How the Jets could make the playoffs

December, 12, 2012
12/12/12
12:44
PM ET
As unlikely as it may have been earlier this year, the Jets can realistically start thinking about playoff scenarios as they prepare to face Tennessee on Monday night. Here are some scenarios to focus on this weekend, courtesy of ESPN Stats and Information.

• Baltimore can clinch the AFC North this weekend (meaning Pittsburgh and Cincinnati could only be Wild Card teams) in these scenarios:

1. A win or
2. A tie + Bengals loss or tie or
3. A tie + Steelers loss or tie or
4. Bengals and Steelers loss

ANALYSIS: The Jets would lose the tiebreaker in a head-to-head scenario against the Ravens (the Ravens will have better conference mark), so it would help the Jets if the Ravens win the division. The Jets could potentially finish with a better conference mark than the Bengals, but obviously need to finish with a better record than Pittsburgh to beat them head-to-head.

• Baltimore clinches a playoff spot this weekend in these scenarios (meaning that Pittsburgh or Cincinnati could possibly pass the Ravens for the AFC North):

1. A tie or
2. Bengals loss or tie or
3. Steelers loss or tie

ANALYSIS: Going back to the last point, it helps the Jets if the Ravens win the division because the Jets can't win head-to-head tiebreakers against Pittsburgh or Baltimore. The Jets win a tiebreaker over the Bengals so that would be their best way in.

• Indianapolis can clinch a playoff spot this weekend (the Jets hold the tiebreaker over the Colts if the teams battle for one spot) in these scenarios:

1. Colts win or
2. Colts tie + Bengals loss or tie or
3. Colts tie + Bengals loss or tie or
4. Bengals loss or tie + Steelers loss or tie + Jets loss or tie

ANALYSIS: The Jets hold the tiebreaker over the Colts so it would help them if the Colts go 0-3 the rest of the season and the Jets end up in a head-to-head scenario against the Colts for the final spot. Of course, the Colts play the Chiefs in Week 16, so it might take some help for the Jets to rely on this scenario.

• Even if the Jets win this weekend, they still need some help to get into the playoffs. Here's how it will stand this weekend if the Jets are able to beat the Titans:

Steelers & Bengals both lose: Steelers are still the No. 6 seed
Steelers win, Bengals lose: Steelers are still the No. 6 seed
Steelers lose, Bengals win: Bengals are the new No. 6 seed

--No matter what the Colts do against the Texans, they are still the No. 5 seed after this weekend.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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