The regular season is upon us as the New York Jets prepare for a long journey ahead. Here are final predictions for every game they’ll be a part of in 2017.
With the start of the NFL season finally here, it’s time to see what the New York Jets are made of. After a disappointing 2016 season, the Jets choose to go in a different direction and parted ways with what felt like every veteran player from last year’s team.
Expectations are at an all-time low for the Jets, and many believe head coach Todd Bowles will be fired after the season and that their quarterback of the future isn’t on the roster. Owner Woody Johnson confirmed that this season will be judged on progression, not the final wins and losses column.
Whatever transpires at season’s end remains to be seen but expect to see these Jets fight and claw for anything positive all season long. There still remains an entire season’s worth of football games to be played and like always, anything can happen on game day.
Taking all of the above into account let’s take a look at the Jets 2017 regular season schedule, and break down how I believe they’ll fare this upcoming season. I’ll also break down who will be starting under center and why, since it’s been and will always be the hottest topic of conversation whenever anyone talks about the Jets.
Next: Week 1: @ Buffalo Bills 1:00 PM
Week 1: @ Buffalo Bills 1:00 PM
For the first time in seven years, the Jets will begin the regular season on the road with a divisional match up against the Buffalo Bills. Much like the Jets, the Bills are in a bit of their own rebuild. Former Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has replaced Rex Ryan as the teams head coach.
2016 was a dismal one for Gang Green, but two of their brightest moments came against Buffalo as they swept the season series in style winning 37-31 in Week 2 and closing out the season with a 30-10 beat down. While most of the Jets roster is overturned with young guys taking over, I’ll be a homer and say the Jets steal a Week 1 win in up in Orchard Park.
Prediction: Jets 20 Bills 17
Despite that the Jets are rebuilding, Bowles knows his job is on the line and wants to get his team off to a good start. Starting veteran Josh McCown against the Bills over the inexperienced Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty will likely give the Jets the best chance to steal a Week 1 win.
Next: Week 2: @ Oakland Raiders 4:25 PM
Week 2: @ Oakland Raiders 4:25 PM
Flying high after their Week 1 victory over the Bills, the Jets travel cross country to face the Oakland Raiders in the black hole. A black day it will likely be for the Jets regardless of who starts at quarterback.
The Raiders boast a strong defense lead by star pass rusher Khalil Mack who will without a doubt spend plenty of time wreaking havoc in the Jets backfield. McCown will likely be forced into some early turnovers leading to easy points for the Raiders talented offense. Led by their quarterback Derek Carr, the Raiders have talent across the board with two big time wide receivers and a backfield that now features Marshawn Lynch.
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree form one of the best 1-2 tandems in the league and will be too much for the Jets secondary. I said I was a homer for picking the Jets to beat the Bills but I’d be delusional to pick the Jets defeating the high powered Raiders.
Prediction: Raiders 34 Jets 14
It would make no sense to bench your starting quarterback after a Week 1 victory. However, McCown’s struggles against the Raiders are sure to put him on notice and raise a few eyebrows. Another poor performance and the chants for Hackenberg to get a chance will be heard loud and clear.
Next: Week 3: VS Miami Dolphins 1:00 PM
Week 3: VS Miami Dolphins 1:00 PM
After splitting the first two games, the Jets take on the Miami Dolphins in their home opener. Coming off their best season in eight years, I think the Dolphins are in for a regression but they should be good enough to beat the bad teams. That’s exactly what the Jets are, unfortunately.
The Dolphins swept the season series last year and embarrassed the Jets on national TV in front of their home fans in Week 15. This will be a defensive battle won by whichever team turns the football over less. Quarterback Jay Cutler and company will put up just enough points to get by the Jets in a tight one.
Prediction: Dolphins 23 Jets 20
McCown remains the guy under center for now but his seat is getting warmer and warmer with every rough outing. The Jets want to ease Hackenberg in and starting him against a defensive line that features stars in Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake would be a tall order for the second year pro to make his debut in.
Next: Week 4: VS Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 PM
Week 4: VS Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 PM
After back to back losses, the Jets will look to right the ship when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars for a Week 4 showdown.
Every year the Jaguars seem to be a sleeper team poised to break out but every season they remain at the bottom of their division with one of the worst records in the league. Coming off a 3-13 season in which their quarterback Blake Bortles had his worst year as a pro, expectations have tampered.
Bortles has been a turnover machine throughout his career and if the Jets defensive line can put some pressure on him they should be able to force a couple of takeaways. The addition of Leonard Fournette will certainly help a run game that ranked 22nd in all of football last season. It should help take some of the pressure off of Bortles.
