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Predicting Every Game on the Jets' 2021 Schedule

The Jets are four months away from the beginning of the Robert Saleh and Zach Wilson era, starting the regular season with a Week 1 matchup against Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers.

That opening Sunday has been discussed quite a bit since the NFL schedule was released this week. But what about the rest of New York's 17-game campaign?

How big of a step can this franchise take in the right direction after last year's two-win season to forget?

Here's a look ahead at the Jets' entire schedule in 2021 with predictions for each game:

Week 1: @ Panthers

Sunday, Sept. 12, 1:00 pm (CBS)

All eyes will be on the quarterbacks in this matchup and they won't disappoint. This one will come down to the wire as Darnold and Wilson battle back and forth deep into the second half.

As much as it's tempting to pick the Panthers here at home, with Saleh hyping up his squad on the sideline for the first time, New York wins it by a few. Darnold will get a taste of what it looks like for a Jets quarterback to have weapons at his disposal... He'll just be on the other side of it. 

Keep an eye on Robby Anderson in this game as well. He and Darnold will both be seeking some revenge, leaning on each other to get the job done. 

Prediction: Jets win (1-0)

Week 2: vs. Patriots

Sunday, Sept. 19, 1:00 pm (CBS)

Two wins already? Why not.

With their fans in the stands, New York takes care of business against a team that has plenty of new faces. Not sure if it'll be Wilson against Mac Jones, but the Jets will make a statement here. They're not going to be a guaranteed win for opponents again in 2021.

Prediction: Jets win (2-0)

Week 3: @ Broncos

Sunday, Sept. 26, 4:05 pm (CBS)

Both the Jets and Broncos allowed an average of just about 28 points per game last year, so this has the potential to be a shootout. Look for some highlight-reel plays from Wilson—in the closest thing to a homecoming for the No. 2 pick this season—but Denver ekes out a victory over Gang Green.

This is the first winnable game of the season where New York falls just short. We saw that a few times during the 2020 season.

Prediction: Jets lose (2-1)

Week 4: vs. Titans

Sunday, Oct. 3, 1:00 pm (CBS)

New York's defense has its first big test of the season. Can the newest members of the defensive line—like Carl Lawson and Sheldon Rankins—hold down Derrick Henry? 

The Jets certainly made some improvements up front this offseason, but Tennessee is going to run the ball all afternoon in this one. Plus, will the secondary be able to sniff out the big play in the passing game? This one might not be pretty, but maybe we're underestimating just how good Saleh's defense will be.

Prediction: Jets lose (2-2) 

Week 5: @ Falcons (London)

Sunday, Oct. 10, 9:30 am (NFL Network)

The Jets have won in London before. They should be able to take care of the Falcons this time around.

This could be one of Wilson's biggest games of the year through the air. Sure, adjusting to the trip across the pond will be an added factor here, but no team gave up more passing yards than Atlanta last season. Watch as Corey Davis and Denzel Mims shine.

Prediction: Jets win (3-2)

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: @ Patriots

Sunday, Oct. 24, 1:00 pm (CBS)

New York goes 1-1 against the Patriots with each team defending their home field. You have to figure New England has sorted out their quarterback situation by this point and all the new players brought in this offseason will find their place under Bill Belichick. 

Even after a bye, New York falls back to .500.

Prediction: Jets lose (3-3)

Week 8: vs. Bengals

Sunday, Oct. 31, 1:00 pm (CBS)

If Joe Burrow is healthy, Cincinnati will come out on top in this one. 

Remember, this team won two games last year. There are still going to be some scary performances that leave fans covering their eyes. What better time than Halloween to get one of those out of the way.

Prediction: Jets lose (3-4)

Week 9: @ Colts

Thursday, Nov. 4, 8:20 pm (FOX)

A short week, the first primetime game for Wilson and another loss. 

Carson Wentz picks apart the Jets' secondary with ease here and even a late push from the offense can't keep Gang Green in striking distance. 

