With the conclusion of mini camp, we have entered that 5-6 week dead period where, unless someone on our team does something weird, there's no news. I figured that now would be a fair benchmark to predict the season. Of course, so much can change, so take this with a grain of salt. So with that:
Week 1 vs Oakland: From all accounts on twitter, it seems as though the Raiders are becoming impressed with Derek Carr. That being said, whether it's him or Schaub, I have a difficult time seeing them beating us in MetLife. They brought a lot of semi-decent free agents, but not enough to get them over the hump Week 1. Rex is very good during opening day and should have the team ready to go. Offense and special teams should make their debut a good one as well. If Carr starts, defense is going to eat him up. Game should be more competitive than last year, but not enough for Raiders to win. Jets win by 10.
Week 2 at Packers: The home opener for the Packers coming off what most likely will be a loss to the Seahawks. Rex's defense did a fairly good job on Rodgers the last time they played. I think we can play at a competitive level to them, but it all depends on how our secondary performs (as I expect our run defense to be phenomenal like last year, and thus have little issue in bottling up Eddie Lacy). If we are getting torched, this will be a comfortable Packers victory. If not, I expect us to play a relatively close game with them decided in the fourth quarter. If Geno can exploit the Packers defense, that'll go a long way towards a victory. As it stands right now, my head tells me we'll lose by a touchdown.
Week 3 MNF against Bears: First primetime home game in 2 years. I expect the crowd to be particularly active for this game. I'd be surprised if Bears defense is anywhere as bad as last year. If it is, I think Geno et al will exploit them for a victory. Key for us will be stopping Jeffrey and Marshall. This will be the first real test for Milliner and McDougle/Patterson. Our pass rush will also need to step up and make Cutler uncomfortable. If we do that, we should be good to go. I'm glad Hester has moved on from the Bears, as that may have been a steep challenge for our young special teams so early on. Hard to tell this game, but we'll win or lose by 3 or less.
Week 4 vs Lions: I'll be at this matchup, so naturally I feel good about this. In all seriousness, this will be a fairly challenging game but the Jets will come out on top. A Jim Caldwell coached offense hardly inspires fear in me, and it'll take a while to really wash that losing culture out of the Lions. Milliner against Megatron should be really interesting as would Pryor on Ebron. Will be interesting to see how we handle Tate. In terms of offense, if we can prevent their D-line from wreaking havoc, Geno should be able to go through their secondary and move up and down the field. Taking advantage of Stafford's (hopefully still) erratic and turnover prone throwing mechanics will be key. I expect we'll win by 7.
Week 5 at Chargers: I have a feeling this will be a good game to watch. If our secondary has improved, it should be tilted in our favor. Our problem last year was a lot of missed tackles on otherwise short gains. Chargers and Mike McCoy employ a lot of short passing and runs. If we stop those and keep them from hoarding the ball like they are prone to do, we should win. Winning this will essentially come down to how well we handle the road. If we are like last year, it'll be a loss. If not, a win. As of right now, I'll give us a 23-17 win with a late defensive stop to seal it.
Week 6 vs Broncos: I think the outcome of this game will be very bad for Jets fans. I do not think that Milliner and McDougle will be able to handle Peyton Manning and the weapons at his disposal. I do not think that we will be able to effectively move the ball vs Denver's defense. Only hope, really, is if we get enough pressure on Manning and try to replicate the Seahawks in that Superbowl. Do that, and things become manageable. It would be shocking if we won the game, or even lost by a single score in my view. Jets lose by 17.
Week 7 at New England: I don't like that this is the first time we play them, as by now they typically gel. I hate even more the fact that we have to travel up there on a Thursday night shortly after playing Denver. I think we lose this game, but it won't be a blowout. It's going to be a tricky proposition for Geno to go up against Revis and Browner and expect much success. On defensive side, I don't think the Pats improved their weapons a lot from last year. If they still haven't gelled, we have a chance to steal one in Foxboro. A big turnover by Allen or Pryor will go a long way. If we do that, we will win the division and you can quote me on that. As it stands right now, we lose by 13.
