2008_12_jetsdolphins.jpgScore one for all those Jets fans who thought the 8-3 record and first place in the AFC East were both too good to be true. The Jets now sit at 9-6 and need a win against Miami at home and some help to make the playoffs just weeks after looking like a true contender in the AFC.

Chad Pennington, discarded for the inconsistent quarterback that is Brett Favre, has a chance to end the Jets' season on Sunday. He's also had a better season than No. 4, and maybe he didn't deserve to be excoriated as he was so often last season. Pennington has outperformed Favre this season and done it without the weapons on New York's offense. With another solid game Sunday, Pennington can ink one of the crueler ironic endings in Jets history.

Even a win by the Jets will likely not be enough. They need the Patriots to lose to the Bills in Buffalo and the Ravens to lose to the Jaguars in Baltimore. Neither seems likely. If the Patriots win and the Jets win, the Patriots win the division. If the Patriots win and the Dolphins win, New England needs a Baltimore loss to make the playoffs. The only consolation for Jets fans Sunday could end up being that Bill Belichick's Patriots can miss the playoffs with 11 wins. But that's a small, small prize.

Photo of Brett Favre by AP/Dean Duprey