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 most difficult games in 2017.
New York Jets Most Difficult Games in 2017
1. Week 6 vs New England Patriots
The Patriots are coming off their fifth Super Bowl since 2002. Tom Brady may have just turned 40, but he hasn’t shown any signs of stopping his dominance in the NFL. Brady is 23-7 against the Jets all-time in the regular season.
2. Week 17 at New England Patriots
For all the reasons above, the Jets will have their work cut out for them in their second matchup with the Patriots. The only reason why this game is ranked as less difficult than Week 6 in East Rutherford is the timing. The Patriots will likely have clinched a playoff spot and possibly a first-round BYE at this point. If so, there’s no reason to go all-out, even against the Jets.
3. Week 2 at Oakland Raiders
Derek Carr is the highest-paid NFL player in the history of the sport. After bringing the Raiders back into relevancy, he was extended a 5-year, $125 million contract. Contract or not, Carr’s numbers and the Raiders collapse after Carr broke his fibula last season speak for themselves. Carr is one of the best quarterbacks in football and if healthy for Week 2, the Jets will have a tough challenge early on in the season.
4. Week 8 vs Atlanta Falcons
This list continues with another team whose quarterback is among the best. Matt Ryan brought the Falcons to the Super Bowl last season and also won the MVP Award. Those are hard feats to accomplish and actually it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ryan take a step back in 2017 after setting the bar so high. Regardless, even a step back from Ryan should give the Jets some fits in 2017.
5. Week 13 vs Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are 43-21 since trading for Alex Smith before the 2013 season. In those four seasons they have made the playoffs three times. That includes a first-place finish in 2016 for the 10th time in franchise history and the first since 2010.
As of now, Smith is set to start for the Chiefs in 2017. By Week 13 who knows if that will still be true as 2017 first-round pick Patrick Mahomes could take over the job if Smith falters. In the end it doesn’t really matter who starts as Smith was never an elite quarterback. He has only thrown for as many as 23 touchdowns (2013) and 3,502 yards (2016) for the Chiefs. This shows that the Chiefs have one of the most well-rounded and balanced teams in the NFL. They showed that last season as the Jets turned the ball over eight times to the Chiefs defense in a 24-3 loss.
6. Week 10 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are a team on the rise and 2017 could very well be the first year they make the playoffs since 2007. Jameis Winston made history last season as he was the first quarterback to ever eclipse 4,000 passing yards in his first two NFL seasons. He has potential to perform even better after the Bucs signed DeSean Jackson in free agency and drafted Alabama tight end O.J. Howard in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Jets will be a must-win game for a Bucs team looking to improve upon their 9-7 record in 2016.
7. Week 12 vs Carolina Panthers
The Panthers followed up a 15-1 regular season and Super Bowl appearance in the 2015 season with a 6-10 finish and no playoffs in 2016. It’s possible that the Panthers overperformed in 2015 and underperformed in 2016. If so, what will they do in 2017?
That mostly depends on how 2015 MVP Cam Newton performs. His performance is likely to fall in the middle of his MVP 2015 and his subpar 2016. In that case, the Panthers are looking at around 8-10 wins with one of them easily coming from the Jets.
8. Week 14 at Denver Broncos
The Broncos are a shell of the team that they once were under Peyton Manning‘s skills and leadership. Surprisingly that was still good enough to win nine games in 2016. Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian are average quarterbacks at best. However, with the Broncos defense, average quarterbacks can still win games. Manning proved that in the 2015 season as he won the Super Bowl after arguably his worst NFL season of his career.
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