'08 SKED: Miami Bookends, Two in Prime Time

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The Jets' 2008 NFL schedule features their season opener at Bill Parcells' Miami Dolphins, their third straight home opener against rival New England, two road primetime games — including their first NFL Network Thursday night appearance, Nov. 13 at the Patriots — and those four West Coast opponents studded throughout the schedule from Week 3 to Week 16, with no two coming in back-to-back weeks.

Providing Tuna bookends to the season, the Jets finish their third regular season under head coach Eric Mangini against the Dolphins at the Meadowlands on Dec. 28.

For those of you who want to see the schedule without the prose, you can check out our 2008 Schedule page here. For everyone else, read on.

One of the early pitfalls of the schedule just released by the league this afternoon is a difficult Week 3-4 patch. Their one Monday night game comes Sept. 22 at San Diego. Then they'll have to shake off any jet lag in the short week to prepare for Arizona at home the following Sunday.

But the Cardinals game begins a three-week stretch at home — after the Cards comes the Week 5 bye and a Week 6 Meadowlands date with Cincinnati. Road games at Oakland and Buffalo sandwich a home engagement against Kansas City and the Jets' former head coach, Herm Edwards, who were all here for last year's season finale.

After Buffalo comes a home date with St. Louis, followed by a challenging six-game stretch that includes four road games, two to the West Coast.

After that Thursday nighter at New England, the NFL's Flex Scheduling kicks in, and at the moment two of the road games could be prime candidates to be moved to prime time against playoff teams from a year ago: Nov. 23 at Tennessee and Dec. 21 in the next-to-last game on the schedule at Seattle.

The league also firmed up all teams' preseason schedules, although the opponents were released last week. The Jets' preseason opener at Cleveland is set for Thursday night, Aug. 7. Then after home Saturday night games against the Redskins and Giants, they'll wrap up the summer slate with their traditional Thursday nighter at Philadelphia.

Here is a closer look at the games on the just-released 2008 regular-season schedule:

Sept. 7 — at Miami, Dolphin Stadium, 1 p.m., CBS

Once a decade, the Jets open their season against their good friends the 'Fins, and this is the opener for the first decade of the new millennium. To be sure, it'll be a challenging start for the Green & White against the newest team for Parcells, who was their head coach — and Mangini's boss — from 1997-99 and now is the 'Fins' executive VP of football operations. Still, the Jets have fared well against Miami lately, having won seven of the last eight meetings overall and three of the last four at Dolphin Stadium, including last season's 40-13 win with Kellen Clemens at QB. The other season openers vs. MIA: 1995 (at Miami, 52-14 loss), 1982 (Shea Stadium, 45-28 loss), 1978 (Shea, 33-20 win) and 1966 (at Orange Bowl, 19-14 win).

Sept. 14 — vs. NEW ENGLAND, Meadowlands, 4:15 p.m., CBS

This will be the Jets' third consecutive home opener against their AFC East rivals and their sixth in the last 10 seasons. Their record in the last five of those games is 1-4, and in the last three it's 0-3 vs. Tom Brady. As good as the Patriots QB is, he shouldn't be able to win every game on the road against a division opponent. Yet that's what he's done against the Jets — from his first Meadowlands start in 2001 through last season's opening-day 38-14 second-half pullaway triggered by Ellis Hobbs' NFL-record 108-yard kickoff-return TD followed by the Brady 51-yard pitch-and-catch with Randy Moss. That's seven straight home losses and 10 of the last 11 overall to New England, and there's no better time than September to end both of those dryspells.

Sept. 22 — at San Diego, Qualcomm Stadium, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

The Green & White make their first prime-time appearance since their Christmas night 2006 MNF triumph at Miami with a return to a venue that has been friendly in recent seasons. In fact, the Jets and Chargers have reversed the natural scheme of things in the NFL, with the road team winning each of the last five meetings. That includes three big J-E-T-S wins at "the Q" earlier this decade, by 44-13 in '02, then in '04 by 34-28 in Game 2 and 20-17 in OT in the AFC Wild Card Game. But LaDainian Tomlinson was impossible to stop in the last get-together, in 2005 at the Meadowlands, when he scored four touchdowns in a 31-26 win.

