Special to the AmNew
Sunday, the Jets will host the Oakland Raiders in their 2014 season opening game. Although the pre-season doesn’t count, it has perhaps provided a perspective on what Jets coach Buddy Ryan and his staff can expect from this 2014 team. Will they surprise many, or will they drown in a pool of “will they sink or will they rise to at least playoff land?” There have been times when a team’s preseason record or performance has been deceptive.
Case in point, the Detroit Lions winning all four of their preseason games in 2008 by an average of 12 points, and then losing all 16 regular season games. The New York Jets, 2-2 during this preseason, have certainly been decimated by injuries within their secondary. There were questionable personnel signings. The Jets defense was exposed. It’s now a liability.
Sophomore quarterback Geno Smith, who will lead the Jets in their season-opener, will face a Raiders rookie quarterback and another rookie the following week against the Packers in Green Bay. The following week he faces the Chicago Bears on “Monday Night Football,” the Lions six days later, San Diego in a road game out west at and finally the Giants and Peyton Manning at home.
The NFL schedule-makers had no empathy for this Jets team. They travel to New England to play the Patriots in a Thursday night game and finally get a 10-day break in their schedule before playing the Buffalo Bills Oct. 26.
Without a bye, the Jets will face six top-tier quarterbacks the first half of the season: Aaron Rodgers, a Super Bowl winner; Jay Cutler; Matthew Stafford; Phillip Rivers; Manning, a Super Bowl winner and the loser of last season’s; and Tom Brady, the three-time Super Bowl champ.
Specific win/lose concerns for Jet fans, besides the obvious four potential losses, should be any vast improvements to Chicago and Detroit. An improved Bears and Lions could potentially have the Jets at 2-6 by mid-season. They’ll escape a bullet if they can do 3-5 or 4-4, but 2-6 will definitely skew all of our perspectives!