The New York Jets are just a few days away from getting their 2018 campaign underway. There remains a lot of uncertainty over what to expect. What is certain, however, is a sense of a shifting tide among the fanbase. Sam Darnold, recently named starting quarterback for Week One, will hope to help Gang Green improved from their 5-11 record from last year. Yet fans should still be wary of setting expectations too high for the 2018 squad. The year will be full of adjustments for a promising group of players who seem to be moving in the right direction. The games that follow figure to be the biggest tests for gang green in 2018.
New York Jets Toughest Games in 2018
1. Week Four: at Jacksonville Jaguars
Regardless of who is under center in Week Four, they are sure to be challenged by the Jaguars. The best cornerback tandem in football, Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, will be sure to create nightmares for the Jets’ receivers. On offense, the Jaguars strength is certainly in their running game. While Leonard Fournette is the type of runner that the Jets defense is most suited to neutralize, their lack of a pass rush will allow Jacksonville to gameplan effectively. Immensely talented across the board, the Jaguars will be a huge challenge for the Jets in the early part of the season.
2. Week Seven: vs Minnesota Vikings
Early in the off-season, it seemed like the Jets were set to land their franchise quarterback in free agency. Reports were that New York was the favorite in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes and they certainly had the money to follow through. Yet Cousins settled on Minnesota, the Jets have Sam Darnold, and they’re set to meet in Week Seven of the regular season. Again, the Jets will see a top flight secondary headed by Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith. Again they will have to face a daunting pass rush composed of Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, and Anthony Barr. And again they will face a young, talented running back in Dalvin Cook. The biggest difference between this matchup, and Jacksonville, is that we haven’t seen what this roster can do yet. On paper, the Vikings have the advantage in the talent department. It is a matter of how these players will mesh as a unit.
3. Week 17: at New England Patriots
The Patriots were bound to appear in the upper portion of this list. The Jets are certainly familiar with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, but this year has a different feel though. The Patriots have lost a couple of big-time contributors during the off-season. They also lost defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Rumors continue to swirl about possibly tumultuous disagreements within the organization. Meanwhile, the Jets are a team in the early stages of a monumental rise. Even so, this is Jets vs Patriots, Brady and Belichick are still in town, and as a result, the Jets will enter Foxborough on week 17 as the underdogs.
4. Week 15: vs Houston Texans
The Texans were greatly hindered by injuries in 2017. Deshaun Watson is now back, J.J. Watt is also back, and the league is on notice. So are the Jets who will square off against Houston in week 15. DeAndre Hopkins figures to be a mismatch even against the Jets strong secondary. The Texans also have added Tyrann Mathieu to the back end of their defense. Expectations are high for Houston, and the Jets will have to play a top flight game if they want to defeat them
5. Week 12: vs New England Patriots
Remember them? Before hosting the Jets in week 17, the Patriots will travel to MetLife Stadium in week 12. The team will be just as well-coached and well-led, in this matchup. The only difference is that Gang Green will have the advantage of the home crowd. Any matchup against New England is a challenge, but the Jets should get a confidence boost for this battle.
6. Week Three: at Cleveland Browns
In previous years, this game would appear much further down the list. This is not the same old Cleveland Browns team. In fact, this Browns roster may be one of the most talented the Jets will face. It remains to be seen whether the Jets will face off against Tyrod Taylor or Baker Mayfield. What is certain, however, is the immensely talented receiving corp either will get to throw to. One of the most talented backfields in the league will also create problems for the Jets defense. Myles Garrett should also expect to find himself acquainted with whoever starts for the Jets. This is not the same old Browns, or Jets for that matter, and expect a good one week 3.
7. Week One: at Detroit Lions
The Jets will open the season against one of their stronger opponents. Matthew Stafford is a veteran who knows how to win in this league. Detroit has a stable of running backs who, if used correctly, they could create mismatches in the passing game. Defensively, Darius Slay is one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Ziggy Ansah should also create problems for the Jets offensive line. This game is winnable, but it certainly won’t be easy.
8. Week 14: at Buffalo Bills
Divisional games in the NFL always have a bit of an extra punch. While the Patriots are favored to take the AFC East, the Bills will challenge the Jets when they host Gang Green in week 14. It remains to be seen how Buffalo’s quarterback situation will play out, but they have much more in their arsenal. LeSean McCoy‘s quickness will be a mismatch for the Jets linebackers. Buffalo also has one of the most talented secondaries in football. The Bills being at home could be the deciding factor in what figures to be a close divisional dogfight.
Be sure to have a look at the eight easiest games on the 2018 New York Jets schedule.