Week 8 vs Bills: At this point, we are either 4-3 or 3-4 (depending on Bears game) and suffering two devastating losses. Luckily, the Bills and EJ Manuel come into town. At MetLife, I like our odds of winning. Shutting down Watkins will go a long way in that favor, as will getting pressure on Manuel. On offense, it is a good thing The Rat Brown is gone and Schwartz is in. If his lack of discipline in shows up in their defense, we should have little problem going through them. We create the turnovers we lacked from Manuel last year, we'll win by around 20.
Week 9 at Kansas City: Arrowhead stadium is one of the toughest places in the league to play. Add the Chiefs recent (and most likely ongoing success) and it is a tall order. Noise will be an issue. I think this game will be similar to the Packers game in that we have a chance to win it, but it all depends on how our secondary and offense does. If we cover Smith's checkdowns and force him to go out the pocket and/or run the ball, we'll go a long way towards winning. In terms of attacking them offensively, this would be a good game to vary the tempo and see how their defense handles it. Last year, when they played against real QB's who varied the offense's speed, they did not do well. Geno should have matured enough to do that. Ultimately, I think we fall short on a comeback drive and lose by 3.
Week 10 vs Steelers: Steelers are always in the mix for a WC spot, so beating them would go a long way towards staking our claim towards it. Unfortunately, we haven't been extremely proficient in beating them lately. TAKE DOWN BEN. If we don't let him stand there shrugging off tackle after tackle, we'll win the game. Their defense added a lot of young pieces, so I don't anticipate us having a whole lot of success vs them. However, if we keep Ben contained and get him down we'll win in a very low scoring game. Think 10-6 or something similar.
BYE: At this point we're 6-4 or 5-5. A good place to be.
Week 12 at Bills: Hopefully, we do not go to Dave and Busters before the game. If the Jets want to get back to where they ought to be, they have to sweep the Bills. No questions asked. At this point, weather is going to play a factor which will impact special teams. This game will be a lot closer than the last, as the Bills would have most likely adjusted to the shellacking a couple of weeks earlier. A special teams TD by the Jets will be the difference and we win by 7.
Week 13 MNF vs Dolphins: Another primetime game by the Jets at home, and we should have 6-7 wins by this point. As I've mentioned with the Bills, if the Jets want to get to where they have to be, they have to sweep them and the Dolphins as well. Luckily, we get them at home in the cold and down there when it's not scorching. This game will be fairly close and it all will depend on if Milliner can do well vs Wallace. He did a decent job on him Week 17 of last year, so here's hoping he can replicate. If Tannenhill actually connects on a deep pass to Wallace, they'll most likely win. Otherwise, lean to the Jets. I like our chances against them on offense as well, so long as we don't make any silly turnovers. Jets win or lose by 7.
Week 14 at Minnesota: Minnesota should, at this time, be an average team. However, the extremely cold weather in that part of the country will tilt it in their favor. Were we in the dome, I'd say the Jets win. We'll have a moderate amount of success bottling up AP for most of the game, but I think he'll break off some big chunks late in the game. Mike Zimmer would have improved that defense, so we may have a tough time against them. Teddy Bridgewater will most likely be starting in this game, so I expect Rex to confuse him. However, as I've said, AP will help him out. I think we lose by 4 and fail to stop them as they run out the clock.
Week 15 at Tennessee: LP Field has become a house of horrors lately, and I personally hope we exorcise them. Judging by Chris Johnson's words regarding Tennessee, he may be just what we need to win this. Here's hoping he has a game like Ivory did vs the Saints. All accounts say they will be mediocre to awful, and I really don't see much redeeming talent on that team. If we play to our ability, we will beat them easily. I have a feeling we'll score on all three phases. If not, it'll be a close game.
Week 16 vs the Patriots At this point we are either 9-5 or 8-6. If the Patriots miraculously are only one game ahead of us, this will truly be an exciting game to watch. Even were that not the case, this game will most likely seal a trip to the playoffs if AFC continues mediocre trend. I expect us to play a typical hard fought game and win by 3. This game could potentially be flexed on SNF if we are only a game back behind the Patriots.
Week 17 at the Dolphins: We ended their season there last year, and depending on how the playoff picture looks, we may not even need to play at full strength. If that is the case, we'll probably lose. If there is still something to play for regarding seeding, we'll win.
This has us at 11-5 or 10-6. I'm shocked by that, because I personally think we'll be 9-7 or 10-6. I may have been optimistic on a couple of games. Please, feel free to comment with your own predictions, give feedback if I've missed anything, and so on. Thank you!