*DISCLAIMER: I am writing these previews under the assumption that Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starting quarterback, because I simply cannot see a scenario in which these parties do not get a deal done. In light of the recent new about Brandon Marshall having not spoken to Fitz in over two weeks, it may look a bit less certain, but I still believe a deal gets done. In addition, with all of our coverage here at TOJ, you all know exactly what this Jets team looks like as far as roster, strengths, weaknesses, etc., so I will focus mainly on getting to know the opponents in these quarterly previews.*
Week 9 — @ Miami
It seems like every year we hear people talking about Miami breaking through and making a playoff push, but they are still in the cellar of the AFC East and I expect them to be there again this year.
For all of the jokes made about Miko Grimes and her inability to remain silent on Twitter, she may have a point when it comes to Ryan Tannehill. In the same way that every year is “the year the Dolphins will break through,” every year is also “the year Tannehill will turn the corner.” He hasn’t yet, and I am starting to wonder if he ever will.
The Dolphins have a few things going for them — Jarvis Landry is a budding star at WR, Jay Ajayi and Arian Foster will form a productive RB tandem, and the defense is strong up front — but this team will only go as far as Ryan Tannehill takes it. He has shown flashes of brilliance and put up respectable numbers, but he has turnover issues and looks as if he is completely lost at times.Bad news for the Jets: this is the 2nd game of a two-game road-trip and the Dolphins come into this game off a bye week. The Jets are the better all-around team, but this has “let down” written all over it.
Week 10 — vs. Los Angeles
I was recently out to lunch with a friend of mine and at one point in the conversation, he told me that he believes the Rams can win the NFC West. I immediately looked down into my food to make sure that whatever ended up in his food didn’t end up in mine.
Todd Gurley is a beast, but with Jared Goff under center and a lackluster receiving corps surrounding him, there is no real passing threat. On defense, beyond Aaron Donald, there are a lot of question marks for a defense that already had issues last year, ranking 23rd overall in total defense. Chris Long, James Laurinaitis, and Janoris Jenkins are all gone, and the Rams didn’t do enough to address those areas of need.The Jets shouldn’t have an issue rebounding from the disappointment in Miami against an inferior opponent, and they will go into the bye week with a victory.
Week 11 — BYE WEEK
I just wanted to make quick note of the bye week location this year. The Week 11 bye helps both long-term, because it gives the team a chance to get healthy and fuel up for the stretch run, and short-term, because they have an extra week to prepare for New England.
Week 12 — vs. New England (Sunday Night Football)
With the exception of the “Butt Fumble” game, the Jets have played good football at home against the Pats in recent years, culminating in last season’s overtime victory that should have sent the Jets to the playoffs. I predicted the home win against the Pats in last year’s “Schedule Breakdown” series, and I will do so again here.
Brady will miss the first four games, but the Jets won’t benefit from the suspension. Instead, they will have to deal with a dangerous, motivated Brady like the one we saw in a record setting season after the ‘Spygate’ penalties were levied. He will also have a bit more to work with this year in terms of his arsenal.
The Pats tried to duplicate the Gronk-Hernandez TE tandem by bringing in Scott Chandler, but Chandler was underwhelming. With the acquisition of Martellus Bennett, this year’s attempt at recreating the dynamic TE duo may be more successful. At WR, Brandon LaFell left, but Chris Hogan — the same Chris Hogan that terrorized the Jets in Buffalo in Week 17 — was brought in. He is a tremendous route runner and will quickly become one of Brady’s favorite targets.
On the defensive side of the ball, we know exactly what New England is all about. They don’t have any flashy stars and they traded away a bright young piece in Chandler Jones, but they will get the job done and be in the upper-half of the league when it comes to total defense.
This matchup is strength vs. strength — the Jets’ stingy defense vs. the Patriots’ potent offense. Just like last year’s Week 16 victory for the Jets, I believe the front seven will draw energy from the raucous crowd and get plenty of pressure on Brady. Bowles will have his team flying out of the bye week, and the home fans will walk out of MetLife Stadium elated after a Sunday Night upset of the division rivals.
Week 13 — vs. Indianapolis (Monday Night Football)
Between T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett, and Dwayne Allen, Andrew Luck has plenty of toys to play with. Unfortunately, as we have seen over the last few seasons, it doesn’t matter how many weapons Luck has because his offensive line and the defense continue to fail him.
The offensive line may have gained some talent and stability this year with the addition of 1st-round pick Ryan Kelly (center), but that doesn’t solve the issues along the rest of the line. Luck will be under constant pressure from the Jets’ formidable front seven, which won’t bode well for the Colts’ chances at a Monday night road upset. On top of that, the 26th ranked defense from 2015 probably won’t be a whole lot better.
The Jets went to Indy and stole a victory on Monday Night Football last season, but the Colts will not return the favor.
There is no such thing as an easy matchup against New England, but the primetime game at home coming off a bye should bode well for the Jets, especially with the Pats flying back east after a matchup against the Niners. The Jets are superior to the Dolphins, Rams, and Colts, but the game against Miami could pose a bit of an issue. Miami is coming off a bye, and the Jets may be due for a letdown.
Going 3-1 in this stretch will be crucial. If the Jets are any less than 7-5 heading into the 4th quarter of the schedule, it means there would be no wiggle room and they would have to finish 4-0 down the stretch to have a shot at the postseason.
Final Prediction: 3-1
Overall Record: 7-5
Photo Credit: Miami Herald