Having assembled what’s easily one of the worst rosters in recent memory, the New York Jets head into the fall battling the idea that they’re content to tank the season.
Whether the concept of tanking is even feasible in the NFL can be left up for debate. A never-ending fight for jobs and future prospects, not to mention an element of pride, will always have players and coaches doing everything they can to come away with a win on Sunday.
Despite the best efforts of at least one level of the organization, there’s a reason the football community’s expectations for this team are virtually non-existent.
Tanking or not, the Jets are in rough, rough shape.
How bad could it be? Let’s find out with a game-by-game look at the schedule.
Week 1 – @ Bills
Another team with its fair share of problems, the Bills are actually one of the easier opponents on a difficult Jets schedule. But that’s not to say this matchup is even remotely close on paper.
Week 2 – @ Raiders
If last season can be taken as any indication of what we can expect from the Raiders in 2017, a trip to the West Coast will likely yield the first of many blowout defeats for New York.
Week 3 – vs. Dolphins
More of the same in the first home contest of the year. A balanced Dolphins offense that led the way to a playoff appearance should be even better in the second season under Adam Gase.
Week 4 – vs. Jaguars
Knock the Jags all you want – that defense is loaded with talent. Blake Bortles may keep this one close, but an incredibly thin Jets offense will be in for a long, long day, even at home.
Week 5 – @ Browns
A matchup with the Browns has provided something of a break in the schedule in years past. For many opponents, perhaps that continues this season. Cleveland is finally moving in the right direction. New York is, well, not.
Week 6 – vs. Patriots
Week 7 – @ Dolphins
A second straight season sweep for the Dolphins.
Week 8 – vs. Falcons
This one is over in the first half.
Week 9 – vs. Bills
Getting a familiar and flawed division opponent at home represents one of New York’s best chances for an upset. But can we really expect the Jets to be the better prepared team on a short week? Thursday night football stays terrible.
Week 10 – @ Buccaneers
The hype around this Buccaneers team is well warranted. Josh McCown and Co. aren’t keeping pace with what could be one of the league’s most explosive offenses.
Week 11 – Bye
At least there can’t be another loss this week.
Week 12 – vs. Panthers
Carolina is an incredibly obvious bounce-back candidate after a disappointing 2016 season. Its talent on both sides of the ball will wipe out any advantage the Jets had with an off week to prepare.
Week 13 – vs. Chiefs
Week 14 – @ Broncos
Even one play could be the difference in a game that figures to be low scoring. Going up against whoever the Jets trot out at quarterback, let’s assume Von Miller and Co. can get it done.
Week 15 – @ Saints
A Drew Brees-led passing attack at home against that defense? Easy money here.
Week 16 – vs. Chargers
Don’t be surprised when the Chargers are pushing for a playoff spot down the stretch. A late-season matchup with the Jets will be a gift in their efforts to accomplish that goal.
Week 17 – @ Patriots
The Jets having to travel to New England would create the opportunity for the biggest blowout of the year if it were scheduled for any other week. But at long last, New York finally catches a break. The Patriots sit all key players with yet another AFC East title locked up, allowing their division rival to avoid the winless season
in thrilling fashion on New Year’s Eve.
Final Tally: 1-15
Going the entire year before eking out a win against a playoff team mailing in its regular-season finale would be both disappointing and exhausting for players, coaches, and fans alike. That said, would this not be the ideal scenario for a Jets club that shouldn’t have any illusions about its chances of competing in 2017?
Picking up that one victory, of course, allows the organization to avoid the ignominy of a winless season. Ownership would have had every reason to clean house after such a disaster, while the combination of the No. 1 overall pick, an abundance of cap space, and a clean slate to rebuild the roster could very well be attractive to top head coach and general manager candidates.
Be patient, Jets fans. It has to get worse before it can get better.
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