The NFL season officially opens tonight (Thursday). The New York Jets’ season officially opens Sunday at home, MetLife Stadium. Though they are filled with optimism, a sense and spirit of newness, the season is not an open field for “Gang Green,” who were 4-12 last season. It’s filled with roadblocks and divots and forks in the road.

After their first game against the Cleveland Browns, the Jets’ skill set gets tested. Sunday, they have a road game against quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts—a road block. Then they’re at home against coach Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles, followed by the NFL’s annual British game, featuring the Jets verses the Miami Dolphins, who signed defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in the offseason. Set your clock for the 9:30 a.m. EST start. The Jets have a bye on the NFL’s fifth Sunday.

Vacation ends with the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium, a team so currently newsworthy, the name controversy has been overshadowed.

Then there’s the game up north against the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots—a road block. By this time, the Pats will have played the four games for which Commissioner Roger Goodell wanted to suspend QB Tom Brady. Goodell has filed an appeal, but if he really wants to protect the shield and their integrity, he’ll take a knee, let it go and not throw a red flag. The money, allegedly $3 million plus, a conservative estimate, and the eight months spent prosecuting Brady thus far should be humbling, embarrassing and examined.

In a statement, the player’s union executive director, DeMaurice Smith, said, “The ruling proves that the contract with the NFL doesn’t grant Goodell the authority to be unfair, arbitrary and misleading.” But I digress.

The road trip extends to Oakland, where talk has resumed of the Raiders moving to Los Angeles.

The Jets conclude the first half of this season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. These eight games provide New York the best opportunity to gel as a team with its new coach, Todd Bowles; new GM, Mike Maccagnan; a new offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey; a new starting QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick; a potential quarterback controversy, Geno Smith; added playmakers Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and rookie Leonard Williams; and a suspension, Sheldon Richardson. The second half is considerably harder.