How the NY Jets can still make the playoffs in 2023

The Jets are still alive in the postseason race

NY Jets, Zach Wilson
NY Jets, Zach Wilson / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

So you're telling me there's a chance? The NY Jets' playoff hopes appeared to be all but a distant memory following the team's dreadful five-game losing streak over the last month and a half.

But something changed this past week. The Jets somehow pulled off a stunning 30-6 dominating win over a playoff-caliber team in the Houston Texans. All of a sudden, those dreams of reaching the postseason for the first time in 13 years were reignited in a portion of the fan base.

Yes, it may be just a flicker of optimism. The postseason fire isn't burning just yet. But hope has returned, as misguided and outlandish as it might be.

There is a chance. Not a good one — but a chance. The Jets can still make the playoffs in 2023. Here is what they would need to have happen.

How can the NY Jets make the playoffs?

For the Jets to still have any hope of reaching the postseason, they will need to win their remaining four games against the Miami Dolphins, Washington Commanders, Cleveland Browns, and New England Patriots.

Even if that happens, the New York Times playoff simulator gives the Jets only an 11 percent chance of actually making the playoffs. That's right — even if the Jets win out, they still have roughly a 1 in 10 chance of qualifying for the postseason.

Those aren't great odds, and that's a product of an ultra-crowded AFC playoff picture. The only team in the AFC to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention is the 3-10 New England Patriots.

A whopping 10 of the AFC's 16 teams currently have between five and seven wins. The Jets are one of those teams, but only the 5-8 Tennessee Titans and the aforementioned Patriots are below them in the conference standings.

If the Jets were to win out and finish at 9-8, they would hold head-to-head tiebreakers over the Denver Broncos (7-6), Houston Texans (7-6), and Cleveland Browns (8-5). On the other hand, the Las Vegas Raiders (5-8) and Los Angeles Chargers (5-8) would have the tiebreaker over the Jets.

As for the other teams in the playoff race, the tiebreaker would likely come down to conference record. If the Jets won their final four games, they would finish with a conference record of 6-6.

That might be enough to sneak the Jets into the playoffs, but only if a significant number of other results go their way. It's almost impossible to break down exactly what the Jets need right now because of how congested the AFC is.

At least looking ahead to Week 15, Jets fans still dreaming of the playoffs should be rooting for a Vikings win over the Bengals, a Lions win over the Broncos, a Bears win over the Browns, a Titans win over the Texans, and a Cowboys win over the Bills. The Steelers/Colts game is essentially a toss-up, as both teams are 7-6 with a 5-4 conference record.

Ultimately, there is still a chance that the Jets make the playoffs. It's not a good chance, but it's a chance. The dream is still alive, Jets fans, at least for one more week.

manual