Robert Saleh, Mekhi Becton, Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Quinnen Williams
Robert Saleh, Mekhi Becton, Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Quinnen Williams, NY Jets, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

The 2021 New York Jets are rolling up their sleeves in an appropriate manner

The smells and sounds are a bit different this time of year. The freshly-cut grass in the summer air, the plastic that could only be identified as shoulder pads, and the helmet-smacking sound all adds up to a unique experience that could only equal football.

Unfortunately, as unique as the August football experience is each year, New York Jets fans haven’t felt so special over the last decade.

Not since the 2010 season has the fanbase’s beloved organization qualified for the NFL playoffs—or the tournament, as most in the league call it these days. One shortcut after another has placed the Jets in an unenviable situation within a hard-salary cap league that tortures those that take shortcuts.

Luckily, this new Jets regime, led by Joe Douglas, isn’t interested in the shortcut-taking route.

“It’s really my job to stay out in front and see a big picture,” Douglas told the media recently. “This staff is focused on ‘win now.’ We’re all focused on win now. But we’re all focused on doing what’s best for this organization this year and in the future. I know coach, and what I’ve been preaching really since I’ve been here: We want to do this the right way. We want to build this foundation the right way so that it’s a long-term success and not just a flash in the pan.”

Instead of offseasons highlighted by unwarranted hype, these new Jets go about their business. Instead of new-uniform launch parties and high-priced veteran running backs, fans are now treated to sound development and the youngest roster in the league.

Although the new process will require patience, for fans and all involved, it’s a much better bet than the “win the offseason” strategy. In this league, a formulate consisting of responsible open-market spending, the process, and a legitimate culture is the way to sustained success.

A new NFL season is upon us. The following is Jets X-Factor’s 2021 New York Jets season preview and predictions.

It’s time to grind.

2021 New York Jets roster

Isn’t our world about the youth? The Jets are hoping that’s what the NFL is about, too.

New York enters the 2021 NFL season with the youngest roster in the league, with an average age of 21.5. Nearly every Mike Maccagnan-era player is gone (save for a few) as Douglas molds the roster into his own vision of what long-term success should look like.

Additions

  • QB Zach Wilson
  • QB Josh Johnson
  • RB Michael Carter
  • RB Tevin Coleman
  • WR Corey Davis
  • WR Elijah Moore
  • WR Keelan Cole
  • TE Tyler Kroft
  • TE Kenny Yeboah
  • IOL Alijah Vera-Tucker
  • IOL Dan Feeney
  • IOL Isaiah Williams
  • T Morgan Moses
  • T Grant Hermanns
  • T Parker Ferguson
  • T Teton Saltes
  • EDGE Carl Lawson
  • EDGE Vinny Curry
  • EDGE Shaq Lawson
  • EDGE Tim Ward
  • EDGE Ronald Blair
  • EDGE Hamilcar Rashed Jr.
  • IDL Sheldon Rankins
  • IDL Jonathan Marshall
  • LB Jarrad Davis
  • LB Hamsah Nasirildeen
  • LB Jamien Sherwood
  • LB Quincy Williams
  • LB Del’Shawn Phillips
  • CB Michael Carter II
  • CB Jason Pinnock
  • CB Brandin Echols
  • CB Isaiah Dunn
  • CB Justin Hardee
  • S Lamarcus Joyner
  • S Sharrod Neasman
  • S Sheldrick Redwine
  • S Adrian Colbert
  • S Jarrod Wilson
  • K Matt Ammendola

Obviously, the biggest addition is first on the list. Rookie Zach Wilson is the next in a long line of hopeful franchise quarterbacks this organization’s seen come over the last several decades.

Jets fans thought Sam Darnold was the guy. It didn’t happen. They thought Mark Sanchez, Mr. four road victories, could do it before Darnold. It flamed out. Not even Chad Pennington or Ken O’Brien could be labeled a true superstar quarterback in the NFL.

Douglas opting to trade Darnold to Carolina for Wilson will obviously loom large on the franchise moving forward.

The Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry injuries are massive. For the first time in a long time, the Jets could feel good about their edge-rushing situation. Now, it’s a major question mark.

