Last Word on Pro Football is breaking down the schedules of all 32 NFL teams and ranking each game in order of difficulty for each club. This series is being broken up into the eight most difficult games (ranked 1-8) and the eight easiest games (ranked 9-16) with one being the most difficult and 16 being the easiest. This article will analyze the New York Jets easiest games in 2017.
New York Jets Easiest Games in 2017
9. Week 7: at Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins proved last season that they can finally compete with Ryan Tannehill under center. However, after Tannehill left practice with a hyperextended left knee on Thursday, his outlook for 2017 looks bleak. The Dolphins were able to get along without Tannehill for a little while in 2016. Matt Moore wasn’t horrible in his three starts with the Dolphins, as he went 2-1 to get them into the playoffs. The Dolphins couldn’t get the job done in the playoffs though as they were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 30-12 loss in the Wild Card Round
Tannehill tore his ACL last season in the same area where he recently hyperextended his left knee which complicates things. Whether he has season ending surgery or not, it appears that Jay Cutler will be starting in Week 7 after signing a one-year, $10 million contract after originally retiring and taking a job with Fox Sports. Pro Bowlers like Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh, Jay Ajayi, and Cameron Wake will still give the Jets a run for their money, but this game just got a little less difficult.
10. Week 3: vs Miami Dolphins
Similar to Week 7, Week 3 should still be tough for the Jets even without Tannehill. However, the void left by him makes this game appear towards the top of their easiest games rather than towards the bottom of their most difficult games. Since the Week 3 matchup will take place in East Rutherford, it is ranked slightly less difficult for the Jets.
11. Week 15 at New Orleans Saints
The Saints are a mediocre team with a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees. Since 2012, they have finished 7-9 in four of five seasons; including three years in a row. Bringing in talent like Adrian Peterson, Manti Te’o, A.J. Klein, Larry Warford, and Ted Ginn Jr. helps. Losing talented players like Brandin Cooks and Jairus Byrd hurts. The Saints may have improved themselves enough to be competitive again and they should be easily able to get through the Jets. They only find themselves on this part of the list because of the teams above them.
12. Week 1 at Buffalo Bills
Similar to the Saints, the Bills are mediocre. Different from the Saints, the Bills have been mediocre for a while. They have only had two winning seasons in the 21st century and haven’t made the playoffs since 1999. At the same time, they are almost never the worst team in football as they have won six games or more 14 times in the last 17 seasons.
The Bills had a nice offseason overall and got praise from an NFL executive for their moves. Since this game will be played in Buffalo, it is ranked as the more difficult game of the two.
13. Week 9 vs Buffalo Bills
Both the Jets and Bills will be coming into this game on short rest as this matchup will take place on a Thursday night. Since neither team will have advantage when it comes to rest, the only advantage to make it lower on this list for the Jets is their home-field advantage.
14. Week 16 vs Los Angeles Chargers
The remaining three teams (Chargers, Cleveland Browns, and Jacksonville Jaguars) are realistic candidates for the Jets to beat in 2017. The Jets are still viewed by many to be the worst team in football, but if they do win a game or two, expect it to be against one of those three teams.
The Chargers had major problems in the fourth quarter last year. What that possibly means is that a few tweaks could make them a contender in 2017 or they just really aren’t all that good. It’s most likely the latter as they have only made the playoffs one season in the last seven years. They also only won four games in 2015 which shows that 2016 wasn’t just a fluke. The Chargers should be better than the Jets, but they could lose to an even worse team like the Jets. They did that last year to give the Browns their first and only victory of 2016.
15. Week 5 at Cleveland Browns
The Browns are the laughingstock of the NFL, but that shouldn’t last too much longer. With multiple high-round picks in recent drafts and future drafts, the team can become special in a few years.
As for 2017, the Browns aren’t winning a Super Bowl, but they should easily improve a few games from their 1-15 finish in 2016. It’s not crazy to think the Browns could win four or five games in 2017. Add on top of that the fact that this game will be played in Cleveland and it’s actually not ranked as the easiest for the Jets in 2017.
16. Week 4 vs Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars looked to have a brighter future than the Browns not too long ago. Blake Bortles threw for 35 touchdowns and 4,428 yards in 2015. Even after that the Jaguars only finished 5-11, but the future looked bright. The next season, he took a step back and threw for 23 touchdowns and 3,905 yards. Bortles’ performance still wasn’t bad, but the Jaguars finished 3-13.
They did go out and spend a lot of money on free agents. They also drafted a potential impact running back in Leonard Fournette. However, they also did well in free agency last offseason and drafted an impact player in Jalen Ramsey and still finished 3-13. The Jaguars are an enigma.
The sad part for the Jets is that there are no guarantees they can even beat the easiest opponent on their schedule. The 2017 season is bound to a long one for Gang Green.
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