As we move into a new era for the Jets with their first game, I feel an excitement amongst fans not felt in a while. We were teased when we drafted Sam Darnold but that ship has sailed. This is the first year with 17 games. Opening with Carolina is kind of Hollywood with Darnold playing in his first Panther game against his former team. Besides Darnold and Robby Anderson, Carolina has a number of players who wore the Jets green and white at one time. On their roster or practice squad are: Pat Eiflein, Frankie Luvu, Juston Burris and of course James Morgan. This game should be fun! The Jets are one of the teams chosen to go to London and will play Atlanta on October 10th. The day after Christmas (12/26) the Jets host Jacksonville which will be billed as the Trevor Lawrence vs. Zach Wilson game. Or the Braden Mann game saving tackle game. Then right after the New Year, the Jets host the World Champion Buccaneers. Always a big thrill having Tom Brady at Met Life. I can’t wait! Outside their division the other games are: Denver, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Houston, and Philadelphia. Added to the regular AFC home and home games makes for an exciting year. If the Jets go 2-2 (Panthers, Broncos. Titans, Atlanta) going into their bye week, I’ll be happy. My biggest concern this season is keeping Zach Wilson upright. I’ve mentioned in previous articles that if Alijah Vera-Tucker who didn’t play in the preseason does well, the Jets offensive line will be pretty good. It’s the depth that I’m worried about. And I don’t want to keep seeing Mekhi Becton going into the tent every game.
There are things that drive me and other Jets fans crazy and I’m hoping Robert Saleh can overcome some. Right off the bat I hate these three happenings more than almost anything:
- Missed tackles on defense. Please wrap up the player and at least keep him from moving so someone else can finish the job.
- Goal line penalties. You’ll hear me on the other side of the country screaming when the Jets have a third and goal from the four and get a procedure penalty.
- Pass patterns short of the sticks on third down. Please coach Saleh and coach Lafleur don’t have the Jets receivers or running backs run a five yard pass pattern on a third and ten. Drives me bonkers when they do this.
Here are our predictions for the upcoming 2021 New York Jets season. All three Podcast hosts wrote theirs independently of each other.
Well, here we go! After months of talking, wondering, debating and analysis, we are days away from seeing the 2021 Jets under our new regime. Expectations from Jets fans started growing after they added several Free Agents including Corey Davis, Carl Lawson and later Morgan Moses to the team, along with the welcome return of C.J. Mosely. And it only increased when they drafted Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Elijah Moore. I bought in too when they added Moses to an offensive line that I thought was still lacking enough talent to protect our new Golden Boy. And through two pre-season games they looked the part of a team on the rise. At that point I started thinking 8 wins with an outside shot at 9 was possible! Then Lawson went down... the effect was immediate. In the last game against Philly our young defensive backfield looked quite a bit more suspect. Another concern showing up as training camp went along was the O-line play. While they did well in the first two pre-season games, they never faced the first team defense in either game. In the daily updates from practices and the intra-squad scrimmages we were getting a different view of the offense. Becton was getting worked daily by Lawson and Morgan Moses seemed to be struggling as well on the right side. Vera-Tucker got injured early in camp, so he hasn't had time to gel with the line, but still should be a huge addition come game day. Wilson was getting harassed and sacked constantly. He has looked solid in the pocket, even under pressure, with his decision making and accuracy. But this team is going to need to outscore the opponents to win and that means protecting Zach is going to be a must.
One of my cohorts and the creator of the Jets Rewind podcast and this blog, Marty Schupak, has stated that he's disappointed by JD and Robert Saleh saying their goal for the season is to "see improvement" instead of "our goal is to win the Super Bowl". I'm in the same camp as the Jets GM and HC, I like them to give honest answers and talk realistically about what they want to see from the team. I'm too old to need to have sunshine blown up my proverbial skirt. Saying your goal is improvement is not giving up on the season. These aren't little kids, and this isn't a one game pep talk. They aren't 18 point underdogs to the Colts with the Championship on the line. In fact, what I like most about what Saleh said was that they are trying to build this team so that they can win MULTIPLE Championships!
So looking over the schedule I am going to predict that the Jets record this year will be 7-10. I think they will start out slowly but will show improvement by the end of the year as they grasp the new schemes. And that will have them probably picking between 10-15. We have 7 picks in the first four rounds next year. While Playoffs sound nice, another year of higher draft picks to fill more holes will give them a better chance of reaching the goal of long term success. And then Marty will get to hear JD and Saleh tell him the goal is "to win the Super Bowl this year!"
The success or failure this season will hinge on the play of the offensive line. The run blocking should be pretty good. If the pass blocking is adequate, Wilson will be at about 27 TDs and 13 Ints. The young D will struggle at first but improve as the year goes on. As I've said in the past, the NFL is built for parity. Each year the majority of teams are a couple of games over or under .500. With competent coaching, there's no reason the Jets can't win anywhere from 7-9 games. I'll predict 8 wins.
Okay now to the season. I really think the Carl Lawson loss was huge. Because of it I adjusted the wins by a couple. With that I’m predicting the Jets go 8-9. Zach Wilson will improve as the season goes on with his deep receiving corp. The Jets stable of running backs is very good. The defense beyond the front four is very worrisome and there will be a ton of scoring. I’m counting on CJ Mosley to have a real good season. Let the games begin!
Marty Schupak has been a New York Jets football fan since 1964. Ray Clifford another lifelong fan contributed to this article. Their blog and Podcast are both at:
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