New York Jets 2011 NFL Schedule: Breaking Down Every Game
Coming off of a successful season where the team made it to the AFC Championship game and narrowly lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Jets look to be pretty hungry and still relatively young.
Mark Sanchez had a better year last year, and everyone figures the Jets will only get better.
The New York Jets get to play the NFC East, AFC West and their own division, the AFC East. That could be a tough schedule, depending on if the AFC West is as competitive as it began to show at the end of the 2010 season.
Here are all 16 regular season games the Jets must play, broken down.
Week 1: Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets
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The New York Jets will have quite a challenge to start their 2011 campaign.
But now that Tony Romo is healthy and Jason Garrett coming off a decent tenure as an interim head coach, the Cowboys will start to become a playoff contender early.
The Cowboys somehow managed to have a top-10 ranked offense with Jon Kitna as their quarterback, so it'll be tough to figure that the Jets will have an easy time blanketing a guy like Dez Bryant.
Regardless, the Jets have one of the best secondaries in the league, with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie heading a group of corners and safeties that ranked sixth in the league in passing yards allowed.
The Jets' offense isn't the greatest in the league, but their run-game ranked in the top five too, and they are effective in their approach to their offense.
The Cowboys won't be able to defend against the run, even though the 'Boys did OK against the run last season. The Jets' offensive line is far too dominant, and that's evidenced by the fact that a 30-year-old running back is having amazing success this late in his career.
The Jets won't put up a ton of points, but they'll run off enough clock to not let the Cowboys get into their rhythm.
Preliminary prediction: Jets 17, Cowboys 14
Week 2: Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets
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The Jacksonville Jaguars don't have much to offer the Jets in terms of a challenge. the Jags ranked in the bottom of nearly every statistical category in the league, save for rushing yards gained, where they ranked in the top 10 in the NFL, thanks to Maurice Jones-Drew.
The New York Jets won't have a problem with the Jags. The run defense might falter at times, but the Jaguars are going to need to throw a few passes eventually, and there's no way Blaine Gabbert doesn't throw a couple of picks to Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis.
Defensively, the Jets should have their way on the ground, and it could allow Mark Sanchez to air it out enough to build confidence. The Jaguars can't defend against the likes of Santonio Holmes, nor against the offensive line that the Jets currently boast.
As long as the Jets play it smart (like they normally do), this should be a win.
Preliminary prediction: Jets 27, Jaguars 16
Week 3: New York Jets at Oakland Raiders
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The Oakland Raiders were quite the surprise team last season, as they finished up the season 8-8, their first non-losing season since 2002 when Rich Gannon led Oakland to the Super Bowl.
They did it the way the Jets would do it too. Hard running and a staunch defense characterized their season, and the smart play from quarterback Jason Campbell helped a ton.
Now that Tom Cable is gone, there's no telling how the Oakland Raiders will fare, but if Hue Jackson is the reason that the Raiders became surprisingly good, they could pose a problem for the New York Jets.
The Jets' run defense was third-best last year, but the Raiders' rushing game ranked a surprising second. Since Darren McFadden and (likely) Michael Bush are coming back, the Raiders will have the same two-headed monster that they did in 2010, and that could help to tire out an always-great Jets' defense.
The pass game of the Jets won't be exposed, though, and that could be a deal-breaker in this game, which might be surprisingly close. Mark Sanchez is definitely a better quarterback than Jason Campbell, and as a result, the passing offense is far better (also probably thanks to the superiority of the Jets' receiving crew).
If this game goes as expected, it's likely that low numbers will be put up, and the team with the better quarterback (the Jets) wins.
Preliminary prediction: Jets 16, Raiders 13
Week 4: New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens
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The Baltimore Ravens are an elite team that plays similarly to the way the Jets do. They rely heavily on their run-game for their source of offense, but have a good-not-great quarterback in Joe Flacco. Meanwhile, both defenses are stingy and won't allow easy yards.
The biggest difference? The Ravens make it hard for you to get up the next morning.
The largest problem the Jets had last year against the Steelers in the AFC title game was that of toughness. New York was constantly pushed around, thanks to the physical nature of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Baltimore Ravens' defense is just as physical, and that's going to be an issue for the Jets' offense.
Mark Sanchez could find himself rattled in this game, and we don't know where his confidence is in terms of consistency. If the Ravens get to him early and often, will he begin to make detrimental mistakes like he did last season?
Regardless of if he does or doesn't, Joe Flacco is definitely the better quarterback, and he's less likely to make mistakes than Mark Sanchez.
