If the Jets beat the Bills (again!) this Sunday, this would be huge because this would be the first tiebreaker that actually goes their way. The Jets would be 8-5 and the Bills would be 9-4, only one game behind with a serious chance to actually win the division instead of vying for that final Wild Card spot.
Right after this heated Jets rematch, the Bills have another heated rematch with the Dolphins, a layup with the Bears, then a battle with the Bengals before closing out their year with New England.
Definitely three losable games there, and if one of those losses comes from the Jets this Sunday, their 11-6 finish would tie Gang Green's (assuming the Jets still go 3-1 after the Bills game) and the Jets get the division title over them.
Even if the Jets went 4-0 to get to 11-6 after losing to the Bills this Sunday, Buffalo would have to lose three out of Miami, Chicago, Cincinnati, and New England to still tie the Jets, so if they lose this Sunday, we can kiss any 2022 division title dreams goodbye.
Of course, winning this Sunday doesn't guarantee the title because Miami is very much alive. After the Chargers, they have the Bills, Patriots, and Packers, and then end the season with the Jets. There's not really an easy game in here, but the Dolphins aren't an easy team to beat so I'm not sure what to predict here.
The obvious thing here is that beating them in Week 18 secures the tiebreaker against them, so if the Jets come into the game 9-7 and they are 10-6 (which would mean they only won two out of the Chargers, Bills, Pats, Packers), a win would clinch a playoff berth.
The obvious thing here is to hope that the Jets win every single remaining game they play. The easiest teams to root against each week are each of the other AFC East teams and the Chargers. The Chargers had their own fate in their hands last year and blew it. Did they learn from recent history or are they doomed to repeat it?
The non-Jets game with the biggest implications for their playoff run this week is this Sunday Night Football's Dolphins vs. Chargers game. If the Chargers lose, that puts the Jets in the best spot to make the playoffs regardless if they beat the Bills earlier that day or not because it ensures they still have the one-game lead on them.
Taking divisions, conferences, and everything into consideration, these are the most crucial games to the Jets' postseason chances, in order:
1, This Sunday vs Bills
2. Week 18 vs Dolphins
3. Week 16 vs Jaguars
4. Week 17 vs Seahawks
5. Week 15 vs Lions
Anything less than 10-7 (more than two more losses) won't get the Jets to the playoffs. The Jets absolutely must win at least three of these five games to end the longest active playoff drought in the NFL.
Unfortunately, the two most important games are the ones that I think will be the hardest to win. If last week taught us anything though, it's that you can never count out this year's Jets team.