The inconsistent 2013 New York Jets managed to overachieve. Despite being nothing short of dreadful at times gang green ended the 2013 campaign with an 8-8 record and gave Jet fans something to be excited about heading into the offseason.
While the team hasn’t undergone a complete overhaul, they’ve improved on the offensive side of things with the additions of Eric Decker, Chris Johnson and Michael Vick. Offense has been a priority during this offseason for Rex Ryan’s Jets, just as it needed to be. The Jets had the least potent and most inconsistent offense in the league a season ago and upgrades were mandatory.
The Jets still have their impressive front seven on defense, but lost cornerback Antonio Cromartie and replaced him with former Dolphin Dimitri Patterson. The defensive backfield appears to be a bit of a work in progress for the Jets, who will need to rely on that dominant defensive line as they did in 2013.
Looking at gang green’s 2014 schedule there are certainly numerable challenges waiting. Their schedule is considered the 9th toughest in the league, going by opponents’ win-loss records from a year ago. While the statistic of whose schedule is most difficult needs to be taken with a grain of salt, it’s easy to tell that the Jets have their work cut out for them.
Here are some notes and highlights concerning the 2014 Jets schedule:
HOME OPPONENTS: Aside from the three divisional games at home, the Jets will play five games outside the division at home. Two of them come against NFC North opponents in the Bears and Lions in Weeks 3 and 4. Two against the AFC West are also included as New York will host Denver in Week 6 and open up the season at home against the Raiders. The other home game outside the division will feature the Steelers for a second season in a row in Week 10.
GAMES TO SET THE DVR FOR: Everything from Weeks 2 through 7. We will find out early if New York is up to the task their schedule lays out for them. The key games come quickly for New York as they travel to Lambeau Field to try and contain Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Week 2 before a clash with the Chicago Bears on Monday night in Week 3. In week 4, the Jets welcome in Calvin Johnson and the Lions as the defense is sure to be tested. And then…
TOUGHEST STRETCH: Definitely set the DVR for these games too. The toughest part of New York’s schedule comes Weeks 5 through 7. It begins with a long flight out to San Diego to take on a Chargers team that’s generally good at Qualcomm Stadium. The next two weeks speak for themselves as the Jets host the AFC Champion Broncos in Week 6 before heading to New England just four days later for a Thursday night battle in primetime with Belichick and the Patriots. Those two back-to-back, four days apart, with travel inbetween? Jeez, good luck Rex.
IN THE DIVISION: The Jets will not take on a division opponent until week 7 but six of their final ten games will be against their AFC East rivals. The Patriots are on the schedule for Weeks 7 and 16, the Bills for Weeks 8 and 12 and the Dolphins for Weeks 13 and 17. New York will close out its season in Miami as they did in 2013. A season ago, the Jets finished 3-3 in their division by earning splits with all three opponents. If the Jets are the improved team we hope they are, an over .500 record within the division is a must.
ON THE ROAD: The Jets were an awful team on the road last season, finishing a measly 2-6 away from MetLife Stadium. That needs to change if New York wants any chance at the playoffs, but it won’t be easy. The first road test comes at Green Bay in Week 2 and other difficult road games are Week 5 in San Diego, Week 7 in New England and Week 9 at Kansas City. All of these games come by November 2nd, furthering the notion that the most challenging part of this schedule is the first nine weeks or so.
JETS IN PRIME TIME: New York has three primetime affairs, starting with that Monday night matchup with Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium in Week 3. Gillette Stadium is the venue on Thursday night during Week 7 and will be perhaps the toughest road game the Jets play all season as the game at New England often is. Gang green will play their third primetime affair against the rival Miami Dolphins in Week 13 at home on Monday night.
I’ll be honest, this schedule scares me a bit. No reason to jump to conclusions before organized team activities (OTAs) even begin but it definitely won’t be a cakewalk for gang green. It’s a murderous first ten weeks before the BYE for the Jets but let’s see how this team comes together between now and September.
Check it out for yourself. Here is the full 2014 New York Jets Schedule: