Don’t Judge the Jets by Difficult Early Season Schedule

Don’t Judge the Jets by Difficult Early Season Schedule

by Mark Kelly

While New York Jets fans are preparing for their much anticipated season opener on Sunday, what is a fair expectation for their demanding early-season schedule?

While Week 1 against the Bills should be a victory to most fans and analysts, the next five games can make or break the first half of the season.

Week 2 finds the Jets hosting the suddenly very formidable Cleveland Browns in primetime. The fact that Browns hadn’t won in 19 straight games and just once in their previous 37 games didn’t stop them from defeating the Jets last season. Cleveland also fell behind 14-0 and a QB that never took a professional snap before rallied them to victory. If the Jets can lose under those circumstances, then I need to see a win before I predict one.

The Jets travel to New England to play their first road game of 2019. I don’t think you will find too many pundits that would assume a Jets win.

Just how awful are the Jets numbers against the reigning Super Bowl Champions?

Since Tom Brady took over for Drew Bledsoe on September 23, 2001 (thank you Mo Lewis), the Jets have lost 29 of 37 games against New England (includes postseason). Patriots own a six-game win streak overall and have won eight straight and 15 of last 19 games at home.

Here are some more numbers

Average score last 37 games vs NE: Patriots 26.1 Jets 16.2

Average score last 19 games at NE: Patriots 26.4 Jets 15.5

TOM BRADY vs. JETS

I researched how much better Tom Brady has been than the Jets since taking over on September 23, 2001. Since it’s unfair to judge the Jets and Brady under the same terms, I reached further back.

I compared the Jets as a team starting with the 1988 season and Brady overall in his career. Both include games in the postseason. Since 1988 the Jets have played 204 more games, won 12 fewer games and thrown just ten more touchdowns more as an organization than Brady has in his entire career.

New York Jets Franchise Since 1988 vs. Tom Brady’s Career (includes postseason)
  New York Jets Tom Brady
Games 511 307
Wins 225 237
Touchdowns Thrown 600 590

I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to think the Jets will lose this game.

After a bye in Week 4, the Jets travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in Week 5. Despite the Jets pathetic numbers against New England since Brady’s arrival, the Jets are even worse against the Eagles.

The Jets have never defeated Philadelphia in their ten all-time meetings. They are the only current franchise winless against an opponent they have faced ten or more times. Until Gang Green defeats the Eagles, I can’t give them a win.

The Cowboys travel to Met Life Stadium in Week 6. Historically Gang Green has won two straight against Dallas after losing seven of their first nine matchups. Based on numbers alone, this would appear to be the Jets best chance to win since Week 2. However, Dallas is a hard team to forecast. They have won 32 of 48 games and two NFC East division titles since Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot joined the team in 2016.

The Jets finish this vicious stretch in their early-season schedule in Week 7 when Brady and the Pats come to Met Life Stadium. New England has won three straight and 14 of 18 in the Brady on the road against the Jets. Four of those Patriots wins have been by 20 or more points.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

While winning is the ultimate factor, how the Jets play against what most would say are superior opponents will be another huge factor to pay attention.

Sam Darnold will have all eyes on him when the season starts. If he continues the promise he showed last season, but the Jets aren’t able to win, that would be encouraging. If the defense can consistently force turnovers and put pressure on the opposing quarterbacks is another critical factor.

The Jets could lose as many as all five games after Week 1 and still be better than they were in 2018 when they were 3-3 after six games. The remainder of 2018 saw the Jets win just one more game. The Jets remaining ten games are all games the team could win.

In closing, don’t shut the door on this young team if they don’t see initial success in 2019. The lessons they learn facing such a challenging first six games could pay off in significant ways as the Jets wind down the schedule.

Mark Kelly is a staff writer for the World Wide Sports Radio Network

Jets Gase Era Looking To Produce Change and Results

Jets Gase Era Looking To Produce Change and Results

by Mark Kelly

The New York Jets made many exciting changes this offseason to reverse their historical trends of failure. Adam Gase, Joe Douglas, Le’Veon Bell, C.J. Mosley, and Quinnen Williams joined the organization in the offseason improving an already promising core that includes Jamal Adams and Sam Darnold. Expectations are high despite a difficult schedule to start the season. Will this new era lead to better results? Here is some of the history they are trying to reverse.

This Sunday marks the first NFL Sunday for the 2019 season. This season marks the 100th anniversary for the NFL.

The New York Jets start their 60th season playing football and their 50th as a member of the NFL. For Jets fans, playing 49 previous years in the NFL has not worked out well. They are one of four franchises (Lions, Browns – based on interpretation – and Chiefs) that have failed to reach the Super Bowl of the 26 franchises that made up the 1970 NFL season.

The Jets and Chiefs appeared in two of the four Super Bowls played before the rival leagues joined together for the 1970 season.  When both leagues agreed on the merger on June 8, 1966, they needed time to prepare for the merger. One of the agreements called for an AFL-NFL Championship Game that would pair the champions of each league against each other starting with that 1966 season. The AFL-NFL Championship game later became known as the “Super Bowl.”

WILL THE STREAK END THIS SEASON?

Despite the Jets vital role in giving the rival AFL league credibility by winning Super Bowl III, very little else has gone right since. Including their final season in the AFL in 1969 and its been 51 seasons between Super Bowl appearances.

While going that long without a Super Bowl appearance is enough to irritate their fanbase, it’s not the only long streak of futility. They are also one of three franchises since the merger, to never host a conference championship (Tennessee Titans – the original Houston Oilers – and the Detroit Lions are the other two of the 26 franchises).

NO DIVISION TITLES SINCE 2002

The last time the Jets won the AFC East was 2002. That marked just their second division title since the merger (1998 was the other). Every other franchise except for the Detroit Lions (3) has won at least four division titles.

PLAYOFFS?

The last time the Jets reached the postseason was eight seasons ago in 2010 (when they made their second consecutive AFC Championship appearance). Their current streak is the tied for the second-longest in franchise history without a postseason appearance (went 11 successive seasons from 1969-1980).

SEASON OPENER

The Jets take on the Buffalo Bills to start the 2019 season at Met Life Stadium. Sunday will be the 13th time that the Jets open the against Buffalo, the most for any opponent.  The Jets are 8-4 in those previous season openers.

Despite the many meetings with Buffalo to start the season, this will be just the third time they are starting the season against them at home.

The Jets won the previous two meetings in 2012 and 1960 (first game in franchise history).

STARTING SEASON STRONG?

In 2012, the Jets set a franchise record for most points in a season-opening game when they defeated Buffalo 48-28. Last season the Jets matched that total when they defeated the Lions in Detroit, 48-17.

Despite those strong starts to the season, the Jets finished under .500 in both seasons (6-10 in 2012 and 4-12 last season).

Looking at the Jets performances in season-opening games, starting the season strong hasn’t helped the Jets much. Since the merger in 1970, the Jets have won 11 or more game three times (1985, 11-5, 1998, 12-4 and 2010, 11-5). In each of those seasons, the Jets lost their season opener.

Mark Kelly is a staff writer for the World Wide Sports Radio Network