Last night the NFL released the regular season schedule for all 32 teams and millions of fans scurried to their computers to dissect every game and start marking games in the win and loss columns. It’s an exercise in futility as the makeup of teams can still shift drastically before the start of the season (draft, trades, injuries, etc.), but it’s a fun exercise just the same.
We won’t starting counting wins and losses when going over the schedule, but we’ll lay it out and see what immediately jumps out.
Week one – @ Detroit, Friday August 8, 7:30 p.m.
Week two – *Jacksonville, Saturday August 17, 7:30 p.m.
Week three – @ New York Giants, Saturday August 24, 7:00 p.m.
Week four – *Philadelphia, Thursday August 29, 7:00 p.m.
Week one – *Tampa, Sunday September 8, 1:00 p.m.
Week two – @ New England, Thursday September 12, 8:25 p.m.
Week three – *Buffalo, Sunday September 22, 4:25 p.m.
Week four – @ Tennessee, Sunday September 29, 4:05 p.m.
Week five – @ Atlanta, Monday October 7, 8:30 p.m.
Week six – *Pittsburgh, Sunday October 13, 1:00 p.m.
Week seven – *New England, Sunday October 20, 1:00 p.m.
Week eight – @ Cincinnati, Sunday October 27, 4:05 p.m.
Week nine – *New Orleans, Sunday November 3, 1:00 p.m.
Week 10 – Bye week
Week 11 – @ Buffalo, Sunday November 17, 1:00 p.m.
Week 12 – @ Baltimore, Sunday November 24, 1:00 p.m.
Week 13 – *Miami, Sunday December 1, 1:00 p.m.
Week 14 – *Oakland, Sunday December 8, 1:00 p.m.
Week 15 – @ Carolina, Sunday December 15, 4:05 p.m.
Week 16 – *Cleveland, Sunday December 22, 1:00 p.m.
Week 17 – @ Miami, Sunday, December 29, 1:00 p.m.
The first thing I usually look for when looking over the schedule is, where is the bye week? Numerous players have told me that’s the first and most important thing they look for when the schedule comes out (they want a bye as close to the middle of the season as possible and they hate really early bye weeks). But this year I couldn’t make it past week one and week two without taking immediate notice of the match ups.
Week one – Which side is Revis on?
The NFL is nicknamed the ‘No Fun League,’ but the one time of year they do like to have fun is with the releasing of the schedule and certain match ups. The Jets and Bucs were set to play this season no matter what, but the NFL decided it’d be cute to pair them for week one. This way Darrelle Revis will almost certainly be playing in MetLife Stadium in week one, but will it be for his new team and against the team that traded him? Or will it be for the team that drafted him and against the team who wasn’t willing to give up the required pieces to acquire the superstar corner? If Revis does in fact get traded to Tampa that will make for one interesting homecoming.
Week two – Thursday night at Patriots
The next thing to jump out is the week two matchup against the Patriots in New England, but an early season matchup between these two is nothing we’re not used to. What jumps out here is it’s a Thursday night game, giving Rex Ryan and the Jets just three days of preparation before playing the Patriots. Ryan can’t be thrilled about this. The silver lining is with the injuries to Gronkowski and Hernandez and replacing Welker with Amendola, maybe the Patriots offense won’t be running like the well oiled machine it usually is.
Week 10 is perfect. Week 10 gives them a perfectly timed break so they can rest and heal up from the first half of the season and get mentally and physically prepared to finish the season strong.
Just two night games
The byproduct of missing the playoffs for two straight seasons is far less night/holiday games. This year the Jets play only two night games (Thursday against Pats and Monday against Falcons, both on the road) and no Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Year’s Eve/Day games. This should please fans as the Jets haven’t exactly turned in their best performances in night games, in fact most of the embarrassing losses of the past few years came in night games. There’s definitely high chance for embarrassment in both of these night games, but at least there’s only two of them.
Once again the Jets will play the Raiders, they don’t play every year but it sure seems like it. At least this year it’ll be the Raiders making the cross-country flight. In fact the Jets won’t have to make any cross-country trips, the furthest west they’ll have to travel is to Cincinnati & Tennessee.
NFC North South and AFC North
This year the AFC East plays the NFC North South & the AFC North. In the NFC North South, that Falcons game will be a tough test, but who knows about the other three teams. Can the Saints rebound and turn back into a playoff team with their head coach back (and Rex’s brother Rob as their new defensive coordinator)? Which Cam Newton will show up on December 15? And well, surely you know the questions surrounding the Bucs.
As for the AFC North, this is not the division you want to play against. This is pure speculation at this point but the Ravens and Steelers will both probably take a step back and not be quite as tough as we’re used to, but they’re still the Steelers and Ravens so you know they won’t be pushovers. While the Steelers and Ravens might not be as good as year’s past, the Bengals and the Browns (yes even the Browns, they should have an excellent defense their question mark will be at quarterback) could both compete for the division or Wildcard. Probably the Bengals more so than the Browns, but the Browns don’t look like they’ll be handing out automatic wins to opponents this year.
There are some really tough games on this schedule and an excruciating five game stretch (in Atlanta, home against Steelers, home against Patriots, at Cincinatti and home against the Saints before the bye week). If the Jets can emerge from that stretch with three wins (or at least two) then rest of the schedule looks manageable. As of now they’re looks to be more than enough winnable games on the schedule, but they could all be just as loseable.
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