The New York Jets are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Why?
Because Rex Ryan told us they are. Several times on Hard Knocks. Go back and watch it again if you need inspiration.
And so did some of the players. And now that Darrelle Revis is back, there is nothing that can stop them.
Except for maybe some of the teams on the schedule.
Let's take a look at how the season will look for a self-proclaimed "contendah" in one of the toughest divisions in pro football.
We'll break down each game in the same way to keep it consistent.
Why They Could Win: The Jets defense is what the Ravens D was a few years ago when they won a title with Trent Dilfer under center.
No offense to "T-Dilf," but Ray Lewis and the boys supplied that title. And what did that defense have in common with the Jets defense? A certain chubby, trash-talking coach, of course.
Why They Could Lose: If for some reason Revis and company aren't ready for the season to start and this turns into a shootout, the Jets lose.
Key To Game: Darrelle Revis. He didn't play in the preseason. He says he is in shape, but is he in game shape?
Prediction: Ravens win, 21-17. Nothing will come easy this year with a bullseye on your back.
How often do you get a must-win in the second game of the season?
The Jets can't afford to start the season 0-2 and lose to a division rival at home.
Why They Could Win: Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. And if I could say it in Spanish and Russian and every other language, I would say it. The Pats have questions along the offensive line. The Jets have to hit Brady early and often. Or else.
Why They Could Lose: This is simple as can be. If the Jets don't get to Brady, he will go to Wes Welker. And if Revis covers Welker, they will go to Moss or one of their young tight ends. Or Kevin Faulk out of the backfield. If Tom Brady gets time, he is the best in the game. Yes, better than Manning. He has three rings to prove it.
Key To Game: Bart Scott, the only guy on the Jets that talks more trash than Rex Ryan. He cracked on his own teammates during Hard Knocks. Now he has to put up or watch his team lose. No sacks on Brady, no win.
Prediction: The Jets, playing with a better defense and more desperation, eke out a last second win, 24-21.
After a close win last week, they will start feeling cocky again. This is the game where the Jets will start to really see what they have in their backfield.
Why They Could Win: If they establish their run game against an unheralded Miami front seven, they might be able to put this one away by late in the third quarter.
Why They Could Lose: If Brandon Marshall goes crazy of if the offense turns the ball over, they could be in for a long game.
Key To Game: LaDainian Tomlinson. He grew up in Texas and played most of his career in San Diego. We don't know yet how he'll do in New York when it gets cold, but expect him to have a few breakout games this year for the Jets, this being one of them, in sunny South Florida.
Prediction: Jets 27, Miami 17
As they finish up their first run of division games, the Jets will be feeling good about themselves.
Why They Could Win: Because they are more talented and more cohesive than the Bills, who are the only team that no one thinks has a chance of winning the division.
Why They Could Lose: If the Bills play with as much heart the whole season as they did in almost upsetting the Dolphins in game one, they will sneak up on a few teams. And the Jets, on a bad day, could be one of those teams.
Key To the Game: C.J. Spiller. If this rookie is given a chance to show what he can do, he might be the wild card that the Jets haven't prepared for. You know what they say, speed kills.
Prediction: Jets 24, Bills 7
As stated before, the New York Jets schedule will prepare them for whatever playoff run is in their future: nothing but landmines throughout the season.
Why They Could Win: Because, as the Saints have proven twice in the last nine months, Brett Favre doesn't like to get hit. Who does? If they bring the pass rush, Revis and the rest of the secondary could feast on interceptions.
Why They Could Lose: If the Jets underestimate their former teammate and let him keep the game close, the gunslinger will come back and haunt them.
Key To The Game: It rhymes with Brett Favre.
Prediction: Favre usually plays great on Monday night. Expect a classic: Vikings 31, Jets 21
After licking their wounds, the Jets go into Denver pissed off.
Why They Could Win: Because they will feel like they let one get away in front of a national audience so they come into the Mile-High City focused and businesslike.
Why They Could Lose: If crafty vet Kyle Orton and Knowshon Moreno come up with great performances.
Key to the Game: Nick Mangold. If the offensive line opens holes for Shonn Green and LT, and protects Mark Sanchez, the Jets should be okay.
Prediction: Jets 21, Broncos 10
Not only will they be coming off of their bye week, but it's going to be Halloween night. Green Bay might be trick or treating all over the Jets if they aren't careful.
Why They Could Win: Same as ever when facing all of these top tier quarterbacks on their schedule, get pressure on Aaron Rodgers and they make things easier on themselves.
