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2012 nfl playoffs

Here’s How Jets Make Playoffs, and Giants Don’t

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 13:  head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets looks on during their game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on November 13, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) Get excited, Rex.

Everything is falling apart in Jets land. They've lost to their hated cross-whatever rivals, the Giants, in convincing fashion (leaving Rex Ryan sputtering and lost in response), their wild-card rivals all (mostly) won last week, and the lunacy has gotten so bad that Rex Ryan has had to tell Stephen A. Smith that Peyton Manning isn't going to be the Jets' quarterback next year. (Read that sentence again: Rex Ryan told Stephen A. Smith that Peyton Manning isn't going to be his quarterback next year. We're through the looking glass, people.)

We already know the playoff situation for the victorious Giants on Sunday night: Beat the Cowboys, and they'll win the NFC East and host a playoff game against either the Falcons or the Lions. (They can also tie and clinch, leading to the amusing possibility of a Tom Coughlin team trying to run out the clock in overtime.) But how about the Jets? They are, after all, still alive.

Here's what they need:

  • Baltimore to beat Cincinnati. The Ravens are fighting for the AFC North title, so they have plenty to play for.
  • Houston to beat Tennessee. The Texans are locked into the No. 3 playoff spot, but they've lost two in a row and desperately need some sort of good news heading into the postseason. So they're inspired to win too.
  • Either Kansas City beats Denver or San Diego beats Oakland. The Jets only need one of those things to happen. Either team losing is fine.
  • To beat Miami. (They also have to win their own game.)

That might sound unlikely, but it's not that unlikely, and it's not any more unlikely than how the Jets made the playoffs two years ago, the year that Ryan infamously assumed that his team had been eliminated from the playoffs. And hey, if the Jets do sneak in, they'll be facing a reeling Texans team with T.J. Yates at quarterback. Stranger things! There's still a chance the Jets make the playoffs and the Giants don't. That would be just wrong and, in a goofy Rex Ryan way, sorta fitting.

C'mon! Get excited!

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Photo: Chris Trotman/2011 Getty Images