Prognosticating on regular-season NFL outcomes during the pre-season is an iffy proposition, worthy of the long odds that are generally offered.
But, when it comes to the New York Jets, one thing is all but certain: Game-one of the team’s regular-season schedule will be must-see football.
The Jets get things going on September 11, 2023, by squaring off against the Buffalo Bills, a longstanding rival. Ratcheting things up, the game will mark Aaron Rodgers’ regular-season debut in a New York Jets jersey.
Confrontations against the Bills are always a big deal, but this opener with Rodgers promises to be one that you’ll want to watch. Oddsmakers have the team as an underdog, with a moneyline at even, but the spread at +1.5, which might make them a sharp bet for gamblers who love the ‘dogs.
Bleacher Report predicts that the Jets will “rank number-one on defense” this season. While the additions of defensive end Will McDonald IV and defensive lineman Quinton Johnson promise to bulk up the squad, a strong quarterback will contribute mightily to the Jets’ intensity when opponents have the ball.
After all, Rodgers promises to keep his side in motion for more minutes than previous quarterback Zach Wilson managed last season. That alone will strengthen the Jets’ formidable defense when they hit the field.
The Jets are coming off of the longest playoff dry-spell in NFL history. It’s been 12 years since Gang Green, as the team is nicknamed, had a shot at reaching Super Bowl glory.
Iffy propositions aside, this season seems to present improved prospects for the team. As of this writing, the Jets have the fifth best NFL odds (8/1) to win the AFC Conference.
The likelihood of a Super Bowl win? The Jets are priced at 16/1 with 888sport and may be a popular choice in NFL expert picks this year. While far from indicating anything close to a sure thing, those numbers are a big step-up from those of recent seasons past.
Beyond the players who fans can’t wait to see in action, the Jets’ depth chart has some impressive spots. This is particularly true where wide receivers are concerned.
Garrett Wilson, who snagged NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors last season, will likely be Rodgers’ go-to guy on the field. But he’ll have plenty of backup in the forms of Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman and Randall Cobb.
As far as the offensive line goes, the Jets are expected to have 10 players available for those positions, as opposed to the norm of nine.
Adding more power is the Jets’ posse of cornerbacks, led by standout Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. An All-Pro during his first NFL season last year, Gardner is a guy to watch in 2023. And he has significant company via D.J. Reed, Michael Carter II and Bryce Hall.
If everything drops into place for the Jets – runners getting traction, Rodgers exceeding expectations, defensive players doing all that they are capable of – the team, with its new and improved lineup, has a shot (albeit a long one, of course) at making the Super Bowl.
While the Vince Lombardi Trophy is possibly a step too far right now, the Jets at least have a decent chance to reach the playoffs this season.
Regardless of what happens from there, to a team that has been postseason-free for a dozen years, Jets boosters will have plenty to cheer about.
*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*