The 2021 NFL Schedule has officially come out, and the New York Jets now know who and what they will have to prepare for. From a familiar face week 1, to traveling across the pond in Week 5, to the most hated player in most Jets fans’ lifetimes, the Jets have a pretty interesting schedule to say the least. Here is the New York Jets 2021 Schedule Preview, highlighting some of the more enticing matchups for the 2021 season.
Week 1: A Familiar Face
The Jets start off their regular season in Charlotte, NC, for a matchup with the Carolina Panthers. This will be the first game for Robert Saleh in green and white, and it comes against the teams’ former starting quarterback. Sam Darnold was traded to the Panthers on April 5, and now his first game with his new team will come against the team who sent him away. It also happens to be the first game in a Jets uniform for no. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson, who will look to impress, much like his predecessor did in his first game. Both the Panthers and the Jets look to be much improved this season, and it will be a good test for both teams and both quarterbacks to start off 2021.
Week 5: Going Across the Pond
Four weeks later, the Jets fly from East Rutherford to London, UK, for a matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are in win-now mode, with Matt Ryan on the wrong side of 35, and he has the weapons to do some damage. The Falcons drafted Florida standout Kyle Pitts in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and he should give the Jets matchup nightmares. Players not even mentioned include Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, who make up one of the best receiving cores in the entire league. This should be a tough game for the Jets’ young secondary, but it will be another good litmus test for their progression. It should also be noted that this game will be played at 9:30am EST, which means fans of both teams will need to get up bright and early on this Sunday morning.
Week 14: The 3rd NFC South Matchup
Week 14 means the New Orleans Saints are coming to town, the third NFC South matchup for the Jets. With Drew Brees retiring, the Saints have a problem at Quarterback. Do they finally promote Jameis Winston to the starting spot? Do they move forward with swiss army knife and part-time tight end Taysom Hill? Despite a young and inexperienced secondary, the Jets should be in a good position to take advantage of a potential problem area for the Saints. Coming away with a win against a perennial 10+ win team would be a great confidence booster for a young team with a bright future.
Week 17: His Return to Metlife
This is the week. Tom Brady, perhaps the most controversial player for most Jets fans, makes his return to the Meadowlands, this time in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey. For 20 years, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots terrorized the Jets and their fans. He lived in their nightmares. When he left New England, fans of the Jets celebrated, thinking, “This is our chance to take over the division!” He plays in a different conference, but now he returns to Metlife Stadium, where he has a 7-3 record against the Jets. The Buccaneers also happen to be the defending Super Bowl Champions, so this will likely be the Jets’ toughest matchup of the season.
The New York Jets’ 2021 schedule isn’t incredibly difficult, but with the NFC South matchups, there are at least four interesting matchups for them. The four most compelling matchups happen to be those four games, and there hasn’t even been a mention about how their conference should be this season. The Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills should be some of the better teams in the AFC, so the Jets will have four tough matchups in those games. The Patriots are largely an unknown entity, but Bill Belichick seems to always have their number. They also have games against each AFC South team, with the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts being tougher matchups than the Jacksonville Jaguars or Houston Texans. Realistically, The Jets should be able to come away with six or seven wins this season, an improvement from their 2-14 2020 season.