Why They Could Lose: If Ryan Grant gets rolling and Greg Jennings or Donald Driver gets open deep, it could be a high scoring affair. Jets lose high scoring games.
Key To The Game: Jermichael Finley. Assuming the highly touted Jets cornerbacks lock down on Jennings and Driver, Rodgers will look for his superstar-in-the-making tight end when things get scary. If he gets loose, the Jets could be in trouble.
Prediction: Super Bowl preview? Rodgers and company hand the Jets their third home loss. Packers 28, Jets 24
There will be a few games when Sanchez shows off his golden arm. This will probably be one of them.
Why They Could Win: Because they are more talented than the up-and-coming Lions.
Why They Could Lose: If Stafford wins the battle of the top quarterbacks from 2009 NFL draft. And if Calvin Johnson gets the best of Revis. Unlikely, but possible.
Key To The Game: Mark Sanchez. Will he have a few breakout games this season, or will he continue to be a game manager? This is a good chance to find out.
Prediction: Jets 31, Lions 17
If there is any game where stopping the running game stops the opponent, this is the one.
Why They Could Win: Because Jake Delhomme could be on his last leg, needing just a slight push to keel over. Metaphorically, of course.
Why They Could Lose: This is a tough one. Maybe Jerome Harrison? Josh Cribbs? I'm reaching here.
Key To The Game: Kris Jenkins. If he plugs up the middle and shrinks the pocket, the game is over by the half.
Prediction: Jets 21, Browns 3
This is one of the toughest schedules I have seen in a long while.
Why They Could Win: They stop Arian Foster and slow down Andre Johnson.
Why They Could Lose: If they don't do either of the above.
Key to the Game: Arian Foster single-handedly beat the Colts yesterday. And the Indy offense is relentless.
Prediction: Sort of like the "save the cheerleader, save the world" thing: Stop the superstars, stop the Texans. They kind of stop Arian and Andre. Jets 24, Texans 21
Short week, tough opponent, Turkey Day. Yikes!
Why They Could Win: A really good running game. And big games from Revis and Cromartie.
Why They Could Lose: Carson Palmer finds his mojo and his two big name receivers often.
Key To the Game: Antonio Cromartie. This is another one of those games where Revis Island will be occupied, most likely with Chad Ochocinco. So, Cromartie has to earn his check by sticking close to Terrell Owens.
Prediction: Jets 31, Bengals 28. Should be a Thanksgiving to remember.
After getting a few extra days off, the J-E-T-S travel to Foxborough.
Why They Could Win: They have found their groove and have the confidence of beating the Patriots early in the year.
Why They Could Lose: The Patriots defense has matured and the offensive line is now solid, meaning the team is better as a whole than the one they faced earlier.
Key To The Game: A guy named Tom Brady.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Jets 14. No way they beat Brady twice in one season if everyone is healthy. No way.
This game will help decide the division winner.
Why They Could Win: Sacking Chad Henne could help their cause immensely.
Why They Could Lose: Big games from Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, and Brandon Marshall could spell trouble for the Jets.
Key To The Game: Rex Ryan. Will he have the team ready for the stretch run? Playoffs start soon.
Prediction: Jets 24, Miami 21
Either Pittsburgh will be wrapping up another disappointing season or gearing up for a title run.
Why They Could Win: If Big Ben is still not back to his old self and they stop Rashard Mendenhall.
Why They Could Lose: If the Steelers find their swagger, their passing game and their dominating rushing attack.
Key To the Game: Ben Roethlisberger. It's pretty simple, really. When he is a top-tier QB, they are a top-tier team.
Prediction: Jets 14, Steelers 10
The day after Christmas. Which team is still celebrating, and which one is ready to play football?
Why They Could Win: Gearing up for the playoffs, the defense stops Matt Forte.
Why They Could Lose: Mike Martz and Jay Cutler are flowing and he fulfills his potential as a Pro Bowl quarterback.
Key To The Game: Shonn Greene. If the weather is bad in the Windy City, and it usually is this late in the season, the Jets will have to run to win.
Prediction: Jets 17, Bears 10
Last game of the season, is anything on the line?
Why They Could Win: All starters have to play to secure a bye week. Which means no Bills upset victory.
Why They Could Lose: Everything is locked down, so no reason to potentially hurt any key players.
Key To the Game: Mark Brunell? If the starters sit, he might be the man who decides which team wins.
Prediction: Jets 14, Bills 10
I think the Jets will end the season 12-4 and win two playoff games.
But they will come up one game short again, this time losing to the Ravens for the second time this season.
Ravens 21, Jets 20 in the AFC Championship Game.
But they get there next year. Sanchez is still one year away.