C.J. Mosley’s return will serve as a new addition, but he’s surrounded by two rookies. Elijah Moore is the game-breaker every NFL team needs in today’s league (shifty, hips, explosive, etc.), Alijah Vera-Tucker should be a stud at some point this season, and the rest of the rookie class has looked good thus far.

Subtractions

  • RB Frank Gore
  • RB Pete Guerriero
  • WR Breshad Perriman
  • WR Lawrence Cager
  • WR Josh Malone
  • WR Jaleel Scott
  • WR Josh Doctson
  • TE Chris Herndon
  • TE Ross Travis
  • TE Connor Davis
  • IOL Josh Andrews
  • IOL Pat Elflein
  • IOL Leo Koloamatangi
  • IDL Henry Anderson
  • IDL Trevon Coley
  • EDGE Jordan Jenkins
  • EDGE Tarell Basham
  • EDGE Frankie Luvu
  • EDGE Shariff Finch
  • EDGE Corbin Kaufusi
  • EDGE Bronson Kaufusi
  • LB Neville Hewitt
  • LB Harvey Langi
  • LB Patrick Onwuasor
  • LB Bryce Hager
  • LB Noah Dawkins
  • CB Brian Poole
  • CB Bless Austin
  • CB Arthur Maulet
  • CB Corey Ballentine
  • CB Kyron Brown
  • S Bradley McDougald
  • S J.T. Hassell
  • S Elijah Campbell
  • S Matthias Farley
  • S Saquan Hampton
  • K Sam Ficken
  • K Chase McLaughlin

In terms of where the Jets are, as compared to a year ago, it’s a no contest. This roster is much more talented.

How it shows up in Week 1 is still a question mark. They’re incredibly young, and considering the coaching staff is also young, it could take some time for things to come together.

The greatest losses come in the form of Chris Herndon, Bless Austin, Brian Poole, Jordan Jenkins and Tarell Basham, but the additions more than make up for those five players.

2021 New York Jets coaching staff

  • HC Robert Saleh
  • OC Mike LaFleur
  • DC Jeff Ulbrich
  • ST Brant Boyer

Special teams coach Brant Boyer is the only returning coach of the top four—as he survived yet another head coaching change.

Robert Saleh may have left the Atlantic Health Training Facility to visit the Philadelphia Eagles last winter, but he knew where he wanted to coach once the interview ended. The fact that he brings Mike LaFleur, a Kyle Shanahan disciple with him, is an exciting aspect of the season.

Also interesting is the fact Saleh has no problem dishing out defensive play-calling duties to new defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. The idea that his ego isn’t so massive that he feels he must call the plays is an excellent head-coaching trait in itself.

2021 New York Jets’ keys to the season

It’s all about Zach Wilson

Make no mistake about it: The 2021 season is all about the kid quarterback.

After missing out on Trevor Lawrence—as Jets fans’ screams could still be heard when Adam Gase’s squad knocked off the Los Angeles Rams at 0-13—Same Old Jets took hold yet again. Maybe this time, however, those two wins will do wonders moving forward.

Everything about Wilson is quick—a trait that suits today’s three-step-drop league perfectly. His hands are quick, feet are lightning-fast, and his release is other-worldly. He even processes information pre and post-snap like a veteran.

Sure, the overall record matters, but Wilson’s development is of the utmost importance in 2021.

Offensive line cohesion

Can the Jets offensive line finally come together to a point in which there’s an actual identity? It hasn’t happened since the Rex Ryan days, but a trend is repeating.

The 2006 NFL draft that featured Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson was the beginning of one of the most talented rosters in football. Douglas immediately ended one of the nastier droughts in Jets history when he selected Mekhi Becton 11th overall in 2020.

Not since 2006 had the Jets selected a first-round offensive lineman.

Now, with Vera-Tucker in the fold, that’s back-to-back big heavies. The old-school inside-out team-building philosophy still holds true in today’s league. It’ll be health that determines how good this offensive line can be in the wide-zone scheme.

Development

Sure, the cornerback situation isn’t ideal. The linebacker situation is also of concern. But the development of these youngsters is what’s critical this season.

Which of the four rookie cornerbacks can step up as an NFL starter? The odds are pretty solid that at least one can. Which of the two rookie linebackers can do the same?

