2013 New York Jets Schedule: Game-by-Game Predictions, Info and Analysis

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IApril 19, 2013

2013 New York Jets Schedule: Game-by-Game Predictions, Info and Analysis

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    The New York Jets were riding high after two straight appearances in the AFC Championship Game, and even leading up to Week 15 of the 2011 season at 8-5 with a clear shot at the playoffs once again. Then, the warts that had been evident all along, which had been covered beautifully over the years, finally came back to the surface. From that point, the Jets did a full-on nose dive to a 6-13 record.

    The sky is no longer the limit for this group, and where it once seemed the Jets were on a path to great success for years to come, that goal has become increasingly out of reach for the Jets.

    A schedule that consists of just five games against 2012 playoff teams lends itself to the hope that the Jets could turn things around in 2013, but they will be doing so amid big changes in the coaching staff and starting lineup, specifically on defense.

    We already knew who the Jets were playing and where they were playing, but now we know what day, at what time and on which channel. With that new information, let's take a look at the Jets' 2013 schedule.

Week 1: Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1 p.m. ET, Fox

    So, if a trade between the Buccaneers and the Jets for the rights to Darrelle Revis does go through, this will surely offer an interesting way to open the season.

    The Buccaneers are hoping to make strides in Greg Schiano's second year as head coach. With talented players at the skill positions, the offensive line's return to health could be a huge bonus for Tampa Bay. It's scary to think that running back Doug Martin may have actually been even better last year.

    Imagine if Josh Freeman actually has time in the pocket, too, after being pressured on 34 percent of his dropbacks in 2012. It won't mean much if he's not able to remain consistent, which has been a problem for Freeman throughout his career. It could, however, help him deliver a more accurate deep pass, though, after hitting his target on just 37.1 percent of shots downfield last year.

    If that's the case, I'm sure Vincent Jackson wouldn't complain too much. The big receiver has just five catches for 107 yards in three games against the Jets, so it will be interesting to see if the Jets are able to take him out of the game once again. The Jets have been successful in at least making their opponents less efficient through the air, and at that point, it will be up to the Jets offense to take advantage of a bad defense that has gotten worse this offseason with several key departures.

    Prediction: Jets 21, Buccaneers 16

Week 2: At New England Patriots

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network (Thursday Night Football)

    This makes two juicy storyline games for the Jets right out of the gate, and this one's in prime time.

    It wasn't all that long ago the Jets defeated the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the 2010 playoffs, but in Rex Ryan's four years as head coach of the Jets, his teams are just 1-4 at Gillette Stadium and have been outscored 156-92 for an average of 13 points per game.

    As usual, this game will come down to whether the Jets can execute their game plan well enough to at least weather the storm from Tom Brady and the high-powered Patriots offense. Will the Jets have more success stopping the Patriots from running the ball than they have in recent years? The Patriots have totaled 495 rushing yards in their past four games against the Jets, including 283 yards last year alone.

    The real question will be whether the Patriots secondary continues to improve in 2013 as it did over the second half of the season in 2012. Stephen Hill has the combination of size and speed that has given the Patriots problems on the outside in the past, and Jeremy Kerley had two very good performances against the Patriots last year with 14 total catches for 206 yards.

    That being said, if the Jets defense isn't able to get stops on the Patriots offense, the end is inevitable.

    Prediction: Patriots 31, Jets 24

Week 3: Vs. Buffalo Bills

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

    The last time these two teams met, the Bills were reminding the Jets that they are on an even playing field...at the bottom of the AFC East.

    Now, Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine might know the strengths and weaknesses of the Jets offense and defense better than anyone else in the division, save the Jets personnel staff. The Bills will likely try to put a heavy rush on the quarterback, whoever it is, and force the issue for the Jets offense to get the ball out quickly.

