There are only two weeks left in the NFL season, two games each for the Jets and Giants, both currently No. 6 seeds in the playoffs, to secure their postseason positioning. What’s it going to take for them to make sure they make it in? We drove a few laps in ESPN’s NFL Playoff Machine. Here’s what has to happen.
Rex Ryan’s boys have the clearest path to the playoffs, thanks to their upset win at Pittsburgh last Sunday. They have games left at Chicago and home against Buffalo. Here are their scenarios:
Beat Chicago, Beat Buffalo
The Jets are in, no matter what, if they win both games. To move up to a No. 5 seed, they need Baltimore to lose to either Cleveland or Cincinnati.
Beat Chicago, Lose to Buffalo
They’re in, barely edging out San Diego for the sixth seed.
Lose to Chicago, Beat Buffalo
Yep, still in. A split guarantees they’re in. Which means a win Sunday, and they’re in. Also, if they lose to Chicago OR Indianapolis loses Sunday OR Jacksonville loses Sunday, they’re in.
Lose to Chicago, Lose to Buffalo
How big was the win over Pittsburgh? This almost certainly gets the Jets in as well. The only way they don’t make it here is if:
*** The Colts beat Oakland and Tennessee.
*** The Jaguars beat Cleveland and Houston.
*** San Diego loses to either Cincinnati or Denver.
*** Kansas City loses to either Tennessee or Oakland.
So the Jets are in good shape.
The Giants are in a more precarious situation, thanks to that event Sunday that we will not mention. They have two road games, at Green Bay and at Washington.
Beat Green Bay, Beat Washington
They’re in. The simplest way to get a No. 5 seed in that situation is by having New Orleans lose twice, to Atlanta and Tampa Bay. They have a tiny chance at a No. 3 seed — and a home game in the postseason — but require Philadelphia to lose twice, to Minnesota and Dallas.
Beat Green Bay, Lose to Washington
They’re in, mainly because Green Bay is one of their main competitors for that last slot. Strangely, the same scenario with New Orleans losing their last two will get them a No. 5 seed.
Lose to Green Bay, Beat Washington
They’re still in, as long as Green Bay loses to Chicago in the final game of the year OR if New Orleans loses twice. Didn’t know you’d have to cheer so hard against New Orleans these last couple of weeks, did you? Anyway, this makes it hard, but not impossible.
Lose to Green Bay, Lose to Washington
This is the Too Emotionally Devastated From Whatever Happened Last Sunday scenario. Is there any way the Giants can lose their last three and still be in?
No. There isn’t.