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NFL playoff picture: Jets postseason scenarios

Jets wide receiver ArDarius Stewart looks up field

Jets wide receiver ArDarius Stewart looks up field against the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 3, 2017. Credit: Lee S. Weissman

The Jets’ postseason hopes remain intact — albeit barely — following the 38-31 victory over the slumping Chiefs on Sunday.

At 5-7, the Jets are “in the hunt” as the 11th seed as they aim for a wild-card berth.

They have a 1% chance to reach the postseason, according to multiple NFL playoff probability websites, so cue up those “So you’re telling me there’s a chance” memes and gifs.

Yes, there are some obstacles — and five other teams — for the Jets to overcome to reach the postseason.


The Jets must win their remaining four games to even have a chance. That would mean consecutive road victories over the Broncos (3-9) and Saints (9-3). The Jets have lost their last two games to the Broncos and the Saints have the second-best offense (408.6 yards) in the NFL. And beating the Chargers (6-6), who are in the mix to win the AFC West, is no easy task at MetLife Stadium. The regular-season road finale at the Patriots (10-2), who could be fighting for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, is another difficult challenge. A five-game run in December keeps the Jets in the conversation.


In Weeks 14 and 15 the following teams must lose to push the Jets to the sixth seed: Bills, Jaguars, Chiefs, Ravens, Chargers and Dolphins.

Is this possible? The Chiefs (6-6) and Raiders (6-6) play each other this weekend and the Dolphins (5-7) host the Patriots (10-2) on Dec. 11. The Jags (8-4) hosts Seattle and Houston the next two weeks. The Ravens (7-5) have road games at the Steelers (9-2) and Browns (0-12). Some of the teams ahead of the Jets could fall into a late-season slump like the Chiefs (four-game losing streak). Right?


It depends on who you ask. At the start of the season, the Jets were projected to win three or four games and set themselves up with a top-five pick in the 2018 draft. A rebuilding team would get one of the top college quarterbacks. But with five wins already, the Jets could finish with seven or eight victories, not make the postseason and have possibly a No. 9 or No. 10 pick in the first round. (Through Week 13, the Jets have the No. 7 pick.) Last year, the Saints had seven wins and had the 11th overall pick in the first round.

If the Jets win out, a 9-7 record could lead them to a road playoff game. So is making the postseason worth it? Of course it is, but the long-term future isn’t punted away. The Jets have two second-round picks in 2018 and their first rounder that could be bargained to move up and get one of the top college quarterbacks.


1. Patriots (10-2)

2. * Steelers (9-2)

3. Titans (8-4)

4. Chiefs (6-6)


5. Jaguars (8-4)

6. Ravens (7-5)


7. Chargers (6-6)

8. Bills (6-6)

9. Raiders (6-6)

10. * Bengals (5-6)

11. Jets (5-7)

12. Dolphins (5-7)

* — Steelers play the Bengals on Monday night.


Jaguars: vs. Seahawks, vs. Titans, at 49ers, at Titans

Ravens: at Steelers, at Browns, vs. Colts, vs. Bengals

Jets: at Denver, at Saints, vs. Chargers, at Patriots

Chargers: vs. Redskins, at Chiefs, at Jets, vs. Raiders

Bills: vs. Colts, vs. Dolphins, at Patriots, at Dolphins

Raiders: at Chiefs, vs. Cowboys, at Eagles, at Chargers

Bengals: vs. Steelers, vs. Bears, at Vikings, vs. Lions, at Ravens

Dolphins: vs. Patriots, at Bills, at Chiefs, vs. Bills

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