The NFL has officially revealed the 2021 regular-season schedule. How will the Jets fare during their 17-game campaign?
Jets fans (and all football fans for that matter) finally witnessed the release of the 2021 NFL schedule Wednesday night. While the Week 1 games were set and revealed by Wednesday morning, supporters of Gang Green now officially know the dates, times, and opponents for 16 of New York’s 17 regular-season matchups (Week 15’s meeting with Miami could either be Saturday or Sunday of that week).
Thus, we can make a full-fledged prediction for the Jets’ 2021 performance.
How will their year look with rookie quarterback Zach Wilson set to take the field for his inaugural NFL season?
Week 1 — at Panthers, Sunday, Sept. 12, 1:00 p.m. ET
The Jets going up against Sam Darnold right off the bat? After just trading him in April?
The schedule makers have done it again, but expect the young quarterback to get the best of his former team.
Darnold will be the more experienced signal-caller in this game and will be able to produce alongside his talented offensive weapons — wide receiver Robby Anderson, wide receiver D.J. Moore, running back Christian McCaffrey, and newly drafted running back Chuba Hubbard.
This Jets team has the potential to be successful — but it won’t all come to fruition immediately.
Result: Loss (0-1)
Week 2 — vs. Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 19, 1:00 p.m. ET
Don’t sleep on the Patriots just because they finished 7-9 in 2020.
This organization went out and spent a ton of money in free agency and additionally acquired a number of talented players in the draft, including Oklahoma edge rusher Ronnie Perkins.
You’re telling me Bill Belichick won’t be able to figure out how to defend a rookie quarterback?
Take the Patriots to win this one.
Result: Loss (0-2)
Week 3 — at Broncos, Sunday, Sept. 26, 4:05 p.m. ET
It’ll be tough to go out to Colorado and defeat a Broncos team that possesses talent in and around the roster.
But one of the lingering question marks surrounding Denver resides at the quarterback position — it’s truly unclear if Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater can be trusted to lead the team to success.
Expect Jets head coach Robert Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich to enter this meeting with a gameplan that minimizes the ability of whoever is under center. The success of the defensive unit will, in turn, take pressure off Zach Wilson, and the young quarterback should be able to notch his first career victory.
Result: Win (1-2)
Week 4 — vs. Titans, Sunday, Oct. 3, 1:00 p.m. ET
This will be an extremely tough task for a young Jets team.
The Titans offense should be able to get enough production out of star running back Derrick Henry in order to open up the play-action for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. And from there, the veteran signal-caller will pick apart a Jets cornerback tandem that possesses some question marks (it’s unclear if Bryce Hall or Bless Austin will be consistently reliable in the defensive backfield).
Tennessee’s offensive unit will do just enough to take the pressure off a Titans defense that struggled last year.
Result: Loss (1-3)
Week 5 — at Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 10, 9:30 a.m. ET (2:30 p.m. UK time)
In a neutral location, the Jets defense will find a way to get the best of a mediocre Falcons offense led by an aging quarterback in Matt Ryan.
Don’t forget, this Falcons defense was one of the league’s worst in 2020. If offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and Zach Wilson can just put together a few scoring drives, the Jets defense won’t need to do all that much in order for New York to achieve its second victory of the season.
Result: Win (2-3)
Week 6 — BYE
Week 7 — at Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 24, 1:00 p.m. ET
Again, it’s tough for a rookie quarterback to go up against a Bill Belichick defense. Unfortunately for Zach Wilson, he’ll need to do it twice in his first six games.
Just like in the previous matchup, the legendary Patriots head coach and this New England defense should give Wilson some issues en route to a win in Foxborough.
Result: Loss (2-4)
Week 8 — vs. Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 31, 1:00 p.m. ET
If Joe Burrow returns better than ever and is able to rekindle the connection he had at LSU with recently drafted wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, this Bengals passing attack should be productive — this would spell bad news for a questionable Jets cornerback group.
Expect the more experienced of the two young quarterbacks to get the best of the other, which will lead to the Jets falling to 2-5.
Result: Loss (2-5)
Week 9 — at Colts, Thursday, Nov. 4, 8:20 p.m. ET
The Jets traveling to Indianapolis to face a talented Colts team? That just made the postseason in 2020? On a short week? With a young roster?
This spells doom for Gang Green.
Not a tough prediction to make here — Indy will emerge victorious.
