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Schwartz: Jets Are Stayin’ Alive

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(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK SPORTS HEADLINES

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By Peter Schwartz
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At this point of the season, breaking down the X’s and O’s of Sunday’s 34-19 win over the Redskins is somewhat irrelevant.

Unlike the BCS, there are no style points. So the bottom line is that the Jets took care of business and kept themselves alive in the AFC playoff race.

I’ll get to the game in just a moment, but the Jets victory has them in a tie with three other teams for the final AFC wild card spot. The only help that the Jets received on Sunday, aside from their own win, was the Steelers’ victory over the Bengals. That allowed the Jets and Titans to pull even, while the Broncos’ win over the Vikings gave them the lead in the AFC West. The Raiders’ loss to the Dolphins dropped them into the race for a wild card spot.

AFC Wild Card Race

5th Seed: Steelers 9-3
6th Seed: Bengals 7-5

In The Hunt:
Jets 7-5
Raiders 7-5
Titans 7-5

According to http://www.playoffstatus.com, the Jets have a 28% chance of making the playoffs as the sixth seed, 1% of making the post-season as the fifth seed, and a 68% chance of not making the playoffs.

The numbers aren’t promising for Gang Green, but they are alive.

With four weeks to go, the Jets don’t have destiny in their own hands, but they continue to make their next game relevant and that means another playoff type feel in Florham Park this week.

As far as the win over the Redskins goes, it was another case of fourth quarter magic. The Mark Sanchez bashers were getting ready to prepare another Monday rip session until he pulled out the 10th fourth quarter comeback or overtime victory of his three-year NFL career.

Someone said to me on Sunday, “How can you constantly defend this guy? He’s awful. They need to draft another quarterback.”

A few moments later, Sanchez fired a 30-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes that gave the Jets their first lead of the game with less than five minutes to go in the game.

Bottom line? Sanchez comes up big in crunch time. End of story.

The story of the defense was a little better this week. There were a couple of drives where the Redskins marched up and down the field, but overall I thought the defense took a step forward.

Another sack and forced fumble for Aaron Maybin. How valuable has he been? The Jets deserve a ton of credit for giving him a chance and putting him in a role where he can succeed. Unlike his frustrating career with the Bills, the former first round pick is playing with confidence and his role is growing.

Maybin leads the Jets with six sacks and four forced fumbles.

That doesn’t take us away from the fact that the Jets still need to find a dominant pass rusher, but Maybin has been a godsend for Gang Green.

I know that he’s made some big kicks during his Jets career, but do you trust Nick Folk? He makes a 51-yard field goal and then misses from 40. All Jets fans must cringe each time that he attempts a kick.

The special teams have certainly not been very special. The unit coughed up yet another turnover thanks to Jeremy Kerley’s muffed punt. I don’t know how special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff sleeps.

Another week has come off the schedule and with four games left the Jets are right there for a playoff spot. They probably have to win out to earn a postseason berth but the Jets continue to have a “one game at a time” approach.

For the last two weeks, the results have been what the needed to be.

Nothing pretty, but the wins still count.

JET LINERS

The Jets opened the game with a 9:06 scoring drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by Shonn Greene. The 11-play, 74-yard drive established a season high in both plays and time of possession for the Jets.

After allowing the Redskins to convert on their initial third down conversion of the game, the Jets held the Redskins without a conversion on their next eight attempts. The Redskins finished 5 of 16 on third down.

The Jets scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, the first time that has happened since the scored 22 in the fourth quarter of a 56-35 win over Arizona in 2008. In that game, Brett Favre threw 6 touchdown passes.

Greene rushed for a career high three touchdowns. It was his first multi-touchdown game since scored two against the Raiders in 2009.

Kyle Wilson notched his 2nd career interception.

THE WEEK AHEAD

It’s a victory Monday for the Jets! After a review of the film and a day off Tuesday, the Jets will be back on the practice field Wednesday to begin preparations for this Sunday’s game with the Chiefs at MetLife Stadium.

The Chiefs ended their four game losing streak with a 10-3 win over the Bears. Starting quarterback Tyler Palko was pulled from the game in the second quarter in favor of Kyle Orton. However, Orton suffered an injured right index finger and had to leave the game. Palko came back in and finished 17/30 for 157 yards and a touchdown.

That’s all for now! Check back on Friday for a Jets/Chiefs preview!

Will the Jets force their way into an AFC wild card spot? Sound off in the comments below…

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