Updated, Wednesday, 1:05 p.m. ET
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. And the same goes for the Jets, who will need several presents from their distant relatives next weekend to feel better about the holidays and reach the playoff wonderland for the third time under head coach Rex Ryan.
Here are the different scenarios with explanations to help you get through today and head into the coming week’s preparation for the Dolphins:
First of all, the Jets have to win and the Bengals have to lose. In addition, if the 9-7 teams vying for the sixth seed are …
1. JETS and CIN only (TEN loses and either DEN or OAK loses)
The Jets are in as the AFC’s sixth seed.
The Jets’ conference record would improve to 7-5 with a win at MIA, while the Bengals’ conference record would fall to 6-6 with a home loss to BAL.
Will the Ravens have something to play for? You betcha. A BAL loss and a PIT win at CLE gives the AFC North title to the Steelers at 12-4 and the Ravens would go in as the fifth seed, on the road for Wild Card Week. A BAL win OR a PIT loss gives the Ravens the 2-seed, a bye week and a home game at M&T Bank Stadium, where they just finished their 8-0 regular season.
2. JETS, CIN and TEN (either DEN or OAK loses)
Jets are out.
CIN beat TEN in Week 9 but that washes out because the Jets didn’t play either team. In Scenario 1 above, CIN falls away due to conference record, but Jets and TEN, with a win at HOU, would both be at 7-5. Next tiebreaker is common opponents. Titans win, 4-1 to 3-2.
Does Houston have something to play for? No. Their AFC South title and first-ever playoff appearance is locked up. But even with a win to go to 11-5 and BAL and PIT losses to drop both to 11-5, the Texans cannot get the 2-seed because BAL would win the AFC North and the Texans lost to the Ravens in Week 6. This is not a good scenario for the Jets.
3. JETS, CIN and OAK (TEN loses, DEN wins)
Jets are out
The only way OAK gets into a wild-card tiebreaker scenario is if the Raiders, vs. SD, and the Broncos, vs. KC, both win. DEN wins the AFC West based on a better common-opponents mark than OAK, 8-6 to 7-7. The Broncos can’t be in a tiebreaker scenario with the Jets. Either they win the West at 9-7 or they finish second at 8-8.
CIN didn’t play OAK so the Raiders’ Week 3 win over the Jets doesn’t matter … yet. Next tiebreaker is conference record, with CIN again falling out at 6-6 to the Jets’ and Raiders’ 7-5. Then the Jets and OAK revert to the first tiebreaker, head-to-head. This is where the Raiders’ 34-24 win over the Green & White comes in and why the Jets go bye-bye.
4. JETS, CIN, TEN and OAK
Jets are out.
Originally (and as we mentioned, unofficially) we saw a possibility of the Jets being able to make up a strength of victory deficit to OAK and TEN, but upon further review, that can’t happen.
CIN again is a quick elimination based on conference record. Then it’s the Jets, Titans and Raiders in a tiebreaker steel-cage match. TEN and OAK didn’t play so head-to-head-to-head is out. Conference records would be identical 7-5’s. Common opponents requires a minimum of four games and these three combined only have three games each against common foes, so that’s out. On to strength of victory.
Based on current records plus the assumed wins or losses by teams to force this four-way tie, the Raiders’ strength of victory is now 62-78, the Titans’ 57-81 and the Jets’ 52-87. The Jets can make up only five wins (if DAL, JAX, WAS and BUF also win, with the Bills counting twice because the Jets beat them twice), not enough to catch the Raiders.
One final note: If the Jets do get in as the sixth seed, their first game would be at Houston vs. the third-seeded Texans.
These scenarios are not official, so if you see or hear something amiss above or just want to make a comment, come on down. We’ll be open (an hour here, an hour there) for Christmas.
Plays and Drives at Jets-Giants
The Jets’ 89 offensive plays Saturday was the sixth-most in a game in franchise history, the second-most in a non-overtime game, and the most in a home non-OT game. The only regulation match with more Jets plays were their 91 snaps, coincidentally on Christmas Eve, in the 34-20 loss to the Ravens (with Rex Ryan as their DL coach) to end the 2000 season.
The 64 dropbacks by Sanchez (59 passes, five sacks) was tied for third-most in a game in Green & White annals. The only games with more dropbacks were that ’00 Ravens game (70) and vs. the Baltimore Colts at home in 1970 (65).
Victor Cruz’s 99-yard catch-and-run from Eli Manning was not only the longest play from scrimmage by an opponent in Jets franchise history but also equaled the longest opponent drive by yards in Jets history. In the last quarter century there have been only three other 99-yard drives — at Buffalo in ’99, vs. the Ravens at home in ’98 and at Miami in ’89.
Tags: AFC playoffs, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, PIttsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans
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