Thursday, April 18, 2013
Rapid Reaction: The 2013 schedule
By Rich Cimini
The Jets, coming off a 6-10 season in 2012, will have just two primetime games in 2013.
Some quick takeaways on the New York Jets' regular-season schedule, which was released Thursday night:
Potential Revis Bowl: The NFL office has a sense of drama. The Jets open the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium, and you know what that could mean: It means they could face Darrelle Revis in Week 1. How great is that? Unless you've been living on another planet, you know the Jets and Bucs are engaged in trade talks. There's a good chance Revis could be dealt in the coming days. Maybe the league's schedule makers know something we don't know. Hmm. On a conference call with reporters, Rex Ryan refused to discuss the potential trade and the significance of opening against the Bucs.
Butt Fumble 2.0? In Week 2, the Jets travel to the New England Patriots for a Thursday night game. In their last meeting, the two AFC East rivals also played Thursday night -- Thanksgiving -- and it turned into one of the most infamous games in Jets history. It was the "Butt Fumble" game, a 49-19 loss that effectively ended their season. You may recall the Jets allowed 21 points in a span of 52 seconds, the result of some of the wackiest plays you'll ever see. On a serious note, the short week so early in the season could impact the preseason preparation in terms of playing time for the regulars.
No Love For Losers: The Jets received only two prime-time games, which is what happens when you finish 6-10 with a terrible offense, don't make any exciting free-agent acquisitions and have absolutely no buzz at the quarterback position. Aside from the Patriots in Week 2, the Jets play a Monday night game in Atlanta, Week 5 (Oct. 7). In 2011, coming off their second straight trip to the AFC Championship Game, they played five night games. The players and coaches won't mind too much, of course, because prime time is taxing. They're scheduled for 10 1 p.m. starts. The players love that.
Brutal October: Without a doubt, the toughest stretch occurs from Week 5 to Week 9. The Jets play the Falcons, followed by home games against the Steelers and Patriots, followed by a trip to the Bengals and a home date against the Saints. Let's see, that's three 2012 playoff teams and two former playoff teams in a span of five weeks. It will provide different challenges. The Jets will face the No. 1 defense from last year (Steelers) and No. 1 offense (Patriots) in back-to-back weeks. The always explosive Saints, with Sean Payton back on the sideline, figure to be more imposing than last year.
Deja Vu: The Jets will face 10 of the 13 teams they faced in 2009, Ryan’s first season. Ryan will take that omen any day of the week.
Familiar Finish: They close the season in Miami. Sound familiar? The 2011 finale also occurred in South Florida, where the team imploded before our very eyes. It was the scene of the infamous Santonio Holmes-Wayne Hunter scuffle in the huddle, the breaking point for a team torn by dissension. Maybe the Jets can re-sign Hunter, for old time's sake. On a serious note, it's the fourth straight year they finish with a divisional opponent.
Home, Sweet Homestretch: We should be hesitant to use the word "easy" -- nothing will be easy for the 2013 Jets -- but the final month of the season … um, less difficult than the early part. They face the Dolphins (twice), Raiders, Panthers and Browns. The schedule maker is practically begging them to make a playoff run. Of course, the Jets faced a ridiculously easy schedule last December and look how that turned out. This time, they probably won't have Tim Tebow to blame.
THREE CRITICAL GAMES:
Bucs, Week 1: Whether Revis is playing for the Jets or against them, this is important because the Bucs are beatable. Plus, if the Jets win, we'll get to see if Greg Schiano blitzes the victory formation again.
At Patriots, Week 2: If they have any sense of pride, the Jets will show up angry, determined to avenge the Thanksgiving night debacle.
At Ravens, Week 12: By this point, the Rex Ryan Watch will be in full swing. A win over the defending Super Bowl champs, his previous team, would be huge for the coach.