First things first, if we want to give ourselves a chance to unseat NE and win the AFC East, and if that's not the goal then what's the point of all this, but assuming that is the goal, we have to start by winning the home opener verses the division rival Buffalo Bills.
After that comes the Cleveland Browns on MNF and IMO that is the game that will define who we are, or aren't, in the minds of the media, much of the general public, and much of the league as well.
First of all, the Browns are clearly this years media darlings and rightfully so. Mayfield had a spectacular rookie season and it all started when he replaced an injured Tyrod Taylor and proceeded to smoke the Jets on Thursday night football one year ago. Rightly or wrongly, the perception that game created, as well as the remainder of the 2018 season, solidified the impression that Cleveland made the right call in the 2018 NFL Draft when they selected Baker Mayfield over Sam Darnold with the #1 overall pick.
That said, last year was week-three on TNF in front of a national audience. This year is week-two on MNF in front of a national audience again. The Browns are all the rave, but if Sam Darnold walks out of this game, in our building, at 0-2 verses Baker Mayfield, there will be nobody left other than Jets fans who believe Darnold, the consensus #1 Pick in the months and weeks leading up to the 2018 Draft, should indeed have been the #1 Pick and the Browns may have gotten it wrong.
RIGHT NOW the perception outside of Jets-land is that Mayfield was the right pick for the Browns, which is not to say anyone views Darnold as less than a franchise QB, but a Browns win and Mayfield 2-0 vs Sam will solidify the perception for most of the media, fans and league that the Browns got the #1 Pick right despite Sam Darnold being the overwhelming consensus 'best QB in the 2018 Draft.'
Sam can change that impression, and the Jets can be taken deadly and universally serious as legitimate contenders, if they takedown the Cleveland Browns in week-two on MNF, in front of a national audience.
From that point on the Mayfield/Darnold debate will be far from over and the Jets will be viewed as serious contenders, not only as a potential Wild Card team, but as a serious threat to the Patriots in the AFC East.