There is and always will be a chance to surprise critics
By Bobby Kirschenbaum
As the New York Jets prepare for what could be their worst season in franchise history, there is and always will be a chance to surprise.
It would be an understatement to say that this year’s New York Jets team is in full-on tank mode, preparing for a top, if not the top, pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. However, despite dropping a surplus of veterans from last year’s roster, and suffering quite a few injuries, these Jets, unfortunately, have a schedule that just might allow them to muster up a few victories. As much as Jets’ fans including myself might not want to believe it, this year’s team could very well win over five games and put themselves at a mid-round pick, just like the last couple of years.
Let’s start with the division. No, I’m not talking about the New England Patriots, because I believe that team, with the addition of Brandin Cooks and very few key pieces lost in the offseason, will return to the Super Bowl. However, the Buffalo Bills are also tanking, demonstrating that with the recent shocker trade of Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams, so one, maybe even both of the contests with them could be victories. Finally, the Miami Dolphins, with Ryan Tannehill out for the season and Jay Cutler in, I believe the Jets will win one of the two games against them. From the AFC East games, the Jets could possibly win 3 games.
Week 4 and Week 5, the Jets have games against debatably the two worst teams in the league other than themselves. First, they have a home game against the putrid Jacksonville Jaguars, whose starting quarterback job is just as much an enigma as it is in the Jets’ very own locker room. Could it really be Chad Henne? Either way, the Jets’ defense is strong enough to cause turnovers, wreck havoc and win the game against Jacksonville.
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Then, who but the Cleveland Browns travels to New York. The Browns have been searching for their franchise quarterback for over a decade now and also have no key pieces to lead the team. They traded for Brock Osweiler, drafted Deshone Kizer and kept Cody Kessler.
Although they had a very productive draft, gaining Myles Garrett No. 1 overall, Michigan star Jabrill Peppers at 25 and tight end David Njoku from Miami, this team is far from being a contender. So, as hard of a pill as it is to swallow, these two weeks could easily be victories for Gang Green.
Every team in the league has trap games, games where the heavily favored team goes down. And I believe there are two games on the schedule that the Jets could emerge victorious as the underdog. The first one comes in Week 11 when Cam Newton and the Panthers come to New York. Sure, the Panthers made the Super Bowl just two years ago, but this team has its problems with injuries and a defense that was pretty unproductive following the departure of Josh Norman. I think the Jets win this game in a close one.
Following that game, the next victory I see falls just two weeks later, when the Jets travel to Denver. This one is going to be a battle of the defenses, but I think the Jets defensive line gets enough pressure to cause Trevor Siemian to turn the ball over. Veteran Josh McCown leads the Jets over the young Broncos quarterback and Gang Green steal this one in a close, low-scoring battle. Another unfortunate win for the Jets.
Finally, the last Jets victory I see for the 2017 season arrives Week 16, a home game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Although the Chargers have some young talent, like rising star Melvin Gordon and rookie Mike Williams, the team has just as many problems around the board as the Jets do. While both teams will struggle this season, I think the home field advantage at MetLife does just enough to help the Jets win their home game finale before taking off for New England and getting demolished.
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If all of these victories fall into place, the Jets somehow finish their season at 8-8, which would be a disaster heading into the NFL Draft and would have fans extremely disappointed. While Roger Goodell would like nothing better than to see the Jets fail at tanking, this team needs the highest pick possible next year, and another .500 season would put the Jets in the middle of the pack, not indicative of the talent this roster lacks and desperately needs.
I am a diehard Jets fan and only wish to see them succeed year in and year out, but for this one season, I think most true fans would agree: the team needs young talent in the draft to contend in the future.
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