Don’t fret if you’re a Jets fan. There’s an upside to ending the season with the worst record, let’s say 1-15 or 0-16, and that’s being in prime position for the No. 1 overall pick in next April’s NFL Draft.
With five games remaining on the 0-11 New York Jets’ schedule, two games at home, three road games, four of the five teams currently playoff bound, the Jets’ front office must look to the bright side.
The 6-5 Las Vegas Raiders visit MetLife Stadium this Sunday, hungry for a win after an embarrassing 43-6 road loss to the Atlanta Falcons this past Sunday and a week after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 35-31.
The Jets face the Seattle Seahawks Dec. 13 and the Los Angeles Rams Dec. 20, both games away from home. They’ll return to the Meadowlands to host the Cleveland Browns two days after Christmas and close out the 2020 session up in New England, playing the Patriots on the first Sunday of the new year.
The 1-10 Jacksonville Jaguars and the 2-8-1 Cincinnati Bengals, both AFC teams like the Jets, are their stiffest competition in the race to the bottom of the league’s standings. The Jets also have to keep an eye on the 3-7 Los Angeles Chargers and 3-8 Dallas Cowboys.
Whether with starting quarterback Sam Darnold or backup Joe Flacco, the Jets have a 0 in the win column. Darnold returned on Sunday from a sprained shoulder after missing the previous two games and was welcomed back with the Jets’ second loss this season to the Miami Dolphins, a 20-3 defeat. In Week 6, they were shutout 24-0 by Miami with Flacco at quarterback. The 23-year-old Darnold is auditioning for his future now, highly unlikely to be with the Jets. But he can’t take all of the blame for their horrific season. There are deficiencies on both sides of the ball.
“When you go back and watch the game, it’s easy to point at the quarterback all the time,” said Jets head coach Adam Gase. “I feel like it wasn’t all on him every drive. Were there some mistakes made?”
Like Darnold, Gase’s employment with the Jets is expected to end in early January when he is fired for overseeing a team that has gone 7-20 thus far in his tenure. It’s not only his record, but a lack of positive leadership, failing to engender collective trust among his players, and most damning, falling short of developing Darnold, who was the No. 3 pick overall pick in the 2018 Draft, that will be the 42-year-old Gase’s Jets legacy.