Thanks to an influx of post-holiday deadlines and general busywork, we will be unable to make it out to Giants Stadium on Sunday for what appears to be the final football game at the old so-and-so. You can still go: Tickets on StubHub are cheaper than you may have thought they were.
But, let's say we wanted to be fanciful. Let's say that the Springsteen song about Giants Stadium that he's opening up all his concerts with now, let's say that imbued the place with some fantastical magic, and Giants Stadium sprinkled pixie dust on the Jets to keep the place alive for one last game. (We're not the only people who have imagined this game: You can actually buy tickets for it.)
So, what has to happen to bring the AFC Championship game back to East Rutherford? We've mapped out the most likely scenario:
Week Seventeen: The Jets beat the Bengals, and the Ravens beat the Raiders. The Jets end up with the No. 5 seed, playing those same Bengals, in Cincinnati.
Wild-Card Weekend: The Ravens' defense overwhelms Tom Brady and the Patriots, culminating in the midfield catfight between Randy Moss and Wes Welker we've all been waiting for. The Jets use the same ball-control offense and hawking defense they used in week seventeen to beat the Bengals again in a stadium that's not exactly the Terrordome.
Divisional Weekend: The Colts, still reeling and full of strife after Jim Caldwell's theoretically controversial decision to bow out against the Jets in week sixteen, can never get it together, and the Ravens sneak past them to reach their second-consecutive AFC Championship game.
(You know, so far, none of this is all that unreasonable.)
Here comes the hard part: The Jets have to figure out a way to beat the Chargers — who might be the best team in the NFL right now — in San Diego. The only real hope here: Norv Turner is still the Chargers' coach, and maybe he'll accidentally punt on the third down every possession or something. You never know. The Arizona Cardinals made the Super Bowl last year. Crazier events have occurred.
See? The Meadowlands can live on for another month. Who's with us? Bring on your wrecking ball.