47° Good Afternoon
47° Good Afternoon

Fifth seed or bust

Thanks to the magic of air travel, we're coming to you live from The Hangar mere hours after leaving a teary Indianapolis, where Colts fans continue to lament Jim Caldwell/Bill Polian's decision to eschew going for perfection and instead focus on chasing a Super Bowl.

Let's just say the players and even Rex Ryan were a lot more cheery than they were this time last week, when they were coming off that numbing 10-7 loss to the Falcons and thought they were cooked. But looky here.

Not only are the Jets' playoff hopes alive and kicking, they can actually finish as the fifth seed if they handle business against the Bengals, who are taking a wait and see approach although they still probably won't be playing their starters long -- if at all -- given they can be locked into their seed by the time the 8:20 p.m. kickoff rolls around.

Yes, that's correct. The fifth seed. Not the sixth seed. The Jets can't even be the sixth seed.

"That's where we're at right now," Ryan said. "If we win this game, we'll be the fifth seed. If we don't win, we're out. That's the math that I can figure out."

So what this means, in essence, is the Jets could end up playing Cincinnati two consecutive weeks. The way it's looking at the moment, that's how things are going to fall if the Jets knock off Cincy.


Well, let's just play devil's advocate and say the Jets do indeed beat the Bengals and the Texans upend the Patriots in Houston. Both the Pats and the Cincy would be tied at 10-6 and would have the same exact 7-5 conference record. That would lead to the strength of victory tiebreaker, and the Patriots are well ahead of the Bengals in that department heading into tonight's Monday Night Football game between the Vikings and Bears.

The game between the Bears and Vikings has a small significance because the result would be included in the strength of victory since the AFC North -- the Bengals' division -- plays the NFC North. But it's a longshot the Bengals would be able to make up the amount of ground they need to in strength of victory, thus making a Jets-Bengals tilt next weekend in Paul Brown Stadium a strong possibility.

Of course, the Jets might catch another break if Ryan's old friend Marvin Lewis decides to take a page out of Jim Caldwell's book and not play the starters for the entire game. Especially since they may already know their AFC seeding because the Pats and Texans play at 1 p.m.

"We'll see," Ryan said. "We're preparing that Carson Palmer will be the quarterback and Chad Ochocinco will be a receiver."


Injury wise, Ryan said all the guys who were dinged up yesterday -- RT Damien Woody, RG Brandon Moore, DT Mike DeVito, RB Shonn Greene -- went back into the game at some point so he thinks they'll all play this week.

The only thing to keep an eye on is nickel CB Donald Strickland might've bruised his quad on a sack in his homecoming of sorts against the team that drafted him. Ryan said he might be limited in practice this week. 

New York Sports