Just a few weeks ago, the New York Jets were in pole position to win the final Wild Card spot in the AFC. Then came three straight disastrous losses, knocking the Jets back to 5-7 and putting their playoff chances on life support. Technically, the Jets are still alive in the playoff race, although they need a ton of help. Realistically, however, the Jets have no chance of sneaking into the postseason.
The Jets currently trail the 6-6 Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins in the standings, as well as the 5-7 Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers. The Jets have lost to four of those five teams, and they currently do not have a tiebreaker advantage over any of them. That means that for the Jets to get into the playoffs, they will likely need to finish with an outright better record than their playoff competition.
It is possible that the Jets could edge out the Dolphins or Chargers on a tiebreak if they had the same record, but due to their head to head losses, the Jets would have to have a better record than the Ravens, Steelers and Titans. That means that the Jets need to win out, getting them to 9-7. While their games against the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns certainly appear winnable, the Jets have not played well enough to beat anyone over the last three weeks. Throw in a near certain loss at the Carolina Panthers as well as a rematch in Miami against the Dolphins, and there is no reason to believe the Jets will win out.
Even if by some miracle they do finish 9-7, the Jets still need a ton of help. Essentially, they cannot have any of their five playoff competitors finish better than 8-8. While this is possible, it is definitely unlikely. While none of the other five teams have easy schedules, there is a good chance that at least one of them will finish 9-7. Even if they don’t, 8-8 would likely still put them ahead of the Jets, because the Jets are all but guaranteed to pick up their 8th loss against the Panthers.
Teams have made unpredictable stretch runs to squeak into the playoffs before, and the Jets still have a chance. However, given their poor performance over the last few weeks, their lack of tiebreakers and the amount of help they need, it is extremely unlikely that the Jets will have any chance at the playoffs. It may take a few more weeks before they are mathematically eliminated, but the is very little realistic hope for the Jets this season.