Now that it's been announced, here are some quick-hit thoughts on the Jets' schedule which, in case you missed it, looks like this:
- News broke shortly after the announcement that the Panthers will be a 4.5-point favorite for the opener against the Jets. What about the rest of the games, though? Could the Jets be the underdog in all of them? According to Bleacher Report, only the Lions (who they don't play) and Texans are below the Jets, so - on that basis - the Texans game on November 28th might be the only one in which they are favored. NFL.com does also have them above the Bengals, Panthers and Jaguars below them though, so there's a few more "winnable" games. Also, the Eagles, Falcons and Broncos aren't far ahead and only one of these (Denver) is a true road game.
- The Jets' weird Sunday Night Football drought continues. In 2011, the Jets were on Sunday Night Football three times. Since then, they've haven't been on there once. They did get flexed out of there on two occasions and also the infamous Thanksgiving blowout against New England was the SNF crew, albeit on a Thursday. And that was still 2012 anyway. People wonder why some of PFF's Jets takes are weird? Maybe it's because their head honcho never gets to see them play! (And, yes, we did just cut and paste this nugget from last year).
- Flexing their muscles. The NFL is yet to confirm whether the Miami game in week 15 will be on Saturday or Sunday, but obviously it's most likely to be at 1pm on Sunday, which will mean the Jets have a record 14 games at that time. However, there's still a chance they could be flexed to a different time for one or more of these games. For 2021, one Sunday afternoon game from week 11 to 18 can be moved into the Sunday night slot in place of the game currently scheduled there. Also, two other games between weeks 5 and 10 can be treated this way. In addition, for week 18 only, two further games will be flexed to Saturday with just six days notice. All other announcements for flexed games will be two weeks in advance.
- The long and the short of it? Barring any flexing and assuming that week 15 game is 1pm Sunday, the Jets have just one game on a short week (the Colts' Thursday night game) and two on a long week (the Bills game 10 days after that Colts game and in New England after their bye), not including the opener, of course. Inconveniently, that one short week comes at an important time, because the trade deadline falls between those two games. One concern: BOTH Miami games come as the Dolphins will be on a long week.
- The downside of no west coast trips. While it's great the Jets don't have to go to the west coast, they also miss out on the benefit of getting a west coast team playing a 1pm game on the east coast, which is viewed as a competitive advantage. The Jets were 0-3 in such games last year, though. Also, while they don't go to the west coast, they do have a September road trip to Denver, which everyone knows is the worst road trip imaginable because of the altitude, which is likely to be mixed with humidity at that time of year in what happens to be the Jets' ONLY 4pm game of the season. Then they have London, of course. In fact, the schedule is heavy on travel early on, but then really eases off with 7 of the last 11 games at home.
- Don't overlook the preseason. The preseason schedule also leaked, confirming that the Jets will play three preseason games against the Giants, Packers and Eagles, albeit with the times and dates to be confirmed. Excitingly, this means the Bollinger Bowl lives after all!
- Some of the newer Jets will get a chance to suit up against their old teammates. You can bet the likes of Carl Lawson, Corey Davis and Sheldon Rankins have circled the Bengals, Titans and Saints games on their calendars. The Jets will, of course, see plenty of familiar faces in the opener in Carolina, but also will face players like Jordan Jenkins and Neville Hewitt (Texans) and Henry Anderson and Harvey Langi (Patriots).
- Finally, let's go team-by-team and briefly summarize one key change to their team since last season
Panthers: Sam Darnold
Patriots: Matthew Judon
Broncos: Teddy Bridgewater
Titans: Bud Dupree
Falcons: Kyle Pitts
Bengals: Trey Hendrickson
Colts: Carson Wentz
Bills: Emmanuel Sanders
Dolphins: Will Fuller
Texans: The probable unavailability of Deshaun Watson
Eagles: DeVonta Smith
Saints: Drew Brees' retirement
Jags: Trevor Lawrence
Bucs: No changes