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New York Jets fans sucked in by AFC playoffs dream

As our own Marc Sessler expertly laid out earlier Monday, the New York Jets remain relative players in the AFC playoff race.

If the Jets take care of the Tennessee Titanson Monday night, they'll enter the regular season's penultimate week tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers at 7-7. Two more wins against the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills -- topped with a dollop of fortune elsewhere -- and the Jets will be in the playoffs for the third time in four seasons under coach Rex Ryan.

If all this sounds vaguely ridiculous, you're right. The Jets are playing without their best player on defense (Darrelle Revis) and offense (Santonio Holmes). Their last two victories have been physically painful to watch. Then there's quarterback Mark Sanchez, who now views football with the trust and confidence of Charlie Brown.

Speak to most Jets fans about their team's chances, and you're likely to be met with a dismissive scoff. Too many hideous losses exposed this team, they'll say. The Butt Fumble will live in infamy. Fireman Ed retired, for crying out loud.

But don't believe them. They're all in. They can't help themselves. They'll tune in Monday night with visions of 2009 and 2002 dancing in their heads, seasons in which the Jets snuck into the playoffs through the back door, then made some noise.

When the Jets go up 21-10 in the fourth quarter Monday night, and Jon Gruden starts to froth at the mouth about the defensive schemes that have flustered Titans quarterback Jake Locker into three interceptions, Jets fans will daydream about the former and once-more Sanchize raising his finger in exultation at the Superdome.

Again, this is all vaguely ridiculous ... but this is how the Jets fan thinks. Trust me.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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