Let’s take a quick run through the New York Jets 2017 schedule before we get into training camp and review where expectations could be in different parts of the season…
First Quarter – Low Expectations, Surprising Outcomes?
Week 1 at Buffalo – The Jets are currently 6.5 point underdogs, which is something considering most people think Buffalo is a 5-7 win team. This is never an easy place to play and it is the first game for a new regime looking to make a statement. Week 1 divisional games can get funky but this will be an interesting barometer for just how far behind the Jets are in the AFC East, if they are even behind Buffalo at all. If you asked me today, I’d take them to cover but lose a close one.
Week 2 at Oakland – The Jets are generally awful in Oakland, including when they are good and Oakland is struggling. This is not the case in 2017. Oakland is considered one of the top teams in the AFC…and the Jets, well you know. The Jets may be double digit underdogs in this one. A bad loss sets the stage for a less than ideal setting for the home opener the following week.
Week 3 vs. Miami – This game could be a test of Woody Johnson’s patience to follow through with a rebuild. If the 0-2 Jets open at home to a stadium of 15,000 fans, how will he handle it? On the field, the Jets have a chance to show they are not that far behind the other two AFC East teams chasing New England early in the season. If the Jets are competitive with Buffalo and Miami and/or split with them, this might be a 5-7 win team, if they are losing by double digits to both…this might be a 1-3 win team.
Week 4 vs. Jacksonville – One of the most “winnable” games on the schedule. You always have a good chance when the opposing team puts Blake Bortles under center. I don’t think we will be getting the CBS “A Team” for broadcasting this one…and of course this marks the return of our old friend (via @JetsTank):
Second Quarter – Hey, Super Bowl Teams!
Week 5 at Cleveland – Some Jets fans are circling getting Buffalo, Jacksonville and Cleveland in the first five games as an opportunity for a better than expected start. Honestly, this isn’t completely crazy. I could see the team starting 3-3 behind a somewhat competent Josh McCown, followed by inane calls to extend his contract. On the other hand, if the Jets lose back to back games to Jacksonville and Cleveland, it may be a long, long time until we see them win a game.
Week 6 vs New England – Every year, the Jets seem to find at least one game to be extremely competitive against New England. I don’t know if that happens this year. I also don’t know if the Jets have made the switch from McCown to Christian Hackenberg at this point. My guess is barring injury, they wait until after this one.
Week 7 at Miami – Our old friends from Miami two times in the first seven games! Do you think there will be calls for Matt Moore by this time of the year yet in Miami or will it be later? Even if you are in the “I’m rooting for the Jets to lose every game” camp, I can’t fathom ever rooting for Miami against them. Some things are just too unnatural.
Week 8 vs. Atlanta – BRING GENO AND CUMBERLAND BACK! More seriously, how many articles do we read about Dan Quinn hypothetically being the Jets hire after 2014 leading into this week? 1,000? 5,000?
Third Quarter – How Bad Is It?
Week 9 vs. Buffalo – Do the Jets enter their final 8 games at 3-5 or dare we say 4-4…or is this a 1-7 situation? Either way, this is the team’s only primetime game and it should be a winnable one. If they are not playing Hackenberg by this part of the season, the team is either hovering around .500 or he is packed just that tightly in his Han Solo carbonite.
Week at Tampa Bay – Remember when Kellen Clemens randomly started a game in Tampa Bay during 2009 and the Jets won behind him throwing passes to Danny Woodhead and David Clowney? Fun times. The Bucs have a loaded young offense and should be heavy favorites in this one.
Week 11 vs. BYE – So many “JETS ARE SO BAD THEY EVEN LOSE ON THE BYE WEEK” takes coming, no?
Week 12 vs. Carolina – (wakes up in cold sweat thinking about Demario Davis covering Christian McCaffrey on a wheel route).
Week 13 vs. Kansas City – Kansas City could be one of those teams who underachieves/disappoints this year. I wonder if we are seeing Patrick Mahomes by this time and get bombed with articles on why the Jets should pursue Alex Smith before 2018 (please don’t). A schedule quirk here gives the Jets four of five at home, wrapping with this game. Hopefully every player over 30 is glued to the bench if the team is playing to their preseason expectations.
Fourth Quarter – Mock Draft SZN?
Week 14 at Denver – This defense on the road is not going to be fun to deal with. Whether it is Hackenberg or Bryce Petty, this type of game should provide a realistic lens to how close a young quarterback is to actually being a capable starter.
Week 15 at New Orleans – This is kind of like above, except it will apply to the Jets young defense. Let’s see how much Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye and Darron Lee have grown up when they need to face Drew Brees, Sean Payton, Adrian Peterson and Micheal Thomas in their building…
Week 16 vs. LA Chargers – I wrote “SD” about 11 times before finally getting it right. I can’t decide whether San Diego…damnit…will be a wild card sleeper or is going to bottom out. It all depends on how much Philip Rivers has left in the tank.
Week 17 at New England – I hate everything about what this game chooses to be. Look at it this way, if New England doesn’t go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl. They underachieved and we can blame it on this bougie, sellout photo shoot that Bill Belichick did.
Check out a preview of this week’s Play Like A Jet Podcast, which will feature Kerry Rhodes discussing the 2008 season…Subscribe on iTunes here!
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com