I'm going in a certain order when previewing each team's road and then home schedules this season, and I don't want to disrupt that. I am mentioning this because at this moment it's not the best time to preview anything involving the New York Jets for 2016 because I don't know who their starting quarterback will be.
I have a hard time believing they will enter the season with a trio of Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and 2016 second-round pick Christian Hackenberg. The latter two simply aren't ready for the NFL yet and may never be. Smith's just not very good. But that's the team's depth chart right now. I'm still pretty confident that the team does agree to re-sign last year's starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, at some point before camp. He basically overinflated his own value and is sitting there without anywhere to play. The Jets now hold all the leverage.
Fitzpatrick seems to recognize this of late and has said he is playing in 2016 and wants it to be in New York. Must be nice to think that being offered $8 million for a season is a slap in the face, but Fitzpatrick does. I guess I see his point in that he played better than both Sam Bradford and Brock Osweiler last year and they will each make much, much more for the Eagles and Texans, respectively, than the Jets are offering Fitzpatrick. They also have a lot more upside than the 33-year-old Fitzpatrick, who has played for six teams.
New York would have made the playoffs last year in Coach Todd Bowles' first season, but the Jets lost Week 17 in Buffalo and against former coach Rex Ryan to be eliminated. But it was a very successful 10-6 campaign overall, the team's best record since 2010, the last time it made the postseason.
The Jets were 4-4 on the road last season, 3-3-2 against the spread and 3-5 "over/under." They face four road teams in 2016 that reached last year's playoffs -- I project a 3-5 road record at best. Yet I'd call the home schedule harder. New York has a wins total of 8 for the coming season at BetOnline, with both options at -115. Odds listed below for the home team.
Sept. 15 at Bills (-2): Thursday night game. The Jets are home to Cincinnati in Week 1 and probably lose that game. Buffalo probably 0-1 too as it visits Baltimore in Week 1. Fitzpatrick is largely to blame for the crushing Week 17 22-17 loss in Buffalo last season, which ended the Jets' five-game winning streak. He was picked off on each of New York's final three possessions. Fitzpatrick was 16-for-37 for 181 yards. He did have two TD passes, but New York had possession for only 20:47. It deserved to lose. Key trend: Jets are 5-5 ATS in past 10 as road dog in series.
Sept. 25 at Chiefs (-3.5): At least New York has extra time to prepare for the Chiefs, who might be AFC West favorites. Kansas City is in Houston the previous Sunday. The Jets lost in Kansas City 24-10 in Week 9 of the 2014 season, their eighth straight loss that year. Michael Vick started for Smith that day at quarterback and didn't do much. The Jets were stopped on fourth down three times in the fourth quarter. Key trend: Jets 3-7 ATS in past 10 at AFC West teams.
Oct. 9 at Steelers (-6): New York is off what should be an incredibly physical Week 4 home game vs. Seattle and very well could be 0-4. Pittsburgh is home to Kansas City on Sunday night in Week 4. Interesting statistic: The Jets have played 24 games against the Steelers, dating to 1970, and they've never topped the 24-point mark. But New York ended its eight-game losing streak in 2014 with a 20-13 home win over the Steelers. The Jets forced four turnovers. Vick had two touchdown passes. Key trend: Jets 1-5 ATS all-time at Steelers.
Oct. 17 at Cardinals (-4): Monday night game. Arizona gets extra time to prepare as it is in San Francisco on Thursday in Week 5. Of course, Bowles is Arizona's former defensive coordinator. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians also coached Bowles when he was a defensive back at Temple. The two remain close friends. The Jets have won six in a row in the series. Key trend: Jets 4-6 ATS in past 10 at NFC West teams.
Oct. 30 at Browns (+5): Jets come off a Week 7 home game vs. Baltimore. Cleveland is in Cincinnati the previous Sunday. These teams opened last season against one another in New Jersey and the Jets won 31-10. Fitzpatrick threw for two scores and Chris Ivory (now in Jacksonville) rushed for two. The Jets forced five turnovers. Key trend: Jets 4-6 ATS in past 10 as road favorite of at least 5 points.
Nov. 6 at Dolphins (pick'em): Miami comes off its bye week. New York beat Miami 27-14 in Week 4 last year in London, which led to Dolphins coach Joe Philbin being fired. Ivory rushed for a career-high 166 yards. They were the most by a Jet since Thomas Jones ran for 210 in 2009. It would likely have been a blowout if New York didn't have 14 penalties for 163 yards. Key trend: Jets have won and covered three straight in south Florida.
Dec. 11 at 49ers (pick'em): New York is on a short week as it hosts Indianapolis on Monday in Week 13. San Francisco is in Chicago in Week 13. There were rumors that the Jets were interested in 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, but that never materialized. The Jets are just 2-10 all-time in this series. Key trend: Jets are 5-2 ATS in past seven as pick'em (any location).
Dec. 24 at Patriots (-6.5): Jets off a Week 15 Saturday home game vs. Miami. New England is in Denver the previous Sunday. This is the Pats' home regular-season finale. The Jets I'm sure would have preferred to play New England early in the season when Tom Brady was still suspended. They lost in Foxboro 30-23 in Week 7 last year. New York led 20-16 midway through the fourth. The Jets also had 372 yards of total offense to 353 for the Patriots. Fitzpatrick had a good game, throwing for 295 yards, two TDs and no picks. Key trend: Jets 6-3-1 ATS in past 10 as road dog of at least 6.5 points in series.
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