The New York Jets head into the second quarter of their schedule with a 3-1 record. The expectations have been raised but can they continue their winning ways? Sheldon Richardson returns this week and running back Stevan Ridley is likely to return after week 6, bringing further reinforcements. Right now, the AFC is a jumbled mess. There are only six teams over .500 and three of them are in the AFC East. A playoff spot is there for the taking.
Week 6 vs. Washington Redskins (2-3) The Redskins are a little more competent than initially expected. After beating the Eagles two weeks ago, they took the undefeated Falcons to overtime before losing on a Kirk Cousins pick six. Washington has a solid front seven defensively and talent at the offensive skill positions outside of the perpetually mediocre Cousins. The Jets are 5.5 favorites, which is about right but there is an obvious danger of looking ahead to New England with a competitive team coming into your building. The Jets have already lost to one average NFC East team at home and can’t afford a repeat.Week 7 at New England (4-0) This should be a fun one. If everything breaks as expected next week, this could be the 5-0 Patriots vs. the 4-1 Jets with the top ranked scoring offense facing the top ranked scoring defense. New England is likely to be 5-7 point favorites here. This Jets team is likely to give the Patriots their best shot but the question is will that be enough or can they force enough New England mistakes to make it enough? It is going to be fascinating to see how Todd Bowles schemes an attempt to slow down the Patriots machine on offense.
Week 8 at Oakland (2-3) It is never easy flying across the country and Oakland is a bit better than recent years (though not as good as some people are making them out to be). David Carr is still up and down, Darrelle Revis is a good answer for Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray is less scary when you have Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams and Sheldon Richardson. If the Jets want to be a contender this season, there is no throwing up all over yourself in Oakland.
Week 9 vs. Jacksonville (1-4) See above but to a greater extent. The Jaguars are trash (again) with losses to Tampa, the Matt Hasselbeck Colts and a 34 point loss to New England. There are no excuses to losing at home to this team. I’m aware that is hot take-ish analysis but it doesn’t mean that it is wrong. The Jets should be 6-8 point favorites and handle business.
Overall: The Jets play three of the ten worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL during this stretch, allowing Todd Bowles and their defense to potentially flex their muscles. A better question is how does Ryan Fitzpatrick hold up the next two weeks against a stout Redskins defense and Bill Belichick?Prediction: 3-1 with a close loss to New England and a closer than should be win against Oakland.