Prediction: Jets lose (3-5)

Week 10: vs. Bills

Sunday, Nov. 15, 1:00 pm (CBS)

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Make it a four-game losing streak. The Bills are poised to do some serious damage during the regular season and New York just isn't quite ready to contain one of the best offenses in the league. 

Prediction: Jets lose (3-6)

Week 11: vs. Dolphins

Sunday, Nov. 22, 1:00 pm (CBS)

Back in the win column.

Wilson and fellow rookie Elijah Moore have their best game together as New York steals a victory away from a talented Dolphins team at MetLife Stadium. 

It won't be easy to beat Miami twice, but New York closes the gap on second place in the AFC East with a complete victory in Week 11

Prediction: Jets win (4-6)

Week 12: @ Texans

Sunday, Nov. 29, 1:00 pm (CBS)

Who knows whether or not Deshaun Watson is under center for the Texans this season, but either way, New York leaves Houston with a commanding victory.

If Watson is out there, Wilson and the Jets will need to put plenty of points on the board. Against Houston's defense, that shouldn't be a problem.

Prediction: Jets win (5-6)

Week 13: vs. Eagles

Sunday, Dec. 6, 1:00 pm (CBS)

A win against Philadelphia at home puts the Jets back at .500 in Week 13. Can't ask for much more from a young team looking to earn some respect in this league.

How about a big day on the ground for New York here. At home, a mix of Tevin Coleman and rookie Michael Carter open up the deep ball for Wilson in another solid offensive showing from those in green and white.

Prediction: Jets win (6-6)

Week 14: vs. Saints

Sunday, Dec. 13, 1:00 pm (FOX)

Here's where a back-loaded schedule squashes any sort of postseason hopes for Saleh's squad. It's a home game against a team that no longer has Drew Brees, but the Hall of Fame QB's absence isn't enough for New York to take down a perennial contender. 

Prediction: Jets lose (6-7)

Week 15: @ Dolphins

TBD

Some warm weather midway through December will sure be nice. The results in Week 15? Not so much.

New York will probably have a chance to spoil the Dophins' postseason aspirations here, but Miami's defense takes control in this game from start to finish, running away with a blowout win. 

Prediction: Jets lose (6-8)

Week 16: vs. Jaguars

Sunday, Dec. 27, 1:00 pm (CBS)

Remember when Jets fans wanted the team to tank for Trevor Lawrence late last season? Wilson takes charge in a matchup between the top two picks of this year's draft, paving the way to a seventh win of the season.

No matter the result, this one should be fun to watch. Two of the game's brightest starts battling it out at MetLife. This one might be close, but New York's defense is able to stifle Lawrence down the stretch. 

Prediction: Jets win (7-8)

Week 17: vs. Buccaneers

Sunday, Jan. 2, 1:00 pm (FOX)

Tom Brady will take on the Jets for the first time in a Buccaneers uniform and the defending Super Bowl champions should have no trouble as the calendar flips to 2022. Tuning up for another deep playoff run, Tampa Bay beats the Jets handily in Week 17.

Still, it's more valuable reps for the rookies and inexperienced members of this Jets team. With contention out of the question by this point in the season, those young players will look to build momentum into the following season. Facing a quality opponent late in the year will help with that. 

Prediction: Jets lose (7-9)

Week 18: @ Bills

Sunday, Jan. 9, 1:00 pm (CBS)

The Bills have clinched a playoff birth. The Jets are jockeying for position in the 2022 NFL draft. And it's snowing on a brisk January afternoon in Buffalo.

New York makes this one close, but Buffalo hangs on at the end. The Jets may end up being a threat to the Bills in this division over the next few years, but they're not there yet. 

Prediction: Jets lose ...

FINAL RECORD: 7-10

A seven-win season has to be considered a success for this franchise, right? Sure, they won't snap their decade-long postseason drought and there will be some ugly losses along the way, but Jets fans should be excited about the future of this organization.

Saleh, Wilson, the rookies and the vets all get their first season together out of the way, poised to make a run at the playoffs in 2022, if all goes well. 

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