The TOJ Roundtable is back. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter and to let us know your opinion down in the comment section below!
What are your predictions for the New York Jets 2016 season?
Joe Malfa – I predicted the Jets would go 10-6 in my schedule breakdown series that ran through June and July. Taking the preseason into account, I still have them at 10-6 with the chance to make a deep playoff run.
Every year, I sit down and evaluate the rosters and schedules of all 32 teams. I compile a list of predictions for each of their records and using those records, I set up a mock playoff bracket and predict the outcomes of each of those games. With the way I have the season playing out, the Jets finished as the 5th seed with a road playoff game against the Texans. I think they leave Houston with a win, earning them a trip to Cincinnati to face the 2nd-seeded Bengals. The Jets match up well with the Bengals, and it seems as if there is a dark cloud hanging over that organization that is simply not willing to pass when it comes to the playoff success. A win in Cincinnati would send the Jets to Foxborough for an AFC Championship showdown with the Patriots. Sadly, that is where I have the Jets’ season ending — just one step shy of the promised land as they were in 2010 and 2011.
As far as individual predictions, I think the offense will regress slightly because I don’t see Fitzpatrick, Marshall, and Decker being as great as they were in last season. I do, however, see the defense stepping up and improving upon a strong 2015. The linebackers have greatly improved, and I expect Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, and Calvin Pryor to continue to blossom into some of the league’s brightest young defensive stars.
There is a lot to be excited about as a Jets fan in 2016, and here’s to hoping that we will be at home on Thursday night to open up the season in 2017.
Dalbin Osorio – I expect the New York Jets to win the AFC East. I think on paper they’re the best team top to bottom, have the second best coach, and the best defense by far. The Patriots traded Chandler Jones, lost Rob Ninkovich, are without Tom Brady and Dion Lewis, and Julian Edelman is banged up. That’s before we talk about arguably the worst offensive line in the league last year. The Buffalo Bills are without their top two draft picks and their best defensive player and are coached by a good coach in Rex Ryan who hasn’t had a winning season in 5 seasons. Rex is one average season away from becoming the new Jeff Fisher. The Dolphins have an injury prone RB, a makeshift OL, and a QB that seems to always crap the bed when it matters even though his numbers at the end of the year show you he can produce. They also have a new head coach who may be better suited to be an offensive coordinator.
The Jets have continuity with Fitzpatrick returning along with most of the starters on offense. Ryan Clady replaces D’Brickashaw Ferguson and, if healthy, upgrades the offensive line. The interior of the OL is solid, and Qvalijilana has to be better than Breno was last year. Add in Matt Forte, a better back and fit than Chris Ivory, and a healthy Bilal Powell plus the development of Quincy Enunwa and this offense should be more consistent despite some lackluster performance by the QB this preseason. The talent around him should help offset the natural statistical regression that typically comes after Fitzpatrick gets paid. The defense has the best defensive line in football, and a cornerback that is poised to win defensive player of the year. It’s the Jets year to end the playoff drought and claim their first AFC East title in 12 years. That’s what I expect.
David Aitken – I’m expecting a repeat of the 10-6 record the Jets saw last year. Whether that is enough to get into the playoffs this time around is uncertain, and I’m still skeptical the Patriots will be knocked off as AFC East champions even missing Brady for four games. But I believe the Jets are a better team this season than last, and can maintain being competitive with what is a stronger schedule on paper. The Jets had an easy schedule last year, but they were competitive every single week. Only the Oakland game was a loss by more than a touchdown, whereas the Jets beat six opponents last season by multiple possessions. Even with a more difficult group of opponents, the Jets will continue to be competitive every week.
Defensively I expect a better overall unit, highlighted by more speed at linebacker and a budding superstar in Leonard Williams who could hold the mantle of best player on this defense by season’s end. Offensively there is a fair fear about a production regression from Ryan Fitzpatrick given it was far and away his best season in 2015. Unfortunately we should expect an uptick in turnovers from Fitzpatrick with the amount of ones he got away with in 2015, but the Jets are in an even greater position around him talent-wise than the offense was last year. No longer relying solely on Marshall and Decker, Enunwa is ready to step up as a third target as well as having two backs who will feature as pass catchers from the very start (as opposed to last year’s late Powell surge). The offensive line will continue to cause some worries, but Fitzpatrick actually mitigates subpar pass protection to an extent with a consistently quick delivery.
There are certain to be more nail-biters this year, and success to an extent will have to do with fortune in close games just as much as talent and coaching. But this is a talented team and the expectation should be another playoff push. Especially after paying to bring back Fitzpatrick, anything else would be considered a failure.
