The New York Jets 2015 preseason is over and now this year’s 53-man roster looks to the season ahead, starting with the Browns in week 1. When January inevitably comes around, what outcomes will we realistically accept as a successful season from this fleet of Jets.
The Super Bowl? No. But a winning season? Hopefully.
It has been five years since the Jets last embarked on a winning season, so this might be a bad place to start for this new look team. If Todd Bowles can record a winning season in his first year in charge he will not only give us some welcomed deja vu, but also bring some life back to this franchise. The roster constructed has the ability on paper to complete such a feat, however many areas that were unsuccessful last year need turning over.
The Jets could be on course to a winning season if they simply manage to beat the teams they are truly capable of doing. The schedule given to gang green this year contains many opponents who didn’t fare so well last year nor who have made any as wide ranging changes in the offseason. Starting the year with a win against the Browns is an important place to start. If the Jets wish to be taken seriously, they also need to get wins against teams such as the Redskins, Raiders, Jaguars, and Titans. We should also expect to match up well against slightly tougher teams in the Giants and Texans. With the utmost respect to those sides, taking into account the improvements made, this year’s Jets should be capable of beating them as long as they continue to make steps forward. Last year the Jets finished with similar records to many of these teams, so for that to change, these are ‘must win’ fixtures.
The difficult task for the Jets this year is challenging our division rivals more aggressively. The AFC East is arguably the most improved division in the NFL, so competition will be fierce. Thus, making it out of the group may still be prize too high, but for a group recently walked over by the Patriots, some upsets could be in the air and as a result, these six divisional games are of extreme importance. With the overturning of Brady’s suspension, the Super Bowl champions do look likely favourites once again despite a weaker secondary, but the Bills and Dolphins too have bolstered their teams especially on defence. Winning games within our own group could see the difference between that winning season or not, or perhaps, if all goes well, a chance at the playoffs. A good start would be the opportunity to see our first divisional game go down as a win, live in our own UK stadium.
There are of course games against other tough opponents including the Colts, Eagles and Cowboys. Success in the ‘must win’ games and some divisional battles takes the pressure off these fixtures in terms of achieving a winning record by January.
What we know heading into week one is that this Jets side is built to compete on all levels. If the winning season target is to be achieved the Jets need to continue to build upon their preseason successes. During the 3-1 preseason, the Jets scored on both sides of the ball as well as special teams and this needs to be echoed within the regular season. This side needs to be a more consistent, accountable and simply pay attention. Giving away silly penalties or field advantages won’t mean running gassers anymore, it could mean losing a game.
The offence began to find their rhythm this preseason and need to carry on where they left off, making the most of the far better weapons they’ve acquired this preseason. The defence, whilst being an area of the Jets are renowned for, need to prove they are worth that accolade. Aiding the offence with turnovers or scores will only help the team. Seeing our star studded defensive line shine should be very much possible and seeing Bowles implement his many successful defensive packages will hopefully strike fear in the eyes of opposing offences. Looking out for multiple blitz!
Its no doubt that there is excitement in the air and fans are expecting big things from these Jets after years of misery. We’re predicting (maybe with our positive thinking hats on) a 9-7 record but we need ti see the potential improvements hinted in the preseason played out when it matters most. What we can’t see is another losing season and poor performances which show no sign of development. Let’s just hoe we start strongly on week one and that sets the standard for the rest of the year.