This wouldn’t be as big an upset as AFL Jets over NFL Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, even with Geno Smith at quarterback instead of Joe Namath.

But it sure seems as if the Jets need to play the kind of Perfect Game Villanova played against Georgetown, in the 1985 NCAA Championship game, Sunday against the Panthers.

Because the Panthers have Cam Newton, and the Jets do not. Because no one runs on Luke Kuechly and the Panthers, and if Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell can’t run, then Smith, who has not thrown a touchdown pass on the road in his past three games, cannot hide from Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson.

Because Santonio Holmes inadvertently disrespected the Carolina secondary. Because Steve Smith is an impossible matchup for any cornerback Rex Ryan can trot out except for Darrelle Revis, and he no longer works for him. Because the Panthers are in a foul mood after being dismantled by Drew Brees and Rob Ryan in New Orleans.

And so — if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly — an upset win over this opponent, an upset win that would keep a rebuilding season alive with two weeks left, almost certainly would convince owner Woody Johnson to keep Ryan on the sidelines to coach his Jets next season.

An upset win over these Panthers, directed by Geno, no longer a robot, I believe would serve as evidence enough that the arrow may not only be pointing up for the rookie quarterback of the Jets, but for the program as well.

Win and he’s in.

Woodyologists will caution that Eric Mangini looked safe at 8-3 before Brett Favre’s arm fell off and the Jets finished 9-7 and out of the playoffs in 2008 following a devastating season-ending loss at home to Chad Pennington, Tony Sparano and the Dolphins.

But if Johnson is looking for an excuse to err on the side of stability and continuity and bring post-Christmas cheer to the men inside his locker room who profess love for Ryan whenever they are asked about him, an improbable road win at Bank of America Stadium should be enough to save Ryan once again.

GM John Idzik has final say on the draft, and in theory on the head coach, but if the owner insists on keeping Ryan, Idzik will recommend keeping Ryan.

All bets are off if his team shows no fight against the Panthers, and the table runs the Jets, and Ryan finishes 6-10 for the second year in a row and misses the playoffs for the third straight time with a third straight December to dismember.