Allow me to skip ahead to Week 17 for a bit. Hey, I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but this is fun. Back to Week 17. There's a possibility that our playoff lives will hinge on the outcome of one of the late games two weeks from now: Oakland at New York Jets.
Now I know this sounds like a scary proposition. And it is. The Raiders are an abysmal football team. But, there's a couple of things that may help Oakland pull off a miracle and ruin the Jets playoff hopes.
For one, the Raiders are actually playing pretty well defensively, especially in the passing game. The Jets are most effective when Pennington and the aerial attack are clicking, so perhaps Oakland will be able to neutralize the Jets and force them to beat them on the ground.
Secondly, the Jets are young. There's a chance they'll play tight, especially if they fall behind early. The Jets have actually been better away from the Meadowlands, where they've actually lost more games (4), than they've won (3). Playing at home for the playoffs might actually make the Jets more tight (I know, I may be stretching it here).
Finally, stranger things have happened. Remember when the Vikings lost their playoff berth when they lost to the Arizona Cardinals on the final play of the 2003 season?
Could a similar miracle happen at the Meadowlands in Week 17??
Lots of things have to happen before this game is even relevant, and man oh man would I hate to have our playoff lives in the hands of the Art Shell led Raiders. But, again, stranger things have happened.
P.S. You know your're distracted from work when you're finding justifications as to why one of the least inspiring teams in pro football history (this year's Raiders) has a chance to save your season. Again, let's hope it doesn't come to this. There's ways for both the Jets and Steelers to make the playoffs, so in no way is our playoff life necessarily determined by the outcome of this game.