Jets: Dead or Alive?

Updated: December 4, 2002, 2:43 PM ET
SportsNation

Dead in the water. Flatlined. No shot. Wait 'til next year.

On ESPN Radio this week, John Clayton said the five AFC teams with a 6-6 record -- the Jets, Bills, Ravens, Browns, and Chiefs -- are out of the running for a playoff spot. But we bet that fans of those teams believe that reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Now we want to know what you folks in SportsNation think. Check out our analysis of each of these five teams, plus the 6-6 New York Giants of the NFC, and vote in the poll to the left on each page.

New York Jets
Overall record: 6-6
Division situation: Miami and New England lead the AFC East at 7-5
Division record: 3-2
Wild card situation: Four teams are tied at 7-5
Conference record: 4-6

Remaining games: Denver, at Chicago, at New England, Green Bay

Chad Pennington
Chad Pennington is second in the AFC quarterback rating, but will that be good enough to lead the Jets to the playoffs?

Why the Jets are alive: The artists sometimes known as Gang Green are alive and well simply because they play in the AFC East, where the teams tied for first -- Miami and New England -- are only 7-5. With a win over the up-and-down Pats three days before Christmas, the J-E-T-S will probably give themselves the best intradivision record in the AFC East, handy for any tiebreaking situation they may find themselves in.

Not only that, but the schedule lays out pretty well for the Green Machine, with the two toughest games at home, including one against a Packers team that will be coasting into the playoffs -- so they might be able to run the table and win a wild card spot, if necessary. All in all, the Jets, winners of four of their last five games, are poised to pounce.

Why the Jets are dead: First of all, a 6-6 team is on extremely thin ice. Sure, there are several AFC teams who are "only" 7-5, but climbing over two or three of those teams to reach the playoffs can be treacherous, to say the least. One slip, and you're probably dead -- it doesn't look like there will be many 9-7 teams in the playoffs this year, if any.

Second, the Jets aren't the strongest 6-6 team we've ever seen. They've been outscored this year, and we just don't see them going up to New England and winning the Parcells Bowl.

So, thin ice = no dice.

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