The New York Jets have managed to salvage a respectable record this season, but they wasted a golden opportunity with an incredibly easy schedule.
The New York Jets may have been given a raw deal when it came to injury luck in 2019, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone complaining about the schedule that they were dealt.
Not that anyone’s really talking about it now — or not that it really matters anymore — but the Jets were given a miraculously easy schedule this season. And at the end of the day, they squandered any opportunity to take advantage of their good fortune.
TeamRankings.com has a formula to determine the strength of schedule for each NFL team and unsurprisingly the Jets came in at dead last with a -2.5 modifier which was last by a sizable margin.
To put that in perspective, consider the fact that the gap between the 32nd-hardest schedule (the Jets) and the 31st-hardest schedule (the Miami Dolphins) is the same as the gap between the No. 10 and No. 22 teams.
The Jets had it easy this season, and yet they couldn’t do anything about it.
While their combined opponent’s record of 104-121 doesn’t seem to be too terrible, playing the Baltimore Ravens once and New England Patriots twice certainly doesn’t help out that win/loss ratio.
The Jets played six games this season against teams with a 5-10 record or worse. That included two against the Dolphins, and one against each of the Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, and Washington Redskins.
Still, the Jets went just 3-3 over those six games.
With a 6-9 record and a game against a Buffalo Bills team with nothing to play for looming in Week 17, it’s easy to think about how things could have been different if the Jets had won at least two of those three games.
They’d be fighting for a playoff spot on Sunday as opposed to just playing for pride for yet another season.
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Meanwhile, the Jets didn’t solely have it easy from a record standpoint. Not only were the teams they played bad, but they were all relatively local games.
The Jets traveled the least miles out of all 32 NFL teams this season covering just 6,730 miles throughout the year. That’s almost five times fewer miles than the league-leading Oakland Raiders traveled.
In fact, the Jets traveling schedule was so easy that they didn’t even leave the Eastern Time Zone a single time all season. Players didn’t have to worry about jet lag affecting their performance — they never left the time zone.
No other team in the NFL played all 16 of their games in the same time zone this season.
Yet, despite playing an abundance of subpar teams and barely having to travel to do so, the Jets are still only 6-9 on the season. Some view that as an accomplishment, but when looking at the cards they were dealt, it doesn’t seem as impressive.
The point is, the Jets’ path to the postseason this year was much easier than many could have imagined. And be it because of injuries, poor coaching, or just underperforming players, the Jets couldn’t capitalize.
And as a result, the 2019 season will forever be a what-could-have-been year.