New York Jets 2018 NFL Team Preview
2017 Record: 5-11
2017 ATS: 9-6-1
2017 Over/Under: 8-8
2018 Regular Season Wins Total: 6 wins
The New York Jets’ 5-11 record last season was actually an overachievement based on their ultra-low preseason expectations. The Jets were pegged to be one of the worst teams in the league yet their 9-6-1 ATS record speaks to some of their exciting young talent. They’ve also positioned themselves well for the future with immense salary cap space coming in 2019. This season however will be more of the rebuilding variety as the franchise desperately seeks on-the-field progress.
Quarterback Josh McCown started 13 games last year and posted a very serviceable 18-9 TD-to-INT ratio. His production was a key reason why the Jets trailed at halftime in only seven of 16 games. But despite McCown’s moderate success, the team announced that top draft choice and third overall pick Sam Darnold will start Week 1’s game vs. Detroit. Darnold showed signs of ability during the preseason but he’ll still be the youngest quarterback to ever start a Week 1 game. In his final season at USC, he turned the ball over 22 times. With limited resources, below average skill position talent and a weak offensive line, bettors should expect plenty of growing pains. Darnold’s development will be in the hands of first-year offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates who served as quarterbacks coach last year. Bates was out of football for four years and last called plays in 2010 for the 29th-ranked offense. Darnold has upside and won’t be asked to do much but this is still another position of weakness.
The Jets are hoping the defense can be the calling card of what keeps them in games. They ranked 18th in efficiency in 2017 but return two key building blocks in Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams. As with a lot of lower-tier teams, generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks was a major obstacle. Last year New York finished 28th in sacks and 29th in 2016. There’s excitement within their secondary with Adams and the signing of Trumaine Johnson. But without a consistent pass rush, last year’s 30 passing touchdowns allowed could be matched.
Look for the offense to play it close to the vest, especially early on. Darnold averaged only 5.4 yards per pass attempt in the preseason. They’ll rely on their ground game and defense to offset Darnold’s inexperience. The good news is the schedule is very manageable, particularly the first 10 games of the season. But they still enter the campaign as my second lowest power rated team. And games against the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears will be tougher than expected. I lean under New York’s season over/under win total of 6 as it’s clear the franchise has its eyes on making “the jump” in 2019.
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