Head Coach Rex Ryan, Looking to lead his Jets to the playoffs for a third season in a row.
Although there is still a lockout, the NFL has released the 2011 schedule. This year, the New York Jets will be playing the usual AFC opponents eight times while playing against teams from the NFC East and AFC South.
Last year, the Jets finished at an impressive 11-5. Most critics predicted another above-average season at 9-7 or possibly 10-6 but the Jets rose to the challenge, which landed them in the playoffs. Sure, there were some games they could have won if they didn't make so many mistakes (Chicago, Green Bay, Baltimore and Miami) but that's football, one team loses and the other wins.
Because of the lockout, the Jets still have free agents they need to sign like Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Antonio Cromartie. These players will be crucial for the Jets if they want to have a successful 2011.
This slideshow will take a look at how the Jets will fair if there is a 2011 season.
A possible matchup for this game, Cowboys' Miles Austin (left) against Jets' Darrelle Revis.'
For the second year in a row, the Jets will open their season on prime-time television. This matchup will be NBC's first Sunday night game of the 2011 season. The fans at the New Meadowlands Stadium will be anxious and rowdy as the new season begins, adding to the great football atmosphere. Also for the second year in a row, Jets head coach Rex Ryan, will be going up against his brother Rob Ryan, the new Cowboys Defensive Coordinator.
Unlike last season's opening game, the Jets should win this game. Their defense should be able to keep the Cowboys in check by overwhelming them with Ryan's exotic third down blitzes, if they re-sign Cromartie (very likely once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached), he and Darelle Revis should be able to lock down the Dallas receivers.
On offense, the Jets should not have to worry much about Demarcus Ware with their experienced offensive line, led by skilled center Nick Mangold. As long as Sanchez gets the ball to his receivers in time, combined with the Jets great 1-2 combo of LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, they should be able to begin their season with a nice victory.
A rematch of the 2009 Week 10 matchup, the Jets will host the Jaguars at the New Meadowlands Stadium. In 2009 the Jets lost 24-22 as Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew made a decision that would mess up many fantasy football owners but gave his team the win (taking a knee rather than running up open field to score a touchdown).
Like 2009, expect a battle of the running backs. The Jets will cycle LaDainian and Shonn Greene while the Jaguars will rely on Maurice Jones-Drew to carry the load. It will be up to Jones-Drew to do most of the work for his offense as their talented tight end Mercedes Lewis will have to fend off the Jets secondary, as will Mike Sims-Walker.
The Jaguars defense does not pose a huge threat to the Jets offense depending on how the free agent situation turns out. As long as the Jets keep the turnovers and mistakes to a minimum they have a really good chance of going 2-0 to start of 2011.
Four words can describe this game: black hole and hot dogs. The Raiders surprised a lot of people last season when they beat everybody in their division. The Raiders will be back this season, looking to build on that success; so will their fans, perhaps the Oakland-Alameda Colisseum will begin to fill up and be called the "black hole" again.
The Raiders will also be pretty bitter after the Jets embarrassed them in 2009 when they lost 38-0 and Mark Sanchez chose to eat a hot dog during the game. Although Sanchez was just hungry, the Raiders took that action as an insult and will be looking to get revenge.
It will be interesting to see how their defense plays against the Jets. It is likely that they will not have their amazing cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The Jets should be able throw against the Raiders and as long as they block Richard Seymour, their running backs will have solid gains out of the backfield. This game is one of the Jets' "trap games," they're expected to win, but there is a chance that they blow it and lose.
The last time these two teams played, it was a sloppy football game and poor way to start of a new season at a new stadium (if you're the New York Jets). The Jets lost 10-9 against Baltimore when they opened up their new stadium and will be looking for redemption.
If they want redemption, they'll have to work hard and be practically perfect to earn it. Even without Rex Ryan as their Defensive Coordinator, the Ravens have a great defense, led by linebacker Ray Lewis.
In order to win, it's up to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and his offense. His play-calling has been criticized for years and at some points last year, many people said he should be fired (including me). Against the Ravens, he'll need to make sure is team is not one dimensional and that they move the ball efficiently.
The defense should be able to handle themselves without much extra effort, the one person they should worry about is Ray Rice. The running back from New Rochelle is strong and can bust through defenses; the Jets need to make sure they contain him or he'll make them look stupid.
