If the pattern holds throughout, the New York Jets will face the NFC West over the first four weeks of the 2020 NFL season.
A schedule unlike any other, the 2020 NFL slate should feature a bit of corkiness thanks to our new temporary normal.
Thursday night, 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network, is when New York Jets fans will find out the team’s full 16-game slate, but how will it be constructed during these crazy times? Recently, a bit of a hint surfaced in the form of longtime NFL insider John Clayton.
Clayton, while on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan, revealed that the first four weeks of the season will feature inter-conference play. The AFC will play the NFC, meaning each team will play its full inter-conference slate in the first month of the season.
.@JohnClaytonNFL tells @937theFan that the NFL schedule will be NFC vs AFC for the 1st 4 weeks of the season. Steelers play the NFC East. So 1st 4 games would be Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins, and Giants.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) May 6, 2020
The Jets play the NFC West this season, so if Clayton’s pattern holds up, the Jets will take on the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams over the first month of the 2020 campaign.
It makes complete sense. Considering the uncertainty of the world right now, Roger Goodell and the league would want to schedule the least-important games first—just in case the season is delayed. And when attempting to pick out the “least important” of a schedule that features an important game every week, the inter-conference games have to be the choice.
In addition to the NFC West (once every four years), it’s also the AFC East’s turn to be matched up with the AFC West (once every three years). Thanks to the double-West season, the Jets have the good fortune of traveling nearly as much as possible during any one season (save for west teams who are more spread out and travel much more).
The Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts round out the schedule. These two matchups are the unique games within the AFC East structure (the matching up of third-place teams from the other two AFC divisions from a season ago).
The NFL schedule will be announced at 8 p.m. ET Thursday night on NFL Network. If all holds true, the New York Jets will be taking two west-coast trips over the first month of the regular season.
Update: 1:00 p.m. ET
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News is reporting the Jets will open in Orchard Park to take on Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.