New York Jets
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The 2019 season is just eight days away. This New York Jets team is talented, but are they ready to make a playoff push?

Week 1 – Bills: W

Week 1 will be the 2019 New York Jets coming out party. It will be the debut of Adam Gase’s offense and Gregg Williams’s defense. The big news, though, will be the start of Sam Darnold’s second year. The Bills has a very good defense, but It’s possible they are going to be without top cornerback Tre’Davious White.

The Bills are going to come into MetLife without any tape on the new Jets scheme and without a full comprehension of the how far along Darnold is in his development. This is the perfect set up for the Jets to get a Week 1 win against one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

The Bills will likely be relying on 36-year-old Frank Gore to be their starting back after an awful season from LeSean McCoy last year. On top of that, the Bills will be reliant on two new wideouts. Cole Beasley, who is slotted to be one of the Bills top weapons, has topped 700 yards only once in his career. His solid route-running and his good hands are a great fit for Josh Allen, but he’s better off being a third option on the offense rather than the top option.

The other new Bill is John Brown, who got off to a quick start with the Ravens last year, but fell off a cliff once Lamar Jackson took over. He has some of the worst hands and route-running in football, as he has had a combined 40.75% catch rate in the past two seasons.

The Bills are a perfect game to help the Jets get a win under their belt to start the season.

Week 2 – Browns: L

The Jets and Browns will be in prime time for the second straight season. It’s Baker vs. Sam, part two. Don’t expect a different result.

The Browns are one of the most talented teams in football. For the first time in a long time, they are the favorites to win the AFC North and should be a playoff team. With a star-studded offense and a strong young defense, the Browns are the worst possible matchup for the Jets.

They are highlighted by Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and Baker on offense playing behind one of the top 10 offensive lines in the NFL. On defense, Myles Garret and Denzel Ward lead a young and talented unit that is only going to get better as the season goes on.

The Jets defense is not built to take on teams like the Browns. Baker and the Browns passing attack should shred the Jets secondary as Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts and Brian Poole are not the group of corners you want on the field against them.

For the Jets to have a shot in this game, Mosley, Adams and the Jets defensive line will have to shut down Chubb and the Browns rushing attack. The Jets will also have to put consistent pressure on Baker. The Jets may be an improved team over last year, but the Browns are a potential Super Bowl contender.

Week 3 – At Patriots: L

The last time the Jets beat the Patriots in Foxborough was in 2011. The Jets, led by Mark Sanchez, beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional round of the playoffs. The Pats haven’t lost a home playoff game since then. The last time the Jets beat the Patriots in Foxborough in the regular season was in 2008. Brett Farve went up against Matt Cassel in that game. The last time the Jets beat Tom Brady in Foxborough in the regular season was in 2006. Chad Pennington led the Jets to victory.

The Jets just don’t win games in Foxborough, and that won’t change this year. Tom Brady is still Brady, and his offense is stacked with young talent. Sony Michel and Damien Harris lead a fearsome rushing attack for the Pats. The passing game is led by Julian Edelman and two rookie WRs who have put on a show in the preseason, Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry.

That doesn’t even mention the Pats defense that is stacked at the CB position, and in the middle of the field. Players like Stephon Gilmore, JC Jackson, and Donta Hightower will shut down exactly what the Jets offense wants to do. The Jets just don’t match up to the Patriots yet, especially on the road.

Week 4 – bye

The Jets get an early bye week this year. It’s not ideal, but it’s also not the end of the world. The Jets travel the least of any team in the NFL this year, and the least in the franchise’s history. The team would certainly prefer the bye week was later in the season to recover from the long and tough schedule, but after back to back losses, the Jets will need this bye week.

Week 5 – At Eagles: W

The Jets have beaten 30 of the teams in the NFL over their 60 years from the AFL and NFL. The only team they have never beaten is the Eagles. They are 0-10 against them in their history. That will change this year.

The Jets have two advantages going into this game. Coming off a bye week, the Jets get two weeks to prepare for the Eagles. In Adam Gase’s three seasons as head coach of the Dolphins, he had two wins and one loss coming off bye weeks. The one loss came against the Colts last year who hit a field goal as time expired to get the win. Expect Adam Gase to have something special up his sleeve for the Eagles in this game.

The Jets other advantage is Joe Douglas. He had a major part of putting together this Eagles roster. There are few who know it better than he does and he can impart that knowledge on the Jets.

The Eagles may be a super bowl contender, but the upstart Jets have enough going for them coming into this game that an upset seems like a very distinct possibility.

Week 6 – Cowboys: L

The Jets tough early schedule continues into Week 6. The Cowboys are likely to be a playoff team with or without Ezekiel Elliott. Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and a stout defense will make sure of that.

Coming home and coming off the high of beating the Eagles for the first time in team history the Jets are ready for a letdown game. The Cowboys will come into MetLife and squeak out a narrow victory over the Jets.

