We were looking through the Jets’ schedule this season, trying to figure out the last time they looked like a legitimate playoff team. Week three, after the win over Tennessee that lifted the team to 3–0? How about week five, when they lost a hard-fought game in Miami in the closing seconds, dropping them to 3–2, but still encouraging everyone to believe that this season — this year — was different. Yeah, that was probably it: The week after that, the Jets lost in overtime at home to the Bills, in a game during which Mark Sanchez threw five interceptions. After that loss, everyone just assumed the Jets were kidding around. Now, here they are.
That the Jets have backed into a potential playoff spot — receiving gift after gift from the football deities — is bizarre and kind of insane: It was just two weeks ago, after the Falcons lost, that coach Rex Ryan himself was openly admitting the team’s playoff dreams were over. And now, here they are, thinking they’re a Super Bowl contender. You have to love them.
“I think we’re built to be a team that can win in December and January … so I think we would be a very dangerous team if we make the playoffs,” Ryan said.
That would seem a stretch, considering their last win over a playoff team (if you’re willing to not count the Colts win) was in week two against a very different Patriots team. It’s also a bit presumptuous to hand them the win over Cincinnati on Sunday night: The Bengals can, after all, move into the No. 3 seed in the AFC with a win and a Patriots loss to Houston. They’ll know by game time what happens there. The Bengals are pretty good, you know.
But at this point, the Jets are all we have. They might get the Bengals again in a week, in the playoffs. The Jets! In the playoffs? That can really happen. We’re going to need a couple more days to wrap our heads around that.