The NY Jets might still be able to make the playoffs...maybe

Justin Fried
NY Jets, Mike White
NY Jets, Mike White / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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The NY Jets were officially eliminated from playoff contention following their disappointing Week 17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday. Or were they...?

The recent tragedy involving Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has forced the NFL into a difficult predicament as they decide how to handle the postseason picture moving forward.

It seems increasingly unlikely that the Week 17 game between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals will be restarted as the NFL will now have to decide how playoff seeding is determined. One possibility that's been floated around would amazingly salvage the Jets' playoff chances.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio recently discussed the possibility of adding an eighth team from each conference to the postseason as a way to mitigate the effect of the No. 1 seed.

Yes, that means the Jets would still be alive in the playoff hunt.

Why the NFL would add an eighth team to the playoffs

First things first, let's break down why the NFL would do this. If the Bills/Bengals game isn't restarted, it will likely be ruled a no-contest. Those two teams will thus play one less game than every other team in the league. It would also significantly affect their chances of securing the No. 1 seed.

That No. 1 seed is very important in the current playoff format as it secures a first-round bye for the top-seeded team in each conference. If the NFL just rolls with the current format and awards the top seed by winning percentage, teams will feel slighted.

That's why the proposal of just adding an eighth team to the playoffs and eliminating a first-round bye altogether makes some sense.

Now, it should be stated that this remains an unlikely scenario. It seems more likely that the NFL simply awards the top seed by winning percentage and looks to other ways to alleviate the situation.

One proposal would see the No. 1 seeded team choose whether or not they want to have a first-round bye or home-field advantage. The No. 2 seed would receive the other option.

That same proposal also includes the idea that an AFC Championship Game played between any combination of the Bills, Bengals, and Kansas City Chiefs would be held at a neutral site.

It seems more likely that this is the route the NFL takes, but nothing is clear at this time. All we know is that the Bills/Bengals game is highly unlikely to be replayed or resumed.

How the NY Jets can still make the playoffs in this scenario

This scenario would open up the opportunity for the Jets to make the postseason again despite losing their last five games. So what would they need?

The Jets would, of course, need to defeat the Miami Dolphins in Week 18 to have a chance. They would also need the Cleveland Browns to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jacksonville Jaguars to defeat the Tennessee Titans.

If the NFL opts to add an eighth playoff team to each conference and those three results happen, the Jets would somehow sneak into the postseason.

This is an unprecedented situation for the NFL so it's anyone's guess as to how they'll handle it. But for the optimists and dreamers out there, yes, there's once again a chance the Jets could be alive in the playoff hunt entering Week 18.

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Playoffs? Yes, we're talking about playoffs.

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