Only 57 more days
until the NFL season kicks off. With Jets training camp just around the corner, set to take place in Cortland in two weeks time, GangGreen fever is really picking up -- and rightfully so.
The Jets enter the 2010-11 season coming off an incredible playoff run in which they found themselves just one game away from the Super Bowl. Winning seven of their last nine games attributed to the club's best finish in 11 years! Now, coaches and players alike are saying anything short of a Super Bowl victory in Dallas would be disappointing.
When one looks at the moves the Jets' front office made in the offseason, high expectations are certainly reasonable. GM Mike Tannenbaum was hard at work cost-cutting by releasing the likes of Lito Sheppard and trading Kerry Rhodes to make room for Tomlinson, Pool, Cromartie, and Holmes ---- but did he go too far? Locker room leaders Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca were also cut, which is why the LG position remains one of the big question marks going into this season. Still, it looks like a roster that can get it done and possibly bring home a championship.
It's still July and training camp has yet to begin, but, speculating is fun, and we will do just that. None of the other MSMs are breaking down the schedule yet, so let's just call this a GGN exclusive! Everyone wants to see how it stacks up situationally, and that's what I'm going to do, so follow me after the jump and let's break it down!
(This is part one of a two-part piece, and will discuss how the schedule breaks down situationally and identify some tough stretches throughout the season. Part two will provide a chronological, game-by-game breakdown, and will be much more in-depth. Look for it tomorrow!)
Key Stretches Throughout the Season:
Sun, 09/19 at 4:15 PM EDT Mon, 09/13 at 7:00 PM EDT Sun, 09/26 at 8:20 PM EDT
- The MNF opener in our first game at the new stadium. Going against a team that plays the exact same brand of football we do is a very tough matchup on paper.
- The matchup with Balty looks to be a grind-it-out, extremely physical game. We then come off of a short week of rest and play our first divisional game of the year against our biggest rival in the East, with little time to prepare. Back-to-back games which will be physically and mentally grueling.
- Followed by Week 3 against Miami on the road who we will be looking to avenge last year's sweep against.
(How it Might Play Out)
If we can beat the Ravens, I think achieving a split in the divisional games against Miami/NE is certainly plausible. We then play buffalo in week 4, so we could find ourselves in a scenario where we could have momentum early on in the season (like last year) holding a 3-1 record going into the Vikings game in week 5.
**Weeks 13-16 --- Most vital, will make or break the season.
- The home stretch of the season, this is when it all goes down. The Jets went 3-1 in this particular stretch last year, en route to victory in 5 of their last 6 games which helped them carry momentum into the playoffs. We hope that can be reciprocated this year.
- Three of the four games are on the road, and all four opponents finished with seven or more wins last year.
- It begins with two tough divisional games against NE and MIA which will obviously be of utmost importance in the race to win the East.
- Follows with two back-to-back road games in cold-weather climates in December, which is tough in itself. On top of that, NE/Miami directly precedes these two, there is no "break" in the middle. Many will focus on the divisional games and overlook these two, but winning in Soldier Field and Heinz Field in December is a tough feat to accomplish.
(How it Might Play Out)
The Jets achieve a 2-2 split, which is actually favorable here. They lose a tough one in Foxborough to NE who has plenty of time to prepare for this game. The Pats get the benefit of extended rest (10 days) and playing the Lions the game before. They then travel back home to play Miami, which could potentially be a pressure-filled game with Jets trying to avoid being swept by the Fish in consecutive years (hope it doesn't come to that, though).
In the matchup against the Steelers, who IMO don't have the weapons on offense to move the chains consistently against the Jets, I am predicting a Jets victory. A weak WR corps and new-look backfield that may not cut it on offense for them this season. Still, they have one of the best front 7's in football and the Jets' passing game will have to be on point to keep Steelers' stout defense off balance. They then travel to Chicago who I think is a very formidable opponent and one who will be fielding a much more balanced offense with their young WR's having some experience under their belt and Mike Martz coming in to run the offense. I think the Bears will manage to squeak out a victory against the road-weary Jets, who will then come home and take comfort in getting to face Buffalo in their season finale.