Bold Predictions for Jets' 2021 NFL SeasonAugust 23, 2021
Bold Predictions for Jets' 2021 NFL Season
As the 2021 season approaches, there is a lot more optimism surrounding the New York Jets than there has been the past few years. A new coaching staff is in place, the roster has been overhauled and the franchise appears to be moving in the right direction.
But the Jets aren't going to be Super Bowl contenders after one positive offseason. It's going to take time. Their young players need to develop, and the team needs to build chemistry. Plus, there are still some roster holes that will need to be addressed in the future.
Still, New York should be a better team this year than it was in 2020, when it went 2-14, its worst record since going 1-15 in 1996. And there's plenty for Jets fans to be excited about moving forward.
Here are three bold predictions for New York for the upcoming season.
Wilson Accounts for 30 Total Touchdowns
Zach Wilson was taken by the Jets with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, so they clearly expect big things from the former BYU quarterback in the future. However, New York may not have to wait long to see its new franchise QB experience some success.
Although it may take a few weeks into the regular season before Wilson and the Jets offense start clicking, he has the skills and potential to put up big numbers once that begins to happen. That's why Wilson will use his arm and his legs to account for 30 total touchdowns (passing and rushing) during the 2021 season.
There are a lot of playmakers around Wilson in New York's offense. The Jets should get some solid production on the ground, with Tevin Coleman and rookie Michael Carter likely their best options at running back. And Wilson will have a solid receiving corps featuring Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, rookie Elijah Moore and others to throw to.
Last year for BYU, Wilson threw 33 touchdown passes and ran for 10 more scores. It's going to be more difficult to produce against NFL defenses, but Wilson will also be playing more games. Plus, he should only get better after working through any initial growing pains.
Wilson has a high ceiling and could end up in the Offensive Rookie of the Year conversation. Expect a big debut season from the 22-year-old.
Nasirildeen Finishes Among Top 3 Tacklers on Team
The Jets have impressive young players on defense, too. Perhaps none more intriguing than Hamsah Nasirildeen, whose skill set and versatility make him one of the most exciting prospects on New York's roster. The 22-year-old out of Florida State also has the potential to make an immediate impact.
While playing for the Seminoles the past four years, Nasirildeen was a defensive back who mostly lined up at safety. Now, he's an outside linebacker. Not only that, but he was listed as a starter in the linebacker corps on the Jets' first unofficial depth chart, alongside C.J. Mosley and Jarrad Davis.
So it's clear that New York thinks highly of Nasirildeen already. And he's been impressing during training camp and the first two preseason games (in which he has six total tackles).
"Hamsah looks fantastic. He has a lot of energy to him," Jets head coach Robert Saleh said earlier in camp, per Tyler Calvaruso of Jets Wire. "It's a matter of continuing to learn the game and learn the process and all the little nuances that separate great players."
Nasirildeen will have a solid rookie season and prove that he's capable of getting all over the field by ranking third on the Jets in tackles at the end of the year. It should be an encouraging season for one of New York's key players on defense moving forward.
Jets Finish with a Winning Record
The Jets are going to miss the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season, extending the longest active postseason drought in the NFL. However, for only the second time during that stretch, New York will finish with more wins than losses.
The rest of the AFC East is going to make it challenging for the Jets to secure a playoff berth. The Buffalo Bills are one of the top teams in the NFL, the New England Patriots could be poised for a bounce-back season and the Miami Dolphins may have another strong year.
But there are enough favorable matchups on New York's schedule for it to have a decent season. It has games against the Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons, all of whom finished last in their respective divisions last year.
The Jets also have potentially winnable games against the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans, another pair of teams that struggled in 2020 and have some question marks entering this season.
Is New York going to win the AFC East or earn a wild-card spot? No, but it's not absurd to think these revamped Jets can pick up nine or even 10 wins on their 17-game schedule.