Sept. 28 — vs. ARIZONA, Meadowlands, 1 p.m., FOX

The Jets have won four of six all-time over the Cardinals, including the last four. Here's a quiz for you: Name the starting QBs for the Jets in those four W's (answer below). The teams last met in 2004, a 13-3 Jets win at Sun Devil Stadium, and last clashed at the Meadowlands in 1999, a 12-7 Jets win. The QBs in question: Matt Robinson beat the St. Louis Cards in 1978, Frank Reich was the pitcher of record in his only victory as a Jets QB and the Jets' only victory of 1996 at Arizona, Rick Mirer won his second and last game as a Green & White starter in '99, and Quincy Carter narrowly won his third and last game as a Jets starter in 2004, also in AZ.

Oct. 5 — Bye week

This is the Green & White's earliest off week since Week 3 in 2004. They also had a Week 5 bye in '03 and Week 4 byes in '00 and '98.

Oct. 12 — vs. CINCINNATI, Meadowlands, 1 p.m., CBS

These teams met at Paul Brown Stadium last year for the first time, with the Bengals roaring from behind for the 38-31 win. The stars are aligned for a Green & White payback this year — the Jets are 9-2 all-time at home vs. Cincinnati and 6-0 in the Meadowlands. But figure it to be a close game. The last five home wins have all come by a touchdown or less, including the teams' last meeting in New Jersey, the Jets' 31-24 season opener in 2004 when Curtis Martin rushed for 196 yards and Chad Pennington completed 20 of 27 for 224.

Oct. 19 — at Oakland, McAfee Stadium, 4:15 p.m., CBS

There'll be a little Black Hole nostalgia for the few Jets remaining from the 2003 team, which prevailed in overtime, 27-24, in their seventh consecutive game at then-named Network Associates Coliseum in a five-season span. The Raiders had taken command of this series, especially after home playoff wins in '01 and '02, but beginning with that OT win and with the Silver and Black's slide, the Green & White have won the last three by increasingly larger margins — by three points in '03, 16 in '05 and 20 in the '06 RS finale.

Oct. 26 — vs. KANSAS CITY, Meadowlands, 1 p.m., CBS

The Jets and Chiefs first met when their nicknames were the Titans and Texans respectively. Now they're getting together more frequently again, for the fifth time since 2001. The Jets concluded last season with a 13-10 overtime verdict at the Meadowlands on Mike Nugent's third game-winning field goal as a pro. That made Edwards the losing coach in his first game against the team he coached from 2001-05. Will Coach Herm even the score? Or will the Jets even the series between these two of the AFL's Original Eight at 16-16-1?

Nov. 2 — at Buffalo, Ralph Wilson Stadium, 1 p.m., CBS

The AFC East rivals had a streak of four consecutive seasons of splitting their season series, but that came to an end with the Bills' low-scoring twin wins last year, by 17-14 at Buffalo and 13-3 at the Meadowlands. That makes it three straight losses in the series for the Green & White and four L's in the last five trips to "the Ralph." In Game 4 last season, QB Trent Edwards made his rookie debut and completed 22 of 28 passes for 234 yards and a TD, rookie RB Marshawn Lynch had an efficient 79 yards and a TD on 23 carries, and veteran CB Terrence McGee had the crushing interception of Pennington at the Bills 31 with six seconds to play.

Nov. 9 — vs. ST. LOUIS, Meadowlands, 1 p.m., FOX

The Rams lead this series all-time, 9-2, and have taken the last seven in a row. And they've won all three times they've played the Jets at the Meadowlands. The teams' last meeting was a memorable one for the Green & White, who, despite their 32-29 overtime loss in the 2004 regular-season finale under the Edward Jones Dome, reached the playoffs and in the process got Martin just enough yards to ultimately win his only NFL rushing title — by a single yard over Seattle's Shaun Alexander.

Nov. 13 — at New England, Gillette Stadium, 8:15 p.m., NFL Network

Close doesn't get you a cigar, but the Jets fared as well as anyone else except the Giants in SBXLII in battling the Patriots. They went up to Foxboro (or Foxborough, if you prefer, although the town still seems torn) in Week 15 and (yes, with some help from the elements) held New England to season lows in total yards (265), net passing yards (134), first downs (16) and offensive touchdowns (one, and that after a 3-yard drive) and stayed close with the help of David Bowens' punt block and TD return before falling, 20-10. Now the Jets will have to go on the road after a short week of practice to tackle last year's nearly perfect Patriots.

