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New York Jets’ Quest for the Lombardi Trophy Looks to Wait Another Year

New York Jets’ Quest for the Lombardi Trophy Looks to Wait Another Year

By: Alexander Fritz Stillings

With just four games left in the 2009 season, the New York Jets’ season is looks as if it is all but over. The streaking New England Patriots continue to hold a lead in the AFC East, and with their remaining schedule, it doesn’t seem as if the Patriots will be absent from the playoffs two years in a row. The Patriots play host to the Carolina Panthers, at the Buffalo Bills, back home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and then finish in Houston versus the Texans. Only the Jaguars have a winning record at 7-5, however they have yet to defeat a team with a winning record thus far this season. New England’s final four opponents’ combined record of 21-25 is favorable in New England’s fashion. This year, New England has lost just once to a team with a losing record, coming last week against an emerging Miami team. Overall, a weak schedule ahead and a 3-2 record in the division for the Patriots leaves them with a great chance at clinching their seventh AFC East crown this decade.

The Miami Dolphins are still in contention, and as of now, they have a better chance than the Jets. They have a vulnerable schedule, playing at Jacksonville and Tennessee the next two weeks, and then host the Houston Texans and a Pittsburgh Steelers team that will still play aggressively. Miami also has the best record in the division at 4-2. The worst part about this, for Jets fans, is that two of those four wins came against the Jets, meaning if the two teams have identical record at the end of the season, the Dolphins will advance (If applicable). Miami will have great competition for the next four weeks and if they prevail, the playoffs could be in their site. As for the Jets, however, the final four games will be quite the hurdle.

After playing a weak Tampa Bay Buccaneers team this week, the Jets will face two teams destined for the playoffs from the AFC, being the undefeated Indianapolis Colts and the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals, and an Atlanta Falcons team that could have both Matt Ryan and Michael Turner back for the meeting in the Meadowlands. A 6-6 record, and a potential 7-6 record after this week, will brighten the spirits for many fans, and many will jump back on the Jets’ bandwagon, but the reality is the Falcons are still competing for the playoffs in the NFC, the Colts are looking for perfection, and the Bengals have a chance at clinching home-field advantage in the final match of the season, despite playing two other home-field advantage hopefuls in the San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings. Even winning two of the next four games will leave the Jets with just an 8-8 record, while the 6-6 Baltimore Ravens, 7-5 Denver Broncos, 7-5 Jacksonville Jaguars, and 6-6 Miami Dolphins still compete for the final two AFC spots in the playoffs. If they can defeat two of the three playoff contending teams in the Colts, Bengals, and Falcons, the Jets would deserve a ticket to the playoffs.

The season isn’t mathematically over, but Coach Rex Ryan’s plan to sit Mark Sanchez for a limited-experienced Kellen Clemens is a shaky decision as to what will occur against the Buccaneers, and possibly even the Falcons if Sanchez isn’t ready to go. But the question is, should Sanchez be playing though the injury to get playoff race experience? Has even Coach Ryan thrown in the towel?

The odds are against the Jets for the remainder of the season, and it may be time to begin thinking about Draft Day and the off-season to come, and filling in the holes for the 2010 season. Regardless of the statistics and odds though, anything can happen. Remember: the great Yogi Berra once said - “It ain’t over till it’s over.”


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