The New York Jets’ 2013 campaign was a roller coaster ride to say the least. The team opened their season with a thrilling, but unconvincing win against a suspect Tampa Bay Bucs squad. By the time the bye week came around in Week 10, the Jets sat at 5-4, having alternated wins and losses up until that point. At 5-4, Gang Green actually sat in a good position in the AFC East, especially having beaten New England and New Orleans.
The “second season” didn’t see the Jets’ fortunes change though. They came out and lost three straight games to teams that were capable of being defeated, in Buffalo, Baltimore, and Miami. Even though Rex Ryan’s team sat at 5-7, the Jets weren’t officially eliminated from the playoff race. His team finished strong, going 3-1 in their final four games, and wound up 8-8 on the year. It was truly remarkable, given the players that Rex Ryan was using by the end of the season.
Jets general manager John Idzik went out and made some big moves this offseason though. Former Titans running back Chris Johnson has the talents to provide the Jets’ backfield with the home run plays that they’ve lacked in the past. Eric Decker thrived under Peyton Manning in Denver, but he has the makings of an elite possession receiver in the NFL.
The one area that Idzik really neglected was the cornerback position. With quality free agents available such as Darrelle Revis and Aqib Talib, New York really had a chance to solidify their already talented defense. Now, the Jets are left with several questions on the back end. Offseason arrival Dimitri Patterson has battled injury throughout camp, while fellow starter Dee Milliner has been suffering from an ankle sprain, putting him in jeopardy to miss Week 1. Third round draft pick Dexter McDougle also tore his ACL in training camp, and will likely miss all of 2014.
Ultimately, it will be their signal caller who determines how far they go. Geno Smith went through normal rookie growing pains in 2013, but it is time for him to show that he can be the future of Gang Green. The former West Virginia Mountaineer looks more composed in the pocket thus far in preseason, though we won’t have a full grasp of his abilities until the regular season kicks off.
Week 1 Home vs Oakland: Win
The Raiders had themselves an interesting offseason as well. Their most notable additions were quarterback Matt Schaub and running back Maurice Jones-Drew, but I’m not sure that they will be enough to pose a threat. The Jets defeated the Oakland last year, at home as well, and I see the result being the same with the new additions from New York. Jets win 28-14.
Week 2 Away at Green Bay: Loss
I could talk about Aaron Rodgers or Clay Matthews, but the biggest factor working against the Jets will be playing at Lambeau Field. The Jets are historically good against the Packers, 8-3 in their 11 meetings. but they have only played once in the time that Rodgers has held the reigns. I don’t think Jets fans will want to remember that 9-0 loss at home. If the Jets don’t have their secondary in order by Week 2, look for Rodgers to pick apart Rex Ryan’s corners.
Week 3 Home vs Chicago: Win
The Jets will play host against the Bears in their second of three straight NFC North battles. Chicago are going to break out one of these years, even with Jay Cutler at quarterback. Their offense is elite when Cutler isn’t making irrational decisions, and although the defense isn’t what it once was, it still gets the job done. I expect another close game, the Jets winning it late.
Week 4 Home vs Detroit: Win
New York will finally get a win against the NFC North. They’ve won three straight match ups against the team from the Motor City, and despite their high octane offense, their secondary is very suspect. I expect the Jets to put up some points and win a high-scoring affair at Metlife Stadium.
Week 5 Away at San Diego: Loss
The Chargers were a surprise to many in 2013, making the playoffs and even winning a postseason game at Cincinnati. San Diego open their 2014 season with a grueling two games against Arizona and Seattle. Their encounter with the Jets will be a nice change of pace. It’s still early in the year, but both teams need wins in this situation. I think San Diego will win a close one at home.
Week 6 Home vs Denver: Loss
Simply put, it’s very difficult to beat Peyton Manning. The Jets may be able to keep the game close for a half, but the Broncos are too good for Ryan’s team to handle. Denver solidifying their defense this offseason makes their squad all the more terrifying. I expect New York to fall by at least two touchdowns.
