In terms of the strength of schedule, the New York Jets didn't make out too poorly. According to the Red Zone, theirs is the 10th easiest schedule in the league in terms of gross win-loss percentage from 2011.
But it's never as easy as it looks on paper.
Here are some big picture takeaways from the schedule release (via NFL.com).
1. A Tough Stretch to Start
But Tebow forbid the Jets start 1-2, or worse, 0-3. The tabloids will be all over it like a priest on a sermon.
2. Home Cooking Never Tasted So Tough
At least the Jets get to play those tough opponents, and the Colts, at home. If that was a three-game road stretch, that could be a huge midseason damper on any early success the Jets may or may not have.
3. Bye Week Breather
Following the three-game home stretch, the Jets travel to New England to face the Patriots and then host the Miami Dolphins. This two-game divisional stretch headed into the bye could be a pivotal point in their season, but regardless of whether they win those games, the bye week will be a welcome pause after what will be a tough eight-game stretch to start the season.
4. Final Four Games Leave Tough Road to Go
Three of the Jets final four games are on the road, and their home game is against the San Diego Chargers, who can be a tough opponent when they want to be.
5. Prime Time Pressure Will Be Strongest at Season's End
The Jets are featured four times in prime time. Although one game—at home against the Texans—comes in Week 5, the other three games come in the final six games of the season.
This should be a welcome reprieve for a team that has had so much spotlight in recent years. In fact, the perception is that the spotlight has been too strong on them and has raised expectations to unfair levels. That shouldn't be a problem with so many of their prime time games coming late in the season.
At least at that point, their fate will be mostly decided. Just don't tell that to the 2011 Jets.
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