This is usually a time of year when NFL fans are sitting down to take a look at the remaining games on their schedule to see what has to happen to get to the post-season. For those teams with no realistic chance, it’s time to take a look at where you sit on the NFL’s draft board, and how high you may be able to climb.
When you’re in the discussion for a top ten pick, there’s a reason. That reason of course, is that you’re not a very good team. So of the nine teams ahead of the Jets, do any of them stand a chance to steal a win or two and shake things up?
At 5-8 the Jets will probably only see another victory this season if the New England Patriots lay down in week 17 with their playoff fate likely sealed. Otherwise, 5-11 is a likely scenario.
So who should Jets fans be watching and rooting for? Well, certainly not the Browns as they’ve got the top pick locked up. Beyond that, let’s take a look.
Titans, Jaguars and Rams: No, none of these teams are competing with the Jets for a high draft choice, but these are the three teams remaining on the San Francisco 49ers schedule. The niners were thought to be a sure thing in securing the number two pick, but two wins in a row has bumped them down to the number 4 spot behind Cleveland, Indianapolis and the Giants. Of all the teams ahead of the Jets in current draft order, the 49ers are the team that would be most likely to part with the pick if the Jets were looking to move up. A 3-13 finish, combined with a single win by the Colts and two wins for the Giants would get the job done. Can either of those two things happen? Here’s what they’ve got on tap.
Indianapolis Colts: While the Jets may have led some fans to believe that the Broncos are a reincarnated version of the Super Bowl teams led by John Elway many years ago, they’re actually only 4-9 and had lost 8 straight before the Jets came to town. Well, the 3-10 Colts have the Broncos up next and the 4-9 Texans in week 17. Another win (or two) for the Colts isn’t out of the question.
New York Giants: As bad as the Giants have been (2-11), they actually have a couple of winnable games on the schedule in the coming weeks. Interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo has orchestrated some excellent defensive efforts in the past, and he gets to go up against a pair of back-up quarterbacks over the next two weeks. First up is Nick Foles who will make his first start of the season for the Eagles in MetLife Stadium, followed by the Arizona Cardinals and Blaine Gabbert. After a pair of decent starts for the Cardinals, Gabbert been sacked 15 times in the last two weeks. Week 17 brings on the Redskins who have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-17. Not exactly the toughest stretch to end the season. Go Giants?!?!
Denver Broncos: Sitting at 4-9, the Broncos are five spots ahead of the Jets. Should they beat the Colts this week, they’d have a good shot at beating the Washington Redskins in week 16 as the ‘Skins offensive line has been a complete disaster of late. Winning those two games would bump the Broncos behind the Jets.
Houston Texans: This pick is owned by the Browns and there’s only one game on the schedule that would be a realistic shot at a win when they take on the Colts in week 17. Their other two games are the Jaguars and Steelers. Week 17 could see Jets fans crossing their fingers in hopes of a big game from Texans QB Tom Savage.
Chicago Bears: At 4-9 the Bears are ahead of the Jets at the moment, but with the Browns in week 16, you have to figure they’ll get no fewer than five wins. Should the Vikings, who are currently 10-3, decide to rest some starters in week 17, the Bears may have a shot at a sixth win.
Tampa Bay Bucs: The Bucs are 4-9 and may be just as likely as the Jets to go winless the rest of the way. With the Falcons, Panthers and Saints upcoming, the Bucs aren’t playing well enough right now to assume a win against any of those teams. Week 17 players being rested does come in to play again when the Bucs face the Saints at home to end the season.
Cincinnati Bengals: One spot ahead of the Jets, the Bengals would need to win just one more game to allow the Jets to move up a spot. Of their three remaining games, the most winnable is probably at home against the Lions. The week 17 theme continues as the Bengals take on the Rams who could have the division locked up by then.
So there you have it, folks. From the looks of things right now, week 17 is going to go a long way in determining where the Jets pick as 7 teams are currently sitting on 4 or 5 wins. Clear as mud?