New York Jets 2012 Schedule: Power Ranking the Games
It will be interesting to see how the Jets handle a very tough schedule for the first time in a while. If they do well, look for them to advance to the playoffs and do some damage. If they do poorly, look for them to sink back into the abyss of teams on the outside looking in.
Without further ado, here is my power ranking the Jets' games from easiest to toughest.
1) Week 11: At St. Louis Rams
Might as well put this one in the win column for the Jets. One name will tell you exactly why, Brian Schottenheimer. Yes, that's right, the former Jets offensive coordinator will be coaching against his old team November 18.
In his time with the Jets, Schottenheimer was predictably inconsistent with his play-calling. Just to give you an example, last season when the Jets were in a tight game with their in-house rivals, the Giants, Schottenheimer called several running plays that moved the ball downfield. But once the Jets got near mid-field, he switched to a pass play.
In that game, Mark Sanchez attempted 59 passes, completing only 30, and on drives like these, he would mess up on first down, essentially wasting a down. When faced with a second-and-10 situation, Schottenheimer would then call another pass, and Sanchez would screw up, putting the offense in a third-and-10 situation.
If you couldn't already tell where this is going, the Jets would not convert, as Schottenheimer would call another pass and the defense would be sitting on it, forcing the Jets to punt after having such great field position.
The Jets know their former offensive coordinator, and after what he was not able to accomplish with a talented offense in New York, I do not see him doing well in St. Louis. So by Week 11, Sam Bradford and the Rams offense should be struggling more than enough for Mike Pettine and Rex Ryan's defense to come up with stops, so that the offense can put some points on the board.
2) Week 14: At Jacksonville Jaguars
During the 2011 season, the Jets hosted the Jaguars and manhandled them from the opening drive, winning the Week 2 matchup 32-3.
The Jets were able to win with an aggressive and pressured-filled approach on defense. They forced Jack Del Rio to take out former starter Luke McCown and bring in the rookie Blaine Gabbert after McCown had a 1.9 quarterback rating (6 for19, 59 yards, 4 interceptions). They also limited Maurice Jones-Drew to 88 yards on 18 rushing attempts.
As of right now, both teams have not made drastic changes that would affect the outcome of this game, so it is very likely that the Jets will beat the Jaguars with ease for the second year in a row. Make sure to keep your eye on the quarterback during this game. It will be Tim Tebow's homecoming.
3) Week 13: Arizona Cardinals
All fans watching this game will have their eyes on Darrelle Revis and Larry Fitzgerald. With Revis covering Fitzgerald, do not expect to see Fitzgerald with the ball too often.
That will leave Antonio Cromartie and the safeties to cover the rest of the Cardinals receiver corps, which should not be too much of a problem.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, if Fitzgerald and the rest of the receivers are on lockdown all day, they will have to rely on their 24th-ranked rushing game against a tough Jets defensive line and linebacker group.
For the Cardinals, it could easily become a long day at the Meadowlands, just like in 2008 when the Jets beat them 56-35.
The Jets should not have too many problems against Arizona. Depending on the outcome of their game against the Patriots the week before, it could either be a rebound game, or another game where they display their dominance.
4) Week 6: Indianapolis Colts
The one thing everybody will be watching in this Week 6 matchup at Met Life Stadium is Andrew Luck, who will be playing in his fifth NFL game.
The Jets should take advantage of that as much as possible by trying to pressure Luck into bad throws, especially since they will have guys like Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in coverage.
The Jets should be able to produce on offense as well, as long as they protect Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow from Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. Their main concern will be at right tackle. If Wayne Hunter continues to play the position in 2012, it could be a pressure-filled game for whoever is in the backfield for the Jets.
Aside from the pass rush, the Jets should be able to do what they want against the Colts and get a win at their own stadium.
5) Week 15: At Tennessee Titans
In this Monday night game, the Jets travel down to LP Field to take on the Titans. This game should rest on the offense's shoulders.
For the Titans, wide receiver Nate Washington will have his hands full being defended by Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis, while the rest of the defense covers the necessary men and stops Chris Johnson as best it can.
Look for the ground and pound in this win for the Jets. The Titans had trouble defending against the run last season, and with the team the Jets have, they could do whatever they want.
But why not go after a team's weakness?
6) Week 10: At Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks may not be as talented a team as the Titans, but this game figures to be more of a challenge for the Jets.
That's because the game is in Seattle, where the Jets will have to deal with the Seahawks' 12th man, which plays a big role in any Seattle home game.
Luckily for the Jets, they will be coming off a bye week, so travelling to the other side of the country should not physically affect them too much.
Other than that, the Jets outmatch the Seahawks and should be able to come away with another win.
7) Week 1: Buffalo Bills
These two faced off last on November 27, and it was the Jets who came out on top with some late- game heroics courtesy of Mark Sanchez, Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes.
Although the Jets were only able to win by four points (28-24), playing the Bills at home should be a lot easier this time around.
When considering how the 2011 season turned out and taking into account all of the different things going on in the circus we all know as the Jets locker room, it only makes sense that they were only able to barely beat the Bills.
Prior to that victory, the Jets lost to the Broncos, who were led by their new acquisition Tim Tebow, and following that victory, the Jets lost control of their postseason hopes and ended with a mediocre season.
If the team enters this season the way they did in 2009 or 2010; motivated and together, they should be able to work as one unit and open up the season with a win in front of the home crowd.