Week 7 Away at New England: Loss
Back to back games against Peyton and Tom Brady are not favorable. New England aren’t as scary as they once were on paper, but it’s still the Patriots. New England typically own the Jets, and the beating that they take from Denver in Week 6 will most likely have a carry-over effect as well.
Week 8 Home vs Buffalo: Win
The Bills have pieces to be a challenger in the AFC, but their success relies heavily on the emergence of EJ Manuel. The Florida State product missed six games last year, and didn’t look convincing in most of the games where he did appear. Buffalo’s situation is eerily similar to that of the Jets. Both squads will need their sophomore quarterbacks to shine if either squad want to make noise in the AFC East. I think the Jets have slightly more offensive firepower and will get after Manuel enough, in a victorious effort.
Week 9 Away at Kansas City: Loss
Look for Andy Reid’s team to take a dip in form. The Chiefs have a very talented defense, but I don’t think their offense has the right stuff. Alex Smith is capable of being an NFL quarterback, but he doesn’t do anything spectacularly. That being said though, The Chiefs are a good home team, playing at one of the most challenging venues in football. Kansas City sneak out a win against New York by a touchdown.
Week 10 Home vs Pittsburgh: Win
The Steelers are always a difficult matchup. Ben Roethlisberger has given the Jets fits in the past, most recently last season. I think the Jets will get another key victory before going into their bye week against another tricky AFC opponent. These teams almost always play tough, hard-nosed games, and the Jets have the personnel to outlast Pittsburgh.
Week 11 Bye Week
Week 12 Away at Buffalo: Win
The Jets will avenge their Week 8 loss to the Bills, this time up in Orchard Park. These teams usually split their match ups, but I think that Gang Green can break the trend. New York will finish with a better record and get another victory against their AFC East foe.
Week 13 Home vs Miami: Loss
The Dolphins just don’t catch my eye as a scary team. New York went into Miami in the 2013 finale and made the Fins look very poor. I don’t believe that the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin scandal affected this squad as much as everyone said. They lost two linemen, on an already weak offensive line. The Dolphins didn’t do a great deal to upgrade any aspect of their team, other than adding ex-Chief Brandon Albert. I think that the Jets will fall at home, making their Week 17 encounter all the more important.
Week 14 Away at Minnesota: Win
The Vikings don’t look like a team that will compete this season. Adrian Peterson is a star, but even he can’t carry them. The Jets have one of the top rush defenses, which doesn’t bode well for Minnesota either. New York will go into Minneapolis and defeat the Vikings by two touchdowns.
Week 15 Away at Tennessee: Win
The Jets were pummeled by the Titans last year. I expect the result to be flipped this go around. Tennessee simply don’t have the personnel to scare Gang Green. Bishop Sankey is an excellent replacement for now-Jet Chris Johnson, but I don’t see the rookie making enough of an impact. Jake Locker has failed to stay healthy since entering the league in 2011. i think that the Jets will get after him, or maybe Zach Mettenberger by that point in the season. New York wins in another convincing away game.
Week 16 Home vs New England: Win
The Jets will be aware of how vital the final two games are. I could see this matchup going in favor of the Jets, especially if the Pats have the division and home-field wrapped up. These teams don’t like each other though, and will likely play up to their usual standards regardless of the stakes. New England will win the division yet again, but the Jets will take this game. New York will have to go into Miami and get a victory against the Dolphins in the final week.
Week 17 Away at Miami: Win
The season finale between New York and Miami could very well determine if the Jets go to the playoffs for the first time in four years. There will be at least one AFC North team in the mix for a wild card spot, as well as San Diego from the West. Rex Ryan and his squad will make it back to the playoffs in 2014, ultimately saving the coach’s job. Whether they can make an AFC Championship run though, that is left to be seen.
New York Jets Final Record: 10-6 Make Playoffs