Of all of the games the Jets play this season, this will be the most interesting. It will be the Jets' return to New England after devastating their fans in the playoffs to advance and play the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game (which they lost for a second year in a row). There is no doubt that they will be welcomed with a barrage of "boos!" but what it interesting about it is how they will play.
For the last few years, the Jets have had inconsistent play up at Foxboro. In 2008, the Jets defeated the Patriots in an overtime thriller on a Thursday night. In 2009, they failed to produce on both sides of the field as Sanchez threw interception after interception and the number one defense let up touchdown after touchdown. The following year, 2009 repeated itself in a worse way, the Jets were embarrassed 45-6.
Mark Sanchez and the defense will be keys to this game. The 45-6 loss was something the whole team needs to reflect but if the defense plays to their potential and Sanchez is smart with the football, the Jets should be able to compete in what will shape up to be a great game on a Sunday afternoon.
In 2010, the Jets suffered a 10-6 loss that was surrounded wit controversy after former Jets strength/conditioning coach Sal Alosi tripped Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll.
This game was supposed to be the Jets' rebound game after losing to the Patriots 45-6 but as Mark Sanchez as the weather worsened, so did the Jets. It was a constant up-hill battle as they were losing 10-0 since the first quarter.
This game should be different. Like their matchup when they play in Miami, it should be a back and forth game. With this one though, the Jets should get win. Home-field advantage plays a huge factor for the Jets, their fans get loud when they need them to, which disrupts opposing offenses. And with the recent success of the Jets, the New Meadowlands Stadium will be filled.
A rematch of the 2010 divisional playoff matchup, the Jets will host the Chargers as they make their first trip to the New Meadowlands Stadium. Both teams are different now, but the outcome will be similar. Since their game in January of 2010, the Jets have improved while the Chargers have been mediocre.
Since their first matchup, Sanchez has improved, so has Shonn Green (pictured). The Chargers will also be missing Antonio Cromartie (likely going to re-sign with the Jets) which will allow the Jets to pass a lot more. The Chargers also don't have much of a run defense, the Jets should be able to do almost anything they want against San Diego.
On defense, the Jets need to make sure Antonio Gates does not have a good day against them and they should keep the Chargers to a low score.
Fullback John Connor scoring a touchdown.
The Bills are a team in recovery mode still. They have not been a competitor in the AFC East for some time now and they're not expected to be this year. They had a below average season last year but a bright future seems is something the Bills can look forward to. They have wide receiver Steve Johnson who had a breakout season and two young and talented running backs (Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller).
Both games will have competitive beginnings but unless the Jets will suffer many injuries to key players, they should be able to break away from the Bills without much resistance. In the last game of the 2010 season, the Jets played their second string players for most of the game and beat the Bills 38-7.
In the last two years, the Jets have prevailed over the Patriots at home. Prior to the matchup in 2009, the Jets lost game after game when the Patriots travelled to Meadowlands. Last year, the Jets lost Darrelle Revis during the game, yet they were able to rally and beat New England 28-14.
The Patriots will be bitter after losing to the Jets in the divisional round of the 2011 playoffs. They criticized the Jets for treating it like their Super Bowl. The Patriots offense is one with many weapons including, Tom Brady, Danny Woodhead (former Jet) and Wes Welker. Even though it's young, their defense is skilled as they sent two players to the Pro Bowl last season.
This game, like any other typical Jets-Patriots game, will be close and will come down to the wire. It will be reminiscent of the 2009 game when the Jets beat the Patriots 16-9 and it all came down to the Patriots' last drive, when the Jets stopped them on fourth down to solidify the win.
Last year when these two played each other (in Denver) it was a game that started with sloppy play and ended the same way as Dwight Lowery recovered a Kyle Orton fumble to give the Jets another victory entering their bye week.
The Broncos crashed and burned last season which was seen when they fired Josh McDaniels. The Jets had a collapse of their own when they had to fight their way back into the game against the Steelers. In this battle in the mile-high city, the Jets should come out victorious.
Their running game should be able to carry them without a problem. In their first matchup, Tomlinson led the Jets with 55 rushing yards but he had two rushing touchdowns, proving to the rest of the league that his leagues were still healthy and that he's still a dominant force in the NFL.
