In this installment of the Writers’ Roundtable, the TOJ Writers give their record predictions for the New York Jets for the 2021 season.Dalbin Osorio: In a week, when I’m sitting on my phone dropping the thread of my predictions, this will probably be a very different prediction than it is today, but since we are all together around this roundtable I’m going 7-10 for the men in green and white this offseason. The loss of Carl Lawson dropped me from comfortably predicting an 8-9/9-8 record and a potential surprise playoff season: I really like this offense, love the addition of Corey Davis and Elijah Moore, think the offensive line is going to be a top 16 unit in the league this year, and having Lawson (and, to a lesser extent, Vinny Curry) as the edge presence was really going to cover up a lot of issues in the secondary. However, with no Lawson off the edge, the Jets are now forced to rely on a collection of edges that have never really produced. The best player on the defense, ILB CJ Mosley, looks to be back and he should cover up some expected bumps as they try to integrate newly acquired Shaq Lawson and two rookies starting at a corner next to Bryce Hall. I feel very good about the Jets beating Carolina, Cincinnati, Houston, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and Atlanta. I really like how we matchup versus Indianapolis and their QB situation is one to monitor as we head into that game. I do think there is a chance we split with Miami because I did not like their offseason except for drafting WR1 Jaylen Waddle. Still, I don’t feel good enough about the secondary or pass rush to pick them to steal games against the Buffalo Bills or New England, and ending with the Jags, Bucs, and Bills has the potential to really end the season on a sour note. Despite that, I think it is a competitive 7-10, and zero blowouts.
Stephen Zantz: My prediction, which I’ve gone back and forth on since Lawson went down, is 6-11. I was thinking of dropping them a game like DA did, but I think Saleh gets this team to steal one we don’t expect. This season is all about the development of Zach Wilson. I’ve said this on TOJ Live but I want the Jets to be like the 2018 Browns or 2020 Chargers: Frisky. The roster isn’t ready to contend but I want them to be in every game until the end. 6 wins is a major step from where we were a year ago. 2022 will be the year this team is in the hunt and taken seriously nationally again. My prediction of which games they win are CAR, DEN, CIN, MIA (Home), HOU, & NO.
Will Parkinson: I’m with Stephen: its 6-11, for me. For the Jets, 6-11 has to be considered a win. After winning 2 games in 2020 and being impossible to watch, 6 wins would not only triple their win total but really make them a competitive team in 2021. This season always has and always will be about developing Zach Wilson, Robert Saleh and the young Jets players and staff. I expect them to be very competitive most weeks and be close in a ton of games. That said, I think 6-11 is a fair expectation with Carl Lawson out for the year and Zach Wilson developing throughout his rookie year.Joe Belic: Couldn’t agree more with you all regarding losing Carl Lawson: there is no way to cut it, it was a massive blow. Like DA said above, the Jets defense needs a dominant front four to mitigate deficiencies on the second and third levels. However, I’m admittedly not as worried about the secondary as my DraftSZN co-host. There isn’t a QB on this schedule outside of Tom Brady—and perhaps Josh Allen—that scares me. After getting 8.5 sacks out of Kerry Hyder, when Nick Bosa was injured last year, I’m optimistic of what Saleh can do with newly acquired Shaq Lawson, and I’m sure he’ll have the team ready to compete. Still, Mike LaFleur is a first-time play-caller who is installing a new system for the first time with a first-year QB: that’s a lot of firsts to overcome. I believe the Jets will be more competitive than some in the media may have suggested and will battle it out in some close games; unfortunately, the results don’t fall in their favor. Prediction: 6-11.
Tyler Kirk: 7-10, for me. I’m more bullish on the Jets this season than most, and it is actually because of two main knocks on the Jets this offseason; they have a first-time Head Coach and a rookie QB. A new Head Coach, for example, is sometimes looked at as a disadvantage due to the learning curve that comes with the job. However, let’s not forget just how badly Gase had this offense and defense playing consistently. They were outscored in 2020 by an average of 13 points per game. Each of the last 10 rookie head coaches to inherit a team who was outscored by more than 8.5 points per game increased the team’s record the following year by an average of 4.8 wins. In other words, there’s nowhere to go but up and an improved roster and new coaching philosophy means a lot of room for improvement. Their dynamic rookie QB, who has no NFL tape for teams to scout, begins his career with a stretch of four out of five opponents who’s 2020 record was a combined 21-43. You couldn’t ask for a better acclimation period to the NFL. Add in that the schedule has 9 home games vs 7 true away games due to the expanded schedule and London matchup, and you have a recipe for a big surprise.