The New York Jets always knew who they were playing, but last week, they found out when.
Going into the 2020 NFL season, the New York Jets knew that they were getting dealt a difficult schedule. Facing off against both the AFC and NFC West, makes things difficult in logistics alone. Add in that the teams in those divisions are all very good, makes it even more challenging.
Based off the 2019 season, the Jets were awarded the second most difficult schedule in football. Only the Patriots were faced with a tougher one. This should not be an excuse for a much improved team to hover around 7-9 this year.
With all the injuries strangle-holing the team last year, Gang Green was still able to finish around .500. A healthy Sam Darnold, C.J. Mosley, Avery Williamson and offensive line should have accounted for at least two more wins.
With the schedule released, let’s have some fun, shall we? Assuming full health, let’s take a look at how the “Way Too Early” 2020 season turns out.
Week 1: New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills
Last season, the Jets and Bills matched up on week one as well. The Jets put together a 16-0 lead, than let up 17 unanswered. In that game, the offensive line was healthy, but not very talented. Avery Williamson was out with a torn ACL and C.J. Mosley left in the second half after dominating the first. This time around, Gang Green sports an improved secondary, rebuilt line and mono-free Darnold. I like Greg Williams’ defense to shutdown newly acquired Stefon Diggs and the Bills. The Jets get redemption on week one.
Final Score: New York Jets 20, Buffalo Bills 16
Week 2: San Francisco 49ers @ New York Jets
This was not the game Gang Green wanted for a home opener. Yes, the Super Bowl hangover does exist, but not with teams built on ground and pound and defense first. The 49ers are as talented of a team as any in the NFL. The Jets improved their roster this offseason, but not to San Francisco’s level. I do believe this game will be closer than most will think.
The Jets are excellent against the run, finishing second in football last season. Between that and Williams’ aggressive play-calling, expect many three and outs. On the other side of the ball, the Jets offense should expect a similar fate. Even with a new line, constant pressure from Nick Bosa and Dee Ford will ware down. This will be another huge test for the new line, but this time, the defense will make enough plays.
Final Score: San Francisco 49ers 23, New York Jets 16
Week 3: New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts
Another tough matchup for the New York Jets as they head to a much improved Indianapolis Colts team. The Colts, like the Jets, were dealing with the injury bug last year that was ultimately too much to handle. This offseason, the team added pieces like Xavier Rhodes, DeForest Buckner and Phillip Rivers. Dealing with TY Hilton and rookies Michael Pittman and Jonathan Taylor will be a big task for the Jets defense. The Colts sport one of the most dominating offensive lines in the league. The Jets will give Rivers too much time to pick them apart late in this game. The Jets will take a second half lead, after a big day in the air from Darnold, but Indy will close it out.
Final Score: New York Jets 24, Indianapolis Colts 27
Week 4: Denver Broncos @ New York Jets
At 1-2, the Jets need to respond this week, especially against a quarterback with just five career starts. Drew Lock busted on the scene last year, changing Denver’s fortune and leading them to a 4-1 record. The Broncos addressed their offense in the draft, taking Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler. Paring with Courtland Sutton and a running game that features Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon can be explosive. Relying on that many young players on a short week to fly across the country though will be difficult. It takes a full week to prepare for Greg Williams, and that’s for veterans. A second year quarterback with two rookie wide receivers, that’s too much to ask for. The Jets respond in a big way.
Final Score: Denver Broncos 10, New York Jets 34
Week 5: Arizona Cardinals @ New York Jets
After a big win Thursday Night, the Jets get a few extra days to prepare for another young quarterback. They will also get the extra time to prepare for a young head coach. The Cardinals are a team on the rise, but are probably a year or two away from busting out. They will flash offensively a lot this year, but like many teams with a young quarterback, will struggle at times too. The team will still struggle on the defensive side of the ball, after finishing last in yards/game last year. Darnold will feast and Bell will roll as the Jets win their second in a row.
Final Score: Arizona Cardinals 13, New York Jets 31
Week 6: New York Jets @ Los Angeles Chargers
Just when things look like they turned a corner, the Jets take a massive step back. Rolling off two impressive wins in a row, the team will head to LA to play the surprisingly solid Chargers. LA’s defense is back to 2018 form after good health and the addition of Chris Harris. Joey Bosa is still healthy and is still wrecking havoc. Offensively, Justin Herbert is still on the bench because Tyrod Taylor is playing above his head. With the improved offensive line, Taylor is making plays just like his 2017 Bills year. They came ready for this game, and the Jets came out flat. Bell was ineffective, Darnold was running for his life and the defense couldn’t stop a nose bleed. Another west coast dud for Gang Green.
Final Score: New York Jets 10, LA Chargers 31
Week 7: Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
Streaky play continues for the Jets in week seven. After their week one loss, Buffalo is out for revenge. They are too talented of a team to lose twice to a Jets team when they are expected to win the division. These two teams have split for the last three years, and that will continue in 2020. The Jets will make a push at the end, but the Bills will get out too an early lead and never let it go. Josh Allen was brilliant with his legs and Stefon Diggs puts the game away with a final fourth quarter bomb.
