It's "only" the opening preseason game. But the Jets' Week 1 date with the Giants at MetLife Stadium, revealed today as part of the Green & White's preseason schedule announcement, still has a lot going for it.
Even though it will be the Jets' road game, it will be the first time that new head coach Adam Gase, recently signed RB Le'Veon Bell, MLB C.J. Mosley and all the new Jets young and old will have the opportunity to play in the stadium they will call home for 10 more dates, two in the preseason and eight in the regular season, in 2019.
It will also be an introduction for all the new Jets players and coaches into the Jets-Giants preseason rivalry as it enters its second half-century after the teams played for the 50th game in the NFL's longest-running preseason series last year. The game's normal spot on the schedule is the third week of the preseason, but with their regular-season meeting ahead (Jets as the home team), the teams moved this year's meeting to the front of the deck.
And in this game the Jets players will make their debut in their new road uniforms that were unveiled last week in midtown Manhattan. Assuming the Giants wear their blue jerseys, the Jets will likely wear their new white jerseys and pants, a white/white combo they've worn in summer road games vs. the Giants for over 20 years (although they wore white jerseys and green pants in their most recent regular-season road game vs. their long-time stadium mates in 2015).
As for the rest of the Jets' preseason schedule, they will play three more NFC opponents — Atlanta on the road in Week 2 in their first visit to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, followed by home games at MetLife against NFC title game participant New Orleans in that all important three-hole, and against Philadelphia in the green teams' 19th consecutive meeting in the final week of the preseason.
Here are more notes on the Jets' four preseason opponents announced today (dates and times to come):
Week 1 (Aug. 8-11) — at New York Giants, MetLife Stadium, WNBC
The Jets and Giants will play in their preseason opener for only the third time. ... The last time was in 2010 in the first NFL game played at then-New Meadowlands Stadium, won by the visiting Giants, 31-16. ... The preseason rivalry begins its second 50 games after the Giants last summer prevailed, 22-16, in the 50th annual summer matchup. ... Sam Darnold passed for his second preseason TD to give the Jets a 13-7 second-quarter lead. ... Jets free agent rookie LB Frankie Luvu notched his first pro sack, of future teammate Davis Webb, in the third period. ... The Jets have won five of the last six and nine of the last 11 as the road team in this summer series and lead the preseason rivalry overall, 25-24-1.
Week 2 (Aug. 15-18) — at Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, WCBS
The Jets' only preseason win in 2018 was in the opener at home over the Falcons, 17-0. ... It was the Green & White's first preseason shutout since 1990 at KC and their first home preseason shutout ever. ... Darnold came in with 8:41 left in the second quarter for his first pro game action and led a 64-yard drive to his first pro TD pass with 46 seconds left in the half. ... LB Neville Hewitt led the defense with 8 tackles and his first interception as a Jet. ... The win was the Jets' third straight over the Falcons in the preseason and lifted them to a 7-4 summer series lead. ... The Jets' first game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, opened last year, will also be CB Brian Poole's first game in the stadium he called home as a Falcon in 2017 and '18. ... The last preseason game for the Jets in Atlanta was 1981, a 21-20 loss at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
Week 3 (Aug. 22-25) — vs. New Orleans Saints, MetLife Stadium, WCBS
The Jets will play the Saints in the preseason for the first time since 2004 (a 23-13 loss at NO) and for the first time at home since '03 (a 22-17 loss at old Meadowlands Stadium). ... The Jets' last win in the summer series was by 24-20 at home in the 2000 opener, with Wayne Chrebet catching a TD pass from Vinny Testaverde and "the Four Aces" — Shaun Ellis and John Abraham (1 sack each), Chad Pennington (10-of-13 passing) and Anthony Becht (TD catch from Ray Lucas) — making auspicious pro debuts. ... CB Parry Nickerson will be going up against his hometown team (he was raised in the New Orleans area and played at Tulane).
Week 4 ( Aug. 29-31) — vs. Philadelphia Eagles, MetLife Stadium, WCBS
The Jets lost an ugly preseason finale last year at the Linc, 10-9, as the Eagles scored the game's only touchdown on a 4-yard pass from Joe Callahan to Matt Jones with 18 seconds to play. ... Jets K Jason Myers first showed his booming right leg when he nailed a 58-yard FG 6:33 into the game, tying the franchise record for second-longest FG in any game, preseason or regular season. ... Despite the loss, the Jets still lead the summer series with the Birds, 24-16. ... The Green & White have taken the last three and nine of the last 10 at home.