Still, I expect the Jets to do just enough to pull one out, snap their modest two-game losing streak, and even up their record.
Prediction: Jets 20 Jaguars 17
Despite two straight losses entering play, the Jets won’t be ready to pull the plug on the season quite yet especially with a winnable game against a mediocre Jacksonville squad. Even despite the win, fans will remain restless for a call to the bullpen.
Next: Week 5: @ Cleveland Browns 1:00 PM
Week 5: @ Cleveland Browns 1:00 PM
At 2-2, the Jets should be feeling pretty good about their early season start and will have a chance to jump back over .500 when they travel up to Cleveland to face the Browns.
The Jets managed to outlast the Browns last season after trailing 20-7 at halftime. This time around it will be McCown that coughs up the ball late, ruining the Jets chances of winning their second game in a row.
With two offenses that are likely to struggle this season going at it, we will probably end up witnessing a low scoring affair that surely won’t feature too many highlight reel plays.
Prediction: Browns 17 Jets 13
With a chance to possibly steal their third win of the season from a lousy Browns team, McCown will once again be the starting quarterback. However, after another game filled with mistakes and blown opportunities, his days under center will now be numbered. With an upcoming schedule that features New England, Miami, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay, reality will begin to sink in for Bowles. It’s time to start evaluating Petty and Hackenberg to take over.
Next: Week 6: VS New England Patriots 1:00 PM
Week 6: VS New England Patriots 1:00 PM
After an ugly loss to the lowly Browns, the Jets come home licking their wounds with who else waiting for them but the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
Coming off their fifth title under Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots look to have only gotten stronger with the addition of deep threat Brandin Cooks at wide receiver and former colt Dwayne Allen (who burned the Jets for three touchdowns in a Monday night game last season) joining the mix at tight end.
The Jets may keep things respectable for a while and will definitely show plenty of fight but in the end, they don’t have nearly enough talent to put any kind of a real scare into the Patriots.
Prediction: Patriots 35 Jets 17
Despite McCown’s struggles, the Jets don’t want to destroy the confidence of Hackenberg or Petty by getting embarrassed against the Patriots. Due to that reason alone, McCown will be the starter. But with the game well out of hand by halftime, McCown will be benched and Hackenberg or Petty will surely get some work in during mop up duty.
Next: Week 7: @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 PM
Week 7: @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 PM
After getting embarrassed by the Patriots, the Jets will head down to South Beach for another divisional match up with Miami Dolphins. It was only three weeks earlier that the Dolphins handed the Jets a disappointing loss and I expect a similar result this time around.
Gang Green will hang around for a half or so, but their tired defense will cave late and the Dolphins will capitalize and use a few late scores to put the game out of reach. The victory gives the Dolphins another season sweep of the Jets and will send them to their third straight loss.
Prediction: Dolphins 24 Jets 14
With the season spiraling out of control, the Jets will finally make a quarterback change. Not ready to fully unleash Hackenberg quite yet, Petty will make his first start of the season.
The third year pro out of Baylor will show off his strong arm but his poor accuracy and decision making will come back to bite him far too often. With McCown now riding the bench, there’s no sense going back to the 38-year-old for any reason which means Hackenberg will be locked in as the backup. The Jets will hope Petty can improve upon his first start until Hackenberg is finally ready for the bright lights.
Next: Week 8: VS Atlanta Falcons 1:00 PM
Week 8: VS Atlanta Falcons 1:00 PM
With the Jets in the midst of a three game slide, things will only get harder as the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons visit town.
With Petty now the starter, defensive guru Dan Quinn will be able to dial up some plays and techniques that will have the youngster off his game all afternoon. Not to mention the Falcons owned the most prolific offenses in the league year and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Lead by the strong right arm of quarterback Matt Ryan, the Jets will have trouble containing perhaps the most explosive receiver in the NFL, Julio Jones. Petty and the Jets will give it all they got but a late comeback will fall short ending in another disheartening loss.
Prediction: Falcons 28 Jets 24
As mentioned before, McCown’s days as the starter are long over. Petty will get the first crack at replacing him, and he deserves more than just a few looks. However, after his second straight sub par performance, Petty will officially be on the hot seat.
Now at 2-6, the feel around the Jets will be that the competitive part of the season is over and fans will want management to take a look at Hackenberg. With still half a season left, there will be plenty of time for the Jets to evaluate Hackenberg and see if there’s anything worth holding out hope for. But the Jets will pull the trigger and announce another quarterback change heading into Thursday Night Football.
