Analyzing the New York Jets’ 2020 NFL schedule

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell (26) is tackled by Buffalo Bills defensive back Jaquan Johnson (46) in the second quarter at New Era Field. (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

The NFL released each team’s 2020 schedule Thursday night, and the Jets have one of the toughest in the league. 

Gang Green will have to endure the second-toughest schedule in the NFL, based on last year’s records. The Jets’ opponents compiled a 136-119-1 record last season, good for a .533 winning percentage. 

The AFC East as a whole has a tough road ahead this season. The Tom Brady-less New England Patriots have the toughest schedule in the league (.537 opponents’ winning percentage last season), and the Miami Dolphins have the third-toughest schedule (.529). The Buffalo Bills are tied with the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions for the fifth-toughest schedule (.525). 

Here is a rundown of the Jets’ 2020 schedule:

Week 1: At Bills, Sept. 13, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Once again, the Jets will open their season against Buffalo. The matchup marks the second straight year New York and Buffalo will go head-to-head in Week 1, and the third time in four years. Last season, the Jets lost a heart-breaker at home, 17-16. New York got its revenge in Buffalo in Week 17, but the victory came against the BIlls’ backups, as Buffalo had already clinched a playoff spot. The Week 1 contest represents a difficult challenge for Gang Green, as Buffalo is considered by most as favorites to win the division this season. 

Week 2: Vs. 49ers, Sept. 20, 1 p.m. (Fox)

The Jets will face a playoff team for the second consecutive week to start the season when they host San Francisco, the defending NFC champs. Despite making a cross-country trip, the 49ers will be eager to prove their 2019 success wasn’t a fluke and will give the Jets all they can handle. 

Week 3: At Colts, Sept. 27, 4 p.m. (CBS)

The Jets hit the road again in Week 3 when they travel to Indianapolis to face off against the Philip Rivers-led Colts. Indianapolis boasts a deep and talented squad, and Gang Green’s success will depend on the defense’s ability to make Rivers uncomfortable in the pocket. With the AFC playoff picture expected to be tight, the Jets could really use an early-season conference victory in Week 3. 

Week 4: Vs. Broncos, Oct. 1, 8:30 p.m. (NFL Network)

New York will host its first nationally-televised game of the season in Week 4 when Denver comes to town. The Jets’ secondary will have their hands full trying to stop Denvers’ new-look offensive attack with Drew Lock at the helm. The Broncos selected wide receiver Jerry Jeudy with their first-round pick last month, a player many wanted New York to select. Denver boasts an upgraded rushing attack and has a plethora of receiving options that demand attention. But, for the second time in two weeks, the Jets will host a West Coast team traveling across the country, which is certainly a better matchup than New York having to head West. 

Week 5: Vs. Cardinals, Oct. 11, 1 p.m. (Fox)

The Jets’ run of hosting west coast teams continues, as they will get their first look at former No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray. The Cardinals added DeAndre Hopkins to pair with future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald — the duo marks another difficult challenge for New York’s secondary. Gang Green’s offense may be able to find some holes to exploit in Arizona’s defense in what could be a shootout. 

Week 6: At Charges, Oct. 19 4:05 p.m., (CBS)

Quarterback Sam Darnold heads home to face the Chargers, who may have inserted rookie QB Justin Herbert as their starter at this point in the season. If that’s the case, Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will salivate at the chance of attacking Herbert, despite the Chargers’ strong supporting cast around the quarterback. If Tyrod Taylor is the starter at QB, Williams will have to find a way to contain him in the pocket. 

Week 7: Vs. Bills, Oct. 25, 1 p.m. (CBS)

The Jets will face Buffalo for the second time this season before the calendar flips to November. If the Jets plan on making the playoffs this year, they will need at least one victory against Buffalo. Whether that’s in Week 1 or Week 7 remains to be seen, but this matchup could have big playoff implications.

Week 8: At Chiefs, Nov. 1, 1 p.m. (CBS)

The Jets will have their hands full in Week 8 when they head to Arrowhead Stadium to face off against the reigning Super Bowl champs. New York will have to find a way to limit QB Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ dynamic offense. Williams will have to dial up something special to limit Kansas City, who is especially tough to beat at home.

Week 9: Vs. Patriots, Nov. 9, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

The Jets will get their first crack at facing the Patriots without Tom Brady since the 2008 season. New England utterly embarrassed New York at home last year on Monday Night Football, when a hot mic picked up Sam Darnold saying he was “seeing ghosts” against the Patriots’ defense. No one knows what to expect from New England, and this has the potential to be a winnable game. But you know Bill Belichick will have the Pats ready to play.

Week 10: At Dolphins, Nov. 15, 4:05 p.m. (CBS)

The big question heading into this matchup is who will be starting at QB for Miami? WIll it be ex-Jet Ryan Fitzpatrick, or first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa? Either way, the Dolphins are an improved team from last year. The Jets will be looking for payback after an embarrassing loss in Miami, and could use a divisional win at this point in the season. 

Week 11: Bye, Nov. 22

A chance to recharge the batteries and prepare for a difficult second half of the season. 

Week 12: Vs. Dolphins, Nov. 29, 1 p.m. (CBS)

After facing the Dolphins in Week 10 and having a bye in Week 11, the Jets’ coaching staff should be able to cook up a scheme to keep Miami at bay in their rematch. But Miami also has a bye in Week 11, making this a particularly intriguing matchup. 

Week 13: Vs. Raiders, Dec. 6, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Another west coast team heads to MetLife Stadium and the Jets should have an advantage in their first showdown against the Las Vegas Raiders. Las Vegas should be a solid team this season, but New York should be able to get past the Raiders’ offensive line and make QB Derek Carr uncomfortable. 

Week 14: At Seahawks, Dec. 13, 4 p.m. (CBS)

Outside of the matchup in Kansas City, this may be the toughest game on the Jes’ schedule. New York will need to pressure QB Russell Wilson up the middle and keep him in the pocket to have a chance to get their first win in Seattle since 1997. Darnold and the Jets’ offense will have to find a way to navigate the Seahawks’ defense and one of the league’s loudest crowds.

Week 15: At Rams, Dec. 19 or 20 (TBD)

The Jets requested back-to-back west coast games to avoid consecutive weeks of travel, and they will face a talented Rams squad that has not looked the same since losing in the Super Bowl two years ago.The Jets’ defense can exploit QB Jared Goff with disguised coverages and should be able to limit the run game. 

Week 16: Vs. Browns, Dec. 26 or 27 (TBD)

Once again, the Jets will face off against Cleveland. The Browns have invested a ton in their offensive line to protect QB Baker Mayfield, who, like Darnold, is expected to take a big leap forward in his third year in the league. This matchup could make or break the season for both spots, who could be competing for a playoff spot. 

Week 17: At Patriots, Jan. 3, 1 p.m. (CBS)

The Jets will end the season in Foxboro. It’s impossible to predict if either team will be competing for a playoff spot, but there is plenty of intrigue regardless. Beating New England on the road would be a perfect way to end the regular season, whether the Jets are playoff-bound or looking to end the year on a positive note.