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:
- For the second straight year, the opening line has the Jets as a 4.5 underdog in their season opener. Lamar Jackson is the one to watch in this game. In three opening day starts, he's completed 75 percent of his passes, averaged 278 passing yards per game and has a 9:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. They did lose to the Raiders in their opener last season, though, as he lost two fumbles. "At least they have a lot of time to prepare for him," doesn't create much comfort though.
- 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 a few times and also the infamous Thanksgiving blowout against New England was the SNF crew, albeit on a Thursday. And that was still 2012 anyway. We say this every year but one day Cris Collingsworth might actually see the Jets play and perhaps then PFF's Jets taeks will be more informed. In the same time span, the Giants barely have a better record than the Jets and have been on Sunday Night Football like a dozen times. In theory they could get flexed into a Sunday night game but don't hold your breath.
- Meaningful December Rugby. That final stretch of games (Detroit-Jacksonville-Seattle-Miami) looks enticing, to the point where fans will be saying "if we can just get to five or six wins by then, we have a chance at a winning record". Shades of 2008, when the Jets had an easy last five games and started 8-3 but then went 1-4 down the stretch? Of course, if the Jets don't have five wins by then, they'll be 4-9 at best and there will be some people suggesting they should keep losing to earn another top draft pick.
- Speaking of 2008... Many have observed that the Jets only face about five or six games against teams with top quarterbacks. That was the Achilles heel of that 2008 team as they struggled badly against the likes of Seneca Wallace, Tyler Thigpen, JP Losman, Matt Cassel and a young Ryan Fitzpatrick. Bad quarterbacks can dink and dunk a defense to death even if they fortify the corner position, so the onus will be on the linebackers and safeties in coverage a lot this season.
- West Coast Blues. With the Jets facing the NFC North and the AFC North this year, they easily could have avoided a west coast trip for the second season in a row. It didn't fall that way though, as they must go to Seattle and, while not strictly on the west coast, must also make the always rough trip to the altitude of Denver. Moreover, there's none of those games where a west coast team comes East and gets forced to play at what would be 10:00am locally.
- End of an era. The preseason schedule was also announced and the Jets open in Philly, on Monday night football in Atlanta and then against the Giants in the final game. That's right - no Bollinger Bowl! We lamented the end of the Bollinger Bowl era prematurely a few years ago, but now it's over for real. Of course, the last one was one of the best as Kenny Yeboah and James Morgan's heroics led the Jets to a memorable and somehow apt tie.
- Some of the newer Jets will get a chance to suit up against their old teammates. You can bet the likes of CJ Uzomah, DJ Reed and Tyler Conklin have circled the Bengals, Seahawks and Vikings games on their calendars. The Jets will see some familiar faces too: Foley Fatukasi (Jacksonville), Jamison Crowder (Buffalo), Ryan Griffin (Chicago), Jarrad Davis (Detroit) and Morgan Moses in the opener.
- Finally, let's go team-by-team and briefly summarize one key change to their team since last season
Ravens: Marcus Williams
Browns: Deshaun Watson
Bengals: Alex Cappa
Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger gone
Packers: Davante Adams gone
Broncos: Russell Wilson
Bears: Khalil Mack gone
Vikings: Za'Darius Smith
Lions: Aidan Hutchinson
Jaguars: Christian Kirk
Seahawks: Russell Wilson gone
Bills: Von Miller
Dolphins: Tyreek Hill
Patriots: DeVante Parker