Week 15 has the rare distinction of being the only week in the 2015 schedule to have more days with NFL games than without. Yes, tonight is the only appearance of “Thursday Night Football: Saturday Edition”, which sees the Dallas Cowboys hosting the New York Jets. A win will be hugely important to both teams: the Jets, no longer able to win their division, need to keep up with a three-way tie with the Chiefs and Steelers for the two wildcard spots, while the Cowboys, who conversely have been eliminated from the wild card chase, need to win the NFC East to make the playoffs. While it might just be those two teams playing tonight, there’s a total of 25 teams eligible to make the playoffs, at least mathematically. So, with that in mind, we’ve produced this handy guide telling the fans of each of those 25 teams who they should be rooting for in tonight’s game to help their team’s own route to the playoffs that much easier.
New England Patriots
The Patriots won’t be affected by the result of this game, though no doubt Pats fans will be rooting for a Jets loss.
ROOT FOR THE COWBOYS – a Jets loss will guarantee a playoff spot for the Bengals.
ROOT FOR THE COWBOYS – a Jets loss will mean that the Broncos only need a tie on Sunday to clinch a playoff spot
ROOT FOR THE COWBOYS – the Colts are currently still alive for a wildcard spot as a fallback if they don’t win the AFC South, but a Jets win, combined with a Colts loss AND a Chiefs tie or win, will eliminated the Colts from wild card contention this week.
Kansas City Chiefs
ROOT FOR THE COWBOYS – the Chiefs hold tiebreakers over the Jets and Steelers for the two wild card spots, but a loss for the Jets will help insulate the Chiefs from a future loss in the remaining three games
New York Jets
ROOT FOR THE JETS – obviously.
ROOT FOR THE COWBOYS – the Steelers come in bottom of the three-way tie for the AFC wild card spots as things currently a stand; a loss for the Jets will give the Steelers a chance to pull ahead on Sunday.
ROOT FOR THE COWBOYS – a Jets win would put the Raiders at risk to be eliminated from the playoffs entirely, as a Raiders loss, or a Raiders tie coupled with either a Chiefs or Steelers win, would send Oakland out the playoffs if the Jets win tonight.
ROOT FOR THE COWBOYS – as with the Raiders above, a Jets win tonight would open multiple routes for the Bills to be eliminated from the playoffs, either with a Bills loss, or with a Bills tie coupled with either a Chiefs or Steelers win.
ROOT FOR THE COWBOYS – like the Colts, the Texans still could get into the playoffs as a wild card if they don’t win the AFC South, but that will be much harder if the Jets win. A Jets victory tonight would see the Texans out of the hunt for a wild card with a loss on Sunday, or with a tie on Sunday coupled with either a Steelers win or a Chiefs tie or win.
The Jaguars won’t be affected by the result of this game.
The Panthers won’t be affected by the result of this game.
ROOT FOR THE JETS – believe it or not, this game could have an impact on the Cardinals ability to win their division this week. If the Cards lose on Sunday, and the Seahawks win, the Cards could still win the NFC West on a strength-of-schedule tiebreaker – but only if the Cowboys lose tonight (along with a Steelers loss, Bengals win and Saints win).
Green Bay Packers
The Packers won’t be affected by the result of this game.
ROOT FOR THE JETS – the NFC East has been so poor this year that all four teams are still in the running. A Cowboys loss won’t necessarily put them out of the race for the division, but it would mean that a win or tie by Washington (or the Eagles or the Giants) on Sunday would end Dallas’ season.
ROOT FOR THE COWBOYS – as said above, the Cardinals can win the division this week even if they lose and the Seahawks win on Sunday, due to strength-of-schedule tiebreakers. If the Cowboys win or even tie tonight, however, then Arizona won’t be able to clinch the division in Week 15 on strength-of-schedule alone (though they’ll still be able to do so with a tie or win, or a Seahawks tie or loss).
The Vikings won’t be affected by the result of this game.
The Falcons won’t be affected by the result of this game.
ROOT FOR THE JETS – as with Washington, a Jets victory tonight will give the Eagles the chance to end the Cowboys’ 2015 campaign with a win or tie on Sunday.
New York Giants
ROOT FOR THE JETS – same as with Washington and the Eagles.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams won’t be affected by the result of this game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs won’t be affected by the result of this game.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints won’t be affected by the result of this game.
The Bears won’t be affected by the result of this game.
ROOT FOR THE COWBOYS – duh.