Early on, this defense might look ugly—among the worst in the NFL. Hopefully, the offense can make up for it while Ulbrich gets his unit to where it needs to be.

2021 New York Jets schedule, game-by-game results

  1. at Carolina Panthers: Win (1-0)
  2. vs. New England Patriots: Loss (1-1)
  3. at Denver Broncos: Loss (1-2)
  4. vs. Tennessee Titans: Win (2-2)
  5. at Atlanta Falcons: Loss (2-3)
  6. bye
  7. at New England Patriots: Win (3-3)
  8. vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Win (4-3)
  9. at Indianapolis Colts: Loss (4-4)
  10. vs. Buffalo Bills: Loss (4-5)
  11. vs. Miami Dolphins: Loss (4-6)
  12. at Houston Texans: Win (5-6)
  13. vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Win (6-6)
  14. vs. New Orleans Saints: Loss (6-7)
  15. at Miami Dolphins: Win (7-7)
  16. vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Win (8-7)
  17. vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Loss (8-8)
  18. at Buffalo Bills: Loss (8-9)

Final record: 8-9

It’ll be a roller-coaster-type season. Starting off well in Carolina, Wilson and the boys will be rolling high—on offense that is. I expect Darnold, Christian McCaffrey, Robby Anderson and the rest of the Panthers to also put up some big points.

Expect a surprisingly good offense coupled with a horrendous defense this season, especially in the early going. Take the over via points in the weekly betting lines.

Finally, the franchise will snag its first-ever victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately, that three-game losing streak in the middle of the season—Colts, Bills and Dolphins—will just hurt too much.

In fact, I felt pretty good about going with nine or even 10 wins about a month ago, but the Lawson and Curry injuries were just too much. Expect seven or eight wins as the team takes a significant leap this season.

Better yet, the year materializes well for the Jets in the form of their big quarterback decision. While Darnold puts up a decent statistical season, the turnovers continue to plague him. Meanwhile, Wilson plays extremely well for a rookie quarterback.

Jets X-Factor staff predictions

Robby Sabo

Jets predictions:

Final regular-season record: 8-9
AFC East finish: Second
AFC playoff seed: N/A
Playoff record (team to knock them off): N/A
Team MVP: Quinnen Williams
Offensive player of the year: Zach Wilson
Defensive player of the year: Quinnen Williams
Rookie of the year: Zach Wilson
Coach of the year: Mike LaFleur
Most surprising player: Michael Carter II
Most disappointing player: Jamison Crowder
Offensive yards NFL ranking: 8th
Defensive yards NFL ranking: 26th
Offensive points NFL ranking: 6th
Defensive points NFL ranking: 23rd
Offensive DVOA ranking: 7th
Defensive DVOA ranking: 24th
Special teams DVOA ranking: 13th
2022 first-round pick number: No. 14
Pro Bowl players: Quinnen Williams, Alijah Vera-Tucker
All-Pro players: N/A
Zach Wilson’s stat line (PYD, PTD, INT): 16 games, 4,124 yards, 29 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
Rushing yards leader: Michael Carter
Receiving yards leader: Corey Davis
Receptions leader: Elijah Moore
Sacks leader: Quinnen Williams
Tackles leader: C.J. Mosley
Interceptions leader: Michael Carter II
Great offense, poor defense—this should be the 2021 New York Jets. The only way around a defense struggling mightily early is if Shaq Lawson can provide something off the edge and John Franklin-Myers comes into his own on the outside (despite the fact he’s better inside).
LaFleur’s offense will shock a lot of people, as will Wilson’s rookie vibes.