    That may seem to give the Bills the upper hand, but that being said, both the Bills and the Jets are installing new looks on both sides of the ball, so the familiarity aspect could be tested a bit in the first meeting. Pettine, and everyone else, has never seen the Jets offense as it will function in 2013 because Marty Mornhinweg will likely give it a brand-new feel.

    The Jets have to find a way to shut down C.J. Spiller; the dynamo picked up three plays of 40 or more yards against the Jets in two meetings last year. The Jets were a solid pass defense once again in 2012, but they struggled to stop the run and gave up 134 yards per game and 4.3 yards per rush attempt in 2012. If Doug Marrone's Bills focus on running the ball as much as his 2012 Syracuse Orange team did, and if they are anywhere near as effective at it, they could be a rushing juggernaut in 2013.

    You have to go back to 2009 for the last time the Bills picked up a win at MetLife Stadium. I don't think that trend changes in 2013.

    Prediction: Jets 20, Bills 12

Week 4: At Tennessee Titans

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

    The last time these two teams squared off, the Jets were playing for their postseason lives, and Mark Sanchez committed harakiri with four interceptions and a botched snap to end the game. Considering how poorly the offense played, it's a miracle they were even competitive in that game, but the defense played a great game outside of a few key plays it gave up at the wrong time.

    Will things be different now, with Marty Mornhinweg running the offense? Sanchez could be less inclined to make mistakes if the progressions and decisions are pre-scripted for him, but is it really promising to marry the most turnover-happy quarterback over the past two years with the coordinator whose offense helped Michael Vick rank third in turnovers over the past two years?

    At this point, who knows, but the Titans haven't done much to improve, either. In fact, they lost highly athletic tight end Jared Cook, who would have been nice to have against the Jets linebackers and safeties. If the Jets can bottle up Johnson like they did on 20 of his 21 rushes in the previous meeting, they can force Locker to beat them, and he'll have to do so without much help at the skill positions.

    The Titans defense, however, is an even bigger question mark than the offense. They gave up the most points of any defense in the NFL last year and were in the bottom 10 in virtually every indicator of pass defense except interceptions. They can't bank on another game with that many picks, so their offense will have to pick up the pace. 

    Prediction: Jets 19, Titans 14

Week 5: At Atlanta Falcons

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN (Monday Night Football)

    The Jets have a manageable early schedule and have earned a 3-1 record at this point.

    They may also have one of the few secondaries capable of handling both Julio Jones and Roddy White, with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie more than capable of covering the two talented receivers. The question then becomes whether or not they can get pressure on Matt Ryan, who was pressured on 29.3 percent of his dropbacks in 2012, and if they can shut down running back Steven Jackson, who hit 1,000 yards for the eighth consecutive season in 2012.

    One matchup to watch here is linebacker Demario Davis against tight end Tony Gonzalez. Davis enters his second year and will be taking on a much bigger role now that Bart Scott has left the fold. He could be asked to cover Gonzalez over the middle. The veteran tight end remained a big part of the Falcons offense in 2012 even at the age of 36, so Davis could have his work cut out for him.

    The Falcons defense remains a question mark after losing its best pass-rusher in defensive end John Abraham and one of its starting cornerbacks in Dunta Robinson, but if they continue to jump out to early leads, their secondary could remain the ball-hawking unit that picked off 20 passes last year.

    It's hard to pick the rebuilding Jets over the dominant Falcons, especially at the Georgia Dome, where they've finished 21-6 over the past three seasons (regular and postseason combined).

    Prediction: Falcons 34, Jets 14

Week 6: Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1 p.m. ET, CBS

    The Steelers had their way with the Jets in their last meeting, and Roethlisberger had one of his first truly good performance against the Jets in recent memory in their last meeting. That, however, was without Darrelle Revis on the field and while Roethlisberger still had Mike Wallace at his disposal. 

    There will also be major changes on the Steelers offensive line, with two of their 2012 starters off the roster now (one of them, guard Willie Colon, plays for the Jets). Will the Jets have success getting pressure on Roethlisberger by blitzing him, as so many teams have in the past? My guess is yes.