Preliminary Prediction: Ravens 20, Jets 13
Week 5: New York Jets at New England Patriots
The New York Jets don't get to have the week off after playing the Baltimore Ravens, and that's terrible, considering they then have to play their AFC East rivals, the New England Patriots, the next week.
The Jets will have to try and defend against Tom Brady and the potent Pats' offense, something that no teams did in the regular season, but the Jets did easily in the playoffs.
The Patriots had one of the best passing games in the NFL and a pretty good run defense which ranked 12th in the league in yards allowed. However, the Jets' run game is a top-three rushing attack, and the Patriots couldn't contain it in January.
If the Jets can do what they normally do and run time off the clock (thus keeping Tom Brady cold and off the field), their chances of winning shoot way up.
There's no telling how the Pats' defense will respond to the Jets' run game, but it's hard to imagine that run game being held to under 100 yards rushing.
Preliminary Prediction: Jets 23, Patriots 17
Week 6: Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
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The Miami Dolphins are probably more like the New York Jets than any other team in the NFL, except for the fact that the impotency of their offense is way more exaggerated than the Jets' offense's impotency.
The Dolphins have a great secondary, headed by youngsters Sean Smith and Vontae Davis, and the linebacking corps is still awesome, thanks to the addition of Karlos Dansby last season. As a result, the Fins ranked in the top 10 in both rushing and passing yards allowed.
The New York Jets are going to lose this game, and that's not because I'm a Dolphins' fan.
The Miami Dolphins are going to make the AFC East far tougher to play in than they did last year. The Jets don't have the matchup advantages that they did last year, now that the Fins added a speedy wide-out, another beefy offensive lineman and a solid running back in the draft.
The Jets barely squeaked away with a win against these Dolphins early on last season, and now that nothing is changing with the Jets and a ton is changing with the Dolphins, the results may be different.
If the Jets can break through the Dolphins' top-ranked rushing defense, they'll be able to dominate the clock and as a result, the game.
If the Dolphins' defense holds steady—as it usually does—then the Jets will have a hard time getting on the field, even if they do manage to stop the Fins from getting into the end zone.
Preliminary Predictions: Dolphins 13, Jets 9
Week 7: San Diego Chargers at New York Jets
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The San Diego Chargers managed to rank No. 1—or close to it—in nearly every statistical category the league has to offer (save for rushing yards gained)...and they didn't make the playoffs.
The New York Jets shouldn't take that last bit into consideration. The Chargers had a down year in terms of letting up big plays and making silly mistakes. Now that the Chargers will have more discipline as a result of learning from their failures, they'll probably storm onto the scene again.
The Jets' passing defense is good enough to keep up with the elite Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers. The receiving corps is depleted right now, but Vincent Jackson is still going to be a matchup nightmare for the Jets, thanks to his size at 6'6''.
The Chargers run game since the release of L.T. is nothing to gawk at. The team ranked near the bottom in rushing yards gained, and that leaves their offense really one-dimensional.
That means the Jets' defense will only have to key in on Rivers.
Defensively, the Chargers are a decent team as well, but the run defense was especially awesome and 2010, and the Jets should be aware that, with the addition of Corey Liuget in the draft, this run defense will get better.
If the New York Jets can overcome a great Chargers' defensive line, their run game should be OK, but then the Jets might run into trouble with the linebacking corps the Chargers have in place, headed by new veteran signee Takeo Spikes and (possibly, if things go as planned) Nick Barnett.
Unless the Jets can run the ball successfully against a stingy Chargers' defense, it's hard to see the Jets coming away with a win.
Preliminary Prediction: Chargers 31, Jets 20
Week 8: Bye Week
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This is probably the best time that the Jets could have their bye week.
After playing two playoff-worthy division rivals, an upstart Raiders' team, and the San Diego Chargers, the Jets will need all the rest they can get for their Week 9 matchup against the Buffalo Bills.
Well, just kidding about the last part, but they could use the two weeks worth of rest.
Week 9: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
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No one realizes this, but the Buffalo Bills didn't have a horrible season in 2010.
Eight of the team's games were decided by a touchdown or less, and that's significant, considering the majority of those came against playoff teams.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a solid season, and the Bills figured some things out, particularly their pass defense, which ranked third in the NFL.
But who are we kidding? The New York Jets don't pass, and there's no way that Fitzpatrick can get enough going against one of the best cornerback tandems in the league.
The New York Jets could lose this game if they get lazy, but it's unlikely.
Preliminary Predictions: Jets 38, Bills 20
Week 10: New England Patriots at New York Jets
The New York Jets will probably have learned enough about the Patriots to not get caught up in their gameplay. The Patriots aren't a mile better, but they're just good enough for the Jets to beat while playing at their best.
