Could tough early season schedule doom 2016?
By Mark Kelly
It’s no secret the New York Jets have a very tough schedule in 2016 but could their brutal early slate of opponents doom the entire season?
If you are a long-suffering fan of the New York Jets, you can appreciate the actual moment of each season where you felt that the hope of reaching the postseason. As always with this franchise, hoisting that Vince Lombardi trophy would have to wait, once again, until NEXT season.
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For the 2016 Jets, that moment might come a lot sooner than it has in previous seasons thanks to a brutal first six games of the season. So let’s take a deeper look at what we are dealing with here.
Now, the first thing I want to say is I don’t like to write articles about games that we don’t know who we are playing yet. Overall it’s fine to look at opponents, which I’m obviously doing, but not to break down individual matchups before the 53-man rosters are set, not to mention if there were injuries.
Here are their opponents in the first six weeks:
at Buffalo Bills
at Kansas City Chiefs
at Pittsburgh Steelers
at Arizona Cardinals
(*Before I start, in breaking this down I use the term .500 or better at the time of the game or when the season ended. That means exactly what it says. For instance, last season the Jets lost to the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders finished the season 7-9, but were .500 when they played the Jets (3-3). On the flip side of that, in 2011, the Jets lost a game to the Philadelphia Eagles who were 6-8 at the time of the game but finished the season 8-8. That is the fairest way to gauge teams during each individual season.)
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Let’s start with the fact that five of those teams won at least 10 games last season.
In the last two seasons, the Jets are 3-16 against teams that were .500 or better at the time of their game or when that season ended.
Next thing is let’s look at the fact that four of those six games are on the road.
Going back to 2011, the Jets are 4-22 against teams that were .500 or better at the time of their game or when that season ended.
Three of those wins came against the Miami Dolphins, while the other was against the Bills. Looking at that note a little deeper, three of those road games are against non-division opponents. The Jets have lost 16 straight non-division road games against teams that were .500 at the time of their game or when that season ended.
The last win for the Jets under those circumstances was when they won against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15 of the 2010 season, 22-17 (to be fair the Jets also defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 Wild Card Game on the road, but we are talking about regular season games only).
Looking a little deeper, the Jets play the Cardinals – an NFC team – on the road in Week 6. The Jets have lost eight straight and 12 of their last 13 against NFC teams that had a winning record at the time of their game or when that season ended (2006 they won 38-10 against the Green Bay Packers who were 4-7 at the time of their loss to the Jets, but finished that season 8-8).
No one likes to be a Debbie Downer, especially when preseason hopes are so high. However, let’s be reasonable and something most NFL fans aren’t – realistic. If the Jets recent history is this poor against top-notch competition, what is the absolute best case scenario we can expect out of the Jets?
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The one thing that the Jets have going for them right now, is that no one really knows what a team will be playing like when the season gets under way. Perhaps one of these teams for some inexplicable reason gets off to a poor start. However, that is unlikely. The Jets can however, control how they play, and if this team is going to be one that fans can count on, and one that general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles are molding into a championship contender, then the schedule shouldn’t matter.