Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Caroline Hendershot will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: What are your thoughts on the 2022 Jets schedule?
EA: The NFL schedule-makers didn't give the Jets prime-time love with the 13 1p.m. Eastern starts, but HC Robert Saleh always says his club will have to earn that respect. And if they are in the mix down the stretch, flexible scheduling will allow for the Jets to get more national exposure than the Thursday nighter vs. Jacksonville on Dec. 22. I keep coming back to a five-game stretch before the Week 10 bye: vs. Miami (Week 5), at Green Bay (Week 6), at Denver (Week 7), vs. New England (Week 8) and vs. Buffalo (Week 9). That's three home division games and two road games against teams that have great homefield advantages and are led by a pair of future Hall of Fame QBs in Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. For all the hoopla about the Jets being honorary members of the AFC North during the first four games, I think it's a disadvantage that all Jets' three divisiol games in the back half are on the road. The expectation is to play meaningful games in December and the Jets must stay above water through the first nine games. This schedule sets up to make a post-bye run with sub .500 teams from a year ago like the Bears, Vikings, Lions, Jags and Seahawks (whom the Jets will have 10 days to prepare for). The Green & White's home/road division split around the bye is one thing that jumps out on this morning after.
EG: It starts with a bang against all AFC North opponents and the schedule feels front loaded with the NFL's elite quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson. If the Jets can weather the storm in the first half of the season, they have a real chance to make some noise in the back half. In Weeks 15-17, the Jets will play the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks. Both The Lions and the Jaguars, the teams that selected No. 1 and No. 2 overall in the 2022 NFL draft, did not win a game on the road in 2021. The Seahawks are a team in transition after trading Wilson to the Broncos. Ending at Miami could be a really fun game if it means something for the teams. While the Jets will play Green Bay at Lambeau Field, potentially the Green & White will catch a break as the Packers play the Jets the week after they play across the pond in London. Lastly, the home opener is always fun but it'll have some extra juice on the 21st anniversary of 9/11 after an offseason spent adding pieces on both sides of the ball.
RL: My initial thought was: Where's the love? The NFL schedule-makers last year rightly limited the Jets to 13 one o'clock starts, tying a franchise record, and one primetime game, the TNF loss at Indy. Add in the London trip and the 2021 sked was still one of the league's tamest. This year the Jets have a buzz working, with Robert Saleh's offseason building plan in full swing and a Joe Douglas-orchestrated draft that received praise all around. The NFL usually "rewards" such programs with more national exposure. Yet this year's schedule is just as tame as last year's with 13 more 1 p.m. starts (thanks in part to that 17th game) and one national game, a Thursday nighter matching Zach Wilson's Jets and Trevor Lawrence's Jaguars for the second straight season. Yeah, I know the league's complex scheduling process was near completion on draft weekend, but still. However, on the flip side, this can be a good thing for the Green & White. No Monday nighters for the second year in a row, no Sunday nighters for the 11th straight season means a less disruptive weekly schedule, means the players get to bed at a decent hour Sunday night, means perhaps greater productivity the following weekend, means possibly a quicker closing of that AFC East gap Saleh has talked about. In any event, the Jets-Dolphins RS finale isn't set yet so wouldn't it be sweet if that's the primetime plum in the 2022 pudding?
CH: The Jets will face an early test by opening with four games against teams in the AFC North. This will be the first time the Jets play four straight games against any opposing division since the 1970 merger. It is a difficult stretch as the Jets take on four capable clubs, including the Baltimore Ravens and former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson in addition to Joe Burrow and the reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals. After a home game with the Dolphins, the Jets fly to Green Bay to take on QB Aaron Rodgers, the league's MVP the last two seasons, and a Packers team that didn't lose at home in the 2021 regular season (8-0). The Packers might have jet lag, though, considering they declined a bye following their return from London after facing the Giants in Week 5. In Week 7, the Jets travel to Denver to face the new-look Broncos with nine-time Pro-Bowl QB Russell Wilson. This will be a great test for the Jets' improved secondary featuring newcomers S Jordan Whitehead, CB D.J. Reed and draft pick CB Sauce Gardner. After an offseason where Joe Douglas acquired offensive weapons such as C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, Breece Hall, and Garrett Wilson, Zach Wilson's second-year run will be an exciting one to watch.