Despite some glaring flaws, the New York Jets had a fairly pleasant offseason that promises to at least lift them from the rock bottom that they hit last year. Heading into 2021, the Jets have to rebound from a 2-14 record in 2020, the second-worst in the history of the franchise. Two weeks ago, the tracker of their path to either glory or misery, the 2021 New York Jets schedule, was officially released, clearing the way for valuable analysis.
After an extremely difficult, on paper, 2020 campaign that turned into a nightmarish season in practice, New York has the chance to catch a break this upcoming year. According to EatDrinkAndSleepFootball.com, the Jets join 14 other teams in the group of ball clubs with a combined record of 2021 opponents under the .500 mark. Moreover, they are tied with the Patriots at 19th in the league.
However, many of those once-underperforming teams are amongst the league’s most improved now. Also, the AFC East remains as impossible to win and tough to climb as it has been in recent memory. The Buffalo Bills are seen as the dominant force not just out East but in the entirety of the AFC for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, both New England and Miami are at least miles ahead of their East Rutherford divisional rival.
Nonetheless, the Jets can still only improve upon the embarrassment they experienced throughout the 2020 season. Between the easier set of matchups and the better team, here’s what to expect, game by game.
2021 New York Jets Schedule: Weeks 1-3
Week 1 | @ Carolina Panthers, 1 PM ET, CBS
What to Expect: The 2021 Jets Schedule gets underway with a clash that contains a great deal of storyline anticipation. After New York traded away Sam Darnold to approach a fresh start at the position with Zach Wilson, they will have to visit their former quarterback to begin the league year. That will certainly be the most intriguing note regarding this matchup, as well as to what extent the Jets’ weak secondary will crumble against the Panthers’ strong passing unit.
Last year, Carolina had the sixth-highest team accuracy percentage while NY allowed the third-highest. Even with Darnold instead of Teddy Bridgewater under center, the group should remain just as efficient across the 2021 campaign.
Carolina also has its weaknesses but New York doesn’t have the assets to exploit them. Therefore, the Jets promise to be doomed in their Kickoff-Week game.
Top matchup: Carolina Running Game (Inapplicable Stats) vs Jets Defense Against the Run (4.0 allowed yards/run, 7th)
Prediction: Carolina by 10 points
Week 2| vs New England Patriots, 1 PM ET, CBS
What to Expect: The second weekend of the 2021 NFL season will see the first edition of one of the fiercest divisional showdowns in all of NFL football. Furthermore, it could be a showcase of two of the brightest and most promising quarterback prospects in the National Football League. Zach Wilson may be set to face Patriots rookie passer Mac Jones, although indicators point to Cam Newton getting the nod. This would resemble a battle between the two quarterbacks with the highest completion percentages in NCAA throughout the 2020 campaign.
The Patriots were one of the most improved teams this past offseason. However, the Jets would have had problems living up to the level of their Massachusetts opponents either way.
Top matchup: New England Running Game (4.7 yards/run, 9th) vs Jets Defense Against the Run (4.0 allowed yards/run, 7th)
Prediction: New England by 17 points
Week 3| @ Denver Broncos, 4:05 PM ET, CBS
What to Expect: Despite much room available for upgrades, the Broncos are still quite vulnerable. To be precise – Denver’s passing defense was near the middle of the pack. That also happened to be the area where the front office concentrated almost all of its resources. The club’s new cornerback additions Kyle Fuller, A.J. Bouye, and Ronald Darby are slated to receive a combined $23 million in 2021.
Yet, the Broncos still missed out on addressing their nearly league-worst rushing defense and acquiring receiving help around Drew Lock or Bridgewater. Moreover, Melvin Gordon has an appealing track record when used frequently but the offense, as well as the roster overall, has obtained its unbalanced character.
Still, the Jets are unlikely to have an easy afternoon against a shaky Denver team. Their ground game could struggle even against one of the NFL’s worst units in that department. Meanwhile, NY’s air raid might be quiet when it faces a potentially dominant secondary. Furthermore, the Jets’ lone bright spot, the defense against the run, has a tough matchup. An 0-3 record might be on the horizon in the early moments of the 2021 Jets Schedule.
Top matchup: Denver Running Game (4.3 yards/run, 18th) vs Jets Defense Against the Run (4.0 allowed yards/run, 7th)
Prediction: Denver by 7 points
2021 Jets Schedule: Mid-Season Highlights
Week 5 | vs Atlanta Falcons at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, 9:30 AM ET, NFL Network
What to Expect: The Jets’ first game abroad since 2015 will be an interconference collision with the Atlanta Falcons. This is New York’s second visit to the British capital since the inception of the London Games in 2008. Last time out, the Jets defeated the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium six years ago.
And during this game, New York will go head to head with an ambitious Falcons squad looking to return to its rightful place – in the battle for a playoff berth within the NFC. Of course, the designated home team can take advantage of some huge issues within ATL’s roster – such as the secondary – but this won’t be enough. After they face Tennessee the previous week, London could play witness to the Jets’ fifth straight loss to start the new campaign.
