Schedule: @BUF, SF, @IND, DEN, ARI, @LAC, BUF, @KC, NE, @MIA, BYE, MIA, LVR, @SEA, @LAR, CLE, @NE
Additions: OL George Fant (FA), OL Connor McGovern (FA), OL Greg Van Roten (FA), WR Breshad Perriman (FA), CB Pierre Desir (FA), LB Patrick Onwuasor (FA), RB Frank Gore (FA), S Bradley McDougald (Trade), OL Mekhi Becton (Draft), WR Denzel Mims (Draft), EDGE/DL Jabari Zuniga (Draft)
Losses: S Jamal Adams (Trade), LB C.J. Mosley (Opt-out), WR Robby Anderson (FA), OL Brandon Shell (FA), OL Tom Compton (FA), CB Darryl Roberts (FA), WR Vyncint Smith (Injury), EDGE Tarell Basham (Injury)
I’m seeing a lot of predictions giving the Jets three or four wins. If those are right, there will likely be parades in the streets of New York to celebrate Adam Gase’s firing. If they match or exceed the six I’m predicting, it’ll be a lot dicier. A playoff berth virtually guarantees another year of Old Crazy Eyes while just remaining in the hunt in December could do the trick as well. This might be one of the few times when a team’s fans will be disappointed if they do well.
Now that Sam Darnold is hopefully done getting teenager viruses, we could see the breakout season many, myself included, expected last year. Everyone loves to make fun of him for his paranormal visions, but Darnold was solid last year given the circumstances. Let’s not forget he had some of the worst blockers and weapons in the league.
New York completely revamped its offensive line, replacing four of five starters from arguably the worst line in the league. With that being said, questions remain about how much better they’ll be. At tackle, they’re projected to start a raw rookie and a former basketball player who often struggled with his last team. The interior looks better, with lone holdover Alex Lewis joined by offseason acquisitions Connor McGovern and Greg Van Roten. Expect big-time improvement from this group, just not elite-level play.
The Jets’ running back room didn’t undergo nearly as much change, but could see a similarly large bump in production. Le’Veon Bell and Gase have reportedly worked out their issues after last year’s soap opera. That could mean a return to his Pittsburgh form for Bell. Or, it could mean absolutely nothing. Would anyone be surprised if Gase gives the bulk of the carries to 63-year-old Frank Gore?
Like seemingly every team in this division, the Jets have nothing special at tight end. Receiver isn’t much better, either. Rookie Denzel Mims, Breshad Perriman, and Jamison Crowder comprise Darnold’s top three targets. While Crowder has a long history of production in the slot, the other two form an unintimidating pair of outside receivers.
Looking at the defense, there shouldn’t be a large drop-off from 2019’s surprisingly great unit. Everyone brings up C.J. Mosley opting out, but the Jets only had him for like 30 seconds last season anyway. After missing all of last season himself, Avery Williamson’s return could give the position a boost as well. Still, New York’s original plan was for Mosley and Williamson to start alongside one another and this marks the second straight year that won’t come to fruition.
The big departure to worry about is Jamal Adams. Superstars like him make everyone better, so we’ll see just how much his loss is felt. A guy like Quinnen Williams stepping up could help offset that, though. He didn’t do much as a rookie, but still has a ton of potential. The defensive line will be stout and the secondary should remain solid with Bradley McDougald replacing Adams.
The main worry is the pass rush. New York only had 35 sacks last season and didn’t do much to address the need. Adams’ (6.5 sacks) presence will be missed here as well. Williams breaking out would likely account for those numbers. Outside of him, the Jets are going to need someone to step up across from Jordan Jenkins. The main candidates are Tarell Basham (4 career sacks) and rookie Jabari Zuniga. With Basham currently projected to miss the start of the season, Zuniga might be thrown into the fire.
Every AFC East team has a tough schedule, drawing the AFC and NFC West. New York also gets Indianapolis and Cleveland—two teams with comparable or better talent. That’s why I have the Jets dropping a win despite an arguably better roster. Plus, the possibility of a midseason coaching change looms large if they get off to a bad start.
What’s your record prediction for the Jets? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.