The New York Jets 2013 season is still three days from kicking off, but to hear the experts tell it, the season is already over. The Jets are the worst team in the league, there’s no hope, they probably shouldn’t even bother to show up on Sundays. They should just forfeit each game and spare the world three hours of having to watch the worst football team ever assembled. We’ve heard it all, but I don’t necessarily believe all that fuss. In my opinion, the Jets have actually improved over the 6-10 team they fielded a year ago, and I don’t really understand where all the “LOL, Jets will draft Clowney” stuff comes from. They’ve added a real offensive coordinator, some capable running backs, Santonio Holmes is back, and the defense has the potential to be excellent.
In today’s Stock Watch, similar to last year’s preseason predictions edition, I’m going to be buying and selling all aspects of this year’s team and show where some of my optimism is coming from. From record, to stats, to predictions, and everything in between, my 2013 Jets preview is all here. Let’s get to it.
BUY: Season Total Over 6 wins – Yes, the Jets have some tough games on their schedule and no, the Jets are not a great team. But the schedule is not as bad as some make it out to be and there is reason for hope. The offense should be improved over a year ago with Marty Mornhinweg calling the shots and some capable running backs being brought in. The receiving options are far better than they were a year ago when players such as Jason Hill and Mardy Gilyard were taking lots of snaps. And many in the media seem to be sleeping on Rex Ryan and his defense, which is a mistake. Last year’s team featured players like Sione Po’uha, Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, and Eric Smith, all of whom were unable to find work this offseason. With players like Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Antonio Cromartie, and Quinton Coples, this year’s defense can be dangerous especially when you take into consideration that Rex Ryan, the best defensive coach in the NFL, is devoting himself to the unit. Perhaps I’m crazy, but I’m banking on 7 or 8 wins, maybe 9 if they catch a few breaks.
BUY: Geno Smith over 14.5 starts – I don’t buy the idea that Mark Sanchez absolutely can’t be placed back in the starting lineup, but at the same time I don’t see it happening. It’s painfully obvious the Jets brass really want Geno Smith to be the starting QB and as long as he doesn’t suffer an injury or play worse than he did against the Giants, the job will be his all year. I actually think Marty will get the most out of Geno and the offense will gradually improve throughout the season, so this one should be a lock.
BUY: Geno Smith over 3,200 yards - Marty Mornhinweg has a tendency to get very pass-happy, and that will lead to Geno racking up plenty of yards. Unfortunately, that will also lead to some problems, such as..
SELL: Geno Smith under 16 interceptions – Just because the Jets quarterback has a different name this year doesn’t mean the turnovers will go away. Marty will undoubtedly try to play it safe at times and put Geno in the best position to not force things, but interceptions will happen for a rookie QB, and Geno is no different. My projected stat line for Geno this year would be something like 3,300 yards, 18 TD, 18 interceptions.
SELL: Having a 1,000 yard rusher – While I do think Chris Ivory has the potential and the ability to be a 1,000 yard rusher, I don’t see it happening this year. Bilal Powell has clearly become a favorite of the coaching staff, and while I think his time as #1 on the depth chart is going to be limited, he is going to be involved all season as will Mike Goodson when he returns after his four week suspension. Just because there won’t be a single 1,000 yard rusher doesn’t mean I don’t think the running backs will be very effective however. All three bring something to the table, and I think all three will have their moments this season. If I had to project the breakdown of rushing yardage amongst the backs, I would say something like Ivory 900, Powell 750, Goodson 400.
SELL: Having a 1,000 yard receiver – It seems like forever since the Jets have had a 1,000 yard receiver, and this year should be no different. A healthy Santonio Holmes would have been able to make a run at the number this year as the focal point of the offense, but it’s impossible to predict what to expect out of him this year. Jeremy Kerley will likely be the recipient of the most pass targets in Mornhinweg’s offense with a rookie quarterback, but most will be short to intermediate passes and the yardage numbers won’t really be there. Stephen Hill is the “big play” threat, but the second year player is obviously far from polished. While I don’t think the jets receiving corps is nearly as bad as many make it out to be, I don’t expect any of them to push for 1,000 yards this year.
BUY: Kellen Winslow over 50 catches – I checked around a few different fantasy football prediction sites to come up with a number for Winslow’s catches and the general thought seems to be around 35. I think Winslow is going to easily surpass that and go over 50 catches for the season. In fact, I think there’s a decent chance he will lead the team in catches. Winslow looked great in the preseason, seemed to have a decent rapport with Geno Smith, and has a chip on his shoulder to show he can still play. I think he will finish up around 60 catches on the season.
SELL: A double digit Sacker - Heading into the season I thought Quinton Coples was going to crack the 10 sack barrier, but the broken foot really put a damper on things. He will likely miss the first two games and then it could take him a little bit to get back into the swing of things. Mo Wilkerson is an excellent player, but I think he will settle into the 7-8 sack range this year, which is terrific for an interior defensive linemen. I actually think the player with the best chance to crack 10 sacks this year is OLB Antwan Barnes, who will be in for all passing situations and will get increased snaps with Coples out. With Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson pushing the pocket, Rex will find ways to free up Barnes around the edge, and he could clean up. I still don’t think any one player will get ten, but as a team there will be plenty spread around.
BUY: Darrin Walls / Sell: Kyle Wilson - There are no numbers to go along with this, but these two go hand in hand. Kyle WIlson seems to have gotten worse this preseason, while Walls was very impressive. In fact, he was Pro Football Focus’s #1 ranked cornerback of the preaseason, which bodes heading into the season. Don’t be surprised to see Walls end up taking more and more of Wilson’s reps early in the season
BUY: Jets +3.5 vs Tampa Bay – This will be in our weekly picks column but the Jets getting 3.5 points against Tampa at home is a winner. The majority of gamblers will be on Tampa because of the whole “LOL Jets” phenomenon that’s going on, but pay no mind to that. Rex Ryan is getting plenty of time to prepare for Josh Freeman and the Bucs and you’re going to see his defense completely shut down Tampa’s offense. The Jets will put together enough on offense, and while I don’t think this game will be quite the blowout that last year’s opener vs. Buffalo was, I do think there are some similarities and our boys in Green are going to open up 1-0.
THURSDAY NIGHT STAFF PICKS – Denver (-7) vs. Baltimore
- Joe Caporoso – Baltimore
- Mike Donnelly – Baltimore
- Chris Gross – Baltimore
- Mike O’Connor – Baltimore
- Mike Nolan – Baltimore
- Dan Marcus – Denver
- Dalbin Osorio – Denver
- Cole Patterson – Denver
- Connor Rogers – Denver