Next: Week 9: VS Buffalo Bills 8:30 PM
Week 9: VS Buffalo Bills 8:30 PM
When the Jets host the Buffalo Bills in Week 9, it will be their first and only prime time game of the season. Similar to the Jets, I expect the Bills to be suffering through a rough transition season of their own. The only difference is Tyrod Taylor has plenty of experience as a starting quarterback where as the Jets newest experiment in Hackenberg will be making his NFL debut.
That’s right, desperate to energize the fan base, the Jets will finally hand the reigns over to Hackenberg. It would be naive to think there won’t be a learning curve for Hackenberg at first especially when going up against a defensive minded head coach in Sean McDermott.
It will be a low scoring game decided by whichever team makes the big mistake late. I’ll bet on Taylor and the Bills to take better care of the ball down the stretch and come away with the victory.
Prediction: Bills 23 Jets 17
With the Jets engulfed in a four-game losing streak, the leadership regime will decide to give Hackenberg his final chance. Ready or not, the Penn State product will take center stage under the lights from here on out.
Next: Week 10: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 PM
Week 10: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 PM
After 10 days off, the Jets will be back in action against a Buccaneers team that looks poised to end their nine-year playoff drought. With Jameis Winston now entering his third year, DeSean Jackson joining Mike Evans at wide receiver, and rookie OJ Howard taking over at tight end, the Buccaneers should have one of the most explosive offenses in the league this year. Add in a young defense that made significant strides late last season and Tampa has all the pieces needed to contend.
Much like his first start, Hackenberg will once again be up against a tough team and will be unable to find any kind of rhythm. The defense will be on the field far too often and will eventually break down in the second half. Patience will continue to be preached but the Jets will be in for a long day down in the sunshine state.
Prediction: Buccaneers 31 Jets 14
Hackenberg needs time to develop and experience is the only thing that will allow him to do so. As long as he’s healthy, he will remain the starting quarterback from here on out.
Week 11: Bye
The Jets will enter their bye week on a six-game losing streak with very little to play but pride down the stretch of the season. The last six weeks will be all about evaluating young talent, especially Hackenberg. The job status of Bowles will be hanging in the balance and how hard the Jets play down the stretch despite their poor record will go a long way in determining his fate.
Lackluster efforts like the ones from a year ago against Indianapolis, Miami, and New England will be tough for Bowles to survive. It will up to him to make sure that he keeps the locker room loose and the guys playing hard.
Having a roster full of unproven talent may actually serve the Jets well as they won’t have to worry about having a group of veterans mailing it in the last several weeks. But losing gets old and it’s critical that Bowles makes sure he has a pulse on each and every one of his players this time around.
Next: Week 12: VS Carolina Panthers 1:00 PM
Week 12: VS Carolina Panthers 1:00 PM
The Jets will come out of the bye week looking to end their losing streak against a Panthers team that made a run to the Super Bowl just two years ago. The Hackenberg experiment will continue and his confidence should begin to gain some steam the more work he gets in with the first team offense.
Meanwhile, Carolina will be looking to turn around what was a disappointing 2016 season. The Jets defense will have their hands full trying to contain the likes of Cam Newton and all the various weapons he now has at his disposal.
I think the Jets will be able to steal at least one game coming down the stretch of the season but the Panthers will be clicking on all cylinders. Ultimately, they’ll be too much to handle for the Jets.
Prediction: Panthers 24 Jets 16
Hackenberg will only get better the more experience he earns. Until he’s able to put everything together, expect a lot of growing pains.
Next: Week 13: VS Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 PM
Week 13: VS Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 PM
With a seven-game losing streak hanging over them, the Jets will host the Kansas City Chiefs who are a team that looks primed for another playoff run. The Chiefs made a surprise move in this year’s draft trading up to the 10th spot to select Texas A&M gunslinger Patrick Mahomes. Alex Smith will remain the starter to begin the season but by the time they head to MetLife Stadium in early December, it’s possible Smith will have passed the torch along to Mahomes.
Regardless of who starts, the Chiefs will have too much on the line to lose to the undermanned Jets who will continue to start their own young signal caller in Hackenberg. The Chiefs should have no problem rebounding for an easy win stretching the Jets losing streak to eight.
Prediction: Chiefs 30 Jets 17
Losing is a part of football but streaks like this can make the team unbearable to watch. Either way, it’s worth tuning in for fans that don’t mind seeing the younger players of the Jets develop right before their very eyes.
Next: Week 14: @ Denver Broncos 1:00 PM
Week 14: @ Denver Broncos 1:00 PM
The Jets and Hackenberg will travel out to Mile High looking to put an end to their eight game losing streak which is their longest since 2014. Much like the Jets, the Broncos will likely be starting second year pro Paxton Lynch at quarterback for much of the season.