The Jets don’t have a CB who can reliably cover Cooper. They also haven’t proven to have a pass rush good enough to make Prescott worried. Don’t forget about Tony Pollard, the rookie RB from Memphis who has turned head in camp and preseason for the Cowboys.

The Jets will be getting Herndon and Brandon Copeland back for this game. That will add a new dimension to the Jets pass game, but the Cowboys play pretty good defense against tight ends. Herndon will be a factor, but not enough to swing the tides in the Jets favor.

This seems like a winnable game on paper for the Jets, especially without Zeke in the mix. That said, they are a young team who has not had much experience carrying momentum from week to week. That’s a skill that is learned through experience. Dallas is a good team and will be fighting for a playoff spot. The Jets at this point in the season are not ready to face them and come up just short in what will be one of the more painful losses on the season.

Week 7 – Patriots: L

This game will be closer than the game in Foxborough, but that’s about it. The Patriots are just too good for the Jets.

Their running game and passing game are both likely to be towards the top of the league. Their scoring defense will also likely be towards the top of the league yet again.

The Jets best chance in this game will be to get Bell going and force the Pats to shut him down. That would open the field for Darnold and allow him to better take advantage of the few matchups that favor them. Chris Herndon is another player who will need to have a big game for the Jets to have a chance here.

There’s just too much of a hill to climb to expect the Jets to pull off a win.

Week 8 – At Jaguars: L

The Jets lose their third in a row, this time in Jacksonville against one of the best defenses in football.

The Jaguars dominated the Jets last season behind Blake Bortles and that was without Marqise Lee and Leonard Fournette. With Nick Foles in Jacksonville and some new weapons on both offense and defense, this seems like an even more difficult game.

The Jaguars defense is headlined by arguably the best CB tandem in the NFL with A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. They pair that with an elite pass rush that has now added top draft pick Josh Allen to the mix. It’s hard to see the Jets putting up many points against a defense that excels against both the run and the pass.

There are very few matchups the Jets have to take advantage of in this game. Meanwhile, the Jaguars small speedy receivers and are the exact things the Jets big physical CBs hate the most.

On paper, the Jaguars are one of the worst possible matchups for the Jets this year.

Week 9 – At Dolphins: W

Adam Gase returns home in Week 9. This is a revenge game against one of the worst teams in football and is a game the Jets should win 100% of the time.

The Dolphins don’t have the run defense to be able to stop Bell, and when that happens, it will open everything up for Darnold. The Jets should absolutely shred the Dolphins in this game.

This game should be a blowout. The Jets can create matchup problems against a very bad Dolphins defense all over the field. Adam Gase should have a file day scheming against  his former team.

On the other side of the field, the Jets have an even larger advantage. The Dolphins will either be starting Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen. Either way, the Jets won’t have to worry about their poor pass defense because the Dolphins don’t have the QB play to make up for their awful receiving core. Their running game is likely not going to fare much better. This Jets defense has been built to shut down the run game, and Kenyon Drake is not the kind of running back who can carry an offense.

The Dolphins might be picking number one overall in next year’s draft. The Jets should have no problem ending their losing streak in Miami.

Week 10 – Giants: W

All of a sudden, the Jets schedule gets easier. After taking down the Dolphins in Miami last week, the Jets get the Giants. Like the Dolphins, the Giants are likely going to be one of the worst teams in the NFL this year.

By this point in the season, it is likely that Daniel Jones will have taken over for Eli Manning. Despite his work in the preseason, Jones is likely to struggle mightily in his rookie year. Fans got a glimpse of that in the third preseason game when he got his first taste against a first-team defense. He went up against the Bengals first-team defense for a single drive and it wasn’t pretty. Jones went 2-of-4 on the five-play drive, and the incompletions were ugly. The Bengals were one of the worst pass defenses in football last year. They ranked 29th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per attempt.

When he comes up against a Jets team that is built to stop the run he will have to play well for the Giants to have any shot at winning. It just doesn’t seem plausible for the Giants to put up the offense that they will need too against the Jets.

Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell should have a field day against the Giants and their incredibly weak defense. This is another game that should be a blow out in the Jets favor, but things never go that way for them.

Expect Daniel Jones to show promise in this game, but eventually fall short. This is a game in which Sam Darnold will show why he’s a franchise QB leading an underachieving defense to a victory.

Week 11 – At Redskins: W

For the third-straight week, the Jets will take on a team expected to end the year with a top-10 pick in the draft next year.

Like with the Giants, expect the Redskins to have their rookie QB starting at this point in the season. Dwayne Haskins should be on the field at this point, and he’ll likely be struggling mightily.

Haskins has looked very much the part of the shaky young rookie QB during his time on the field in the preseason this year. The talent is there, but the decision making and the ability to read a defense isn’t there yet. That was against backups and vanilla coverages, Haskins is likely going to have growing pains as the season goes on.

Gregg Williams is not kind to rookie QBs, as Sam Darnold found out last season. After Daniel Jones put up an unexpectedly good performance in the week prior Williams will be on a mission to shut down Haskins and the Redskins offense. A mission that he should complete.

