Oct 25, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches during the second half of a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
As the New York Jets prepare for the upcoming season, they will unlike last year, find themselves making the NFL Playoffs.
According to SB Nation, the New York Jets have the sixth most difficult strength of schedule in the NFL, based on the win-loss record of their opponents in 2015. Their opponents had a winning percentage of .531 in 2015, and they face 10 teams with a .500+ record. That’s tied with two other teams for most in the league.
Last season was amazing, the roller coaster ride gave fans hope. Unfortunately, the roller coaster was derailed in a Week 17 loss in Orchard Park.
The Jets have six of their eight road games before the Week 11 bye week. So, if they can get through that stretch, they should be bound for the NFL Playoffs.
Despite the tough schedule, the Jets gained some confidence in their 10-6 season in 2015. With a much more balance running attack, a more versatile passing game and an improved pass rush, their team is better this season than last. Let’s look at the 2016 season.
Next: History on the side of the Jets
November 22, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) and quarterback Andy Dalton (14) before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Week 1 vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the teams on the schedule that finished .500+ in 2015. However, their opponents winning percentage in 2015 was .490.
Also, between Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium, the Bengals are 2-11 (eight consecutive losses) all-time against the Jets on the road. So, be careful before you pencil this as a loss.
This Bengals team is good, but history is on the Jets’ side. With that said, expect a low-scoring defensive battle in Week 1.
The Jets’ much improved pass rush and their defense’s back end will lead to one or two turnovers.
Prediction: Bengals 14, Jets 17
Next: Avenging playoff elimination
Nov 23, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan walks the sidelines against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Week 2 @ Buffalo Bills
The Jets lost twice to the Buffalo Bills in 2015, with both games having a final score of 22-17. The Bills have also won five straight against Gang Green and four in-a-row at Orchard Park.
The Jets had issues with turnovers in both games, turning the ball over five times against Buffalo (two at MetLife and three at Ralph Wilson). The Bills were able to key on wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, because the Jets didn’t have any other viable targets in the receiving corps.
Quarterback Geno Smith also has a much stronger arm than Ryan Fitzpatrick, which can allow the Jets to attack the Bills’ defense down the field. Expect the Jets’ pass rush to be able to get to quarterback Tyrod Taylor as well.
Head coach Rex Ryan added fuel to the fire this season by signing defensive tackle Leger Douzable. The Jets are seeking revenge and expect them to bring the heat.
Prediction: Bills 21, Jets 34
Next: A tough place to win
Jan 3, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders entertain the fans during the second half against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Week 3 @ Kansas City Chiefs
In 2014, Arrowhead Stadium set the world record for loudest stadium. The 142.2 decibel recording was proof that fans of the Kansas City Chiefs are amazing, and they give them an amazing home-field advantage.
The Jets were 4-4 on the road in 2015. The Chiefs also have a great running game, but the Jets were also good against the run in 2015.
It becomes a strength against strength battle, and it appears to be even. So it becomes a battle of quarterbacks.
The Chiefs have the slight edge due to the experience of quarterback Alex Smith, but the Jets have the better receivers. With that said, Arrowhead will be the key difference in this game.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Jets 24
Next: Sweet justice for sarcastic video
Week 4 vs. Seattle Seahawks
The public relations department of the Seattle Seahawks made this video, and although it may be tongue-in-cheek, it will undoubtedly light a fire in their opponents. This definitely includes the Jets.
Seattle has always had trouble coming to the New York metropolitan area. They are a combined 8-11 against the Jets and the New York Giants on the road, including five straight road losses against the Jets, and they haven’t won against the Jets on the road since October 25, 1981.
The Jets have a much improved defense and running game. This favors the Jets, as the Seahawks’ running game is slightly diminished with the retirement of Marshawn Lynch.
The Jets’ offense will be fueled and propelled by the this video as Seattle is going to wish they hadn’t put that out this offseason.
Predicition: Jets 31, Seahawks 14
Next: Tough game at The Big Ketchup
Dec 20, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes the ball against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Week 5 @ Pittsburgh Steelers
ESPN’s Chris Berman refers to Heinz Field as “The Big Ketchup”. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the old Three Rivers Stadium or Heinz Field, Pittsburgh has been a house of horrors for the Jets.
The Jets made their first trip to Pittsburgh on November 8, 1970. Since then, they have a 1-9 record in Pittsburgh with the only win coming on December 19, 2010.