With Trevor Siemian the only other alternative on the roster, Lynch has an excellent chance of being a decent quarterback. The new look secondary of the Jets is filled with lots of young players that, unfortunately, will get picked apart by the Broncos offense.
Sports Authority field is widely known for being one of the loudest and most difficult stadiums to play in. The high altitude also provides some problems, but the biggest problem for Hackenberg and the Jets will be Denver’s ball hawking secondary. With Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders still one of the best wide receiver duos in league, Lynch and company will also make their fair share of big plays en route to a blowout win over the Jets.
Prediction: Broncos 31 Jets 13
The reality of the situation here is, just like everyone predicted, the Jets were a bad team heading into the regular season and will not have the necessary talent to compete with the tough teams they’ll be facing. If anything, they’re sacrificing this season in favor of a brighter future by giving as many young players as they can opportunities the majority wouldn’t find elsewhere.
Next: Week 15: @ New Orleans Saints 1:00 PM
Week 15: @ New Orleans Saints 1:00 PM
After a less than stellar effort in Denver, the Jets will look to turn things around down in the big easy when they take on future Pro Football Hall of Famer Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. This will be a great opportunity for Hackenberg and the Jets offense to air it out and hopefully get things going. The Saints have been one of the worst defenses in the league the last several years and it doesn’t look like their fortunes are gonna change anytime soon.
The Saints do however have a very explosive offense and will attack a porous Jets secondary all day long. Hackenberg will have his best day as a pro but it still won’t be enough to push the Jets over the hump. Baby steps will be made, and although there are no moral victories, the Jets will finally see signs that maybe Hackenberg is heading in the right direction.
Prediction: Saints 35 Jets 31
It’s important to remember that just because Petty had one strong preseason game, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the franchise quarterback the Jets are looking for. All accounts point that the Jets want a real sample out of Hackenberg to determine if he’s the quarterback to build around for the future.
Next: Week 16: VS Los Angeles Chargers 1:00 PM
Week 16: VS Los Angeles Chargers 1:00 PM
The Jets will be looking to build off a strong offensive performance when they head home for their last game at MetLife Stadium against the Los Angles Chargers. The Chargers look to be much improved on both sides of the football this season and should contend for a playoff spot.
Its been 11 weeks since the Jets last won a football game but they’ve been playing hard for Bowles and have been in every game for the most part. As previously mentioned, I expect the Jets to steal a game down the stretch of the season and this is their last real opportunity with a trip to New England looming next week.
Hackenberg will build off his strong showing against the Saints but it will be the defense that leads the Jets to an upset win over the Chargers. Believe it or not, the Jets will deliver a knockout punch to their playoff hopes.
Prediction: Jets 21 Chargers 17
It’s shocking but the Jets have always been a team that tends to lose “easy” games but then show up and execute close to perfect football in “hard” ones. This will be quite the shocker towards the season finale in New England.
Next: Week 17: @ New England Patriots 1:00 PM
Week 17: @ New England Patriots 1:00 PM
The Jets will end their season with a trip to Foxborough where they haven’t won a regular season game in nine years. The Jets played spoiler last week by beating the Chargers but their Week 17 match up with the Patriots will likely have no meaning.
New England will probably be locked into the number one or number two seed in the playoffs and will likely use this game as a chance to rest their key players. If that’s the case, then the Jets will have little to get up for and it could be an ugly end to an all and all ugly season for Gang Green.
Hackenberg will come back to Earth and end his season on a bit of a down note as his struggles to find consistency simply never came to fruition. It simply wouldn’t be fitting for this to be the year that the Jets break their long losing streak at Gillette Stadium so don’t bet on it. While it won’t be quite as bad as last years 41-3 laughter on Christmas Eve, it will be another poor showing against a Patriots team that’s light years better.
Prediction: Patriots 30 Jets 10
As many of us expect, 2017 will be a rough one for the Jets. The hope is that their young players can take their lumps and learn from these real game experiences. If the Jets are able to develop five or six young guys for the future, even if quarterback isn’t one of them, then they’ve made the best of an awful team and survived the season okay.
Unfortunately, I don’t see Bowles surviving a 3-13 season complied with a lengthy 10-game losing streak. Bowles will be sent his walking papers at the conclusion of the season and the Jets will once again be searching for a new head coach in the coming weeks. Maccagnan will officially be on the hot seat as he enters an extremely pivotal offseason in which he must improve the roster from top to bottom. Obviously and as always the common theme every year with the Jets, it all starts and ends at quarterback.