The AFC East is filled with a bunch of parity, because no team is likely to get beaten twice by a rival, except for the Buffalo Bills. Don't expect the Jets to give up two to the Pats.
Preliminary Prediction: Jets 23, Patriots 20
Week 11: New York Jets at Denver Broncos
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The Denver Broncos had a pretty nice draft, thanks to their selection of linebacker Von Miller, free safety Rahim Moore and guard Orlando Franklin.
But that won't help them too much this season and not against the New York Jets, who still boast the best offensive line in the game.
The Jets won't have problems with the Broncos at all. Denver ranked second to last in rushing yards allowed, and as you already know, the Jets run the ball like there's no tomorrow. (Hooray for cliches!)
And now that Kyle Orton might get traded, the Broncos are left with Tim Tebow to develop which might be a good thing in two years but not now, when the Jets can rattle the young QB into making terrible mistakes.
Preliminary Prediction: Jets 37, Broncos 17
Week 12: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
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The Buffalo Bills are the punching bag of the AFC East, so you can't expect them to win any games agains their rivals.
It's too early in the season at this point to assume the Bills might sneak one past a Jets team on cruise control. The Bills won't get a win.
The Buffalo Bills would need to be able to run the ball efficiently, defend the run superbly and garner enough passing yards from Fitzpatrick without an interception in order to win.
In other words, if things go as planned, the Bills won't win.
Preliminary Prediction: Jets 24, Bills 10
Week 13: New York Jets at Washington Redskins
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Now that McNabb is likely to be traded, John Beck is the starting quarterback.
The New York Jets won't have much competition here. The Redskins were a terrible defensive team last year, and their run game was non-existent. The New York Jets can get in the high 100s in terms of rushing yards, and Mark Sanchez could have some field practice.
It's not likely that the Redskins will win, but it's possible that the 'Skins make it close. As bad as they are, they still do have a solid receiving corps and a not-horrible secondary.
Still, don't expect much out of Washington.
Preliminary Predictions: New York Jets 23, Redskins 13
Week 14: Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets
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The Kansas City Chiefs had a solid season last year, and because they aren't losing too many key players, they should have another good season ahead.
However, that doesn't mean they'll beat the Jets.
The Chiefs are outmatched almost entirely. Although Jamaal Charles is one of the best running backs in the NFL, he won't be able to easily elude the Jets' run defense, which only allowed just under 1,500 yards in 2010.
Matt Cassel won't be able to air it out against the Revis-Cromartie tandem, and the Chiefs don't stand a chance against the Jets' potent run attack, even if they did rank in the upper half of the league in defense against the run.
Preliminary Predictions: Jets 24, Chiefs 20
Week 15: New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles
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The Philadelphia Eagles could be the Jets' first challenge since Week 10.
The Eagles ranked in the top-10 in nearly every offensive stat; that is significant against a defense like the Jets', and even more significant that the Eagles have Michael Vick to throw the New York defense off its heels.
It will be hard to tell when the Eagles plan to run or pass or when Vick decides to do his own impromptu thing, which never worked early in his career but worked like hell in 2010.
The New York Jets can expose a weak Philly defense (which struggled mightily all last season), though, and if they can use their run game—are you seeing a trend here?—to keep the tricky Philly offense off the field, they'll win.
Preliminary Prediction: Jets 17, Eagles 10
Week 16: New York Giants at New York Jets
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We've been waiting for a long time to see the two New York teams battle it out on their own home field, and we're lucky that this game could be amazing.
The New York Giants have faltered down the stretch of seasons for the past two years, missing the playoffs both times. Despite going 10-6, while also ranking in the top 10 in passing and rushing offense and defense, the Giants missed out because they missed out on key wins late.
The New York Jets have the advantage if the Giants don't falter anyway, though. The Giants boast an awesome defense like the Jets do, but they lack the dominant run game that puts the Jets a step above the rest.
Eli Manning won't get much going against the Jets' defense though, thanks to that blanketing secondary. Expect a defensive grind.
Preliminary Prediction: Jets 15, Giants 12
Week 17: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
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In the AFC East, things are so tight, that it'll be hard to discern who might come out as the division champ.
But it's likely that this game—the final of the season—will decide who comes out of the division.
The Miami Dolphins have proven to be competent enough to vouch for a top spot in the division, and now that they've added some key pieces via the draft, they could give the New York Jets a run for their money.
It's doubtful that the Dolphins will win both of their games against the Jets, but considering the activity level that the Dolphins are on post-lockout, major moves could happen that might catapult the Fins a step ahead of the Jets.
As of right now, though? The Jets have a slight advantage on the ground.
Preliminary Predictions: Jets 20, Dolphins 19