Jets season preview:
The Jets are currently one of the youngest teams in the NFL (5th youngest this year) and are basically victims of PTSD coming off the Gase years. Last year the Jets were one of the most pathetic NFL teams of the decade, with a serious lack of talent but even more egregious lack of good coaching. From Adam Gase being one of the least inspirational and knowledgeable NFL coaches ever to Gregg Williams calling an all-out blitz on 3rd & 10 when his team was up 4 to lose to the Raiders, it was all terrible. However, with Joe Douglass moving the team in the right direction from a personnel perspective and the hire of Robert Saleh this past offseason, things seem to be looking up for the Jets. Saleh was maybe the best hire of this past year’s coaching carousel as one of the best defensive minds in football and a true player’s coach. He also hired Mike LaFleur, the younger brother of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, as the new OC and Mike should lead this offense into the 21st century. LaFleur has been an assistant under Kyle Shanahan since 2015 and there is no better job than that for someone looking to be an OC in 2021.
From a personnel perspective, the Jets are definitely better off than they were last season. On the offensive line, they have the potential to be a really good unit. They drafted Alijah Vera-Tucker, a highly-touted prospect from USC, to start at LG and pair with last year’s first-round pick, Mekhi Becton, who showed potential last year of being a future all-pro LT. Their wide receiver unit looks promising with the additions of Corey Davis, who in my opinion is one of the most underrated receivers in the league, and Keelan Cole, as well as drafting Elijah Moore out of Ole Miss. In addition, they still hold over Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims from last season. Obviously, the offense will largely come down to the play of rookie QB Zach Wilson, but I personally believe he is due for big things and is going to silence a lot of doubters with his play this season. I think this could be one of the more underrated offenses in the league that will surprise a lot of people in the post-Gase era.
Defensively, the Jets have maybe the best defensive mind in the NFL in Robert Saleh at the helm, which can’t be quantified. The loss of Carl Lawson for the season was a brutal blow for the Jets but they still have a Pro Bowl level talent at DT in Quinnen Williams and a deep stable of edge rushers with high ceilings. Also a huge “addition” for the Jets is CJ Mosley at LB who is technically in year 3 with the Jets but had a season-ending injury Week One in his first season and opted out due to COVID concerns last season. But if Mosley can be the guy the Jets were hoping for when they signed him two summers ago, he should be the anchor that carries this defense. In the secondary, Marcus Maye had a breakout year last season at safety and will be the leader of that group. However, the Jets are remarkably young in the rest of the secondary. That leaves them with a low-floor, high-ceiling scenario because if all of these guys pan out, it should be a very athletic group that can make some big plays. But the youth also opens the door for some rookie/sophomore mistakes that lead to big plays for opposing offenses.
Overall, I think this Jets team will slightly exceed their expectations and could win 8 games this season if they play to their potential. I also think they will be really competitive week in and week out and will be a good ATS team as a squad with great coaching and young players that will never stop giving maximum effort.
Jets at Panthers preview:
This Sunday they take on the Panthers and their former QB in Sam Darnold. The Panthers had a bad offensive last season and didn’t do much to address it so I expect that Jets pass rush to be able to get Darnold and as we saw in New York, Darnold is awful under pressure. He does have a great group of weapons to work with in Christian McCaffrey, Robbie Anderson, DJ Moore, and Terrance Marshall. I expect the Panthers to set up a lot of screens and short passes to get Darnold comfortable. On the other side, the Jets offense should be able to move the ball effectively against this Panthers defense. It was an average at best unit for the Panthers last season and other than drafting CB Jaycee Horn in the first round, the Panthers didn’t do much to improve the unit. I think they’ll struggle to cover the Jets WR group and Zach Wilson shouldn’t feel too much pressure in his first career start. I personally love the Jets in this game to cover the 5/5.5 number and I also think this game goes over 44.