The Jets 2017 schedule came out. “OMGWTF the Jets are going to be the worst team in the league maybe EVER!!” — At least that was the reaction of many media pundits.
IGNORE IT. Selling low on the Jets is great media fodder. It is fashionable to pile on Gang Green. They are the team people apparently love to hate. Jets fans should band together at times like this and tell them to stick a sock in it.
How many games can the Jets realistically win off this schedule. Maybe 6, if a few things break their way. They are: turnovers, takeaways, injuries and timing. Timing is based on west coast teams travelling east as well as potential trap games.
Potential trap games:
- Falcons – at Patriots, at Jets, at Panthers
- Buccaneers – at Saints, vs Jets, at Falcons
- Panthers – vs Dolphins, at Jets, at Saints
- Chiefs – vs Bills, at Jets, vs Raiders
- Saints – at Falcons, vs Jets, vs Falcons
- Chargers – at Chiefs, at Jets (1pm), vs Raiders
Last year turnovers KILLED the Jets, they were -20 in 2016 (14 takeaways, 34 giveaways) compared to +6 in 2015 (30 takeaways, 24 giveaways) They were 32nd in 2016 and tied for 6th in 2015. Short of the final score, turnovers are the most meaningful stat in the NFL.
From a takeaway perspective the Jets should improve in 2017. The regression of Darrelle Revis threw the team for a loop. They were never able to recover. That has partly been addressed with the addition of Morris Claiborne. Juston Burris will play more and hopefully make a meaningful jump in his play. Buster Skrine can play more in his natural position at nickel. If the secondary isn’t able to be picked apart in less than three seconds, the Jets pass rush will create more pressure and thus, takeaways. Remember how exciting those were in 2015.
The other side of that coin is the giveaways. Ryan Fitzpatrick did a fairly good job of protecting the ball in 2015 and had some fortunate interceptions dropped. In 2016, he had double digit interceptions four weeks into the season. It is unknown how Hackenberg or Petty will play in 2017 and how well they will protect the ball. In all likelihood there will be growing pains. If they curtail it by midseason, the Jets will stand a chance against better teams.
Then injuries. For the Jets and their opponents. “It isn’t who you play, but when you play them.” If the Jets can stay relatively healthy – unlike last year – and their opponents face key injuries they can win some games.
Predicting wins and losses to individual teams is pointless right now. The draft hasn’t even been conducted. The season is five months away, there are too many variables to predict anything.