NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
The NY Jets are 0-9 and have seven games remaining on their 2020 schedule.
When the NY Jets‘ schedule was released in May, it was obvious the team had no easy path to winning games. Not only they had to endure a new-look AFC East, but the AFC West and NFC West were full of playoff-caliber teams. Right from the start, the Jets were facing an uphill climb.
Then came Week 1, and it quickly became clear that this would be a long season.
As the team is on their bye week, they sit at 0-9, on track not only for the No. 1 pick, but one of the worst seasons in NFL history.
The offense has been putrid, only scoring over 20 points twice. Being outscored by an average of 29.8-13.4 is almost a miracle given how long the defense is on the field every week.
Nevertheless, the team finally showed signs of life this past Monday against Cam Newton’s New England Patriots.
Despite blowing a 27-17 lead in the fourth quarter to lose 30-27, the offense moved the ball, in large part thanks to having all three starting receivers healthy for the first time this season.
Of course, as this team has shown, a lot can change week to week. Who knows whether or not quarterback Sam Darnold will be fully healthy coming off the bye or if all three wideouts will be healthy for him for the first time this season.
But one thing for sure is it is time to adjust expectations for the team’s remaining schedule. Here is what to expect from the Jets’ opponents over the next seven weeks.
Next: Week 11-12: Against the rookies
Week 11: NY Jets @ Los Angeles Chargers
Yes, the Los Angeles Chargers boast a 2-6 record. However, with every loss having come by one possession, Los Angeles remains one of the toughest beats in football.
And rookie quarterback Justin Herbert is the biggest reason why.
One of the top Rookie of the Year candidates, Herbert has taken the league by storm since taking over for Tyrod Taylor in Week 2. The sixth overall pick has 19 total touchdowns with only five interceptions this season.
Simply put, he has willed the Chargers to success despite poor blocking and a limping run game.
Defensively, the Chargers remain one of the better units in football. Just in the fourth quarter, the team as a whole has faltered, blowing leads, and being unable to capitalize late.
Luckily for the Chargers, the Jets have one of the worst second-half offenses in all of football. Unless the team comes out of their bye week playing all four quarters, the Chargers will be the favorites in this one.
Week 12: NY Jets vs. Miami Dolphins
The last time these two met, not only did Ryan Fitzpatrick outduel Joe Flacco, but the course of the Dolphins’ season was completely altered. On the way to a 24-0 win, the Dolphins put in rookie Tua Tagovailoa, and never looked back.
Since then, Miami has won back-to-back games with Tagovailoa at the helm, coming against two playoff hopefuls in the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals. Just like that, the Dolphins became playoff contenders in themselves, as well as the Bills’ biggest threat in the AFC East.
It is not only the Tagovailoa show though. The Dolphins backfield has done well, led by undrafted rookie Myles Gaskin, who could be off injured reserve by the time of this game.
As for Tagovailoa’s weapons, DeVante Parker and breakout tight end Mike Gesicki look to build their connection with their rookie quarterback.
Second-year head coach Brian Flores has the Dolphins’ defense playing on another level. With the third-best scoring defense in the league, the unit is on the rise.
Most notably defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, who has posted career highs with seven sacks and three forced fumbles in eight games.
By the time this game comes around, the Dolphins could very well be in the thick of the playoff race. Thus, leaving the Jets as massive underdogs, even at home.
Next: Week 13-14: The flawed contenders
Week 13: NY Jets vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Last season when these two teams met, the Jets pulled off a shocking 34-3 victory. One which sent the Raiders season spiraling from a playoff contender to a team not quite there.
Now, the Raiders will be looking to establish themselves in the stretch run of the season. Derek Carr has proven to remain an efficient quarterback, tossing 16 touchdowns and almost a 70 percent completion mark.
His play and the quartet of Darren Waller, Nelson Agholor, Hunter Renfrow, and Henry Ruggs have made up for their underwhelming run game.
Currently, it is their defense that is holding Las Vegas back. While they have been decent against the run, head coach Jon Gruden’s pass defense continues to hold the team back.
And if the Jets have all three receivers healthy, this could be a sneaky trap game. That is assuming the Jets trio of receivers is fully healthy.
Week 14: NY Jets @ Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks currently have the best scoring offense in the league. Then again, they also have the worst scoring defense in the league.
Playing this game at home, the Seahawks high-flying pass game will look to capitalize against a young and inconsistent Jets secondary.
Quarterback Russell Wilson is on track for being an MVP finalist, while receivers Tyler Locket and D.K. Metcalf are arguably the league’s top-receiving duo. Without a pass rush to get after Wilson, the Jets defense is not going to have much of an answer.
Taking the Seahawks’ historically bad defense into account, this may very well be a wake-up call for them. Safety Jamal Adams is going to want revenge against his former team and the Jets are exactly the type of opponent for them to make an example of.
Next: Week 15-17: The home stretch
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK
Week 15: NY Jets @ Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have been one of the most puzzling teams in the league in 2020. Four of their wins have come against the weak NFC East. Outside of those four games, the team has gone 1-3.
Statistically, the Rams are strong on both sides of the football but have been unable to capitalize when it counts.
Nevertheless, the Rams are still one of the most talented teams in football. Quarterback Jared Goff leads an effective offense with an offensive line that has played well at times.
Their secondary has been utterly dominant, headlined by cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald up front.
The bottom line is the Rams are a well-built team that should take of business at home against the Jets.
Week 16: NY Jets vs. Cleveland Browns
Entering this season, this was a game circled as the third meeting between 2018 first-round quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. One leads a team that hopefully will be in the playoff race, where another one is fighting for his career.
Ultimately, this game is going to offer Browns fans an example of how the organization is trending in the right direction.
This is going to be a must-win game for the Browns, given they play in a division with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.
With the running back tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, Cleveland will expose the Jets poor edge defense against the run, opening the play-action pass game for Mayfield.
The most intriguing matchup of this game is between Jets rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton and Browns superstar defensive end Myles Garrett.
Becton has already established himself as one of the better left tackles in the entire league already, as Garrett is right in the running for Defensive Player of the Year. Whether or not the game itself is a good one, this matchup is going to provide plenty of entertainment in itself.
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Week 17: NY Jets @ New England Patriots
Last but not least, the Jets miserable 2020 season comes to a close at Gillette Stadium. As the Jets put up a fight on Monday night football last week, everyone on the team is going to be fighting for a job in 2021.
Jets fans will rejoice knowing it is Adam Gase’s final game as the head coach, and wonder where Sam Darnold will be playing next season.
Similarly, the Patriots are going to have plenty of questions around the future too. Barring a dramatic playoff turnaround, New England will be in the running for a top quarterback prospect as Cam Newton is not the long-term answer.
Taking that into consideration, neither team is going to want to win this game in hope of a better draft position.
Even so, if there is one thing everyone knows about Bill Belichick, it is that he is not going to throw a game for the sake of a draft pick.