The Jets' opponents list for the coming season has been completed with the announcement that the Green & White's 17th game for 2021 will be against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.
The initial opponents list, which had been mostly known in 2020, was firmed up in the last weekend of the regular season as the Denver Broncos finished in fourth place in the AFC West and became the mile-high host of a game with the Jets in 2021.
The Green & White finished a tough grind in 2020 with an overall strength of schedule of .594 that was the strongest in the NFL last season, with a non-division schedule strength of .575. The '21 opponents, including the Eagles, come in at a more favorable .489 SOS and a non-division schedule strength of .415.
The opponents will include all AFC South and NFC South teams and 2020 standings position games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Broncos as well as the usual division sixpack. The complete schedules and primetime games for all teams will be announced in April.
Here are thumbnails on the Jets' 17 games against their 14 different opponents for the new season (2020 records in parentheses):
vs. Buffalo (13-3)
This is a good game to let the Bills know they're not going to take another AFC East crown without a fight. In 2020 the Jets lost at MetLife to Buffalo 18-10 despite not giving up a TD. A win would even the series at the Jets' home (including playoffs) at 31-31.
vs. Miami (10-6)
The Jets lost to the Dolphins twice this past year, both times to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now Fitz is in Washington and Tua Tagovailoa is expected to get his shot, pressed by newly arrived Jacoby Brissett. Since 2015 at MetLife, Jets have won in the odd years, 'Fins in the even years. It's the Jets' turn in '21.
vs. New England (7-9)
Who'll be the QB who throws the ball to Julian Edelman (maybe) & Co. on the Patriots? The Green & White would love to return to the period from 2009-2015, when they defeated New England in 4 of 7 meetings in the Meadowlands.
vs. Jacksonville (1-15)
The Jaguars will come to North Jersey with their first overall pick of the draft (unless they trade it away) to tangle with the Jets and their second overall pick (unless they trade it away). The Jets have won their last three at home vs. Jags, including by 23-20 in OT in 2017.
vs. Tennessee (11-5)
Ryan Tannehill, 5-5 as Miami's QB starter vs. the Jets from 2012-18 (and 4-1 at MetLife), is set to face the Green & White for the first time as Tennessee's signal-caller. The Jets are 7-4 overall and 3-0 at home vs. the Titans since they relocated from Houston.
vs. New Orleans (12-4)
Drew Brees, Mike Thomas and the Saints can seem unstoppable. But the Jets stopped Brees, at least, in the teams' last MetLife meeting in their 26-20 conquest in 2013. And now Brees has announced his retirement so it looks to be Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston under center.
vs. Tampa Bay (11-5)
After a year off, the Green & White can run into Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski again in this interconference battle. The Buccaneers are the only team the Jets have never lost to at home and they hold a 10-2 advantage in all games. The Bucs of course are the reigning NFL champs.
vs. Cincinnati (4-11-1)
Joe Burrow should be back from knee rehab in time to take on the Jets in '21. Whoever the QB, the Jets would like to post their first home win over the Bengals since Thanksgiving night 2010, when Brad Smith's chunk plays outdid Carson Palmer's veteran presence in the Jets' 26-10 win.
vs. Philadelphia (4-11-1)
The Eagles have moved on from QB Carson Wentz (traded to IND) and now have Jalen Hurts backed by Joe Flacco, who last year's backed the Jets' Sam Darnold, at signal-caller. The Birds are strong in the trenches with DT Fletcher Cox, DE Brandon Graham and C Jason Kelce.
at Buffalo (13-3)
Josh Allen, Jerry Hughes & Co. are hard to beat but Jets have been competitive at the Bills' stadium since 2016, winning 3 of 5 and coming back in this year's opener before losing 27-17. But they've been outgained in those 5 games by 402 yards so they have their work cut out for them.
at Miami (10-6)
The Green & White will be intent on ending their 5-game losing skid to the Aqua & Coral at Hard Rock Stadium. The last Jets road win over Miami was 27-14 in London in 2015. The last Jets road win in Miami Gardens: 37-24 in the 2014 season finale.
at New England (7-9)
As LB Neville Hewitt said after the Jets' 2020 season finale loss at Gillette Stadium: "This is a hard place to win." And how. At least the Jets got their largest second-half lead in a decade in the most recent Foxboro game but Jets fans sure feel it's time for a road win at New England.
at Houston (4-12)
Deshaun Watson and the Texans were competitive in midseason but opened with 4 losses and closed with 5 straight L's. This year they'll be lying in wait for the Jets, who once had their way in this series by winning the first 5 before dropping the last 3.
at Indianapolis (11-5)
As mentioned above, the Colts' ball is now in Carson Wentz's hands, under the guidance of HC Frank Reich, his OC in Philly. Yes, the Jets fell at Lucas Oil this past season 36-7 and lost 3 turnovers. But they've won 4 of their last 7 in Indy and have a plus-27 TO margin in 38 road games.
at Denver (5-11)
This year at MetLife the Jets nearly got their first win in Game 4 before falling to Denver 37-28. Two years ago at home they ran roughshod over the Broncos. Their last win a mile above sea level, though, came in 2010, a last-minute 24-20 comeback.
at Atlanta (4-12)
Matt Ryan and the Falcons were a tough-luck team in 2020, with 8 of their 12 losses coming in one-score games. The Jets will play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the first time, not counting their 2019 preseason visit, when they topped the Falcons 22-10.
at Carolina (5-10)
The Jets helped Teddy Bridgewater rehab and transition in 2018 from Vikings starter to Saints backup and then to Panthers starter last year. In 2021 they'd like to harass Teddy, if he's still at the offensive controls, and win at Carolina for the first time since 2001 — the 13-12 "Shrek Game."