Football is getting closer and closer, ladies and gentlemen. For anyone who missed it, the schedule was released last night for the 2014 regular season. We know what the new year has in store for Rex Ryan and company, click here to see our post of the schedule from last night.
I know there is a lot of time before we take the field for week one. The roster is not nearly ready to take the field, and as it gets closer, we will analyze the schedule with more detail.
But, for now, we are going to look at the schedule and take some initial thoughts. We will break it down by quarters, looking at the schedule in four parts. Let’s get right to it:
FIRST QUARTER: VS RAIDERS, AT PACKERS, VS BEARS (MON NIGHT), VS LIONS
This will be an interesting opening stretch. It will be a true litmus test to show us how far the team has come. After opening against the Raiders, we get to see if the Jets can keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Obviously, the new and improved Jets’ offense will need to be working in all phases to stick with that team.
The next two, against NFC North opponents, are interesting too. The Bears are a team that the Jets can beat. The following week will likely pose an interesting matchup of Dee Milliner versus Calvin “Megatron” Johnson that will go far in determining the result of that one.
This stretch can go either way, with a 3-1 or 2-2 record, all the way down to nothing, and disaster.
SECOND QUARTER: AT CHARGERS, VS BRONCOS, AT PATRIOTS (THURS NIGHT), VS BILLS
This is, by far, the roughest stretch in the schedule. For three straight weeks, the Jets’ face top quarterbacks in Phillip Rivers, Peyton Manning, and then Tom Brady on a short week. They finish off in game number eight with the Bills at MetLife Stadium.
In looking at this group of games, we have to hope that the first quarter goes well, because this quarter has the potential for disaster. Can the defense keep the Jets in these games? Can the Jets score well enough to have a chance? If the Jets can’t answer yes to both of those, this quarter of the schedule could take the season a long way down the bowl.
THIRD QUARTER: AT CHIEFS, VS STEELERS, BYE WEEK, AT BILLS, VS DOLPHINS (MON NIGHT)
This quarter of the schedule is neatly broken up by the bye week. It starts with two tough games against the Steelers and Chiefs. Coming out of the bye, the Jets’ have a solid chance in the two games against the Bills and Dolphins respectively.
The Chiefs game will be interesting, watching Andy Reid go against his former offensive coordinator in Marty Mornhinweg. Pittsburgh and the Jets always play tough games, and we all know how things go in the battles of the AFC East. Will the team be hitting its stride here? Or will it be falling apart?
FOURTH QUARTER: AT VIKINGS, AT TITANS, VS PATRIOTS, AT DOLPHINS
The final quarter of this schedule is quite interesting. It starts with a winnable game in Minnesota, followed by Chris Johnson‘s homecoming against the Titans. It finishes with two final AFC East battles against New England and Miami.
If the team can get to this quarter of the schedule, and still be playing meaningful games, we will all be happy.
Overall, the schedule is similar to 2013 in that the first half is a lot tougher than the second half. The toughest part is the second half of the first quarter, and carrying through the entire second quarter of the schedule.
The Jets may be doing a great deal of treading water through this portion of the schedule. If they can do that, they might be able to set themselves up for success.