At 0-8, the New York Jets still remain the favorites for Trevor Lawrence with the Jacksonville Jaguars posing the greatest threat.
What a dirty word. What a disgusting, no-good, extremely rotten four-letter word. What putrid, horrid, down-and-dirty label to bestow on one’s own football organization. (You get the idea.)
The tank is on in the land of the New York Jets—according to most human beings with at least some functional sight. It’s tough to imagine anything different with Trevor Lawrence sitting on top of the toy pile with the Jets’ quarter-required crane looking to snatch him up.
Traveling back to New Jersey at 0-8—after a dispirited 35-9 to the Kansas City Chiefs—the Jets are the clear frontrunners for the Clemson quarterback who saw his team nearly knocked over by Boston College this past Saturday.
Or, are they?
- New York Jets (0-8)
- New York Giants (1-6)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
- Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (1-6)
- Atlanta Falcons (2-6)
- Dallas Cowboys (2-6)
- Washington Football Team (2-5)
- Los Angeles Chargers (2-5)
- New England Patriots (2-5)
- Minnesota Vikings (2-5)
- Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1)
The good news is that the Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings won on Sunday. The bad news is there’s one team that poses a frightening threat.
Look at the Jacksonville Jaguars schedule the rest of the way:
- vs. Houston (1-6)
- at Green Bay (5-2)
- vs. Pittsburgh (7-0)
- vs. Cleveland (5-3)
- at Minnesota (2-5)
- vs. Tennessee (5-2)
- at Baltimore (5-2)
- vs. Chicago (5-3)
- at Indianapolis (5-2)
This team is the greatest threat to the Jets’ Lawrence chances.
Other than next week’s game against Houston, the Jaguars schedule is as difficult as can be. The Minnesota game, while it looks like a cakewalk, could be tricky considering the Vikings’ overall talent. Fresh off a win over the Packers yesterday afternoon, they may look like a completely different team by the time the Jaguars march into Minneapolis.
Jacksonville’s schedule features a combined 40-25 (.615) opponent record.
The Jets schedule is also tough, but it showcases a couple of soft spots:
- vs. New England (2-5)
- at LA Chargers (2-5)
- vs. Miami (4-3)
- vs. Oakland (4-3)
- at Seattle (6-1)
- at LA Rams (5-3)
- vs. Cleveland (5-3)
- at New England (2-5)
The overall opponents’ record on the Jets schedule comes out to 30-28 (.517).
Unlike the Jags, both the Houston Texans and New York Giants face a much easier time of it over the second half of the season. Houston has the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots and Bengals left on its slate, and they are far too talented to stick around in the race for the worst record in football.
The Giants play in the dreadful NFC East with three divisional games remaining. Nothing else needs to be said. Besides, Cincinnati is also a game that remains to be played on the Giants’ schedule.
Fortunately for the Jets, Jags quarterback Gardner Minshew‘s injury doesn’t appear to be serious. The torn ligament and small break in his throwing hand will keep him out of the Houston game next week, but it’s not a season-ender.
Houston should beat Jacksonville (without Minshew’s services), helping distance the Texans from the Jets, helping to keep Jacksonville dangerously close with a tough back-half to go.
Curiously, the Jets’ historic 0-8 start has covered up a critical aspect of the tank. Only one under-.500 team has shown up on the Jets’ schedule thus far. Other than those 3-4 Denver Broncos, a team the Jets nearly beat on Thursday night (their only competitive game of the season), every other team is currently .500 or better. Only the San Francisco 49ers are .500, while the other six teams are over the average mark.
It poses the question: Just how bad are these Jets? We all know they’re bad, but how far does their stench reach? Hoboken? Long Island? North Dakota? The often-overlooked tough schedule should make fans extremely worried while moving forward.
Development vs. draft slot is an age-old football question always worth a discussion. A Joe Douglas type who continuously preaches culture has to be appalled at the mere notion of a tank. From a player and coach perspective, the previous tank description holds true. These guys are professionals. The moment anybody takes his foot off the gas pedal is the instant guys are exposed to further danger (via injury, livelihood, etc.).
From a front office perspective, much more is always involved. As the reports come rolling in (i.e. Pat McAfee‘s inside-the-building source that the Jets are intentionally tanking), remember that the dirty four-letter word no organizational employee would ever discuss publicly deserves its disgusting description.
That doesn’t mean tanking is fictional or unworthy.
The Colts once used a Peyton Manning-lost season to tank for Andrew Luck. Instead of trading for Carson Palmer, a cheap commodity who was being unused in Cincinnati after Andy Dalton‘s emergence, the Colts went with Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and Kerry Collins in 2011, biting the bullet for one year in exchange for the ultimate prize.
During the same season, Jacksonville lived in mediocrity, going 5-11 and suffering through a front-row seat of watching its divisional rivals maneuver their way from one Hall of Fame quarterback to another (save for early retirement). Following 2011, the Jaguars missed the playoffs in each of the next five seasons while the Colts made the playoffs in each of the next three.
The tank stink is real, but so is Trevor Lawrence, and the Jacksonville Jaguars pose the greatest threat to separate the Clemson righty from the New York Jets this coming draft season.