The Robert Saleh era will get under way for the Jets against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 12 in Charlotte, NC.
Under Saleh, the Jets will employ new systems on both sides of the ball with OC Mike LaFleur and DC Jeff Ulbrich. With foundational pieces S Marcus Maye, DT Quinnen Williams and LT Mekhi Becton in place, GM Joe Douglas bolstered the team's talent and depth throughout the offseason as both DE Carl Lawson and WR Corey Davis were added in free agency and the Jets selected QB Zach Wilson, OL Alijah Vera-Tucker and WR Elijah Moore in the first two rounds of April's NFL Draft.
Both the Jets and the Panthers dramatically altered their landscapes at the quarterback position this spring. The Green & White sent Sam Darnold to the Panthers in exchange for three draft picks in early April and then they selected Wilson, the prolific BYU passer, with the No. 2 overall pick. After the Panthers made the deal for Darnold, they sent Teddy Bridgewater, a former Jet who started 15 games last season for Carolina, to Denver for a 2021 sixth-round pick.
While Darnold, who was the Jets starter in 2018-20, is the most notable former Jet on the Panthers' roster, the Panthers have a handful of others who wore the green and white including WR Robby Anderson, OL Pat Elflein, S Juston Burris, LB Frankie Luvu and RB Trenton Cannon.
This will be the Jets' fourth road opener in the last five seasons after opening seven straight seasons at home (2010-16). The matchup is the Jets' first opener against an NFC South team since 2013 (Tampa Bay at MetLife Stadium) and the first opener on the road against the NFC South in franchise history. The Green & White opened at Atlanta in 1992, but that was before the NFC South existed.
The last time the Jets traveled down to Carolina to play the Panthers was 2013 (30-20 loss) and the last time they beat the Panthers was 2001, a 13-12 victory. This will be the earliest the Green & White have played Carolina in a season -- the previous was Oct. 15, 1995. All-time, the Panthers hold a 4-3 record over the Jets and a 3-1 record at home.
The Jets have a 16-21 road-opener record and are 26-32 overall in opening games. The last time the Green & White won a road opener was 2018 against the Lions and despite falling to the Bills in Orchard Park last season, the Jets have won four of their past six road openers.