Rex: Playoffs would be worthy of Ripley's

December, 15, 2013
12/15/13
11:15
PM ET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mathematically, the New York Jets are alive. But their playoff situation is dire.

"This one would be Ripley's if we pull this off," Jets coach Rex Ryan said Sunday after their 30-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Ryan has been known to be premature with his elimination scenarios -- see 2009 -- but he's right about this. It would take a miracle for the Jets (6-8) to qualify as a wild card. This is what they'd need to happen:

" The Baltimore Ravens (7-6), who play Monday night against the Detroit Lions, have to lose their remaining three games. If they beat the Lions, the Jets will be officially eliminated.

" The Miami Dolphins (8-6) have to lose their final two games. They finish with the Jets.

" The San Diego Chargers (7-7) have to lose one of their final two games.

Yes, that's all. They've got a better chance to win the lottery. Afterward, they were realistic. They talked about playing for pride.

"This is one of those situations where we'll find out about the individuals on this team," David Nelson said. "We'll find out about what they're here for and what they're all about. Are they here for the game of football or are they here for ulterior motives?"

It would be three straight seasons out of the playoffs. The loss clinched their third straight non-winning season. Reminded they can't finish above .500, Antonio Cromartie said, "Whoa, whoa, we still have two games left."

Finally, he did the math.

"I mean, we can finish at .500," he said, adding, "The biggest thing is, we don't want to go 6-10 again."

If Ryan survives, he'd be the first Jets coach since Walt Michaels (1977-1980) to keep his job after three straight seasons out of the tournament.

"Hell, it's not our intent going into the season or any other time," Ryan said. "We want to win it all. That's been clear from the day I took the job."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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