There's no need for complex mathematical equations to figure out the Jets' chances of making the playoffs.
You don't need a color-coded chart of which teams to root for around the NFL nor is there a need to brush up on the tiebreaker procedures. The future for the Jets in the 2011 season comes down to three simple words.
Just win baby.
Last week's loss in Denver was the last mulligan that the Jets can use before writing off this year and starting to plan for next season. That's not where anyone thought they would be after 10 games this season, but that's the harsh reality for a team that has underachieved terribly to this point in the schedule.
You can obsess over the missed opportunities as much as you like -- although you've probably done enough of that already this year -- but none of them really matter at this point. There were different reasons for the losses to New England, Oakland, Baltimore and Denver, although the offense's failure to produce was an undercurrent through all of them.
That might lead you to make the billionth claim that Mark Sanchez needs to turn things around and start playing a higher-quality game for the Jets to achieve the things they want to achieve this season. You wouldn't be wrong, but expecting a total transformation at this point feels like a pipe dream on the order of peace in the Middle East.
So if the Jets are going to make a playoff push right now, it is going to have to come on the back of a defense. That has been good this year, but there's no doubting that they haven't quite been the shutdown unit we grew accustomed to watching in past years.
Again, we can point all kinds of fingers of blame for why that happened and, again, they are all meaningless at this juncture. Darrelle Revis, David Harris and the rest of the defenders need to be their best for 60 minutes every week or there's a pretty good chance that the Jets will be at home watching the playoffs this season.
An offense that has scored touchdowns on consecutive drives just three times this year can't handle the pressure of carrying this team. The defense needs to be able to do it and they need to do it six weeks in a row for the Jets to make good on anyone's expectations for this season.
It's a tall order, but you've got to sleep in the bed you make for yourself.