The 2023 New York Jets schedule is out.
The OFFICIAL 2023 New York Jets schedule.— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 12, 2023
CAN'T WAIT ➜ https://t.co/rxJ1DzRCSQ pic.twitter.com/2hdLFRIHqq
Here are some first impressions.
The most overhyped day
There’s no way around it. This is arguably the most overhyped day of the year on the NFL calendar. Although the schedule is officially released, it only provides us the dates, times, and networks. We already knew the 17 opponents the Jets would be facing and the venues of the games. It’s a quiet time on the NFL calendar, and the league doesn’t have much that could generate attention so it pays way too much attention to the schedule release.
That first month
The Jets have at least what appears to be on paper a challenging first month. They start the season hosting the Buffalo Bills, their toughest competition for the AFC East title. A short week follows with a trip to Dallas to play the Cowboys. Then the New England Patriots come to town followed by the team’s first appearance on Sunday Night Football in 12 years in a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Twitterverse is full of the, “We will find out how good this team really is in the first month,” take.
That isn’t necessarily true, though. In Tom Brady’s first season with the Buccaneers and Peyton Manning’s first season with the Broncos, their teams got off to uneven starts. Things began to click later in the season as the legendary quarterbacks got more acclimated with their surroundings.
It wouldn’t be a great shock to see the Jets have a shaky September against a tough schedule as Aaron Rodgers gets his bearings and then kick things into high gear in October and/or November.
On the other hand Rodgers’ familiarity with the system and a couple of familiar receivers might help him avoid the early inconsistency Manning and Brady had.
The Jets will have five night games and then a Black Friday afternoon game broadcast nationally. It was clear that Aaron Rodgers was going to increase interest in the team. A national Week 1 game was a given, and the league delivered with a compelling divisional matchup.
These national games will make the schedule a bit more challenging. The Jets will play on a short week four times. The lack of recovery time could impact a team that figures to be among the league’s oldest. That’s the price that comes with having an interesting team. At least in two of the games the opponent will have a week just as short.
It would be nice to not have the two long roadtrips after Monday night games.
Late afternoon games
The increased interest in the Jets won’t just be displayed in primetime games. The team has a lot more games in the late afternoon timeslot this year. In recent seasons when the Jets were bad, they were a staple of 1:00. The league tries to put its most compelling afternoon games in the 4:25 slot.
The Jets only play at 1:00 once in the first 12 weeks of the season. Surprisingly, one of those games is against the Giants. You would have figured the league would do more to feature a game between two New York teams, one of which made the Playoffs last and and the other of which has Aaron Rodgers.
The difficulty of breaking it all down
The biggest mistake analysts make over the next few days is viewing the difficulty of the schedule through the lens of each team’s 2022 record. Things can change a lot from year to year.
I think we know the Bills, Eagles, and Chiefs will probably be good. The trip to Dallas won’t be easy early in the season.
The Texans and Falcons probably won’t be good.
Aside from that, it is difficult to prognosticate which games will be easy and which will be tough. Teams that had decent records a year ago might fall back to earth due to luck and injuries. Teams that were bad last year might improve.
This won’t stop many analysts from acting like team quality will remain static from last year, but the schedule teams get is often different from the one they expect in May.
A wasted opportunity
It’s difficult to look at the game against the Atlanta Falcons and not lament how poorly the NFL has implemented the 17th game on the schedule. Atlanta is the extra game this year. The Jets would not be playing the Falcons under the old 16 game format.
The NFL took a major opportunity with this extra game and squandered it. How is this bonus game not a showcase event providing fans the matchups they want to see?
If the NFL had any imagination, game 17 for the Jets would be in Lambeau Field against the Packers with Aaron Rodgers returning to his old stadium.
I guess I shouldn’t complain. A home game against Atlanta benefits the Jets more than a trip to Green Bay. It’s just tough to believe how unimaginative the NFL was with the format for this bonus game.