The Jets' fourth preseason schedule under head coach Todd Bowles will feature the 50th annual preseason meeting with the Giants, the usual summer wrapup with Philadelphia — only this time the Eagles are the defending Super Bowl champions — a nationally televised summer game for the first time in six years, and a strong NFC flavor as the Green & White prepare to kick off the 2018 regular season.
The summer slate of opponents, released today by the NFL, shows the Jets opening at MetLife Stadium against the Atlanta Falcons before hitting three consecutive NFC East foes: Week 2 on the road at Washington and on ESPN, Week 3 at home against the Giants, and a final tuneup at Philadelphia in Week 4.
The last time the Jets played three NFC East teams in the preseason was '16. The last time they had four National Conference opponents was '15, Bowles' first year at the helm.
The Washington game, set for Thursday night, Aug. 16, will be the Jets' first national preseason game since 2012, when their home game against Carolina was televised by NBC. The Jets' last ESPN preseason games came in 2009 (at Baltimore), '10 (vs. the Giants) and '11 (at Houston).
The Jets-Giants game, always with "braggin' rights" on the line, will be in an even bigger New York spotlight this August. The NFL's longest current preseason rivalry by far (Chargers-49ers, second-longest, will be renewed for the 32nd straight year) will kick off its golden anniversary game at MetLife in its usual preseason Week 3 slot.
Then with the Jets set to choose third overall in the upcoming NFL Draft right after the Giants select second, both teams' top picks and draft classes will be on display in this one. And while Bowles will be seeking to go over .500 in his "battles of New York" (he's 1-2 vs. the Giants in the preseason, 1-0 in the regular season), it will be new Big Blue coach Pat Shurmur's first game in the historic series.
What is the third longest currentl NFL preseason rivalry? It's none other than Jets-Eagles, and the teams will close their preseason schedules against each other for the 18th straight year, this time on Thursday night, Aug. 30, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly.
Exact dates and kickoff times for the three games besides the ESPN game will be released in the coming weeks, with those three games to air on CBS New York. The NFL regular-season schedule is expected to be released next week.
Here are notes on each of the opponents on the Jets' 2018 preseason schedule:
Week 1 (Aug. 9-13) — vs. Atlanta Falcons, MetLife Stadium, WCBS
The Jets will open their preseason sked at home vs. the Falcons, just as they did in the 2001 and 2007 preseasons. ... They lead the preseason series with Atlanta 6-4. ... This will be the Jets' fourth consecutive summer home game vs. Atlanta, with the previous 3 played in 2001 (20-10 loss), 2007 (31-16 win) and 2015 (30-22 win). ... In the '15 victory, then-rookie DL Leonard Williams had 1.5 sacks, his first sacks as a pro, including an end zone takedown of T.J. Yates for a safety. ... Also in that game, then-rookie Bryce Petty threw his first pro touchdown pass and first-year WR Quincy Enunwa, who had limited exposure as a rookie in '14, made his first reception as a pro (for 6 yards).
Week 2 (Thursday, Aug. 16, 8 p.m.) — at Washington Redskins, FedEx Field, ESPN
The Jets trail the preseason series with the Redskins 6-4. ... The Green & White have lost the last 3, including the teams' last meeting, at FedEx Field in 2016 ('Skins 22-18). ... Then-rookie FA wideout Robby Anderson first flashed his pro potential with 6 receptions for 131 yards and his first pro TD catch, a 42-yard longball from Petty to put the Jets up temporarily 18-14. ... Williams had a second-quarter sack.
Week 3 (Aug. 23-27) — vs. New York Giants, MetLife Stadium, WCBS
The Jets lead the preseason rivalry 25-23-1, which began with the 37-14 win in the first game of the series, in 1969 at Yale Bowl seven months after Super Bowl III. ... The Giants have won the last 2 games, by one point each, 21-20 in 2016 and 32-31 last year. ... The Giants have won 5 of the last 8 in the rivalry after the Jets had won 12 of 14 from 1996-2009. ... The Jets have lost their last 4 in the series when they were the hosts but have won 5 of last 6 as visitors. ... Last year rookie WR ArDarius Stewart flashed with 5 catches for 82 yards and his first 2 pro TD receptions. ... Bilal Powell starred with 7 rushes for 32 yards and 4 catches for 110 yards and an 85-yard TD.
Week 4 (Thursday, Aug. 30) — at Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, WCBSThe Jets and Eagles have played in the final preseason game every year since 2001. ... The Jets lead the all-time preseason rivalry 24-15. ... The Eagles have won 4 of the last 7 summer meetings after the Jets had won 9 in a row. ... The Green & White have lost the last 3 games at Lincoln Financial Field. ... Then-rookie RB Elijah McGuire led Jets rushers with 56 yards on 5 carries, including a 34-yard dash to set up Christian Hackenberg's second-quarter TD pass in the Jets' 16-10 win.