The Redskins lack a top-end RB now that Adrian Peterson is another year older. They also lack top-end receiving threats outside of often injured TE Jordan Reed. Their offense carries little threat to the Jets defense.

Like the two games before it, the Jets offense should take over. Sam Darnold will tear apart the Redskins weak passing defense and lead the Jets to an easy victory.

Week 12 – Raiders: W

The Jets come into this game on a three-game win streak as hot as any team in the NFL. Now 5-5, the Jets look like a team that might fight for a playoff spot out of nowhere. The Raiders are likely to be better than last year with a new lead back and Antonio Brown entering the fold.

This should be a shoot out. Two offenses with a lot of firepower against two weaker defenses. The Jets will squeak a win out against the Raiders for two reasons.

The first is that the Raiders will be traveling cross country, which is always a huge deal, but especially late in the season. The Raiders will be tired and beaten down by the season and now they have to play a road game across the country. That spells disaster for them, as it would any team.

The other reason is the Jets run defense. Josh Jacobs might be a good RB, but going up against a Jets run defense that should be top 10 in run defense this year should be a challenge for him. On the other hand, the Jets should be able to beat the Raiders defense on the ground and through the air.

In a matchup of two teams in a similar position, the Jets edge out the Raiders.

Week 13 – At Bengals: W

For the fourth time in five weeks, the Jets play one of the worst teams in football. The Bengals have holes up and down their roster. Unlike the other teams the Jets played, the Bengals should be able to move the ball offensively with players like Joe Mixon, A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. However, it won’t be enough to beat the red hot Jets.

This game will likely come down to which QB can beat the bad secondary on a more regular basis. Sam Darnold will win that fight against Andy Dalton. Dalton has been getting worse and worse as the seasons have gone on now. Sam is on the rise and the Jets are red hot.

There is certainly a trap game feeling here as it’s a road game against a team that could conceivably win. Too bad for the Bengals; Adam Gase and Gregg Williams are guys who always have their players prepared. The Jets go into Cincy and pull out a win.

New York Jets

Week 14 – Dolphins: W

The Dolphins, part two, is similar to part one. The Jets are at home against one of the worst teams in football. They should win this game with little issue.

That makes it six-straight wins for the Jets. They’re 8-5 and squarely in the middle of the playoff race.

Week 15 – At Ravens: L

The streak had to end at some point. The Jets schedule toughens up at the end of the season. That starts with a trip to Baltimore on short rest. A Thursday night game in prime time for the Jets on a six-game win streak, only for them to fall flat against one of the best defenses in football and second-year QB Lamar Jackson.

The Ravens will run a very creative rushing attack on offense. They are built to beat teams with a unique offense that emphasizes speed. Something that the Jets defense lacks. It’s hard to see the Jets defense shutting down the Ravens speed offense.

This will be a low scoring game that the Ravens grind out on the ground. The Jets defense will be tired out by the Ravens run game and that will be just enough to allow the Ravens to win a one-score game.

Week 16 – Steelers: W

The Steelers come into MetLife in week 16 having a disappointing year. They aren’t in the playoff race, but they aren’t bad enough to be tanking for a good draft pick. Stuck in NFL limbo, the Steelers aim to play spoilers to the upstart Jets but fail to do so.

The Steelers defense takes a step back from last year with am aging defense getting yet another year old. The Offense also takes a major step back without Antonio Brown. The Steelers lack a good second option in the passing game and James Connor has to prove he can repeat his success from last year. Many RBs have fantastic first years of playing time and fail to ever live up to that season again. Until Connor proves he can repeat last season he should be treated with a heavy dose of skepticism. Lastly, Ben is another year older. Unlike other elite QBs like Brady and Brees, age has certainly impacted Ben. He hasn’t looked like the same QB the past couple of years. Now, without AB, he seems set to continue that decline.

The young Jets, on the other hand, have been getting better and better as the season has gone on. Sam Darnold looks like the franchise QB the Jets thought they were getting when they drafted him. Not to mention that this is Lev Bell’s revenge game. The starts seem to be aligned for the Jets.

The Jets steal a win from Pittsburgh with a strong second half led by Lev Bell. They head into week 17 with a legitimate chance at a playoff spot at 9-6.

Week 17 – At Bills: L

In a scene that looks similar to 2015, the Jets fail to get the last win they need. The Bills, now with more tape on the Jets, put an end to their playoff dreams.

Josh Allen has now had a full second season to develop and it shows. He has had a disappointing year to this point, as he hasn’t established himself as a franchise QB in the way Darnold and Lamar Jackson have. That isn’t going to stop him from having a career day against the Jets.

Bills defense is ready for Darnold and Gase this time, and they show off their talent. They are still a top-five defense in the NFL and it shows in week 17 in a way it didn’t in week 1.

The Jets come agonizingly close to a playoff spot in year one with Gase, but their dreams are crushed by Bills. Just like the beginning of the Todd Bowles’ era in 2015.

Final Record: 9-7

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