Both teams like to grind out games. With that said, both teams have strong-armed quarterbacks, and with the Jets drafting Charone Peake, both teams have speedy threats at wide receiver.
Despite good defenses on both sides, we could see a shootout in Pittsburgh. However, don’t expect history to change its course here.
Prediction: Jets 31, Steelers 35
Next: Winning Streak on the Line
Dec 10, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) in the first quarter at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Week 6 @ Arizona Cardinals
The Jets have played the Arizona Cardinals eight times all-time. The Jets have made three trips to St. Louis and Phoenix, winning both trips to Phoenix and have won six straight overall against the Cardinals.
The Jets improved their running game during the offseason, as they re-signed Bilal Powell and added Matt Forte plus Khiry Robinson. With that said, the Cardinals only allowed 3.9 yards per carry in 2015 and nine touchdowns.
Their passing defense was just as stellar. They allowed 24 passing touchdowns, which tied for 11th fewest in the league.
The Jets may have to be ball-hawking like they were in 2015 to win this one. Unfortunately, the Cardinals probably won’t be apt to turning the football over.
Prediction: Jets 21, Cardinals, 31
Next: One of their toughest opponents
Jun 14, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; A general view of the Baltimore Ravens logo painted on the hill outside the Under Armour Performance Center prior to the start of mini camp. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Week 7 vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996, and the Jets have played the Ravens nine times. The Jets won their first meeting, but have lost eight straight since.
The Ravens finished the season 5-11 in 2015, but don’t let that record fool you. According to Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com, they had 19 players end up on injured reserve by season’s end.
With that said, the Jets have a better defense and running game than Baltimore. They should be able to control the clock and attack that team through the air when necessary.
Expect this game to not even be close.
Prediction: Ravens 17, Jets 34
Next: A visit to the Dawg Pound
Aug 13, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Dawg Pound flag after a touchdown during the first quarter of preseason NFL football game against the Washington Redskins at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Week 8 @ Cleveland Browns
Cleveland hasn’t been kind to the Jets. The franchise has made 16 trips to Cleveland, and they have a 6-10 all-time record there, even though they have alternated losses and wins in the last 12 trips.
The Jets last trip to Cleveland resulted in a win, but they have won three straight against the Browns. They have kicked Johnny Manziel to the curb and the beginning of the Robert Griffin III era in 2016.
The Jets’ defense needs to step up and shut down Cleveland like they did last season. They should roll over Cleveland, even with their bad history there.
Griffin is no longer the quarterback he used to be, and there’s no reason to expect much improvement from Cleveland this year. Expect a big win.
Prediciton: Jets 31, Browns 13
Next: A tough division opponent
Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) in Game 12 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Week 9 @ Miami Dolphins
The Jets have played the Miami Dolphins in 49 true road games (not including last season’s game in London) since their days in the American Football League. Despite being outscored 1038-1028 in those games, they are 25-23-1 all-time in Miami.
Since the Dolphins drafted quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the Jets haven’t lost in Miami (3-0). That bodes well for the Jets.
Tannehill has improved, but not enough to be able to get by this defense. The Jets will also be able to attack this Dolphins defense through the air.
The games in 2015 weren’t close. Don’t expect 2015 to be any different.
Prediction: Jets 31, Dolphins 17
Next: LA vs. NY
Jun 1, 2016; Oxnard, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) and quarterback Jared Goff (16) at organized team activities at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Week 10 vs. LA Rams
According to Joe Mahoney of The Mile High Report, since 1966 and up until last season, West coast teams were 253-281-4 when traveling to the East coast. With that being said, the Jets are only 3-4 against the Rams at home all-time.
This year they will be facing a rookie quarterback, and they have a hungry defense looking to get to the quarterback. The Jets’ defense forced 30 turnovers last season, and this is the game where they can expect to get plenty of them.
If they get the turnovers they can expect, they can get the Rams’ defense on their heels. The short fields can lead to some scoring opportunities for the Jets.
The combination of a young quarterback, ball-hawking defense and quick-strike ability on offense lends itself to a win.
Prediction: Rams 20, Jets 31
Next: Heading into the bye week
Week 11 Bye
The Jets headed in their 2015 bye week at .750 (3-1), and their bye week came early due to playing in London. They finished 7-5, but they started with a stretch of losing four out of six games which included losing two games in a row twice.
The Jets go into their bye week with a 7-3 record, which should put them in prime position to get into the playoffs, especially with four of their last six games at home.
