The 2020 NFL season offers Gang Green the opportunity to break away from the “Same Old Jets.”
The Jets have a promising signal-caller in Sam Darnold, and through Darnold’s first two seasons, the team has seen flashes of a franchise quarterback at the helm, putting the days of Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith firmly in the rear-view mirror. To that end, those who have watched Darnold understand that he is least of the Jets worries’ heading into the 2020 season.
While the Jets have promise behind center, Darnold won’t be enough to help them through a difficult schedule this year. As it stands, the Jets are facing a difficult group of opponents, ranging from an ever-improving AFC East to a few difficult trips out west to face tough NFC West competition.
Make no mistake, the Jets have a very difficult schedule this year. But “on paper” hardly matters once the games start being played in September.
Here is a complete breakdown of the New York Jets’ 2020 schedule, including dates and start times for all 16 games and our early prediction.
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New York Jets schedule 2020
- Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers
- Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks
(The Jets’ 2020 schedule will be released Thursday at 8 p.m. ET along with the complete NFL schedule.)
(For Canadian viewers, each game can be streamed on DAZN.)
Jets strength of schedule & prediction
Coming off a 7-9 season, the Jets are second in NFL strength of schedule rankings (behind the Patriots), and it’s easy to see why. Unlike years past, the balance in the AFC East is shifting, making it a much more difficult path along the Atlantic.
The Bills and the Dolphins are coming off seasons where they both seemed ready to take the next step, and potentially the crown, away from Bill Belichick and the Patriots. The Bills reached the playoffs while the Dolphins punched way above their weight, rebounding from early season demolishment at the hands of the Patriots, Ravens and Cowboys to show some fight and grit, even in a 5-11 season.
Speaking of the Pats, with Tom Brady taking his talents to Tampa, they are the wild-card in the division. Can Belichick work his voodoo magic with presumed starter Jarrett Stidham, or is the New England dynasty dead in the water?
MORE: Strength of schedule for all 32 teams in 2020
Aside from the division, the Jets have difficult matchups against the NFC West this year and the AFC West led by defending champs Kansas City. Just based on travel alone, they face a tough set of away games — Kansas City, Seattle and the Rams among them — proving to be a more difficult road schedule than most in the league.
Toughest tests: The Jets will have two trips to Los Angeles and one to Seattle this season. East coast teams heading out west is always a challenge — just ask Geno Smith — so imagine the western-traveling Jets to scuffle against all three squads.
Biggest breaks: Uh, Tom Brady is no longer a Patriot?? Seems like a pretty big break.
Bottom line: This is a make-or-break year for Adam Gase as Jets head coach, and the schedule is going to play into his fate quite a bit.
If Sam Darnold shows continued improvement under center, behind a revamped offensive line, then Gase is safe. But the Jets’ schedule is, as discussed, difficult on paper. The team finished 2019 on a 6-2 run, and even against lesser competition, they count the same in the left column. There are some winnable games on the slate, but don’t expect a 6-2 stretch at any point during the 2020 season.
Record prediction: 7-9