CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 01: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York jets before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 01, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Here’s a completely realistic and totally unbiased game-by-game breakdown of the New York Jets’ 2020 schedule.

Danny Small

The 2020 NFL schedule is out. Get it while it’s hot. The New York Jets are opening up against the Buffalo Bills for a second consecutive season and Gang Green is hoping for different results this year.

After a successful offseason, general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Adam Gase are looking to hit the reset button on last year’s 7-9 season. There might not be a playoff mandate at 1 Jets Drive, but that’s every team’s goal going into every season.

With the current uncertainty stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL has built different trap doors into the schedule in case the league needs to make drastic changes.

Without further ado, here’s a game-by-game breakdown with predictions for the Jets’ 2020 schedule.

Week 1 — @ Buffalo Bills — Sept. 13

Darnold is 2-0 in his career at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Jets were a C.J. Mosley injury away from sweeping the playoff-bound Bills last season. It’s never easy to go up to Buffalo and steal a win, but Darnold and company are making a habit out of it.

Jets win big on the back of a three-touchdown performance from Darnold. 1-0

Week 2 — vs. San Francisco 49ers — Sept. 20

In theory, the 49ers are the team the Jets should try to emulate. After finishing the 2018 season as a 4-12 disappointment, the Niners flipped the script and went 13-3 en route to an appearance in the Super Bowl.

Going from a non-playoff team to a Super Bowl contender is exactly what the Jets are looking to do. Although the 49ers appear to be the better team on paper, Super Bowl losers generally have a major hangover the following year. While San Francisco is taking a step back, New York will take a step forward.

A strong defensive performance leads the Jets to a win over the 49ers. 2-0

Week 3 — @ Indianapolis Colts — Sept. 27

The Indianapolis Colts and the Jets finished with mirror records of 7-9 last season. Indy signed former Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, but that move won’t be enough to keep Gang Green down.

Rivers, who has always been a gunslinger, will be forced into some tough throws by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ pressure. With a ballhawk like Jamal Adams roaming in the secondary, this could be a long day for Rivers.

Jets break the Colts in a blowout victory. 3-0

Week 4 — vs. Denver Broncos — Oct. 1

People love what the Broncos did in the draft. Denver exec John Elway is building around second-year quarterback Drew Lock.

Much like Elway, Douglas built around his young passer. Offensive line reinforcements in the form of Mekhi Becton and Cameron Clark plus wide receiver help in the form of Denzel Mims were the major developments in the Jets’ draft class.

Darnold, the better and younger quarterback, edges out Lock and the Broncos. 4-0

Week 5 — vs. Arizona Cardinals — Oct. 11

For a second straight week, Darnold is going to be going toe-to-toe with another promising young quarterback. This time, it’s Kyler Murray. The diminutive hurler might not have the prototypical size of an NFL quarterback, but he showed he has all the arm strength and the athleticism that he needs.

Despite Murray’s upside, he’s walking into a buzzsaw at this point. Heading into MetLife to face the undefeated Jets will be no easy task.

The swarming defense leads to multiple turnovers from Murray. 5-0

Week 6 — @ Los Angeles Chargers — Oct. 18

Heading out to the west coast is always brutal and anyone who has watched the Jets for years knows how these games typically turn out.

But by this point, we know this isn’t a typical year for the Jets. The rebuilding Chargers and rookie quarterback Justin Herbert can’t crack Williams’ defensive scheme.

The Jets blowout the Bolts in a shutout. 6-0

Week 7 — vs. Buffalo Bills — Oct. 25

The Jets are facing off with the Bills twice in the first seven weeks of the season. Winning divisional games could be a major key for the Jets later on in the season. After all, holding the tiebreakers over AFC East opponents could come in handy.

Although the Bills have had some success against the Jets in MetLife in recent years, this year is different. Darnold and the Jets don’t let the season sweep slip out of their grasp this time.

Jets stave off the Bills in a low-scoring affair. 7-0

Week 8 — @ Kansas City Chiefs — Nov. 1

OK, yeah, the Kansas City Chiefs are technically Super Bowl champions, but this is going to be Darnold’s coming out party. Everyone knows Darnold is talented, but he hasn’t quite had that big moment on a big stage.