    The question then is whether he is able to pull his escape artistry. If the offensive line collapses enough times, though, Roethlisberger could be running for his life all afternoon.

    Antonio Brown is still a legitimate No. 1 receiver, and tight end Heath Miller is as solid as they come over the middle, but with so many dramatic changes in their lineup, it's hard to see the Steelers getting it together against an aggressive, complex defense on the road.

    Prediction: Jets 23, Steelers 20

Week 7: Vs. New England Patriots

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1 p.m. ET, CBS

    The Jets usually hit a wall when they play New England. I don't need to remind you all what happened the last time the Jets played host to the Patriots, but this is becoming a trend now. The Patriots have hung 86 points on the Jets in their past two trips to MetLife Stadium. 

    Additionally, Tom Brady has performed better against the Jets than any other AFC East team over the past two years, having thrown nine touchdowns and one interception against the Jets in the past four meetings.

    Even if the Jets still have Darrelle Revis on the roster at this point, and even though the Patriots will be without Wes Welker against the Jets for the first time since 2009, it's hard to envision a scenario where the Patriots offense struggles to move the ball. 

    The Patriots secondary will remain intact from last year, after making big improvements over the second half of the season (97.3 passer rating in the first nine games, 73.2 in the final seven), and with the group's new man-coverage scheme, the Patriots may finally have the firepower to slow down a timing offense like the West Coast offense the Jets will run. Mark Sanchez has played some of his best football against the Patriots, but it's still rarely been enough to beat them. It could be close, but it won't be an upset.

    Prediction: Patriots 27, Jets 16

Week 8: At Cincinnati Bengals

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

    Two games in a row against some of the best teams in the AFC? Things are getting hairy for the Jets here toward the middle of the season.

    The Jets have not yet had to deal with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green in a meaningful game (one preseason game in 2011). Likewise, the dynamic duo has never had to deal with the highly complicated Rex Ryan defense. Dalton was under pressure on just 25.8 percent of his dropbacks, the third-lowest average in the NFL, and ranked ninth in the NFL in deep pass-attempt percentage in 2012.

    That being said, it's not as easy as getting quick pressure to take away the deep ball. Dalton was great at getting the ball out quickly, averaging just 2.64 seconds in the pocket per play, one of the five quickest times in the NFL.

    Defensively, the Bengals have one of the most underrated rosters in the league. They ranked in the top 10 against the pass and allowed just 5.6 net yards per pass attempt, the sixth-best average in the NFL. That number got a significant boost from their front seven, which brought down quarterbacks 51 times, the second-highest total in the league. No one would be shocked if the Jets struggled to move the ball.

    This game is just too lopsided from a talent standpoint to give the Jets much of a chance at all.

    Prediction: Bengals 37, Jets 20

Week 9: Vs. New Orleans Saints

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1 p.m. ET, CBS

    Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Andy Dalton and Drew Brees in consecutive weeks? Ouch, NFL schedule makers, ouch.

    The Jets were able to keep it close early on against the Saints in 2009, but ultimately, Drew Brees' passing prowess proved too much for even the Jets' No. 1-ranked defense. Will things be different in 2013, with the same high-powered offense coming up against a less dominant defense than the one that took the field way back then?

    If the Jets offense is going to get the ball moving, this will be the perfect opportunity to do so—assuming, of course, the Saints defense is still giving up yards at record rates and points in bunches to boot.

    With such significant question marks at wide receiver, quarterback and tight end, though, the Jets are hardly equipped to take advantage of any weaknesses in the armor for the Saints.

    Prediction: Saints 29, Jets 17

Week 10: Bye Week

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    The Jets would be 4-5 headed into their bye week if my predictions pan out. There could be questions about Rex Ryan's job security at this point. Assuredly, unnamed sources will have come out to say Rex Ryan is "terrible" by this point, as well.

