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Thoughts on the 2021 Jets Schedule

New York Jets v New England Patriots Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

When it comes to the day of the schedule release I feel like Buzz Killington.

I think this is the most overhyped day of the year in the NFL. The league is desperately trying to get attention during the quietest time on the calendar. There’s always a ton of analysis on the toughest and easiest games. That’s always based on the standings from the previous year, but things constantly change in the league from year to year. There are surprise good and bad teams. There are injuries that nobody sees coming.

Even if none of that was true, there’s one glaring aspect of the schedule release that is frequently ignored. We already knew every game that would be on the schedule. Today we only find out the order and the times.

The biggest drama of the day tends to be whether we can make it to the official announcement without the full schedule being leaked. In the Jets’ case, that was a decisive no.

So what can we take from the schedule release? Not much, but here are a few thoughts.

  • The season certainly begins on an exciting note as the Jets begin 2021 against the Carolina Panthers. Carolina happens to have the Jets’ former quarterback Sam Darnold, their former top receiver Robby Anderson, and the guy they almost hired as head coach Matt Rhule. It felt like this game was destined for some high profile slot, either the opener or primetime.

  • The home opener also could have some excitement as the Patriots come to town Week 2. It could be the first meeting between AFC East rookie quarterbacks Zach Wilson and Mac Jones.

  • It’s a bit of a surprise that the Jets haven’t been to London since 2015. Their owner was just the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom for more than three years. This year the Jets finally return for a Week 5 game against the Falcons.

  • A bye predictably follows the early season London game. I don’t love that. My general rule on byes is the later, the better. I prefer a bye near the end of the season to get the team fresh for the stretch run. You never know how things will work out, though. The Jets’ last trip to London also brought an early bye in 2015. It proved beneficial as the team had been dealt several early season injuries to key players who got time to heal.

  • One positive of the London trip is that it technically will be for a Falcons home game. The Jets also get the new 17th game at home. That means the team has nine home games and only seven true road games (along with the neutral site London game against Atlanta).

  • The Jets only have one primetime game, against the Indianapolis Colts on a Thursday night. It’s a bit of a surprise to see the league choose this over Jets-Jaguars for a Thursday night game that would have matched up the top two picks in the NFL Draft. A lack of primetime games suggests the league office isn’t expecting the Jets to be very good. Every game aside from the contests against the Falcons and the Colts (along with a late season game against Miami that could be flexed to Saturday) is scheduled for 1:00. I’m not upset, though. I personally prefer 1:00 starts. It doesn’t matter much anyway. After the first few weeks of the season, games can be flexed to another time slot if the Jets exceed expectations.

  • The Jets do get a bit of a break as an important AFC East game against Buffalo comes after the Thursday night contest with the Colts. They get a few extra days to prepare in something that resembles a mini-bye week.