NFL Analysis: Will Jets, Bengals Make the Playoffs?

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Looking at the AFC playoff picture, four out of the six spots are set as everything except AFC West winner and second Wild Card are settled. The Patriots, Ravens, Texans and Steelers are all in. And if the season ended today, the Broncos would win the AFC West and the Jets based on Strength of schedule would get the last spot over the Bengals (who are both 8-6). But the season doesn’t end today…

It’s interesting to note how much suckyness (we can go ahead and add “suckyness” to the Urban Dictionary now since I just used it in a sentence) is laying around the NFL these days because five of the six AFC teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today lost last week (Ravens, Texans, Steelers, Jets, Broncos).

While the Jets are currently in the driver’s seat for the 6th seed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that if they win out that they are in. There is a scenario in which Jets can win their last two games and the Bengals keep pace with them both finishing 10-6, but the Bengals who are currently on the outside looking in jump them for the last AFC Wild Card spot because of a shift in the strength in schedule.

If either the Jets or Bengals (or both) win their last two games, the Titans can’t get in no matter what they do. Also two of the three from the Broncos, Raiders & Chargers would be shut out as well no matter what they did with one of them winning the AFC West…. sort of, kinda… because there’s still an odd scenario where the Chiefs can win their last two and steal the AFC West at 8-8.

Anyway, while the scenario of New York and/or Cincinnati running the table shuts anyone out who is currently behind them for the last Wild Card spot, the issue of who would get that spot, the Jets or Bengals can’t be determined all the other NFL games are played because the two teams would be down to the fourth tiebreaker, strength of schedule. And while the Jets schedule is calculated as being a harder schedule at the moment, there is a possibility that this may not still be the case two weeks from now. It all depends on how the opponents that these two teams played during the year fair over their last two weeks.

Confused? Check out the brain surgery done here to calculate the different scenarios.

As for the NFC playoff picture, the Packers, 49ers and Saints are all in and there will be some seed jockeying but the Lions, Falcons and Cowboys all control their own destiny. It’s possible for both the Lions and Falcons to get in without winning anymore games, and one more win gets them both in for certain. The Cowboys hold the key’s here as losing one or both of their final two games exposes them to the 7-7 log jam of the Seahawks, Bears, Giants and Cardinals all currently on the outside looking in. And no, I’m not forgetting the Eagles here Philly fans, much like the Chiefs in the AFC West, there is in fact a scenario where the Philadelphia can still win the NFC East.

This past week’s NFL results only complicated things. Hopefully after next week the NFL playoff picture will become much easier to decipher. Although I have to admit, scoreboard watching is fun if you can just figure out who to root for…

The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.