At first glance, it seems ridiculous to suggest that the NY Jets, a two win-team from a year ago, have a favorable schedule in 2021.
After all, if we are being honest, followers of opposing teams see the Jets on their schedule as a winnable game. And in fairness, you can't blame them for having that mindset.
When people gather around this summer to make team-by-team predictions for the NFL season, the likelihood is that most are going to check off a 'W' next to the Jets name on other teams' schedules.
New York falls under the "we should win this game" category for opposing teams and their followers until proven otherwise.
It's the same way fans and critics will treat Jacksonville, Detroit, Houston, Cincinnati, and other franchises that are not projected to be in contention this coming season.
However, if you take a step back and look at the NY Jets 2021 regular-season schedule, there are a few things that could play in their favor.
1. The NY Jets will be the team with the least amount of travel in 2021
It's often overlooked by many when discussing team schedules, but the less you travel during a season, the better your chances are for success.
Not only is having limited travel during the course of a long season vital for optimizing a team's performance, but travel could also play into your favor if your opponents have to deal with that challenge while you don't.
For example, the Jets have no lengthy West Coast trips this coming season. On top of that, the Jets do not play successive weeks on the road. Their longest road trip will be a solo shot to London in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons, but a two-week layoff between games follows it.
According to Brian Burke of ESPN's Sports Analytics, the Jets have the least amount of travel miles of any team in the NFL.
Most will dismiss or ignore this stat but when it comes to recovery time for pro football players, the amount of time spent traveling and the lack of recovery time to heal has a lasting effect during the course of a long season.
Rest and recovery are vital factors in optimizing player performance on a weekly and season-long basis.
The second half of the Jets schedule has the team at home for six of their final nine games, with one of those road games being a Week 18 trip to nearby Buffalo. Sandwiched in that home-friendly stretch are road games at Houston and Miami.
The Jets could be entering that favorable home stretch with something to play for. Save for a brief hiccup in 2015, that's something that the franchise hasn't encountered for a long time.