New York Jets: 2021 opponents

The Jets’ list of opponents for the next season, largely seen late in the season, was resolved on Sunday night by the Denver Broncos as fourth-placed AFC West team, and thus as the mile-high host of a game with the Jets in 2021.

The Green & White just ended a tough period in 2020 with an overall schedule strength of .594 which was the strongest in the NFL that year with a non-division schedule strength of .575. The ’21 opponents still have a challenging but cheaper .502 SOS – due to the resurgence of the Bills and Dolphins at AFC East – and a non-division schedule strength of .432.

Opponents include all AFC South and NFC South teams as well as the 2020 positional games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Broncos, as well as the division’s usual six-pack. The NFL could make a decision in the off-season to add a 17th game to all teams’ schedules. Full schedules for all teams are usually announced in April.

Until then, here are thumbnails of the Jets’ 16 games against their 13 different opponents for the new season (2020 records in brackets):

Buffalo (13-3)

This is a good game for letting the Bills know they won’t win another AFC East crown without a fight. In 2020, the Jets lost to Buffalo 18-10 despite not giving up a TD. A win would even be the series with the Jets at home at 31-31 (including playoffs).

Miami (10-6)
The Jets lost twice to the Dolphins last year, both times to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now Tua Tagovailoa is expected to get his shot. Since 2015 at MetLife, jets have won in odd years, ‘fins in even years. It’s the turn of the jets in ’21.

against New England (7-9)
Who will be the QB to throw the ball to Julian Edelman & Co. on the Patriots? The Green & White would love to go back to 2009-2015 when they beat New England in 4 out of 7 meetings in the Meadowlands.

Jacksonville (1-15)
The Jaguars will come to North Jersey with their first overall selection of the draft (unless they trade it away) to tangle with the Jets and their second overall selection (unless they trade it away). Jets have won their last three home games against Jags, including 23-20 in OT in 2017.

Tennessee (11-5)
Ryan Tannehill, 5-5 as Miami’s QB starter against the Jets from 2012-18 (and 4-1 at MetLife), will take on Green & White for the first time as Tennessee’s caller. The Jets are 7-4 overall and 3-0 at home against the Titans since they moved from Houston.

New Orleans (12-4)
Drew Brees, Mike Thomas, and the Saints can seem unstoppable. But the Jets stopped Brees at least at the teams’s last MetLife meeting in 2013, when they took the lead late in the first half and never gave up on their conquest between 26 and 20. But will Brees return to the field or go to the broadcast booth?

v Tampa Bay (11-5)
After a year off, the Green & White can meet Tom Brady and Steve Gronkowski again in this inter-conference match. Buccaneers are the only team the Jets have never lost to at home and they have a 10-2 advantage in all games.

Cincinnati (4-11-1)
Joe Burrow should be back from knee rehab in time to take on the Jets in year 21. Whoever the QB is, the Jets are looking to claim their first home win against the Bengals since Thanksgiving Night 2010 when Brad Smith’s chunk tops Carson Palmer’s veteran presence in the Jets’ 26:10 win.

in Buffalo (13-3)

Josh Allen, Jerry Hughes & Co. are hard to beat, but Jets have been competitive at Bills Stadium since 2016, winning 3 out of 5 and making their return in this year’s opener before losing 27-17. But they were beaten by 402 yards in those 5 games so their work is cut out.

in Miami (10-6)
The Green & White will aim to end their 5 game loss to Aqua & Coral at Hard Rock Stadium. The last Jets road win over Miami was in London 27-14 in 2015. Last Jets road win in Miami Gardens: 37-24 in the 2014 season finale.

in New England (7-9)
As LB Neville Hewitt said after losing between 28-14 on Sunday, “This is a difficult place to win.” And how. At least the Jets had their biggest second-half lead in a decade at Gillette Stadium, but Jets fans are sure it’s time for a New England road win.

in Houston (4-12)
Deshaun Watson and the Texans were competitive mid-season but opened with 4 losses and closed with 5 Ls in a row. This year they will be waiting for the Jets who prevailed in this series by winning the first 5 before dropping the last 3.

in Indianapolis (11-5)
Whether it’s Philip Rivers (who may be retiring) or Jacoby Brissett or some other QB at the helm, the Jets have done well with the Colts. Yes, they fell 36-7 at Lucas Oil this year and lost 3 sales. But they have won 4 of their last 7 in Indy and a plus 27 TO lead in 38 street games.

in Denver (5-11)
That year, the Jets had almost their first game 4 win at MetLife before falling 37-28 against Denver. Two years ago they ran roughly the Broncos at home. Her last win, which was a mile high, was in 2010, a 24:20 last minute comeback.

in Atlanta (4-12)
Matt Ryan and the Falcons were unlucky in 2020. 8 of their 12 losses were lost in one-score games. The Jets will play for the first time at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, ignoring their visit in the 2019 preseason when they led the Falcons 22-10.

in Carolina (5-10)
The Jets helped Teddy Bridgewater with rehab and transition from Viking starter to Saints backup in 2018, and to Panthers starter last year. In 2021 they want to harass him and win for the first time since 2001 in Carolina – the 13-12 “Shrek Game”.

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