New York Jets: What to know about the 2016 team

Muhammad Wilkerson  led the Jets with 12 sacks last season.
Muhammad Wilkerson led the Jets with 12 sacks last season. Photo Credit: Vincent Barone

The New York Jets were good in 2015, winning 10 games, but it wasn’t enough for a postseason spot.

And so Gang Green begins anew, starting Sunday when they host the Cincinnati Bengals as they aim to reach the playoffs for the first time under second-year coach Todd Bowles.

Here’s a look at what fans need to know about this year’s Jets.

‘D’ still the key

If the Jets return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 season, their vaunted defense will have played a major role.

Team sacks leader Muhammad Wilkerson is staying after signing a long-term contract this offseason, ensuring at least one more season with cornerback Darrelle Revis and defensive linemen Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams all on the field together.

Gang Green surrendered the fourth-fewest yards in 2015, and they’re built to be an elite unit again.

How Fitz fits

A four-month contract stalemate concluded just days before the start of training camp as the Jets and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick agreed to a one-year, $12 million contract.

The journeyman passer posted a career year in 2015 with a franchise-record and personal best 31 touchdowns. One suspects the Jets were leery of committing long-term to Fitzpatrick, who turns 34 in November and has played for six teams.

The pressure will be on Fitzpatrick to duplicate his success and earn one last big contract.

New faces on offense

Top receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are back, but a few changes at critical positions promise to shake things up.

Matt Forte, who starred for eight years with the Chicago Bears, takes over for free-agent departure Chris Ivory as the primary runner. Plus, the retirement of longtime left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson led to a trade for Ryan Clady to protect Fitzpatrick’s blind side.

Both are upgrades, but Forte is 30 and Clady has a history of injuries.


Subject to NFL flex scheduling

Sunday vs. Bengals, 1 p.m.

Sept. 15 at Bills, 8:25 p.m.

Sept. 25 at Chiefs, 4:25 p.m.

Oct. 2 vs. Seahawks, 1 p.m.

Oct. 9 at Steelers, 1 p.m.

Oct. 17 at Cardinals, 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 23 vs. Ravens, 1 p.m.

Oct. 30 at Browns, 1 p.m.

Nov. 6 at Dolphins, 1 p.m.

Nov. 13 vs. Rams, 1 p.m.

Nov. 27 vs. Patriots, 8:30 p.m.

Dec. 5 vs. Colts, 8:30 p.m.

Dec. 11 at 49ers, 4:05 p.m.

Dec. 17 vs. Dolphins, 8:25 p.m.

Dec. 24 at Patriots, 1 p.m.

Jan. 1 vs. Bills, 1 p.m.

Bye: Week 11

Number crunch

Brandon Marshall’s 882 receptions rank No. 2 all-time for a player during his first 10 years in the NFL. Only Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (927) made more grabs in his first decade of play. Additionally, Marshall, registered 109 catches and 1,502 yards in 2015, also is seventh with 11,273 receiving yards in his first 10 years in the league.