The Jets are coming off one of their worst seasons in franchise history, and it led to nearly wholesale changes in New York. The team fired offensive-minded head coach Adam Gase and brought in a defensive-minded motivator Robert Saleh to replace him. Quarterback Sam Darnold, a player who was considered a pro-style QB coming out of USC, was traded to the Panthers, and the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, former BYU QB Zach Wilson, a playmaker with a cannon of an arm and good mobility, will replace him.
Beyond that, the Jets added another first-round pick to their offense in offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker and added a couple of key defensive talents — Carl Lawson and Sheldon Rankins — in free agency. They are certainly going to look different and they will be looking to quickly rebuild and challenge for a playoff spot in the coming seasons.
New York should have an easier time with the schedule in 2021 after a brutal 2020 season. That’s based on assumed improvements by the Jets along with the fact they get to face the weaker AFC South.
Here is a complete breakdown of the Jets’ 2021 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 17 games.
New York Jets schedule 2021
The Jets open the season against Darnold and Panthers in Week 1. That game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 12 on CBS. The rest of the Jets’ schedule will be announced at 8 p.m. ET tonight. These are the teams that they are scheduled to play during the 2021 NFL season.
|Buffalo Bills||Atlanta Falcons|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Buffalo Bills|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Carolina Panthers|
|Miami Dolphins||Denver Broncos|
|New England Patriots||Houston Texans|
|New Orleans Saints||Indianapolis Colts|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Miami Dolphins|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||New England Patriots|
Generally speaking, the AFC East teams had tougher schedules last year than they will this year, as they were playing two of the better divisions in football, the AFC West and NFC West. That definitely didn’t help the lackluster Jets last season. They were one of the worst teams in the NFL under Adam Gase and began the year on a 13-game losing streak. However, they won two of their last three games to finish the season 2-14 and avoid the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Jets are already looking better heading into 2021, at least on paper. Saleh should be a coaching upgrade over Gase, and they have a new quarterback in the fold in Wilson. It may take time for everything to come together, but the Jets will have a chance to log more than the two wins they did last year.
Since the Jets are playing a last-place schedule after finishing fourth in the AFC East, they do have some good-looking matchups on the slate, as a few teams have some holes in the secondary that can be exploited. The Falcons, Texans, Eagles, and Bengals stand out as teams that could be solid matchups for the Jets. There definitely will be more winnable games on the schedule this year.
Jets strength of schedule
Though the Jets are playing a last-place schedule, their strength of schedule is only 19th-rated across the NFL. It’s tied with the Patriots at a 0.489 SOS mark. For those wondering why the Jets would have, mathematically, the toughest strength of schedule in the AFC East, keep in mind their 2-14 record is dragging down the strength of schedule of the rest of the teams in the division.
The Jets have some winnable games, and they’ll be better off with Saleh and Wilson at the helm, but it may take time for things to get geared up in New York.
Toughest Tests: As is the case with every team in the AFC East, the toughest matchup for the Jets will be against the Buccaneers. The Bucs just dominated the Chiefs in the Super Bowl and have Tom Brady at the helm. With most of the Bucs key players returning to action, they will continue to be a big-time threat in 2021.
Save for that, the two matchups against the Bills always tend to give the Jets trouble while a sneaky-tough game could be the one where they have to travel to Denver to take on the Broncos. Were that a home game, the Jets may have a chance (provided that Aaron Rodgers doesn’t go to the Broncos), but since it’s on the road at high altitude, it will be a tough test for the team.
Biggest Breaks: When looking at the Jets’ non-divisional home schedule, it doesn’t look too bad. Sure, you’ve got the Bucs, but aside from that, the Bengals, Jaguars and Eagles all have porous defenses that the Jets can move the ball on, while the Titans have their share of issues on the back end as well. The Saints could be fine without Drew Brees, but they could also be an up-and-down dome team traveling to New York.
These nice matchups could give the Jets a legitimate chance to win a solid chunk of their home games.
Bottom Line: The Jets don’t have a very difficult-looking schedule right now. The only question is about how much you’re willing to trust them. They are undergoing a lot of changes and are still in a rebuild. They made some nice additions this offseason, but just how much will their quarterback be ready to produce as a rookie? If he stumbles out of the gate, that could put the Jets in a hole that isn’t easy to recover from.
The Jets’ time may come under Saleh and GM Joe Douglas. For now though, don’t expect Wilson to lead the Jets to a winning season. It’s going to take patience for New York fans to get the most out of Wilson.
Record Prediction: 6-11