After Sunday's games, the Jets were tied with Kansas City and Pittsburgh - all at 9-5 - but the Jets were on the outside looking in in the race for the AFC's two wild-card spots because of tiebreakers.
"Right now, we just focus on stacking these wins up," linebacker Calvin Pace said. "We have to win out. There are some scenarios where if some other people win out, they will go. You just have to focus on what we can control. We got this win on the road, a tough one. We have to get two more."
Next up for the Jets is a home game against New England, which edged New York 30-23 in October. They'll close out the regular season at Buffalo, where Rex Ryan will certainly be licking his chops at the possibility of dealing his former team's playoff hopes a key blow.
When Pittsburgh was heating up a month ago, I was eyeing the schedule and saw the Bengals and Broncos still on the schedule for Pittsburgh and (at that time) took cold comfort that Pittsburgh might hit a speed bump in either of those games. That hasn't happened, and now the toughest part of the Steelers' schedule is behind them -- and the same thing goes for the Chiefs.
At the very least, the Jets have to win out to even stand a chance, and they very well might go 11-5 and still not make the playoffs. Winning the last two games is easier said than done considering the remaining games on the schedule are the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills -- division rivals who have already beaten the Jets once each this year. Patriots coach Bill Belichick never needs added motivation to beat the Jets, but consider that Bills coach Rex Ryan will be sharpening his fangs for a meaningless (to his team) Week 17 opportunity to ruin Jets fans' New Year.
If you are looking for a scoreboard watching angle, your best hope might be the Broncos. With the Bengals and Chargers still yet to play, there might be better chance of the Broncos losing two games than the Chiefs or Steelers collectively losing a single game. If the Jets go 11-5 or 10-6 yet still miss the playoffs, it is fair to say the season will be "disappointing" but not a "disappointment" if that makes sense.