The New York Jets are coming off of their bye week now entering the stretch run in full control of their playoff destiny. Thanks to the Jacksonville Jaguars upset win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 10, the road appears quite easier for Gang Green. With 7 games remaining in the regular season, the Jets schedule becomes much more manageable than it was during the first half of the season as they face only one team with a .500 or better record (the week 15 match up against the Carolina Panthers). Let’s look at the updated playoff picture heading into Week 11.
Current AFC Seeding
1. Kansas City Chiefs, 9-0
Next Game: @ Broncos
Last Week: BYE
Analysis: The Chiefs travel to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the high octane Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium. This is the first of two matchups within the next three weeks between the two teams, which will go a long way towards determining the AFC West champion and potentially the #1 seed in the AFC. The team that does not win the division will most likely be the 5th seed.
Glass Half Full: Denver was up 28-6 against San Diego before two late TDs by the Chargers made the final score appear closer than what the game really was. However, Denver continues to struggle with stopping quick passes and consistently stopping the run, two staples of the Andy Reid offense in KC. Plus, Peyton’s due to get an MRI this week after the Chargers hit him repeatedly.
Glass Half Empty: Alex Smith and the Kansas City offense is currently 24th in total yards per game with an average of 317.3 yards. Denver averages 353.4 PASSING YARDS per game. Smith, Charles, and Bowe can’t keep up with Peyton, Welker, the Thomas Twins, and Decker.
2. New England Patriots, 7-2
Next Game: @ Panthers
Last Week: BYE
Analysis: The Patriots go on the road to face the Carolina Panthers, one of the surprises in the NFL this year and who are coming off a win against the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. The next three games for the Patriots are going to be different tests for them because they get Carolina and their defense, Denver and that offense, and then they travel to Houston to take on the #1 ranked defense in the NFL. With the Jets only two games back, the Patriots should be concerned.
Glass Half Full: The Patriots move the ball better than San Francisco and that poses too much to handle for Carolina. With Tom Brady being given ample time in the pocket, Steven Ridley running as well as he has the last few weeks, plus the return of Gronkowski, may be too much for the Panthers.
Glass Half Empty: Cam Newton bounces back from a horrible game against San Francisco and leads the Panthers to the upset as Brady is pummeled by Charles Johnson, Luke Kuechly, and the rest of the Panthers front seven.
3. Indianapolis Colts, 6-3
Next Game: @ Titans
Last Week: A 38-8 loss to the St. Louis Rams
Analysis: The Colts were destroyed by the combination of Kellen Clemens and Brian Schottenheimer (Jets fans say you’re welcome Rams) as Andrew Luck was battered repeatedly by Robert Quinn and the Rams defense. Tavon Austin, also, finally showed why he was a first round pick after a horrible first half of the season as he amassed 300+ yards of total offense and 3 TDs. They now have to travel to Tennessee on a short week to play the Titans.
Glass Half Full: The Titans are coming off a shocking loss at the hands of the previously winless Jaguars, and are too distraught to show up on Thursday and the Colts bounce back with a nice win before their bye week.
Glass Half Empty: The Colts offensive line can’t protect Andrew Luck from the Titans front seven, Alterraun Verner locks up TY Hilton, and Chris Johnson bounces back from his 30 yard performance in Week 10 to run all over the Colts and lead the Titans to victory.
4. Cincinnati Bengals, 6-4
Next Game: vs Browns
Last Game: A 20-17 loss at Baltimore
Analysis: The Bengals have now lost two in a row after winning 4 straight and find their division title hopes in serious threat as every team in the AFC North is within 3 games at most with 7 weeks left. After his 5 TD performance against the Jets, Andy Dalton has thrown 2 TDs and 6 INTs as he has struggled to build on his best stretch of play as a pro. The Bengals now host a Cleveland team coming off of a bye.
Glass Half Full: Marvin Lewis finally realizes what we’ve all know about Gio Bernard needing more touches than the Law Firm and AJ Green wins his matchup with Joe Haden. This slides Andy Dalton into more of a game manager’s role, which is where he excels at, and the Bengals end their skid.
Glass Half Empty: The Browns get to Dalton repeatedly, and the loss of Leon Hall means that the Bengals can’t stop Josh Gordon. Campbell makes more plays than Dalton, and the Browns trim the Bengals lead to 1 in the division.
5. Denver Broncos, 8-1
Next Game: Chiefs
Analysis: The Broncos raced out to a 28-6 lead against the Chargers before the Chargers scored two second half touchdowns to cut the lead to 8. Peyton and the Broncos would hold on in interim head coach Jack Del Rio’s debut. Peyton Manning continued his assault on the league record book (make sure to follow the pursuit on @TheWhistle) and Julius Thomas appeared healthy enough on his 73 yard TD reception. They now get to host the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs in a marquee game that will go a long way to deciding who gets home field advantage in the playoffs and who has to win 3 road games in order to get to the Super Bowl.
Glass Half Full: The Broncos have scored at least 28 points in every game this season, and are able to do the same on KC. Von Miller and Shaun Phillips get to Alex Smith enough to force some errant throws, and Jamaal Charles can’t get any traction on the 4th best rush defense in the NFL.
Glass Half Empty: Peyton’s been hit an awful lot this season already, and now Justin Houston and Tamba Hali are coming to town. Peyton can’t be kept upright, and Alex Smith plays mistake free football as the Chiefs get a win and a two game cushion in the AFC West race.
6. New York Jets, 5-4
Last Week: BYE
Next Game: @ Bills
Analysis: The Jets fresh off of their bye week, travel to Buffalo to face EJ Manuel and the Bills for the second time this season. Rex has had two weeks to prepare for the Bills, so you can bet that EJ will see some stuff he didn’t see in the first matchup. The Jets, like I mentioned before, got some help from the Jaguars when they beat the Titans and they are now in total control of their playoff destiny with 7 games left. The Bills are coming off of a loss to the Steelers where they were held to 227 yards of total offense.
Glass Half Full: The Jets are able to repeat their defensive performance from Week 3, repeatedly batter a rusty EJ Manuel, and Stephen Hill delivers one of his patented games against the Bills (seriously, look it up: his only good games in his career have come against the Bills), and go to 6-4.
Glass Half Empty: The Jets are dismantled by Kyle Wilson penalties, Geno struggles on the road, and the Bills defense converts Geno’s turnovers into easy points as the Jets drop to 5-5.
Position entering week 10: 6th Seed
Projected Position after Week 11: 6th Seed
Most Important Game to Watch:
Colts @ Titans: A Titans loss coupled with a Jets win gives the Jets a two game lead over the only team in wild card contention that the Jets currently don’t hold the tie breaker over.
Patriots @ Panthers: A Patriots loss coupled with a Jets win brings the Jets to within one game of the division lead with 6 left to play.