Top matchup: Jets Offensive Line (43 allowed sacks, 24th) vs Atlanta Pass-Rush (29 sacks, 24th)
Prediction: Atlanta by 14 points
Week 9 | at Indianapolis Colts, TNF, FOX/NFL Network
What to Expect: After a seemingly unwinnable London game, what follows is the Jets’ best opportunities for valuable victories. In Weeks Seven and Eight, New York faces New England and Cincinnati, respectively, probably being favored to win the latter by multiple scores. However, a longer streak would be difficult to indulge in.
Week Nine marks the start of yet another tough stretch, led by two games against contenders for the AFC crown and a trip to Super Bowl LVI. In the first of them, New York is forced to find a solution to the Colts on Thursday Night Football. Nothing speaks loudly of the mismatch that this clash represents than the showdown between Indy’s Offensive Line, 2nd-best, and the Jets’ defensive front line, 13th-worst.
Top matchup: Indianapolis Running Game (4.3 yards/run, T-15th) vs Jets Rush Defense(4.0 allowed yards/run, 7th)
Prediction: Indianapolis by 20 points
Mid-Season Position Alert – Potential Record 2-6: The current state of the New York team allows it to win no more than one or two games in this difficult early series of games. Furthermore, the Jets should again be out of contention by the middle portion of the year, focusing instead on not getting the first overall pick.
Week 10| vs Buffalo Bills, 1 PM ET, CBS
What to Expect: In Week Ten, the New York Jets face the frontrunner to top the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills, for the first time. During the 2020 NFL season, the Bills finished with a record of 13-3 and won the East for the first time since 1995. Throughout the past offseason, they have only grown stronger, with upgrades in the receiving corps and cornerback department, as well as bringing in crucial depth.
Buffalo will continue to be amongst the most avid competitors to dethrone the Kansas City Chiefs from their top spot in the AFC for the last two years. Meanwhile, the Jets will stand no chance both throwing the pass and holding their ground against Josh Allen‘s air raid. Both unit matchups are sharp mismatches.
Top matchup: Jets Running Game (Inapplicable Stats) vs Buffalo Defense Against the Run (4.6 yards/run allowed, 23rd)
Prediction: Buffalo by 14 points
2021 Jets Schedule: Closing Slate
Position – Potential Record 4-10: After the showdown with Buffalo, there’s more heavy artillery in NY’s way. By Week Sixteen, they are also set to take on New Orleans, Miami twice, as well as a decent Eagles team. New York will hope for wins over Houston and the Dolphins once can be within their capabilities for overall improvement to be possible come the very conclusion of the 2021 Jets schedule.
Week 16| vs Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 PM ET, CBS
What to Expect: With matchups versus Tampa Bay and Buffalo coming up to close out another forgettable campaign, this could very well be the last opportunity for a fifth and final victory of the Jets season. Even the Jaguars could turn out to be a tough fish to beat, though.
Last year, Jacksonville’s main shortcomings were at cornerback, offensive tackle, and pass-rush. Now, except for the defensive edge, all holes have been filled with high-profile assets, with noticeable acquisitions at WR and RB as well. Trevor Lawrence has decent enough support entering his rookie season. At the same time, the Travis Etienne/James Robinson ground-game stable could a challenge for the centerpiece of the Jets defense.
Therefore, the Jaguars’ offense can be beyond solid whilst the defense hopes to stay in positive territory. Jacksonville is much more balanced of a team in 2021, which is something the Jets are in contrast with. In the meantime, many of its units promise to outplay their NY counterparts.
Top matchup: Jacksonville Running Game (4.5 yards/run, 12th) vs Jets Defense Against the Run (4.0 allowed yards/run, 7th)
Prediction: New York Jets by 3 points
Week 17| vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 PM ET, FOX
What to Expect: The 2021 Jets Schedule rolls on as the lowly Jets meet the reigning and defending Super Bowl champions in the penultimate week of 2021 regular-season NFL football. The Bucs have slightly less competition this time around, with the Saints getting weakened. Therefore, this game could have few ramifications for either team, although it isn’t a foregone conclusion that New Orleans won’t play a role in deciding the 2021 NFC South champion.
This is also a clash between two of the best defensive units against the run. During the 2020 season, Tampa Bay conceded the fewest yards per rushing attempts with merely 3.6 while New York was seventh with 4.0.
Top matchup: New York Jets Passing Offense (75.9 passer rating, 30th, 58.9% completion) vs Tampa Bay Passing Defense (94.3 surrendered passer rating, 18th, 69% completion)
Prediction: Tampa Bay by 14 points
Week 18| at Buffalo Bills, 1 PM ET, CBS
What to Expect: The New York Jets’ second game against the anticipated 2021 AFC East division champions will conclude the 2021 Jets Schedule. As Buffalo will have already likely guaranteed itself the division crown, some of their starters could be subject to rest time. That is if the Bills aren’t fighting to snatch a better playoff spot, which was the case in 2020 and is entirely possible. Without some of BUF’s best assets, the Jets might surprise with a last-minute spark of life. However, it will barely matter, and neither will the difference between 5-12 and 6-11.
Prediction: Buffalo Bills by 3 points
2021 Jets Schedule Final Record Projection: 5-12