8) Week 16: San Diego Chargers
For the second year in a row, the Jets will host the San Diego Chargers as the two go head-to-head in the second-to-last week of the season. Last time these two played, the Jets defense was able to force Phillip Rivers to commit two crucial turnovers, one of which sealed the victory for New York.
This game will definitely take a lot of work on both sides of the ball if the Jets want to win. During their game in 2011, the Jets edged the Chargers 27-21, most of those points coming from Plaxico Burress, who had three touchdowns and will not return in 2012.
On defense, the Jets will need to find a way to contain the run game while preventing a guy like Antonio Gates from making big plays in the passing game.
Like I said before, this will be a tough game, both teams have potent offenses when their quarterbacks are on their A-game. And this prime-time game toward the end of the season may have playoff implications, only adding to the pressure.
If this game is only No. 8 on this ranking, it looks like the Jets are going to have a very tough 2012 season.
9) Week 8: Miami Dolphins
When it comes to playing the Miami Dolphins in New York, the Jets have done very poorly. In the last five years, they have only been able to manage two wins.
One came back in 2007 when both teams were abysmal and other came last season when the Jets were able to win 24-6.
Knowing that, this game is somewhat of a toss-up. What it will most likely come down to is which quarterback performs better. In recent memory that has been the deciding factor in this game.
10) Week 5: Houston Texans
The last time these two played at the Meadowlands, it took a big comeback drive at the end of the fourth quarter for the Jets to edge the Texans.
With 55 seconds left in that 2010 game, the Jets started deep in their own territory, but with clutch catches by Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, the offense was able to save the defense from being pegged with the loss. The defense had allowed the Texans to tie the game and take the lead, failing to protect a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter.
This game will be different. To start, the Texans have improved and are playoff contenders after winning the AFC South and making a postseason appearance last year. This game will be back and forth all day.
Unlike in 2010, these teams will be just about even heading into this Monday night matchup.
11) Week 17: At Buffalo Bills
When it came to playing at home last year, the Buffalo Bills did a great job of protecting their house, except when they played the Jets.
Although the Bills could not get another upset victory at home against the Jets like they did earlier in the 2011 season against the Patriots, they did very well and their young and talented team looks like it is going to build on that ability to play well at home in 2012.
There is no doubt that with the resurgence of the Bills last year, the AFC East has become a lot more interesting.
Watch for this one to be a hard-fought game between in-state division rivals. But in the end, experience should prevail and the Jets should be able to pull away with the win.
12) Week 3: At Miami Dolphins
The Jets will have this one circled on their calendar. They want to get revenge on the Dolphins for sending them home early and sour in 2011.
Unlike the Jets-Dolphins matchup when they play at the Meadowlands, this game is a bit more consistent. I only say a bit more because the score is always close, the winner varies by season.
In the last five seasons, the Jets have won three games in Miami. In those five games, one had an extreme margin of victory. That came in 2007 when the Dolphins went 1-15 and the Jets won 40-13.
There is not much else to say about this game except that it is going to be close. It will be interesting to see how Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano does in his first game against his former team.
13) Week 4: San Francisco 49ers
These two have not played since Brett Favre was quarterback for the Jets, and a lot of things have changed.
What may not change, though, is the outcome. When the Jets went to San Francisco in 2008, they lost 24-14, as they crashed and burned while in control of their postseason destiny.
Last season, San Francisco was one solid drive away from going to the Super Bowl. Had it not been for Kyle Williams, they might have been able to knock off the New York Giants, who took advantage of a very costly fumble that sent them to Indianapolis.
The 49ers defense, led by Patrick Willis, will be tough, especially against the run, but a Jets victory is possible here. They will have home-field advantage, but will have to play flawlessly on offense, which may be too much to ask of Mark Sanchez and/or Tim Tebow.
14) Week 2: At Pittsburgh Steelers
This is another revenge game for the Jets. Their second game of the season comes against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team that kept them from getting to the Super Bowl two seasons ago.
While both teams have gone through some changes since they met back in January 2011, it will seem like we are watching that AFC Championship Game all over again. Except the Jets could pull away with a victory this time.
Sure, this game is toward the end of the list, which means it is going to take a lot to win. But the thing is, the Jets have shown they can beat the Steelers. They just need to play a complete game.
In that 24-19 playoff loss, the Jets had too many first-half turnovers that put them in an insurmountable hole and resulted in an extra two weeks of vacation.
If they play well, the Jets should be able to win a hard-fought game against a contender and push themselves back to the top of the power rankings.
15-16) Week 12: Vs. New England Patriots; Week 7 at Patriots
Last season, the Jets could not contain a singe part of the New England offense. The Patriots were able to pass the ball, which is a given because of Tom Brady, and run the ball against an alleged top rushing defense.
One thing to keep an eye on is how the coaching staffs try to out-coach one another. For the last few years, coaching has been the deciding factor in Jets-Patriots games, and obviously Belichick is currently winning that battle.
But think back to 2008 when an overweight coach brought back an old formation, tweaked it to fit his team and took down the mighty hoodie in all of his glory early in the season.
If you're a little lost, I am referring back to the Patriots-Dolphins Week 3 game in 2008 when Tony Sparano brought back the Wildcat, which no one expected, and the Dolphins went on to beat the Patriots 38-13.
Expect good games during Weeks 12 and 7, but Jets fans, don't expect too much this year.
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