Don’t look now, New York Jets fans, but there’s a reason for hope once again.
With a new face of the franchise in No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson and new head coach Robert Saleh, things appear a little more upbeat for Gang Green.
In an ultra-competitive division that features legitimate Super Bowl contender Buffalo in addition to New England and Miami expected to battle for playoff berths as well, wins will once again be hard to come by for the Jets. But being in a race for the top spot in the NFL draft should not be in the cards this Jets Season Energized.
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In one of the most intriguing NFL Week 1 Betting matchups, the Jets will open their season against a familiar face at Carolina. Former first-round pick Sam Darnold is under center for the Panthers and will be out for revenge against his former team. This could play right into the Jets’ favor.
The turnover-prone QB could look to do too much to “stick it” to his former employer, which could create more opportunities for the Jets with turnovers. Look for the Jets to start the season with a mild upset as Bovada has them as a four-point underdog (money line betting odds +175).
Rest of the schedule
With division games against Buffalo, New England, and Miami in addition to games vs. Tennessee, Indianapolis, and Tampa Bay, getting to 6+ wins may be a tall order for the Jets. If New York could swing a couple of wins against Denver (NFL Week 3 on the road), Cincinnati (NFL Week 8 at home), Philadelphia (NFL Week 13 home), and New Orleans (NFL Week 14 at home), that number may be obtainable. New York also has winnable games against Houston, Jacksonville, and Atlanta on the schedule.
The old adage of defense wins championships still holds true. Please see Tampa Bay, 2020. But having an offense that can put up points is still needed, especially in today’s ever-evolving NFL. One of the main reasons for last season’s 2-14 record was the Jets’ offense was simply atrocious.
New York finished dead last in total offense from scrimmage, and it wasn’t really close. The Jets piled up just 280 yards per game which was 20 yards per contest, fewer than the next-to-last New York Giants. In a pass-happy league, the Jets produced just 175 yards through the air, also the worst in the league.
If Wilson can take care of the ball, rely on a running game, and keep defenses honest by being efficient through the air, the Jets should be able to easily top those cellar-dwelling numbers of last season.
Wilson’s top target figures to be former Tennessee wideout, Corey Davis. The fifth-year player out of Western Michigan hauled in 65 receptions last season, good for 984 yards and five touchdowns.
Last season’s leading receiver Jamison Crowder (59-699, 6 TD) also returns and should be another reliable target for the rookie QB.
Former Jags’ receiver Keelan Cole joins the Jets’ revamp, receiving core as well after 642 yards and five scores last season.
Tevin Coleman joins the Jets’ backfield and looks to rebound from an ankle injury that cost him most of last season. Coleman hopes to rejoin his form from his time in Atlanta and is expected to split time with 2021 fourth-round draft pick Michael Carter out of North Carolina.
As mentioned above, reaching the win total of six may be a tall task for this new Jets regime. But they could catch a break if Buffalo has the division wrapped up and is happy with its playoff seed entering the NFL Week 18 matchup.
If the Bills have nothing to play for in the regular-season finale, look for the Jets to score the upset and pick up their sixth win of the season.
2021 Jets Season Energized win total prediction: 6-11