The whirlwind of drama, excitement, and skepticism surrounding the Jets has only continued since 2017 (longer than that if we’re being specific). From “tanking,” to slightly overachieving, to putting all the chips on the table for a franchise quarterback, the Jets can’t help but to stick out like a sore thumb.
But putting the past behind, the Jets’ plan to flip the script seems to be on the right track. A flurry of intriguing offseason additions including the signings of Trumaine Johnson and Terrelle Pryor combined with the highly anticipated pick of QB Sam Darnold has fans on their feet. Whether or not these moves will prove to be best for the franchise are yet to be seen, however, that doesn’t exclude us from predicting what may or may not be.
Way Too Early Predictions:
1. The Quarterback Situation
Probably the most anticipated setting heading into 2018. After releasing the failed project of Bryce Petty, the Jets still sit with four quarterbacks on the roster. A bit crowded if you ask me. Coaches and management have previously noted that the job will be Josh McCown’s to lose, however, it seems unprecedented to think he won’t have some intense competition. With Teddy Bridgewater making strides toward improved health, and Darnold on the elevated pedestal as the franchise’s future, question marks around the position remain italicized.
A fair and not so bold prediction would have McCown starting the season for Gang Green. This would allow the Jets to kick the tires on the number of new offensive additions in a smooth manner. Having an experienced quarterback at the helm to start the year would set in stone the momentum and confidence of the offense. It would also allow Darnold and Bridgewater to continue their note taking and have the offense develop into a well-oiled-machine before the pressure is on for them to step in.
More boldly, however, I predict the highly anticipated rookie starts six games. While I believe he’ll see some action even before he gets his first start, I think the Jets will utterly fall into a position where they have no choice but to start Darnold. A few slip ups from McCown and Bridgewater will have the organization under pressure to start him, and I think they give him his first taste at leading the franchise coming off the Week 11 Bye against who else but the Patriots.
2. The Revamped Defense
A lot of people seem to be already applauding the Jets on their new and improved secondary. Names on paper can be deceiving to the eye; with second year products in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye teaming up with Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne, it’s understandable that the excitement may be hard to contain. But looking closer to the unsolidified positions of defensive end and pass rusher, the success of this defense could be variable.
A fair prediction may have the Jets’ defense sitting in the middle of the pack in all categories. While Maye, Johnson, Adams and Claiborne may be able to contain any deep threats while also utilizing occasional pass rushing sub-packages, most of the pressure will fall into the hands of the front seven, which off-the-bat isn’t looking much improved compared to last year.
A more bold prediction could have the Jets as a top-10 defense. If Leonard Williams, Darron Lee and new additions in Avery Williamson and Nathan Shepherd can stay healthy and live up to their contracts, the Jets could very well have a defense that most teams would want to avoid come Sunday’s.
3. AFC East Alignment
It seems like the Brady-Belichick era still has a few years before it’s collapse, meaning the Jets, Bills and Dolphins could continue to be frozen in a state of mediocrity. However, as the saying goes, never say never. The Jets, despite their various uncertainties, could make a surprising push for the No. 1 spot on the division if the Patriot’s flaws begin to seep out. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
A fair prediction, however, would have the Jets finishing 3rd in the AFC East. While they have made some major improvements to climb out of last year’s last place finish, it is up in the air as to how the Bills and Dolphins will perform as well. The Jets always seem to have a tough go against divisional opponents, so as all three teams scrap it out throughout the year, I think the Jets will only fall a game or two short of that 2nd place finish (assuming the Patriots will take No. 1 once again). I could see the Bills making a late push toward to the No. 2 spot.
A bolder prediction would have the Jets at No. 2, however. And let’s not get ahead of ourselves and be as bold to say they will win the division quite yet. Like I said, I think it will be a claw-for-claw race to secure the second best record in the division. I think the Jets have done enough to escape back-to-back last places finishes. However, there’s not enough experience throughout the roster quite yet to dethrone the evil empire.
Let us know your thoughts on these predictions and stay tuned for more as the 2018-19 NFL season inches closer!