By Reid McEvoy
The New York Jets’ full 2018 schedule has been released, and it is now time to take an in-depth look at their matchups. The upcoming season will be one that Jets’ fans will be hoping to walk away from with their heads held high as this seems to be the year that the organization shifts gears from rebuilding to contending.
Week 1, at Detroit Lions: For the season opener, the Jets will play in flood lights, as they will travel to Ford Field for a Monday night clash. The Lions will be debuting their new head coach, former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. The Jets will be faced with the decision of who they want their starting QB to be. Their options are Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, and if they decide to draft a quarterback, which seems to be what they will do, he will be in the mix as well. The preseason should aid the coaches in making the right decision for who the gunslinger will be.
Week 2 (home), Week 9: Miami Dolphins: For the second year in a row, the Jets make their home debut against the Dolphins. Last year, the series was split, as each team won their home game. The Jets treated their fans to a 20-6 beatdown at MetLife, but then lost a close game in Miami, 31-28. The Dolphins will in all likelyhood have Ryan Tannehill at the helm. He will be returning after sitting the entire 2017 season out due to an ACL tear. This means the Jets may get a rusty and nervous version of him under center, and their great defensive line and new corner Trumaine Johnson might be able to force him to make some arid throws and create turnovers.
Week 3, at Cleveland Browns: Two teams who are typically the butt of jokes will face off in front of America in a Thursday Night game. Both of these teams, however, have fans that are expecting this to be the year their organization turns things around. The Browns will either have Tyrod Taylor under center, or whichever of the top prospect QBs they decide is worth the first overall pick.
Week 4, at Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jets travel to take on the Jaguars who will showcase their new uniforms. Last year, the two teams also met in Week 4, and the Jets won the game on a Chandler Catanzaro field goal in overtime, 23-20. The Jets would certainly take a similar result, and if they hope to win, they may need one, as the Jaguars have proven themselves to be a top team in the NFL. Also, the Jets will pay now former teammate Austin Seferian-Jenkins a visit.
Week 5, vs Denver Broncos: The Jets will meet the Broncos and the new face of the franchise: Case Keenum. Keenum, like the Jets, started last year off as a joke, but they both (Keenum more) proved they didn’t deserve that stigma, and now the two meet at MetLife. It hopefully will be a better game than last year's between the two. The Jets were shutout in a terrible game, 23-0.
Week 6, vs Indianapolis Colts: The Jets stay at home for a matchup against the Colts. By Week 6 most teams, players and rookies are settled in to their schemes and are fully prepared for the rest of the season. But this process may take a bit longer for the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were expecting their new head coach to be Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, but McDaniels, after verbally agreeing to join them, never followed through, and the Colts were forced to throw something together quickly. They did so by signing former Bills quarterback and Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich to be their coach. Reich will have to deal with a coaching staff that was been appointed by Josh McDaniels, so there is very little chance their chemistry will be at 100%. Hopefully the Jets can capitalize on this and get a Colts team that has a lack of organization.
Week 7, vs Minnesota Vikings: The Jets will conclude their three-game homestand against the Vikings. With this, Teddy Bridgewater will be visited by his former teammates, but his old team will look a bit different due to a man the Jets had flirted with in the offseason: Kirk Cousins. The last time these two teams met was in 2014, which though not long ago, the two sides looked very different. Geno Smith was the Jets quarterback, Bridgewater was the Vikings QB. The running backs were Chris Ivory and Matt Asiata, and the two teams top receivers were Percy Harvin and Jarius Wright.
Week 8, at Chicago Bears: The Bears will have new faces on the receiving end of the ball in Allen Robinson, formerly of the Jaguars, and Trey Burton, the man who threw the touchdown pass to QB Nick Foles in SBLII. They will hope these players can replace Kendall Wright and Zach Miller. The Bears and Jets haven’t played since 2014.
Week 10 (home), Week 14: Buffalo Bills: The Bills and Jets split their series with both wins going to the home team. Also when the Jets beat the Bills, they created the viral #JetsDanceToEverything trend after dancing to a final score of 34-21. I’m sure the Jets fanbase wouldn’t mind more dancing as long as the team wins like that every game.
Week 11, BYE: This marks the third consecutive year the Jets bye week has fallen on Week 11.
Week 12 (home), Week 17: New England Patriots: The most hated man in football will pay a visit to MetLife in the form of 41-year-old Tom Brady, and the Jets will see his disgusting face again in Week 17 at Foxborough. It will be the second consecutive year the Jets close out against the Patriots. Last year, the Patriots won both games against the Jets, but the 24-17 home loss was heavily affected by officiating, including the controversial call where Austin Seferian-Jenkins fumbled out of the end zone. Last season Brady finally started to show signs of regression, and as the Jets get stronger, it’s completely possible the Jets could beat the Patriots this year.
Week 13, at Tennessee Titans: The Jets will visit the Tennessee Titans, who will have their new uniforms as well as a new defender in the form of Malcolm Butler. After spending three seasons with New England, being in tons of trade rumors, and being benched in the Super Bowl, Butler decided it was time to relocate. He did so by signing a five-year deal with the Titans. So after seeing the Jets twice a year, he will now visit them again this year.
Week 15, vs Houston Texans: DeShaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt, and Tyrann Mathieu come to East Rutherford and take on Gang Green. Mathieu was another player Jets fans were hoping to sign, and certain tweets from him seemed almost definitive that he would consider being a Jet, but in the end, he joined Houston. So whoever the Jets’ quarterback is, they will certainly have to avoid his lurking figure.
Week 16, vs Green Bay Packers: The Packers come to MetLife next. This game will not be an easy task, and it won’t be helped by the fact Muhammad Wilkerson will be going up against his old team. Hopefully he is not met with boos, as he was a pivotal part of the Jets' 10-6 season in 2015 and a good player otherwise. But the Jets defense will also have the difficult task of Aaron Rodgers who is a genius of the game. But pressure from Leonard Williams and good linebacker play from Avery Williamson could have the Jets walking away with an upset victory.