The NY Jets will enter their Week 9 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers riding a three-game win streak that has propelled the team to a 4-3 record at the midway point of the season.
Most didn't expect Zach Wilson and the Jets to be in this position after Aaron Rodgers' unfortunate injury in Week 1, but as it stands, the Jets are firmly in the race for the postseason ahead of a crucial Monday Night Football showdown.
Every game in the NFL season is important, but this week's game has a bit more at stake than most Week 9 matchups. There are serious playoff implications in Monday's game.
Per Pro Football Focus, the Jets' odds of making the postseason will rise to an excellent 65 percent with a win over the Chargers. A loss at home against Justin Herbert and the Chargers lowers their odds to just 35 percent.
PFF currently gives the Jets the sixth-highest odds among all AFC teams to make the playoffs (54 percent), but losing to the Chargers could seriously hurt their chances.
A NY Jets win Week 9 helps solidify their playoff hopes
The middle of the AFC is a jumbled mess at the moment. A whopping nine of the 16 teams in the conference have either three or four wins at the time of writing. Tiebreakers are going to be crucial this season.
Of course, the first tiebreaker when it comes to wild-card seeding is head-to-head record. The winner of this game will have the tiebreaker over the other at the end of the season. Considering that both of these teams are expected to be fighting for a wild-card spot, that's significant.
The second tiebreaker is conference record, which this game also will affect. The Chargers are just 1-3 in the AFC this season, meaning that a loss to the Jets would be disastrous for their playoff hopes.
Los Angeles would fall to 3-5 on the season and 1-4 in the conference, with head-to-had losses to the Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Tennessee Titans. That doesn't bode well for their postseason odds.
As for the Jets, they enter this game with a 2-2 conference record, including wins over the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos. A win this week gives them the tiebreaker over the Chargers and improves their conference record.
It's never wise to say that a Week 9 matchup is a make-or-break, but this week's Jets/Chargers game has serious postseason implications. This is a game the Jets need to find a way to win.