Joe Douglas and the New York Jets did a tremendous job during the offseason, trying to close the margin and compete again. Their task, however, will not be any easy this upcoming season. By the time the 2020 NFL schedule was released Thursday, it was already clear that it was going to be a tough year for New York. Their schedule is the second most-difficult per strength of schedule, with opponents having a winning percentage of .533.
Here is a breakdown of the 2020 New York Jets schedule:
Weeks One Through Four
New York Jets will play the Buffalo Billo on Kickoff Sunday for a second consecutive year, with the game being at new Era Field. In their previous meeting, at home, New York squandered a 16-0 lead to lose the game by a score of 17-16, as well as Sam Darnold, who missed three games because of mono, and C.J. Mosley, who would next suit up for a Jets game in Week Seven.
Now, the Bills, after making the playoff for the second time in three seasons in 2019, are the powerhouse of the AFC East and clear division favorites. A visit could prove to be an even tougher test for the under-the-radar Jets. However, it only gets harder from there.
In Week Two, in their home opener, the Jets host the reigning NFC champions, the San Francisco 49ers. Then, New York pays a visit to Philip Rivers, Marlon Mack, and the Indianapolis Colts. In Week Four, the Jets meet Denver on Thursday Night Football, with new Jets center Connor McGovern facing his former team.
This series of games to open the 2020 campaign has very interesting matchups to keep an eye on. The Jets, the second-strongest defense against the run, will meet three top-10 rushing units in SF, BUF, and IND. The remaining team, the Broncos, have a loaded bunch in the backfield after acquiring former Chargers running back Melvin Gordon and keeping Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman.
Weeks Five Through Eight
No breaks during the month of October, either. First, the Arizona Cardinals will make the visit to New Jersey. Arizona is supposed to be amongst the easier opponents after finishing 5-10-1 in 2019. However, that changed when they traded for DeSean Hopkins, one of the best pass-catchers in the NFL.
After the Cardinals game, the Jets visit the Chargers in their new home, SoFi Stadium. Another wave of extremely tough games follows when the Jets host the Bills and visit the Super Bowl LIV champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Cardinals and the Chargers made solid upgrades, and so did the Jets. It would be tough to put them as favorites in either matchup, but at least those games could be competitive. The Chiefs are still too big a fish, especially if KC’s defense plays up to the level it did in the second half last year.
Weeks Nine Through Thirteen
The Jets open what’s likely to be their easiest stretch of the year at home against the Patriots on Monday Night Football. Patriots, unlike the better part of the past two decades, are not the juggernaut they used to be in games against the Jets. This year it could be an opportunity for an easier win, given their program of opponents in the first two months of the year.
On November 10th, New York visits the site of Super Bowl LIV when they’ll take on the Dolphins. Although at MetLife Stadium, the same will occur in Week 12 after the Jets will have a bye in Week 11. Alongside Arizona and the Chargers, the Dolphins have the worst 2019 record out of all Jets opponents this year, racking up just five wins.
The Jets open December at home against the Las Vegas Raiders. New York destroyed the Raiders last year in East Rutherford, 34-3.
Weeks 14 Through 17
The Jets close out the season in as difficult a fashion as they started it. Their last four games include a visit to the Rams and the Seahawks. In addition, they host the Cleveland Browns for the first time since their 23-3 loss on MNF in Week Two of 2019.
The Jets have lost two in a row against the Browns. This includes a Week Three Thursday game in Ohio, which saw the debut of Baker Mayfield. All this comes after the Jets had a streak of five straight victories against Cleveland between 2010 and 2016.
Week 17 sees New York make a trip to Foxboro to face the New England Patriots in what could be a vital game if the Jets are able to compete. If that does indeed happen, their track record in these situations is significantly bad. The last two times the Jets have faced the six-time Super Bowl champions they’ve been beaten up by at least a 20-point margin.
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