Amidst the lowest of expectations heading into the 2017 season, the New York Jets actually put together a decent season. Of course, a decent season for them was going 5-11. But when some predicted that you might go winless, winning five games is a nice accomplishment. In any event, it was enough for Todd Bowles to keep his job despite back-to-back 5-11 seasons.
Of course, Bowles has his work cut out for him again in 2018. Once again, the Jets enter the season with a whole mess of questions to answer and the lowest of expectations. Can the Jets surprise people again and find their way into the playoff conversation or will they have to endure yet another losing campaign?
As expected, the Jets are at the bottom of the barrel in terms of Super Bowl odds at +15,000. With those odds, there is next to a 0% chance they shock the world and win it all. Meanwhile, the Jets are projected to match last year’s win total of five games. Only the Browns have a lower projection. If you believe that the Jets overachieved last season, it may be difficult to see them increasing their win total in 2018.
Part of the problem is that the team has no idea who will start at quarterback. Josh McCown was passable last year, but he’ll have competition from both Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater this season. Darnold will get a chance eventually, but perhaps not at the start of the season. Bridgewater, meanwhile, is an interesting case. His health remains a question two years after his devastating knee injury. However, prior to the injury, he was starting to look like a bonafide NFL starter, so who knows if he can still play at a high level.
Regardless of who’s at quarterback, the Jets have a couple intriguing wide receivers in Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson. Both have shown flashes of being quality starters, but neither has done it over an extended period of time. Veterans like Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor, and Andre Roberts should provide depth and experience should Enunwa and Anderson falter, although they obviously don’t hold the upside of the two younger receivers.
The running back situation is a little less exciting. Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell top the depth chart heading into the season. Both are capable and experienced runners, but neither is going to do a lot of damage without a competent offensive line in front of them. The Jets hope for some improvement up front with Brian Winters coming back healthy and Spencer Long signed to be an upgrade at the center position. However, the line as a whole looks to be average at best after being one of the worst in the league a year ago.
On the other side of the ball, the Jets were average last season and there’s little reason to think that will change this year. Leonard Williams is still around to anchor the defensive line, but he had just two sacks last season, so his productivity still leaves something to be desired. New York is also counting on third-round pick Nathan Shepherd to be an immediate difference maker at the other defensive end spot. The Jets also welcome back a mediocre set of linebackers that lack a true pass-rushing threat.
In the secondary, the Jets actually did make a significant upgrade, adding cornerback Trumaine Johnson. He will take on the no. 1 cornerback job, leaving Morris Claiborne for the other spot and Buster Skrine in the slot. That should make for a solid set of cornerbacks. Meanwhile, the safety tandem of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye both showed great promise last season as rookies. If each can take a step forward, the Jets could have the makings of one of the better defensive backfields in the NFL.
The quarterback position aside, the Jets have a rather average roster, and that’s if everyone stays healthy. Some of their younger players have star potential, but we’ve yet to that talent fully blossom. Without above-average play at the quarterback position, the Jets will struggle to find consistency. Unfortunately for the Jets, there are reasons to doubt that all three quarterbacks on the roster are ready to perform at a high level right now. Without it, this could be another long season.
|Sep 10||@ Detroit Lions||7:10 PM|
|Sep 16||Miami Dolphins||1:00 PM|
|Sep 20||@ Cleveland Browns||8:20 PM|
|Sep 30||@ Jacksonville Jaguars||1:00 PM|
|Oct 7||Denver Broncos||1:00 PM|
|Oct 14||Indianapolis Colts||1:00 PM|
|Oct 21||Minnesota Vikings||1:00 PM|
|Oct 28||@ Chicago Bears||1:00 PM|
|Nov 4||@ Miami Dolphins||1:00 PM|
|Nov 11||Buffalo Bills||1:00 PM|
|Nov 25||New England Patriots||1:00 PM|
|Dec 2||@ Tennessee Titans||4:05 PM|
|Dec 9||@ Buffalo Bills||1:00 PM|
|Dec 15||Houston Texans||4:30 PM|
|Dec 23||Green Bay Packers||1:00 PM|
|Dec 30||@ New England Patriots||1:00 PM|
When you go 5-11 in back-to-back seasons, there’s no such thing as an easy game or an easy schedule. That certainly holds true for the Jets in 2018, as they play seven games against teams that reached the playoffs last year. Naturally, there are a few games where they have a good chance to pick up a win. However, they should get accustomed to being the underdog most of the season.
Week 1: at Lions – Loss
Detroit’s Matthew Stafford is better than any of the quarterbacks on New York’s roster. He should have no problem outplaying any of them in the Monday night opener.
Week 2: vs Dolphins – Loss
The Jets try running the ball but don’t have much success. That enables the Miami pass rush to do some damage, helping the Dolphins pick up a win on the road.
Week 3: at Browns – Loss
This game’s on a Thursday night, so the Jets have a short week and they have to travel. That means a tired defense that Cleveland’s running game is able to gash for big plays in a battle of two of the worst teams in the league.
Week 4: at Jaguars – Loss
The Jets actually beat the Jaguars last season. But they have no such luck this season, as the Jacksonville defense is relentless, forcing the Jets into four turnovers.
Week 5: vs Broncos – Win
The Broncos lost to a previously winless Giants team around this time in the season last year, and they’ll do the same against the Jets. To be fair, this is Denver’s second east coast trip in three weeks, and the travel catches up to them in the second half.
Week 6: vs Colts – Loss
Once again, it doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback for the Jets, Andrew Luck is better. The Jets have a good secondary, but without enough of a pass rush, Luck is able to pick them apart.
Week 7: vs Vikings – Loss
This game is closer than you might think. However, Minnesota has a strong defense and a balanced offense, so they find a way to prevail on the road.
Week 8: at Bears – Loss
The Jets head to the Windy City thinking they have a real chance to win. However, Chicago’s defense proves too difficult and the Jets settle for another competitive loss.
Week 9: at Dolphins – Loss
If the Jets couldn’t beat the Dolphins at home, there’s a good chance they won’t be able to do it on the road.
Week 10: vs Bills – Win
The Bills aren’t sure of what they’re doing at quarterback this year any more than the Jets. Both defenses will play well, but it’s New York’s defense that scores a pick-six, which becomes the difference in the game.
Week 11: Bye
Week 12: vs Patriots – Loss
For Tom Brady and company, it doesn’t get any more routine than playing the Jets. The Patriots will win this game easily.
Week 13: at Titans – Loss
To their credit, the Jets aren’t giving up on the season and keep playing close games. However, the Titans are a little better on both sides of the ball.
Week 14: at Bills – Loss
The Bills are upset about losing to the Jets a few weeks ago, and so they leave nothing to chance here. Buffalo runs the ball down the throat of the Jets defense, eventually pulling away in a lopsided win.
Week 15: vs Texans – Loss
The cold weather makes Deshaun Watson a little uncomfortable, helping the Jets keep the game close. But against a solid defense, the Jets just can’t score enough points to get a win.
Week 16: vs Packers – Loss
The Jets struggle to put any pressure on Aaron Rodgers, and with all day to throw, he absolutely shreds New York’s secondary in a blowout.
Week 17: at Patriots – Loss
If the Patriots are resting their starters in anticipation for the playoffs, the Jets may have a chance in this game. But even that doesn’t guarantee the Jets springing the upset. A dreadful 2-14 season finally comes to an end, as does Bowles’ tenure with the Jets.