Week 9: Bye Week
There is no excuse for the Jets to be worse than 5-3 by their bye week. Granted, they are the Jets and can’t make life easy on themselves, so 6-2 most likely is unrealistic. A 5-3 record at the bye should be more than enough to get position on a wildcard spot in January.
Week 10: At Seattle Seahawks
After 2008, when Brett Favre & the Jets imploded up in Seattle on a snowy night, I wished the Jets would never return to Seattle again. Well, never is finally here. Pete Carroll fields a talented roster with big question marks. Is Matt Flynn the QB in Seattle? What happens now with Marshawn Lynch after his recent run-in with the law? Was Bruce Irvin a reach at the 15th pick in the 2012 Draft? Irvin was picked right before the Jets selected DE Quinton Coples.
The Jets haven’t fared well the game after their bye under Rex Ryan, going 1-2 in the last three seasons. Seattle is a beatable team, considering the Jets are posturing to have a top 5 defense in the NFL this season. Last year, the Jets ended up 5th in total yards allowed per game with 312.1. This year, the defense will field a better pass rush, the linebacker corps should be much improved & the safety play should improve with Bell & Landry starting. Eric Smith is expected to provide stability as the rotational safety, and will be healthy after playing with a torn meniscus last season. Expect the Jets to outclass Seattle or lose due to Sanchez throwing an exorbitant amount of passes leading to interceptions, a la Favre.
Jets should leave Seattle with a decisive win and without a Shaun Ellis lawsuit after tossing a block of snow at Seattle fans.
Week 11: At St. Louis Rams
The Rams have been a thorn in the Jets side long before the Marshall Faulk days. The Jets are 3-9 all time vs. the Rams, with the lone bright spot since 1983 being the ’08 Favre-led Jets trouncing the Rams 47-3. Now that Jeff Fisher is the Rams head coach, this team will play much better annually. The Rams are a franchise that has done a ton of work to improve its talent, bolstering the D-line with former Miami Dolphin Kendall Langford & drafting LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers with the 14th pick in the 1st round in this years draft. They also signed star corner back Cortland Finnegan from the Tennessee Titans, reuniting Finnegan with head coach Jeff Fisher.
The offense isn’t much improved from 2011, but injuries were the key to ruining all hope in St. Louis last year. The Rams will have a rough stretch before meeting the Jets, playing Green Bay, New England, then having a bye week. After, they play San Francisco, then the Jets. The season could easily be lost by the November 18th matchup with the Jets. Expect the Jets to go down to St. Louis and have a big day defensively. If kicker Josh Brown does in fact beat out incumbent Nick Folk, this will be his 1st game against the team that once made him the highest paid kicker in the NFL. The Jets better not get complacent, otherwise this will be another one of those games they let slip out of their hands.
Game 2 Vs. The Patriots will be a vital game to the Jets season. If the Jets split the series, it will be considered a successful campaign against Bill Belichick & Co. I have learned over the years to never doubt Tom Brady, he can destroy any defense in the NFL & he will put up big numbers this season as well. If the Jets get swept by the Patriots again, it will be another ugly season, with more trash talk by the Sith lord himself.
Week 13: Vs. Arizona Cardinals
After week 12, the Jets will not face one top tier team the rest of the way to January. Arizona will impress at times in 2012, but by no means will be making the playoffs, barring unforeseen events and more zombie attacks across the United States.
So who can throw the ball in Arizona? Their current situation under center isn’t looking great. Kevin Kolb should win the job but will he earn it? After this pre-season opener, there are more questions at QB than answers. Larry Fitzgerald will go through another rough season on a terrible offense.
The Cardinals defense was ranked 18th in total yards in 2011, and should be improved in 2012, fielding corner back Patrick Peterson, safety Adrian Wilson, a stellar 3-4 d-line featuring Darnell Dockett & newly paid Calais Campbell. If the Jets beat the Patriots, this will be a trap game. If they lose to the patriots, this is where anger in the name of Rex Ryan is unleashed following 10 days off from a Thursday night disaster.
Week 14: At Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars at the moment are without their best player. Maurice Jones-Drew is holding out of training camp, and their quarterback play doesn’t appear to be impressive either. This team fields one of the worst rosters in the NFL, and although they drafted blue chip wide receiver Justin Blackmon, and signed receiver Laurent Robinson from the Dallas Cowboys via free agency, they still aren’t scaring anyone. Robinson is rumored to be having a terrible camp this summer. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert is anything but polished to take on opposing defenses, and his backup is ex-Dolphin Chad Henne, has not impressed at camp either.
The Jags lack defensive star power, and should be drafting in the top 10 next year as well. This game will be one of the lone sellout’s Jacksonville has had in a long time, due to a homecoming of sorts for University of Florida alum, Tim Tebow. Expect a big fan base supporting the Jets and a large win, but not as impressive as the 32 – 3 knockout the Jets dealt the Jags in 2011.
Week 15: At Tennessee on Monday Night
The Titans, just like the Jaguars have an insecure quarterback situation. Is it the aging Matt Hasselbeck, or is it the young gun, Jake Locker? Titans star receiver, Kenny Britt, is dealing with knee injuries in both knees, and most likely won’t make much of an impact this year. Running Back Chris Johnson is likely to receive a heavy load of the responsibility in saving the Titans from collapsing in 2012. If Chris Johnson replicates his 2,000 yard 2010 season, expect this Titans team to compete deep into December.
The Jets don’t leave Tennessee with a win, and falter on Monday night.
Week 16: Vs. San Diego Chargers on Sunday Night
The Chargers come cross-country to play the Jets in their 2nd straight night game. This game should have playoff implications for both teams, but expect both to be fighting for a wild card spot. Phillip Rivers’ 2011 season was a mess, and in 2012, receiver Robert Meachem replaces stud Vincent Jackson. Antonio Gates hasn’t played at the level of former Charger great, Kellen Winslow Sr. since 2009, dealing with foot injuries since. Gates appears to be on the downward slope in his career, already 32; he could have 1 more renaissance season before he hangs up his cleats. Running back Ryan Matthews is being counted on to provide a stellar running game, and keep the Chargers in cruise control throughout the season, but durability has been an issue with Mathews his whole young career, and 2012 will be a big deciding factor on head coach Norv Turner’s future in San Diego. If the Chargers don’t make an impact in, yes, in the playoffs, Turner is toast. Antonio Cromartie should be salivating, because Rivers arm strength was questionable in 2011, and by December 2012, he should be throwing ducks past 20 yards in the swirling Meadowlands winds.
The Jets should trample a soft Chargers team that will be bullied on the line of scrimmage from both Jets lines.
Week 17: At. Buffalo Bills
I firmly believe the Jets will be 10 – 5, walking into Buffalo on December 30th. This time around, the Jets will not walk out victorious, and will enter the playoffs already clinching the 5th spot in week 16. The Bills field a talented but thin roster, and 2012 will prove that, but the Jets won’t leave Buffalo on the highest note. The real season will start in January, and barring significant injuries, the Jets will be a team to be feared until they are crowned or defeated.
Predicted AFC East Standings
Patriots 12 – 4
Jets 10 – 6
Bills 9 – 7
Dolphins 6 – 10