In the Hunt or In a Rut? Jets Being Teased in Silly AFC

In the Hunt or In a Rut? Jets Being Teased in Silly AFC
Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets are still “in the hunt” for a playoff spot this season.

Wait, what?

Yep. At 4-6, the Jets are currently the projected 9th seed in the AFC, and the playoffs aren’t totally out of reach quite yet.

But why the tease? This team was projected to be worse than the Browns this year, yet here they are still fighting for a potential playoff spot. How does this make any sense?

Well the AFC is a funny division. The only two teams that have really secured their spot in the playoffs so far are the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers (not statistically, but in theory). Everyone else seems to be scratching and clawing for a chance to dance with the big dogs.

Yet, hope is still prevalent within the Jets simply because the guys currently sitting ahead of them aren’t really all that great.

AFC Playoff Picture:

  1. Pittsburgh (8-2)
  2. New England (8-2)
  3. Jacksonville (7-3)
  4. Kansas City (6-4)
  5. Tennessee (6-4)
  6. Baltimore (5-5)

7. Buffalo (5-5)

8. Miami (4-6)

9. New York (4-6)

The Bills and Dolphins, who currently each sitting above the Jets in terms of the teams right outside of playoff contention, have fallen apart as of late. The Jets have split their season series with each of them, and the rest of the season will ultimately result in one of them falling well out of their current ranking, simply because Miami and Buffalo will still play each other twice within the next six weeks.

But the Jets, statistically, have the toughest remaining schedule in all of the NFL. They will face the storming Panthers off of the bye week followed by the Chiefs, Broncos, Saints, Chargers and then the Patriots.

So what’s the catch? Why are the playoffs still on the Jets’ Christmas list?

Well, with the way they had been playing previous to the game versus Tampa, the Jets certainly looked playoff caliber. Now, that must be taken with a grain of salt because their record hasn’t quite proved it, but the competitiveness and strong suited play seems to speak loudly.

In that regard, the hunt for a playoff spot should not be overlooked. The Jets see the potential in themselves, and look more and more eager to prove the tank-believers wrong. This team is out to win like all of the others.

But aiming for the playoffs now could be quite a stretch. The Jets may have to win out the rest of the way to even get their fix. No one’s quite sure if finishing 9-7 or 8-8 would cut it, but it’s not impossible.

Ultimately, the Jets will need luck on their side. No, not that guy from the Colts, but luck in terms of their fellow AFC opponents collapsing, as well as luck within their own schedule, as things could get dark quite quick.

In reality, the team seems as if it is more in a rut than “in the hunt.” The Jets porous culture of mediocrity seems to be taking a back seat to a slim shot at the playoffs. Yes, I think we’d all like to see that happen, but not all wishful thinking is time well spent.

As the Jets continue to fight and claw their way through the jungle gym of the AFC, it’s worth mentioning that overcoming the culture of mediocrity should be the top priority. While making the playoffs could be a step in that direction, it shouldn’t be looked at as the only way out. The fans and the team as a whole should recognize that internal development will eventually lead to better on field performance and in turn, wins.

The point of saying all of this? The fact that the Jets still have a chance at the playoffs is being flaunted around like a sundress in the breeze. Maybe not the best analogy, but let’s relax. This is a good football team, but we shouldn’t get too over our heads. Many of the Jets’ AFC competitors are a step or two ahead in this so-called “rebuilding” process, and are now proving it on the field (i.e. Jags, Titans). The Jets could get ahead of the pack sooner than we know, but it will remain important not to get too flustered by the reflection of this year’s record.

– Kyle Hirshkind is the Managing Editor for cover32/Jets and covers the New York Jets. He is also a weekly contributor to cover32/Fantasy. Like and follow on

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