The Jets in September will fly off into a 2023 home schedule like none other in their history.
It began with the high hopes of the young guns that the Jets brought to the team in the first two years of the Joe Douglas/Robert Saleh tagteam. It climbed a little higher with last year's 7-4 start.
Then a busy offseason was crowned by the trade acquisition of QB Aaron Rodgers and the other new additions to the roster.
Examining just the home "half" of the 2023 schedule released by the NFL on Thursday night provides some measures of just how high the expectations are for this year's Jets, both inside and outside the team.
The Jets have two Monday night games and a Sunday nighter at MetLife Stadium, all in their first eight games. The three home games under the lights are tied for the most night games in a season in franchise history with the three in 2010 and again in 2011.
Two years after playing all nine of their home games at 1 p.m. in 2021, they now have only four home games at 1 p.m., their fewest since three 1 p.m. kickoffs in 2010.
Counting their "road" game at the Giants in Week 8, the Green & White play 10 of their first 15 games at MetLife Stadium.
There are crazy and exciting distinctions with almost every home stop on the schedule.
Week 1, vs. Buffalo — The Jets got what many expected, a Monday night appearance in their first game. The Bills will be the visitors on Sept. 11 as the Green & White play in their first home primetime season opener since 2010 (vs. Baltimore) and '11 (vs. Dallas). Rodgers will make his Jets regular-season debut. MetLife will be shaking, rattling and rolling.
Week 3, vs. New England — Another pigskin chess match between Rodgers and HC Bill Belichick. In A-Rod's last three games vs. the Patriots, he's 2-1 with 6 TD passes to 1 interception and a 96.8 passer rating. Who better to try to end several Green & White dryspells against their AFC East foes in one home outing?
Week 4, vs. Kansas City — Time for the Jets' first Sunday night home opener since the 2011 comeback win over Dallas. The Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champs, and two GOAT-worthy QBs, Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, will duel for the first time in their illustrious careers.
Week 6, vs. Philadelphia — This one's not in primetime but is a late afternoon national game ... against the NFC's Super Bowl representative ... and their hot QB Jalen Hurts ... with the Birds a team the Jets have never beaten. Again, who else to try but A-Rod? This will be the first time the Jets have played two 14-wins-plus teams from the previous season in a three-game span. Survive this stretch and see what happens next.
Week 9, vs. L.A. Chargers — Another QB matchup that NFL and network execs are drooling over: Rodgers vs. Justin Herbert on MNF. Aaron's record vs. the LAC is similar to his line vs. the NEP: 2-1 record, 7 TDs, 0 INTs, 114.3 rating.
See the 17-game slate for the 2023 season in images.
Week 12, vs. Miami — Another measure of the Jets' new visibility. They will host the Dolphins in the NFL's first "Black Friday" game Nov. 24, which is also the Jets' first Friday game since 1983 and their first Friday afternoon game ever. The league even considers this a sixth Jets primetime game. QBs figure prominently again in Rodgers vs. Tua Tagovailoa, but the battle of CB Sauce Gardner vs. WR Tyreek Hill will share center stage.
Week 13, vs. Atlanta — Can a young Falcons QB, either Desmond Ridder or Taylor Heinicke, survive the Quinnen Williams-led pass rush and the Sauce/D.J. Reed secondary and derail the Rodgers express? A-Rod has posted 70% accuracy, 21 TD passes, just two interceptions and a 115.6 rating career all-time vs. ATL and will be facing last year's 31st-ranked pass defense.
Week 14, vs. Houston — See Atlanta one week earlier. You might expect Rodgers to play sensei in this game and school up the seito, which will likely be rookie QB C.J. Stroud. Rodgers has won three straight over the Texans. This game is the last in the Jets' first three-game homestand since 2018.
Week 16, vs. Washington — See Atlanta and Houston above. Commanders HC Ron Rivera says second-year man Sam Howell is his QB heading into training camp. But again, the Jets' defense should prove a formidable obstacle for a young signal-caller, while Rodgers and the Jets offense will seek to get the upper hand on Washington's respectable defense from a year ago.
After years of waiting, the Jets find themselves a national team again this offseason. But to hold onto that lofty status for more than a year at a time, they need to clear that in-season hurdle and reach the playoffs. And to do that, they need to show that they're ready-for-primetime players against this season's nine home opponents.