Final Score: Buffalo Bills 27, New York Jets 17
Week 8: New York Jets @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Jets really regret not taking the Chargers or Bills game in previous weeks. Coming into week eight, the Jets are stuck at 3-4 and are up against the reigning champs. Talk about tough luck, getting four playoff teams from a year ago this early, two being in the Super Bowl. The fans are chirping, calling for Adam Gase after two bad losses. Now they face Patrick Mahomes, and things turn out just as everyone expected. For the first time, Greg Williams is exposed and Adam Gase is left staring at his tablet more than the game itself. Jets lose, bad.
Final Score: New York Jets 12, Kansas City Chiefs 40
Week 9: New England Patriots @ New York Jets
It’s Monday Night Football and it’s the Jets and Patriots. Last year, the Jets got Darnold back the week before and handled the Cowboys in stunning fashion. The next week, Darnold saw ghosts. This won’t be the case this time around. The Jets offensive line is making their ninth consecutive start in a row together, and a playing well despite a rough patch. This year, Gase is prepared for the 0 coverage and the all out blitz. Bell has his best game, as a blocker and Darnold is ready for the moment. On the flip side, Jarret Stidham is the new puzzled quarterback on Monday Night. Jamal Adams is living in the backfield and Bryan Poole takes one back for a Pick-6 to close it out. Big win for the Jets here.
Final Score: New England Patriots 10, New York Jets 24
Week 10: New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
The trap game of all trap games. Gang Green gets their biggest win of the year, and biggest win of Sam Darnold’s career. Taking down the Patriots and getting on the right track paid a price though. The Jets go into Miami against a Dolphin team who is exceeding expectations. They don’t have all the wins to show for it, but they are ready for the Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick is still playing with that same fire and loves playing his old team. Just when the Jets reel their fans back in, they push them away again. Adam Gase fails again to get a W in his former stadium. Jets fans are on the most un-fun roller-coaster of all time.
Final Score: New York Jets 20, Miami Dolphins 27
Week 11: BYE
This is needed in the worst way. The team sits at 4-6.
Week 12: Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
The Jets are ready for this second meeting in three weeks. Adam Gase was no where to be found as he buried himself in the basement studying game film. There is no way the Dolphins are taking two games from Gang Green this season. With rested bodies, the offensive line dominates. Bell totals 150 all purpose yards and Darnold has a big four touchdown day. Although inconsistent, the Jets show that they are the better team. A big win coming into the final stretch of the season.
Final Score: Miami Dolphins 17, New York Jets 34
Week 13: Las Vegas Raiders @ New York Jets
Last season, the Raiders made the trip to MetLife and played their worst game of the season. Dropped passes, bad decisions and overall sluggish play led the Jets to a big 34-3 victory. It will be a different story this time around, but the same result. The Jets are riding high after a big win against Miami and roll it right into the Silver and Black. Derek Carr is completing passes and keeping the Raiders in the game, but the Jets offense is rolling against a banged up Raider defense. Although the flight is shorter from Vegas than Oakland, the Jets still take care of business.
Final Score: Las Vegas Raiders 17, New York Jets 27
Week 14: New York Jets @ Seattle Seahawks
Sitting at 6-6, the Jets have made their way back to the playoff conversation. The problem is, the who and where of their next game. Winning in Seattle is one of the hardest things to do in the NFL. Russell Wilson is a future hall of fame quarterback with a future hall of fame coach in Pete Carroll. The Seahawks are having a great season and are in position to add to their lead in the NFC West. No team is getting in their way and stopping them, even the red hot, New York Jets. Darnold’s performance is encouraging considering the difficult environment, but Wilson is too good. Russ gets the ball in his hands with a lead late in the 4th and puts the game away.
Final Score: New York Jets 20, Seattle Seahawks 30
Week 15: New York Jets @ Los Angeles Rams
Now a game under .500, the Jets will need to be perfect down the stretch. Unfortunately for them, the Rams are fighting for a wildcard spot themselves. Both quarterbacks are on point in this game, making big time throw after big time throw. The scoreboard is going nuts in this must win game as this one has the makings of an instant classic. It’s late in the 4th quarter, less than two minutes to go and the Jets have the ball. Darnold drops back, down four points, fires to the sideline for what he thinks is a comeback route. Perriman keeps running up the field, Jalen Ramsey intercepts the pass. The game ends.
Final Score: New York Jets 40, LA Rams 44
Week 16: Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets
The Jets need a miracle at this point to make the playoffs. At 6-8, the team has played inconsistent football, but turned it on late. The Browns are coming to town, needing a win to lock up the last seed of the playoffs. Cleveland has bested the Jets in the last two years, but that just isn’t going to fly with Gang Green. This time around, Sam Darnold is working with a clean pocket. Denzel Mims who has had an inconsistent year, has really turned it on late. After a big week against LA, him and Darnold connect early and often in this one. The Jets defense turn Mayfield over four times in this one and the Jets keep their small chance alive. At the very least, Darnold finally beats Mayfield.
Final Score: Cleveland Browns 17, New York Jets 28
Week 17: New England Patriots @ New York Jets
The New York Jets and New England Patriots come into this game at 7-8. The Stidham experiment didn’t quite workout like Bill Belichick thought it would. For the first time since 2008, the Patriots miss the playoffs. The Jets have the chance to beat New England twice in a season since 2010. Jets fans have booed Adam Gase to no end, and are now begging for a loss so Belichick can’t pick before them in the 2021 draft. In possibly Gase’s last game as head coach of the Jets, he picks up the win against New England. The team improves from 7-9 to 8-8, but fail to make the playoffs, yet again.