Kevin Zielaznicki – I think the Jets will enjoy a generally successful season and sneak into the playoffs as the last seed in the AFC with a 10-6 record. Ryan Fitzpatrick will prove his doubters wrong and will have another successful year as the Jets starting QB. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker will lead the offense into Top 10 consideration while Mohammad Wilkerson and Darrelle Revis prove to everyone the Jets defense is one of the best units in the NFL. The Jets will start out slow due to the rough first seven games but they will finish strong and become a feared team heading into January.
Nikki Charlesworth – Heading into 2016, I expect the Jets to show that they have stepped on from last season’s performance. With continuity in the front office, the coaching staff and many key roster spots, there is no reason they cannot continue to build upon what was started last year. That would mean leaping the hurdle that was just too high last year, a place in the playoffs. With a more challenging schedule to take into account, this will not be easy, but the team are in an overall stronger position. Realistically, I predict it will be a wild card spot that gets them in, as New England will be tough to assail at the top of the division. 11-5 is a possibility, although they will have to ensure they sweep the Bills & Dolphins and come up with something good against the Patriots, as facing the Cheifs, Seahawks, Cardinals & Steelers will be a tough run. They certainly cannot afford to enter the second half of games with such deficits as we saw in certain games last year or rely on the defense as much to give the offense more opportunities.
The team seem in good shape to achieve this as long as things go to plan. The return of Fitz ensures consistency and we can only hope his relationship with Chan Gailey continues to pay dividends.The offense is looking good with the return of Marshall and Decker, as well as some exciting rookies in Anderson and Jalin Marshall. The addition of Matt Forte provides another high level weapon. On the defensive side there is no reason to think that they cannot replicate or improve on last years highly ranked performance as the defensive line is still one of the most terrifying in the league.
In short the pieces are all there, short of a couple of question marks (right tackle being one) and it will be come down to how they execute. Getting into the playoffs will be tough, but once there they have a good chance at making a run to the Championship game at least, injuries and unexpected events aside.
Alex Kaczynski – I have high expectations for the Jets this season. I have them finishing 11-5. Apart from the first six games, the rest of the schedule is very manageable. I do not think that Fitz is going to repeat his record breaking season he had last year but I believe the offense as a whole will be more productive. Don’t let the preseason scare you, the defense is still the real deal and will be in the top 5. Look for the young wide receivers and returners to make plays happen. Finally we have a consistent punter so I expect the Jets to control field position better than in past seasons. For the first 6 games I have the Jets going 4-2 only losing back to back games to the Steelers and Cardinals. This team has a lot of potential and I believe they are going to exceed expectations.
John Hargaden – Going into the 2016 season, this is a Jets team that has the veteran leadership and experience to take them potentially to the playoffs but also trying to develop the younger talent on this roster. With additions such as Matt Forte and the return of Ryan Fitzpatrick it is playoffs or bust with this team. A key is going to be the addition of Ryan Clady at LT and also who will be the starter at RT. Across the board on the offensive side of the ball there are multiple weapons for Fitz to choose from. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker will look to increase on the numbers they put up last year.
On the defensive side of the ball, this is a unit that does return some starters but also is throwing in new young pieces that we hope are in place for a long time. You have the old vets such as Richardson, Wilkerson and Revis. However young pieces such as Lee, Jenkins, Burris are going to look to make a impact.
Matthew Stalker – Last season with a very manageable schedule the Jets finished 10-6, missing the playoffs following a loss to Buffalo in Week 17. With losses they should have won to the Eagles and probably the Bills on both occasions, they would have easily made the playoffs. This season, I’m expecting an overall improved, more youthful Jets team to end in second place in the AFC East, once again with a 10-6 record. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure that will get them in the playoffs this season.
I don’t expect Fitzpatrick to fully repeat statistically (a couple less touchdowns, more turnovers), but the offense should look good with Marshall and Decker, hopefully an improved Enunwa, and the kids Anderson, J. Marshall, and Peake. The addition of Forte improves their backfield, adds another great option, and backed with Powell, should open up the Jet offense nicely. I do, however, fear the depth of the offensive line given any health issues.
Defensively, we’re looking at another top five group. This is a group with the best defensive line in the league, a group with more athleticism and speed than last year within the linebacker corps with draft picks Lee and Jenkins, and a group that’s secondary is poised for success. Finally, we should see an improved special teams units with a punter that can kick the ball downfield and help with field position.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com