Opener is an Opportunity
For the third time in four seasons, the Jets will open up against the Bills. Some might call this a revenge game after the Green & White squandered a 16-0 lead at home against Buffalo in Week 1 last year and lost a heartbreaking 17-16 contest. But this is a completely new year and the Bills, a club that has made the playoffs in two of the past three years and traded for a new No. 1 target in Stefon Diggs, are no longer the little engine that could. Sean McDermott's crew might not want the title of AFC East favorite after the departure of Tom Brady to Tampa, but they will probably enter the 2020 campaign in that role. Close friends Sam Darnold and Josh Allen, who train together in the offseason under the tutelage of Jordan Palmer and are 1-1 against each other, could be vying for division supremacy for the next 10 years. A healthy C.J. Mosley, who dominated the Bills for almost three quarters last year before suffering a season-altering groin injury, plus All-Pro safety Jamal Adams would like nothing more than to hand Allen a loss in Week 1 before they return home to face the defending NFC Champion 49ers in the Jets' home opener in Week 2. Frank Gore, the NFL's No. 3 all-time leading rusher, spent his first 10 seasons in 'Frisco and is the 49ers all-time leading ground-gainer with 11,073 yards.
Since the modern bye weeks began in 1990, the Jets have never played the same team twice in 3 weeks surrounding the bye week. That will change in 2020 as the Jets are scheduled to visit the Dolphins in Week 10 and then they'll get a late Week 11 bye. When they return to action Week 12, the Dolphins will visit MetLife Stadium. There will be storylines abound as Adam Gase takes aim at his old team and the Jets' revamped WR corps featuring the likes of Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims will be challenged by an outstanding group of corners led by Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. And we might see the beginning of a Darnold-Tua Tagovailoa rivalry as well.
Date with the Champions
As known since the 2019 season wrapped up, the Jets will have seven games against 2019 playoff teams (four coming in the home-and-homes vs. the Patriots and the Bills) and the 2020 schedule strength is .533. The Jets will reach the season's midway point in the Midwest against the defending NFL champion Kanas City Chiefs. After passing for 4,031 yards and 26 TDs in 14 regular-season games, Patrick Mahomes helped the Chiefs overcome a 10-point deficit in the Super Bowl and capture their first championship in 50 years. Green & White safety Adams, who attended Hebron HS, and Mahomes, a Whitehouse HS graduate, grew up two hours apart in Texas and they are two of the NFL's young stars. Adams finished with 6.5 sacks last year and the athletic Mahomes better keep his eye out for the destructive force when these two meet.
A December on the Road
This year's away schedule, which includes road games against the LA Chargers (Week 6), the Seattle Seahawks (Week 14) and the LA Rams (Week 15), was expected to come in around 21,100 round-trip miles, which would be the second-most road miles in franchise history. But the Jets could save themselves one cross-country trip if they decide to stay out on the West Coast between the 'Hawks and Rams matchups. The Green & White will finish with three of four on the road as they'll close out the season against the Patriots and possibly QB Jarret Stidham at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 3.
The Jets are scheduled to host both the Broncos (Week 4 Thursday night) and the Patriots (Week 9 Monday night) in primetime affairs. New Jets OL Connor McGovern will exchange pleasantries with Denver defenders after starting 31 games at center the past two years for the Broncos. And a pair or first-round picks in T Mekhi Becton (No. 11 overall) and WR Jerry Jeudy (No. 15) will feel the national spotlight under the bright lights. For Darnold, he'll have a chance to extinguish the "ghosts" he saw during a shutout loss to the Patriots last year on Monday Night Football. And with an ascending Darnold being the longest-tenured starting QB in the AFC East, the Green & White hope to be in the playoff conversation late in December and perhaps they could see some more national exposure in Week 15 at the Rams or Week 16 vs. the Browns.
See the 2020 Schedule in Photo Form