    Regardless, this gives the Jets an opportunity to take a long, hard look in the mirror. Last year, the Jets lost two of their first three games following the bye. Hopefully for their sake, they make better use of it this year.

Week 11: At Buffalo Bills

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1 p.m. ET, CBS

    The Bills offense will likely be running the ball much more than it did in 2012. That was a major problem for Chan Gailey as the head coach and was likely one of the reasons Doug Marrone was selected as the next head coach. Although he is known as the offensive coordinator who helped Drew Brees become one of the most prolific passers in NFL history in 2008, he is certainly adaptable and his Syracuse Orange team led the Big East in rush attempts.

    That could mean big things for C.J. Spiller in 2013. Couple that theory with a couple of big days against the Jets in 2012, and unless the Jets' revamped defense is much better against the speedy and quick backs like Spiller, he could be poised for a career performance against the Jets defense.

    From there, it could come down to which high-pressure defense does the better job of disrupting the other team's timing. Both defenses are expected to be exotic and blitz-happy defenses in 2013, and both offenses are expected to be run primarily on West Coast principles, which require a lot of timing throws. Which front seven does the better job of throwing the quarterback off? Mike Pettine has extensive knowledge of what it takes to confuse Mark Sanchez, so that is a huge benefit for Buffalo. 

    The Bills and the Jets are on a level playing field in 2013 from my perspective, and as such, I expect them to split their two-game series.

    Prediction: Bills 20, Jets 14

Week 12: At Baltimore Ravens

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1 p.m. ET, CBS

    The Jets have to travel back-to-back weeks out of the bye, and their second opponent is the Super Bowl champion Ravens.

    The Jets have lost both of their games with the Ravens in the Rex Ryan era, but these are two much different teams from the ones that met back in 2011. In fact, they're both much different teams from the ones that took the field just last year.

    The Ravens still have all of the ingredients that have made them such a bear for the Jets in recent years on defense. They still have a solid front seven that can get after the quarterback and shut down the run. Although they will be hurt with the lost leadership of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, they upgraded their athleticism at those spots by adding Rolando McClain and Michael Huff. The Ravens defense should still have its way with the Jets offense, as they have recently.

    Joe Flacco has played some of his worst games against the Jets defense and has completed 43.5 percent of his throws with no touchdowns and two interceptions in his two games against Rex Ryan's defense. Will he find his swing this time around? It will be tougher without Anquan Boldin to throw to. 

    Prediction: Ravens 17, Jets 10

Week 13: Vs. Miami Dolphins

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1 p.m. ET, CBS

    The Jets have two difficult road games right out of the bye, but they finally get a home stand against a familiar foe. Unfortunately, it's one that beat them earlier this year. Could things be different this time around?

    With Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to take away Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, the onus will be on Davone Bess, Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller to get the job done in the passing game. 

    Lamar Miller has the skill set at running back that has given the Jets trouble in the past and had 43 yards on nine carries when he played them in 2012, but again, Keller could have success moving the ball over the middle, and he figures to be a key player in this game.

    One aspect that bears attention, though, is the Dolphins offensive line. They have gone all out giving Tannehill weapons this offseason, but they still have significant question marks up front. Tannehill was great under pressure and was the second-most accurate passer under pressure behind only Robert Griffin III, but he could be under the gun quite a bit unless the Dolphins find him some protection in the draft.  

    Prediction: Jets 17, Dolphins 16

Week 14: Vs. Oakland Raiders

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1 p.m. ET, CBS

    Take solace, Jets fans: There are some NFL teams that are more of a mess than the Jets. The Raiders are among those teams. With more than $40 million in dead money, the Raiders will try to field a competitive team with nearly a one-third handicap on the salary cap.

    They will also try to field a competitive team with the untested Matt Flynn as their starting quarterback. He will be throwing to an unknown group of receivers, but one thing we know for sure is that if he's healthy, Darren McFadden will likely be the focal point of the game plan.

