The New York Jets aren’t playing for a playoff berth in their Week 17, but one of their biggest rivals is. The Jets will finish the season on the road against the Miami Dolphins, who need a win to secure the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. There are numerous scenarios regarding the Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers and which of those teams might get in, but the Dolphins appear to be the favorite.
The Dolphins, Chargers and Steelers all have home games against teams that have nothing to play for, and each of those three are favored to win. The Ravens, on the other hand, have a very difficult road game against a Cincinnati Bengals team that is trying to secure a first round bye. The Dolphins also have the best record against the AFC among the four Wild Card contenders, as well as tiebreakers against San Diego and Pittsburgh.
All of that means a win over the Jets should put the Dolphins through to the playoffs, and they already beat the Jets 23-3 back in Week 13. However, the Jets have been playing much better football in the three weeks since then, and Rex Ryan knows he needs this win to have any chance of saving his job. Beyond that, there are quite a few players trying to prove they are worthy of being re-signed or considered as a starter for next season.
The Jets should certainly come out and play hard, and the fact that this is a rivalry game helps. The New England Patriots are the Jets’ biggest rival, but the Dolphins are a close second. A win would but the Jets at 8-8 for the season, which would be a great accomplishment for a team many viewed as the worst in the NFL in preseason. The Jets may not be able to make the playoffs, but they can still play spoiler and take the Dolphins down with them. The loss to the Dolphins is what effectively ended the Jets’ chances at the postseason, and they would love to return the favor in the season finale.