What better way to join the conversation about elite quarterbacks in the league than by beating Patrick Mahomes in Arrowhead Stadium?

Darnold and the Jets emerge victorious in a shootout. 8-0

Week 9 — vs. New England Patriots — Nov. 9

Well, look at the new-look Patriots. With Tom Brady out the door and Jarrett Stidham seemingly taking over, this game is a no-brainer. The Patriots dynasty is over. Stidham has thrown four passes in his NFL career and one was caught by Jamal Adams.

Jets win convincingly as the Patriots continue to look for their first win. 9-0

Week 10 — @ Miami Dolphins — Nov. 15

Although the Jets technically avenged their Week 9 loss in a Week 14 win last season, losing to the winless Dolphins in 2019 still stings. Darnold cuts out the silly mistakes that doomed Gang Green against the Fins last year and New York makes mincemeat out of Miami.

By this time in the season, Tua Tagovailoa is the starting quarterback for the Dolphins, but even he can’t keep up with Darnold and the high-powered Jets offense.

Mims scores two touchdowns in a rout. 10-0

Week 11 BYE WEEK

Week 12 — vs. Miami Dolphins — Nov. 29

The Jets return home to face the familiar Fins in a back-to-back affair—kind of. The Jets are benefitting from a bye week in between and Gase has everything schemed just right. New York makes enough subtle alterations to keep Miami off balance.

The perfect season continues. 11-0

Week 13 — vs. Las Vegas Raiders — Dec. 6

The Oakland Raiders represent one of the high points of New York’s 2019 season. An absolute drubbing of the silver and black last November was one of Darnold’s best performances of his career with 315 passing yards and three combined touchdowns (one on the ground).

Look for him to duplicate that performance in 2020. 12-0

Week 14 — @ Seattle Seahawks — Dec. 13

Again, traveling to the west coast is never easy, but after crucial wins in Los Angeles and Kansas City, the Jets are starting to feel pretty comfortable on the road.

Russell Wilson always poses a threat, but the emergence of Ashtyn Davis gives the Jets the option to use Adams as a spy on the Seattle quarterback.

Seahawks can’t keep up with the New York offense. 13-0

Week 15 — @ Los Angeles Rams — Dec. 19 or 20

Road warriors. That’s what the Jets are at this point and even the long flight across the country doesn’t bother this team anymore. Los Angeles does a solid job rebounding from their mediocre 2019 season, but they are no match for a Jets squad that has legitimate Super Bowl hopes.

Jared Goff and Sean McVay are completely outclassed by Darnold and Gase. 14-0

Week 16 — vs. Cleveland Browns Dec. 26 or 27

This is a matchup that has become a yearly affair for both teams. Darnold secures his first win against the Cleveland Browns and avenges his two losses to Baker Mayfield. Although Mayfield was taken two picks before Darnold in 2018, this game leaves no doubt about who the better quarterback is.

Darnold’s five touchdowns send Cleveland packing. 15-0

Week 17 — @ New England Patriots — Jan. 3

The winless Patriots against the undefeated Jets. New England’s dynasty is clearly over and New York’s reign over the NFL is just beginning.

All the same, Bill Belichick must torment Jets fans one last time before he rides off into the sunset. The Patriots squeak by the Jets in a low-scoring affair and some Jets fans are livid with Gase’s decision to bench his players and rest up for the playoffs.

The perfect season is over. 15-1

Final thoughts

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, this is *mostly* tongue-in-cheek. In reality, the Jets improved by leaps and bounds in the offseason. Although they never made the flashy move to steal headlines, Douglas and the front office made an effort to build around Darnold.

That’s the right move in the future and if all goes well, the Jets should be able to compete for a playoff spot this year. Jokes aside, the AFC East is wide open and the Jets should feel like they have every right to take it.

This is going to be a monumental season for Gase, Darnold, and the entire franchise as a whole. An improvement over last season is necessary. At this point, it’s expected.

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