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Picking Apart the Jets’ 2020 Schedule

On Thursday night, the New York Jets released their 2020 schedule. Here’s a primer of who they’re playing and when.

Against the Division

With Tom Brady taking his talents from New England to Tampa Bay, the AFC East is anyone’s for the taking. The Buffalo Bills are the prohibitive favorite given that they almost dethroned the New England Patriots in 2019. But the Miami Dolphins will be improved (at least on paper) and the Pats are the Pats as long as Bill Belichick is around.

The Jets will start the season on September 13 in Buffalo. The last time the Jets started the season on the road was 2018 in Detroit on Monday night. They’ll face the Bills again in Week 7 on October 25. Then, they face the Patriots for the first time in Week 9 on Monday, November 11. Jets fans – myself included – are praying that it’s not a repeat of the “Ghost Game” from last season.

The Jets play the Dolphins in Miami six days later, have a bye, and then play the Dolphins AGAIN on Thanksgiving weekend. The Jets wrap up the regular season on January 3, 2021, in New England. They have not won in Foxborough since 2008.

Three West Coast Trips?!?

The Jets have the unfortunate circumstance of having to travel to the West Coast THREE times in their 2020 schedule. Their first trip comes in Week 6 on October 18 when they will face the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers for their first trip to the new SoFi Stadium. Their second trip will be on December 13 when they face the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in Week 13. They’ll likely stay on the coast because the next week, they travel back to SoFi Stadium to play the Rams (and their new, weird logo). Their Week 14 game could be either a Saturday or Sunday game. Traditionally, the Jets have not played well on the West Coast, which will be something to watch.

The NFC West

This year’s schedule crossover is with the NFC West teams. The Jets face the defending conference champion San Francisco 49ers in their home debut in Week 2 on September 20. They’ll face an improved (on paper) Arizona Cardinals team at home in Week 5 on October 11. Then, they have the first of two games on the West Coast in Weeks 13 and 14 in Seattle and Los Angeles. The NFC West is arguably the best division in the conference and all four teams have a chance at making the playoffs. This crossover will be a difficult task considering the Jets went 3-1 against the NFC East last season.

Their Other AFC Opponents

This season, the Jets’ schedule includes all four AFC West teams, Indianapolis, and Cleveland. The Jets travel to LucasOil Stadium in Week 3 to face the Colts. They get a home game the following Thursday night in Week 4 against an improved (on paper) Denver Broncos. They’ll face the Chargers in Week 6 and travel to Arrowhead to play the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8 on November 1. The Jets will host the Oakland Las Vegas Raiders in Week 13 on December 1 and Cleveland in Week 16. Like the Rams game, whether the game against the Browns is a Saturday or a Sunday game is yet to be determined.

Way, WAY Too Early Prediction

I’m not going to lie: this schedule for the Jets is going to be TOUGH. Only the Patriots have a tougher schedule than the Jets. They play all four NFC West teams as well as all four AFC West teams. Five games are against 2019 playoff opponents. Their playoff chances could come down to the last five games of the season in what is a brutal stretch. Historically, they have not played well on the West Coast. They haven’t won in Seattle since 1997 and haven’t beaten the Rams in Los Angeles since 1970. We also don’t know who will be at quarterback for the Raiders. The Browns’ 2020 will depend on whether or not Baker Mayfield takes the next step. The Patriots could take a step back, but will still be competitive.

All that being said, here’s how I see it going for the Jets:

  • Wins ceiling: 9
  • Wins floor: 5

With all of the moves general manager Joe Douglas made in the last two months, their performance with this schedule will determine how big of a step forward – or back – they’ll take.

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