Result: Loss (2-6)
Week 10 — vs. Bills, Sunday, Nov. 14, 1:00 p.m. ET
The Bills, led by 2020 All-Pro quarterback Josh Allen, will be one of the top teams in the AFC and are expected to make it deep into the postseason. Their toughest challenge will likely be the Kanas City Chiefs, led by another All-Pro quarterback in Patrick Mahomes.
The Jets, however, shouldn’t be much of a challenge for Buffalo. This Bills team could potentially win each of its six divisional matchups and the productive Buffalo defense may provide issues for Wilson in this one.
Result: Loss (2-7)
Week 11 — vs. Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 21, 1:00 p.m. ET
Contrary to what other people may believe, I actually don’t think the Dolphins will undergo a superb year in 2021 despite the fact they nearly made the playoffs last season.
I’m not high on Tua Tagovailoa, and at some point this upcoming season, I truly believe some people will start to feel the same way about the young quarterback.
The defensive-minded Robert Saleh will be smart enough to figure out a way to minimize Tua’s ability, which will take the pressure off Wilson and the offensive unit. Thus, the Jets offense won’t need to accomplish too much in order to achieve this victory.
Expect it to be a low-scoring bout though — possibly 17-10 Jets.
Result: Win (3-7)
Week 12 — at Texans, Sunday, Nov. 28, 1:00 p.m. ET
At this point, amid the reported trade request from Deshaun Watson and the numerous allegations of sexual assault against him, it doesn’t seem the Texans quarterback will be suiting up for Houston this year. It’s not confirmed he won’t be with the team, but that really seems to be the direction this is all headed in.
If that’s the case, Houston may not be fielding an overly reliable starting quarterback for the 2021 season — Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Finley, and the recently drafted Davis Mills are the only other options currently on the roster.
Expect the Texans to be one of the worst teams in the league this year and potentially on their way to a No. 1 overall draft pick in 2022. Therefore, the Jets should find a way to win their second consecutive game here.
Result: Win (4-7)
Week 13 — vs. Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 5, 1:00 p.m. ET
A 4-7 Jets team against a potentially struggling Eagles team won’t make for a highly anticipated matchup across the league, but it’ll be interesting to possibly witness two young quarterbacks battle it out.
Given the edge in experience, expect Jalen Hurts to outplay Wilson and put together a decent game against a Jets defense that may not fully come together in the first year of the new system.
Result: Loss (4-8)
Week 14 — vs. Saints, Sunday, Dec. 12, 1:00 p.m. ET
It’ll be an extremely difficult task for Zach Wilson and first-year head coach Robert Saleh to oust Sean Payton and a talented Saints team that’s made four straight postseasons.
Expect many to be taking New Orleans, who will likely be fighting for a playoff spot late in the season.
Result: Loss (4-9)
Week 15 — at Dolphins, Saturday, Dec. 18 or Sunday, Dec. 19, time TBA
One of the toughest things to do in sports is beat a team twice — I don’t believe the Jets will do so here.
Miami’s Brian Flores is a smart head coach; he’ll figure out what went wrong in the first matchup that led to the Dolphins dropping one to their division rivals.
Result: Loss (4-10)
Week 16 — vs. Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 26, 1:00 p.m. ET
Despite the fairly low expectations for either squad, this will be an extremely exciting matchup and one you’ll need to circle on your calendars.
Zach Wilson vs. Trevor Lawrence; the No. 2 overall draft pick vs. the only man selected before him.
Regardless of the star potential of Lawrence and the legendary head coach the Jaguars employ in Urban Meyer, I’m going to go with Wilson and the Jets here. Although the roster is young, it definitely carries potential, and I think you’ll start to see the talent come together by this Week 16 matchup.
Wilson will start off this “rivalry” 1-0.
Result: Win (5-10)
Week 17 — vs. Buccaneers, Sunday, Jan. 2, 1:00 p.m. ET
It’ll be tough for any team to defeat Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, let alone a young Jets squad.
I know I just said you’ll start to see New York come together late in the season, but if Tampa carries the momentum from last season late into the 2021 campaign, the defending Super Bowl champs should be able to achieve a Week 17 victory.
Result: Loss (5-11)
Week 18 — at Bills, Sunday, Jan. 9, 1:00 p.m. ET
In my opinion, the Bills and Chiefs will be fighting for the conference’s No. 1 seed and first-round bye as late as Week 18. Therefore, I don’t believe Buffalo will be resting its starters in the regular-season finale.
Expect guys like Josh Allen and 2020 All-Pro wideout Stefon Diggs to take part in this game, which will be bad news for Gang Green.
Result: Loss (5-12)