Back in Week 11, both the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns were coming out of their bye week and looked to be in good position to make playoff runs. Fast forward to Week 16, and both have been eliminated from the postseason.
The Jets were once 5-4, but even after a three-game losing streak, they were technically still alive in the wide open AFC wild card race as late as last week. But a 30-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers dropped them to 6-8 and officially ended their once-prominent playoff dreams.
Heading into Week 11, the Browns were 4-5 but had a shot at pulling into the AFC North race with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals. They dropped that game by 21 points and haven't won since, tumbling to 4-10. They blew a fourth-quarter lead against the Chicago Bears last week and lost 38-31.
Meet the Jets
Geno Smith has embodied the Jets' inconsistency in 2013: in New York's six wins this season, the rookie quarterback has averaged a 90.2 passer rating; in their eight losses, he has averaged 39.6. The offense around him hasn't helped his cause, though. No receiver on the team has at least 425 receiving yards on the season and Pro Football Focus ranks the Jets' offensive line as the 12th worst pass-rushing unit in the league.
The inconsistency extends to the defense. On one hand, they're best in the league against the run, allowing only 3.2 yards per carry. On the other, they rank 21st against the pass, giving up 255 passing yards per game.
Meet the Browns
Jason Campbell has shown the ability to win games for Cleveland — throwing three touchdowns and no picks in a close loss to the New England Patriots two weeks ago — but can't seem to put it together on weekly basis. Receiver Josh Gordon is the midst of a historic run, having piled up 841 yards and six touchdowns in his last five games.
The Browns sport the league's ninth-best pass defense, but could be down one of their top defensive backs against the Jets. Cornerback Joe Haden suffered a hip pointer last week against the Bears and is questionable for Sunday. Without Haden on the field against Chicago, the Browns gave up three fourth-quarter touchdowns and blew a 24-17 lead.
Local Takes: Jets
This marks the third consecutive year the Jets have missed the playoffs, which, as John B at Gang Green Nation notes, is their longest drought since the 1990s.
The last time that happened was a stretch from 1992 to 1997, the Same Old Jets teams. That stretch spanned four head coaches: Bruce Coslet, Pete Carroll, Rich Kotite, and Bill Parcells. It probably to some extent is a credit to the moderate level of success this organization has attained since the Parcells years. It also is a reminder of just how rough these last few years have been. Three years ago many Jets fans and NFL fans thought we were looking at a perennial contender as the team was on a second consecutive deep postseason run.
Local Takes: Browns
Chris Pokorny at Dawgs by Nature is upset that the Browns did not run the ball more in their loss to the Bears.
Against the worst rushing team in the league, on a day where Jason Campbell struggled to throw the football, you would have thought that we would have tried to commit to the ground game a little more. Cleveland finished with just 14 carries from their running backs for 46 yards. Our tight end and quarterback combined for more yardage on the ground.
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Jets in Longest Playoff Drought Since 1990's http://t.co/VszpDNiQ0I— Gang Green Nation (@GangGreenNation) December 17, 2013
I have a hard time understanding why people care about the snow on seats issue. Then again I live in Minnesota. That shit is everywhere— Dawgs By Nature (@DawgsByNature) December 17, 2013
SB Nation's experts are split with three picking New York and three picking the Browns.
The Jets opened up as one-point favorites and the over/under sits at 41, according to Oddsshark.com.