Jets have slim path to playoffs as season winds down

New York Jets quarterback Mike White.
New York Jets quarterback Mike White.
AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

The Jets lost their fourth-straight game on Thursday night, but losses by three other contenders kept their narrow playoff hopes alive this weekend. 

While there is no way for the Jets to capture their divisional crown with the Buffalo Bills having clinched the AFC East, the team is still alive in the chase for a Wild Card spot. 

Thursday’s 19–3 loss to the Jaguars made their postseason hunt more difficult, as they dropped to a 7–8 record, but they were aided by losses by the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders over the holiday weekend. 

Two of the three Wild Card spots in the AFC will go to the loser of the AFC North (either the 10–5 Baltimore Ravens or the 11–4 Cincinnati Bengals) and the Los Angeles Chargers at 9–6, 

As things currently stand, the Dolphins are in control of the final spot with their 8–7 record. 

Behind them, the Jets are tied with the Patriots, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers, who all boast a 7–8 record. 

With two games remaining, including their final regular contest against Miami, they have exactly one path the the playoffs: 

  • Win both remaining games (@ Seattle Seahawks and @ Dolphins)
  • Patriots lose one remaining game (vs. Dolphins or @ Buffalo Bills)

If they beat Seattle, that would mean that topping Miami would propel them over the Dolphins in the standings (as the Jets control the tie-breaker between the two). 

It’s possible that the Dolphins will be without their starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for the end of their season, as he has entered the NFL’s concussion protocol for the third time this season

But unless the Patriots lose one of their final two games, it won’t matter — as they control the tie-breaker over the Jets, so finishing with the same record would put them ahead of Gang Green. 

The good news for the Jets is that they’ll have Mike White back at the quarterback position down the stretch. 

After injuring his ribs in Week 14, he missed two games, and allowed Zach Wilson to return to the starting lineup. 

But now, White is back, and if he plays well, and the Jets get a little help, it’s very possible for New York to make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

For more coverage of the Jets, head to amNY.com.