Next: Boston/New York rivalry renewed
Jan 16, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball in front of Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Ron Parker (38) during the first half in the AFC Divisional round playoff game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Week 12 vs. New England Patriots
Last season’s loss to the Jets was only the Patriots fifth loss to them on the road in the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era. However, four of the five have come in the last seven seasons.
The Jets’ defense swarmed over Tom Brady in that meeting. It ended in a fateful decision by the Patriots to decide to kick after winning the overtime coin toss, which led to a touchdown by the Jets.
The Jets will be coming off of a bye week in this one, which give them a slight edge. They will take any edge they can get against the hated Patriots.
Expect a hard fought, gritty battle into the latter stages of the fourth quarter. The Jets will prevail on defense with either a key sack or turnover.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Jets 27
Next: Another AFC North rematch from 2015
Nov 2, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) looks to pass the ball during the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Week 13 vs. Indianapolis Colts
Despite forcing five Colts turnovers in their 2015 match-up, the Jets only scored 20 points in a 13-point victory. Don’t expect five turnovers from the Colts in this game, and don’t expect the Jets to only score 20 points.
Expect the Colts to turn the ball over two or three times against this defense. You should also expect the Jets to do more with those turnovers, to the tune of at least two touchdowns.
By the end of this game, Luck might be looking for his mouth piece, because he will be taking a pounding. This game won’t be close at all,
Prediction: Colts 10, Jets 34
Next: Another house of horrors for the Jets
Jun 8, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly during minicamp at the San Francisco 49ers Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Week 14 @ San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco is another place the Jets only have one win, with a 1-5 record. This game is actually primed for a let down.
The Jets will come in cruising having won six straight games after back-to-back losses in Weeks 4 & 5. The Jets may also have trouble containing quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Chip Kelly fast-paced offense.
This is just a match-up nightmare for the Jets. It will show in this game.
Smith will light up the 49ers’ defense as well, but it won’t be enough in this shootout. The Jets’ history in San Francisco will rear its ugly head again.
Predicition: Jets 31, 49ers 34
Next: Division opponent looking to play spoiler?
Jan 3, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) throws a pass again the New England Patriots during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 20-10. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Week 15 vs. Miami Dolphins
This is eerily similar to 2015, but the difference is that the Jets will control their own destiny, because they face three division opponents. Brady is out for the first four games and that means the Jets may still be in the hunt for the AFC East crown with nine wins going into their Week 15 tilt with the Dolphins.
The Dolphins will want to play spoiler here, but unfortunately for them they just don’t have the horses to do so. The Jets are miles ahead of the Dolphins, despite the “quarterback issue.”
The Jets will take advantage of the Dolphins’ secondary again and this game won’t even be close. The Jets will be able to rest some of their starters late in this game.
Prediction: Dolphins 13, Jets 34
Next: Revenge or sweep?
Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks the sideline during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Patriots 26-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Week 16 @ New England Patriots
Since the infamous napkin incident, “I resign as HC of the NYJ,” head coach Bill Belichick has howled over the Jets. With that being said, Gang Green has played the Pats tough in New England.
Despite a 6-12 record in New England over that time-span (a better record than at home), the Jets have only had an average margin of defeat of five points, a total of 417-327 in 18 games. That includes a 28-21 playoff victory.
Since linebacker Mo Lewis injured quarterback Drew Bledsoe and effectively began this dynasty, none of their current division opponents have swept a season series with the Patriots, and Brady will be looking to avenge the early season loss. The Jets’ swarming defense will make it tough on Brady.
With that said, Brady will eek out a win to split the season series with the Jets.
Prediction: Jets 24, Patriots 27
Next: Win-and-in scenario again
Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Week 17 vs. Buffalo Bills
This will be some serious déjà vu. The Jets are going into Week 17, with a 10-5 record, and against the Bills with the playoffs on the line.
There will be two significant differences: Rex Ryan will be a lame-duck coach, and it’s at MetLife Stadium. Also, the Jets may be playing for the AFC East title.
Knowing he’s going to be fired, Ryan wouldn’t want anything more than to stick it to the Jets for the second straight season. Unfortunately, the Jets won’t have a quarterback who turns the ball over three times, and this game won’t even be close.
The Bills will be the ones committing turnovers, and Ryan’s head coaching career will end with a whimper, and he will ironically have to walk away silently. The Jets will exact revenge on the Bills for 2015 and sweep them and carry the momentum straight into the playoffs.
Prediction: Bills 17, Jets 41