Nov. 23 — at Tennessee, LP Field, TBA (Flex Schedule)

The Jets haven't played Tennessee in three consecutive seasons since the Titans were the Oilers and called Houston home, from 1993-96. Now this game will be the third in three seasons to be played in the middle of Music City (a.k.a. Nashville). The Green & White opened their 2006 season and Mangini's head-coaching career successfully with a 23-16 triumph at LP Field, but in Game 15 last year Vince Young, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and the Titans repaid the favor with a 10-6 verdict that helped propel the Titans into the playoffs.

Nov. 30 — vs. DENVER, Meadowlands, TBA (Flex Schedule)

The Jets haven't welcomed the Broncos to the Meadowlands since a 19-13 victory in 2002. But Denver got major payback by pancaking the Green & White, 27-0, at Invesco Field at Mile High late in the lost 2005 season. This is another close rivalry between AFL Original Eight teams, with Denver leading overall, 15-14-1. The Jets will try to even the score against QB Jay Cutler, WR Brandon Marshall, big-sacking D-lineman Elvis Dumervil, ageless S John Lynch, the Bailey brothers —new LB Boss and old CB Champ — and the rest of the Broncs.

Dec. 7 — at San Francisco, Monster Park, TBA (Flex Schedule)

The 49ers have ruled this interconference series with eight wins in 10 meetings, including the last meeting in San Francisco, the 1998 season opener that Glenn Foley started for the Jets but Garrison Hearst finished for the Niners with his 96-yard burst off OT in OT for the 36-30 win at then-named 3Com Park. The Jets took the last game between the teams, with Pennington leading the 22-14 fourth-quarter comeback at the Meadowlands in 2004 for the Jets' only 5-0 start in franchise history.

Dec. 14 — vs. BUFFALO, Meadowlands, TBA (Flex Schedule)

The Bills coming to North Jersey used to be a good thing for the Jets, who still have won seven of the last 10 at home. But the offense has struggled the past two seasons in 31-13 and 13-3 losses to the Bison, with no second-half points scored in either game. Another common denominator in those two games were J.P. Losman-to-Lee Evans touchdown strikes, for 77 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in '06 and for 85 yards and the only TD with 3:38 left in Game 8 last year. Second-year CB Darrelle Revis is ready to have two more shots at the Bills receivers.

Dec. 21 — at Seattle, Qwest Field, TBA (Flex Schedule)

The teams have played this series almost as evenly as they can. They've split 16 games overall, going 5-5 when the Jets are the home team and 3-3 when the Seahawks are the hosts. But all bets may be off for this one, the Jets' first visit to "the Other Q" against QB Matt Hasselbeck, DE Patrick Kerney and company. Julius Jones is also a new Seahawk, and so RB Thomas Jones may well have a second reunion with his younger brother in a year, following last Thanksgiving's game at Dallas. It's also the Jets' first game in Seattle since a very big game in recent Green & White history, their season-opening 41-3 romp of the 'Hawks in the old Kingdome in Parcells' first game as the Jets' head coach to kick off the '97 season.

Dec. 28 — vs. MIAMI, Meadowlands, TBA (Flex Schedule)

This will be the first time in the 49 seasons of franchise history that the Jets/Titans have opened and closed with the same opponent. One would figure that the Dolphins of Parcells, new HC Tony Sparano, twinkletoed DE Jason Taylor and RB Ronnie Brown will be better in Week 17 than they were in Week 1. But the Jets have had no Patriots problems when they've played the Dolphins at home recently. The Green & White have won nine of the last 10 games with the 'Fins at the Meadowlands. The first two of those wins, in '98-99, came with Parcells as their head coach. Last season's 31-28 success in Game 3 was highlighted by the first of team-MVP-to-be Leon Washington's franchise-record three kickoff-return TDs.

Eric Allen has dropped in a Radar entry with his thoughts on the just-released schedule.

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