought that McCown could break a Joe Namath record that’s stood for 50 years?

He would also be only the second passer in Jets history to top the 4,000-yard mark in a single season. Also, his projected 27 passing touchdowns would be the third-most ever in a single season.

The quarterback play is on pace to break franchise records, so let’s take a peek at the Jets schedule. To hear the full conversation, we broke all of this down in this week’s edition of The Jets Zone via Sports War Radio.

Four out of the Jets’ final seven final opponents are over .500 on the season. Realistically, the Jets have to get to nine wins to have a legitimate shot to make the postseason for the first time since 2010.

  • Week 10: Bucs (winnable)
  • Week 11: Bye week (very winnable)
  • Week 12: Panthers (very hot and cold team, winnable)
  • Week 13: Chiefs (uber talented fortunately this game is at home, winnable/tough)
  • Week 14: Broncos (who’s playing quarterback? Yeah that’s winnable)
  • Week 15: Saints (Drew Brees is a HOF QB and they’re red hot, tough)
  • Week 16: Chargers (this team will be traveling cross country on Christmas Eve, winnable)
  • Week 17: Patriots (they could have everything wrapped up, regardless this is always a winnable game)

If the Jets win against the Bucs, as they’re supposed to, they’ll have two weeks to prepare for the Panthers. You’ve got to like the Jets’ chances against some so and so teams down the stretch. Winning five of their final seven games won’t be easy, but neither was winning five straight back in 2015 and the Jets found a way. If the Jets find a way to win Sunday, they’ll be in familiar territory.

People call me Boy Green for my unwavering dedication to all things New York Jets. I work at The Score 1260 in Syracuse and I'm extremely passionate about sports. I aspire to continue my rise through the business and hopefully I'll end up working for the New York Jets in some capacity.