New York Jets' early schedule sets up nicely for Adam Gase, new staff

The Jets' Week 2 prime-time game will feature quarterback Sam Darnold going up against QB Baker Mayfield and the Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The NFL has released its 2019 regular-season schedule. Here's a look at what's in store for the New York Jets:

Game-by-game prediction

Jets reporter Rich Cimini is predicting an 8-8 finish:

Sept. 8: vs. Buffalo, Win

Sept. 16: vs. Cleveland, Win

Sept. 22: at New England, Loss

Oct. 6: at Philadelphia, Loss

Oct. 13: vs. Dallas, Win

Oct. 21: vs. New England, Loss

Oct. 27: at Jacksonville, Loss

Nov. 3: at Miami, Win

Nov. 10: vs. N.Y. Giants, Win

Nov. 17: at Washington, Win

Nov. 24: vs. Oakland, Win

Dec. 1: at Cincinnati, Loss

Dec. 8: vs. Miami, Win

Dec. 12: at Baltimore, Loss

Dec. 22: vs. Pittsburgh, Loss

Dec. 29: at Buffalo, Loss

Strength of schedule: T-27th, .473


New Jets coach Adam Gase couldn't have asked for a more favorable start to the season -- back-to-back home games for the first time since 2011. What's more, they will face a pair of second-year quarterbacks and a rookie coach. New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has to be excited about this, knowing he can unleash his exotic blitz packages against the Bills' Josh Allen and the Browns' Baker Mayfield. Williams should have plenty of intel on Mayfield, considering he was the Browns' interim coach last season. The Browns will be improved, but they still will be sorting things out under new coach Freddie Kitchens. This is a good time to catch them. Another early season plus for the Jets: They have only one plane trip in the season's first seven weeks -- a quick flight to New England. They will travel to Philadelphia via bus or train.

Prime-time Jets

After signing marquee names such as running back Le'Veon Bell in free agency, the Jets once again have mass appeal. They have three prime-time games, two more than last season. The first two, both at home, are terrific matchups -- the Browns (Monday night) and the Patriots (Monday night) in Week 7. On Day 1 of the offseason program, Gase told the team "one of the main reasons" he took the job was to dethrone the Patriots, linebacker C.J. Mosley said Wednesday. The Browns-Jets game features the return of Odell Beckham Jr. to MetLife Stadium. Who knows? Maybe he will pick a fight with a kicking net, for old time's sake. Another headline is the quarterback matchup, Sam Darnold versus Mayfield. The game will mark the 50th anniversary of Monday Night Football, which began with a Jets-Browns contest on Sept. 21, 1970. The final prime-time affair is a road game against the Ravens (Thursday night) in Week 15.

Tough finish

Gase said recently it's "realistic" for the Jets to be in the playoff conversation at the start of December. There's no excuse not to be. Their middle of the schedule is ultra soft, as they play seven consecutive games against teams that finished with losing records in 2018. Ah, but the finish is nasty, with the Ravens and Steelers in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively. The good news is they will have a mini-bye (because of the Thursday night game) before Pittsburgh. Emotions will be high because Bell will be facing his former team for the first time since his bitter divorce. The Jets finish in Buffalo, which can be a tough place to play with a playoff spot at stake (see: 2015).