For the last few years, the Redskins have been the laughing stock of the NFC East. They tried to get rid of their reputation by getting some high-profile players like Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb. These acquisitions have not helped the Redskins and their newest tradition of losing will continue against the Jets.
A mediocre performance by the Jets should be enough to get them past the Redskins as they don't pose much of a threat but like the Jaguars game, it is another trap game. As long as the Jets keep the errors to a minimum its another game they can cruise through using a solid combination of running and passing, it is their game to lose.
This was a possible playoff matchup towards the end of the 2010 season which would've had a similar ending to the Jets and Colts playoff game. The Chiefs surprised most people when they reached the playoffs as most critics predicted the Chargers would make the playoffs.
This game is among the list of tough games the Jets will play this season; the Chiefs led the league as Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones averaged for over 160 yards per game. This 1-2 combo will be a challenge for the Jets but as long as they keep them from breaking for large rushes, they have a good chance of winning. Dwayne Bowe should be on lockdown for most of the game as Darrelle Revis will have him on his island.
On offense, running may be dominate as Sanchez will have to deal with Eric Berry in the secondary. The young safety had four interceptions in 2011 and was a key player when it came to Kansas City's success in 2010. Look for a back and forth between these two but like the Miami game, home-field advantage has its effect and the Jets will probably be the victors.
For the last two seasons, the Jets have played the Eagles in preseason games, this is the first season in three years that the two are playing each other in the regular season. The Jets could easily lose this game as they take on Michael Vick (pictured right), DeSean Jackson and Asante Samuel.
The Jets cornerbacks will have their hands full when they go up against Jackson and Jeremy Maclin while the defensive line and linebackers will have to be able to contain Vick. On offense, the Jets will have their hands full as linebacker Quintin Mikell will be looking to stop run and top cornerback Asante Samuel will be looking to shut down the passing attack.
This game will be like the Jets week 16 matchup against the Bears but hopefully for the Jets it'll have a better outcome than a devastating 38-34 loss (even though they made the playoffs that same Sunday because of a Jaguars loss).
The Jets will play the Giants two times this season, once during the preseason and again on Christmas Eve. The Giants have a quality squad that failed them as the season entered the home stretch (i.e. giving up a more than two touchdown lead to the Eagles at home) ultimately knocking them out of the spotlight and the removal of their title as "New York's Football Team." Meanwhile, the Jets have embraced the spotlight as "New York's Football Team" by making the playoffs and taking part in many PR stunts over the last few years (i.e. getting Braylon Edwards, getting Santonio Holmes, HBO's Hard Knocks).
On paper, both teams look good, but the Jets will most likely come out on top in this one. Their offensive line should keep the Giants' talented defensive ends out of the backfield enough so that Sanchez can make a good decision,while their running backs attack their linebackers and secondary when they go to the ground.
On defense, it should be more of the same old Jets defense where they keep scoring low. Eli Manning is the kind of quarterback that can crack under pressure. If the Jets do as they did in the 2010 preseason matchup by putting a lot of pressure on Manning (which knocked him out because of a cut he received on his head), it'll force him to make mistakes. In terms of the running game, as long as they keep Ahmad Bradshaw from getting the edge, they should be able to minimize his effect and they'll get the victory.
In the last two years, this game has always had a close finish. In 2009, the Jets lost 31-27. In 2010, the Jets were coming off a statement victory against the Patriots and beat the Dolphins 31-23. This year it'll be the battle of the young quarterbacks, Mark Sanchez and Chad Henne.
The Jets were a good team on the road last year, they were able to dig deep inside themselves when they were put in tough situations; no reason why that success shouldn't repeat itself in 2011 (on account that they'll have almost the same players as they did in 2010). Although they were able to pull out those tough victories, it is unclear who will win this game. It will be a back and forth battle and the winner will likely be the team whose quarterback committed the least amount of turnovers.
The reality is, there may not even be a season because of the lockout. Owners wanting even more money and players not wanting to take a small pay cut even when they're being payed millions to play a game, it's embarrassing and is making it worse for fans.
The good thing is, as the lockout continues, the players and owners lose more money; this will affect the way they negotiate and could push them to make a deal sooner. If there is a season and the lockout does not affect how many games are played and when they're played, the Jets should have another winning season as there is a good chance they go 11-5, 12-4 or even 13-3; but winning the Lombardi Trophy is up to them.