New York Jets coach Rex Ryan talks to the media...

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan talks to the media after practice at the Atlantic Health practice facility. (May 24, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Joe Epstein

With his team below .500, Rex Ryan said he isn’t about to be baited into guaranteeing a postseason appearance.

Though the playoffs remain his primary goal, the Jets coach said he and his players shouldn’t be in the discussion just yet.

“I’m not going to guarantee a playoff spot if that’s what you mean,” he said, adding that he’s learned to temper his bluster when it comes to such tenuous matters. “Look, the fact that we’re one game under .500, I think you’re probably not in the playoff conversation. So, to me, we just need to keep our head down and keep winning games. We know the only way we can affect it is to win our games and then we’ll see what somebody tells us.”

Ryan's comments came on the heels of linebacker Bart Scott saying on Sunday that the Jets “don’t even deserve the right to talk about the playoffs.”

Just last month, cornerback Antonio Cromartie guaranteed on NFL Network that the Jets would be playoff-bound. Two days later they lost to Seattle and were embarrassed at home by the Patriots on Thanksgiving night.

But after winning two in a row, the Jets are 6-7 – and still alive in the playoff hunt, thanks to losses Sunday by the Steelers, Bengals, Dolphins and Bills.

"That’s why you play," linebacker Calvin Pace said after the game, when reminded that the playoffs were still in sight. "A lot of people counted us out but that’s why you play the game. Any given Sunday. You never know what another team is going to do."

The AFC playoff picture as of Monday morning is:

1. Houston (11-1)

2. Denver (10-3)

3. New England (9-3)

4. Baltimore (9-4)

5. Indianapolis (9-4)

6. Pittsburgh (7-6)

7. Cincinnati (7-6)

8. Jets (6-7)

Notes: Houston plays at New England on Monday night, but both have already clinched playoff spots. The Steelers hold the tiebreaker over the Jets thanks to their Week 2 win.

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