    If that's the case, the Jets better come with an improved game plan from when they allowed McFadden to pile up 171 yards rushing and two touchdowns against them in 2011.

    The Jets are much better when facing a one-dimensional opponent, as that will allow them to focus on shutting down the run while hopefully still minimizing the damage in the passing game.

    After back-to-back road games out of the bye, the Jets turn the tide with back-to-back home wins.

    Prediction: Jets 30, Raiders 16

Week 15: At Carolina Panthers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

    The Jets got a taste of Cam Newton's athleticism when they met in the third preseason game in 2012. Newton was on the field for much of the first half and went 6-of-15 passing for 60 yards and a touchdown, adding 16 yards on two carries in the process. The Jets did a great job of bottling him up, forcing him to beat them from the pocket, and they were even able to get a pair of sacks on Newton in the process.

    If they can force him to stay in the pocket, they may have success once again, because the Panthers lack any true threat at receiver outside of Steve Smith. Tight end Greg Olsen could have a nice outing here, but again, the X-factor will be how Demario Davis plays in Bart Scott's stead—certainly, he can't be much worse than Scott in coverage.

    How will the Jets attack the Panthers defense? It could be tough with the two-headed pass-rush monster of Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy coming at them. That being said, if the rush doesn't get home, the Panthers don't have a great deal of talent in the secondary to cover. Will Captain Munnerlyn line up on Santonio Holmes or Stephen Hill, and will the other be able to capitalize? That could determine the outcome of this game. 

    Prediction: Panthers 19, Jets 14

Week 16: Vs. Cleveland Browns

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1 p.m. ET, CBS

    The Browns still have significant questions at quarterback in terms of whether Brandon Weeden is the long-term answer. The offensive line is a solid unit, but the Jets will likely draw up some exotic blitz packages to try to catch them off-guard. Weeden was well-protected in 2012 (pressured on 27.7 percent of dropbacks, ranked sixth), so it will be up to the quarterback to get the ball out quicker (averaged 2.82 seconds in the pocket, one of the 10 longest averages in the NFL).

    Continued rapport with Josh Gordon should help Weeden out, but Gordon and Greg Little didn't see a cornerback tandem like Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie last year. 

    Trent Richardson had a hard time moving the ball in the running game, but he might have more success against a Jets front seven that struggled to stop the run last year—unless they benefit from some addition by subtraction at linebacker and on the defensive line.

    The Browns defense could be improved from last season, but they were very average across the board, and their best performances came against the worst competition. Would the Jets fall into that category in 2013? If so, will the Browns defense outperform the Jets defense?

    This one could be a defensive slugfest, so I'll take the defensive-minded coach in that contest.

    Prediction: Jets 16, Browns 12

Week 17: At Miami Dolphins

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1 p.m. ET, CBS

    The Jets close out the season with two of their final three games on the road and in the south—which is better than having those games earlier in the season, I suppose.

    Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense are sure to be under a microscope all season long as a result of the high expectations around Tannehill's development as well as the addition of so many weapons at receiver and tight end. There is one problem, however, on the offensive line, where the Dolphins have invested several draft picks and some free-agent money over the years. If the Jets front seven comes to play, they could put the Dolphins offense in a funk.

    How will the Jets handle Mike Wallace? He has 12 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown in his two regular-season games against the Jets, so they will clearly have their hands full with that. Darrelle Revis wasn't around the last time Wallace faced the Jets, though, so that could have some impact on how things turn out.

    The matchup to watch here will be Dustin Keller against the Jets safeties and linebackers. Those groups had trouble in coverage over the years, but the Jets are fielding a brand-new group this year aside from David Harris.

    Rex Ryan is a brilliant coach, no doubt, but the Dolphins have a good deal more talent than the Jets do.

    Prediction: Dolphins 26, Jets 16