NFL predictions:

AFC East winner (record): Bills (12-5)
AFC North winner (record): Browns (13-4)
AFC South winner (record): Colts (11-6)
AFC West winner (record): Chiefs (13-4)
AFC Wild Card 1 (record): Titans (10-7)
AFC Wild Card 2 (record): Broncos (10-7)
AFC Wild Card 3 (record): Chargers (10-7)
NFC East winner (record): Cowboys (10-7)
NFC North winner (record): Packers (12-5)
NFC South winner (record): Buccaneers (13-4)
NFC West winner (record): Rams (13-4)
NFC Wild Card 1 (record): 49ers (12-5)
NFC Wild Card 2 (record): Washington (10-7)
NFC Wild Card 3 (record): Seahawks (10-7)
AFC champion (runner-up): Chiefs (Browns)
NFC champion (runner-up): Rams (Buccaneers)
Super Bowl champion (runner-up): Chiefs (Rams)
Super Bowl MVP: Patrick Mahomes
NFL MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Offensive Player of the Year: Matt Stafford
Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Javonte Williams
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Micah Parsons
Comeback Player of the Year: Carson Wentz
Coach of the Year: Andy Reid
No. 1 overall pick in 2022 draft: Jaguars
No. 2 overall pick in 2022 draft: Lions
No. 3 overall pick in 2022 draft: Giants
No. 4 overall pick in 2022 draft: Bengals
No. 5 overall pick in 2022 draft: Texans
Remember the shootout from a couple of seasons ago? Well, here’s when the rematch happens. Patrick Mahomes’s second MVP season will ultimately turn into his second Super Bowl after he knocks off a very good Matt Stafford-led Rams team.

Michael Nania

Jets predictions:

Final regular-season record: 7-10
AFC East finish: 3rd
AFC playoff seed: N/A
Playoff record (team to knock them off): N/A
Team MVP: Quinnen Williams
Offensive player of the year: Mekhi Becton
Defensive player of the year: Quinnen Williams
Rookie of the year: Zach Wilson
Coach of the year: John Benton
Most surprising player: Tyler Kroft
Most disappointing player: Lamarcus Joyner
Offensive yards NFL ranking: 14th
Defensive yards NFL ranking: 24th
Offensive points NFL ranking: 18th
Defensive points NFL ranking: 20th
Offensive DVOA ranking: 16th
Defensive DVOA ranking: 22nd
Special teams DVOA ranking: 15th
2022 first-round pick number: 12th
Pro Bowl players: Quinnen Williams, C.J. Mosley, Mekhi Becton
All-Pro players: Quinnen Williams, Mekhi Becton
Zach Wilson’s stat line (PYD, PTD, INT): 4,063, 24, 14
Rushing yards leader: Ty Johnson
Receiving yards leader: Corey Davis
Receptions leader: Corey Davis
Sacks leader: Quinnen Williams
Tackles leader: C.J. Mosley
Interceptions leader: C.J. Mosley
I think we will see the Jets’ offense perform better than the defense for the first time since 2003. The offense will be about average thanks to an offensive line that will be above average, solid performances from the receivers and running backs, and Zach Wilson playing like a slightly below average quarterback as a rookie (which is fantastic for a first-year passer).
The defense will be hampered by the losses of Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry and severely limited by its extreme youth, but the talent of its best players – Quinnen Williams, C.J. Mosley, John Franklin-Myers, Foley Fatukasi, Sheldon Rankins, Marcus Maye, and I believe a second-year leap from Bryce Hall – will be enough to keep it as a below-average defense and not a terrible one.

NFL predictions:

AFC East winner (record): Bills (13-4)
AFC North winner (record): Browns (12-5)
AFC South winner (record): Titans (12-5)
AFC West winner (record): Chiefs (13-4)
AFC Wild Card 1 (record): Chargers (11-6)
AFC Wild Card 2 (record): Ravens (11-6)
AFC Wild Card 3 (record): Broncos (9-8)
NFC East winner (record): Washington (10-7)
NFC North winner (record): Packers (14-3)
NFC South winner (record): Buccaneers (13-4)
NFC West winner (record): Rams (13-4)
NFC Wild Card 1 (record): 49ers (11-6)
NFC Wild Card 2 (record): Cardinals (9-8)
NFC Wild Card 3 (record): Saints (9-8)
AFC champion (runner-up): Bills (over Chiefs)
NFC champion (runner-up): Rams (over Bucs)
Super Bowl champion (runner-up): Rams (over Bills)
Super Bowl MVP: Matthew Stafford
NFL MVP: Josh Allen
Offensive Player of the Year: Josh Allen
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Najee Harris
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jamin Davis
Comeback Player of the Year: C.J. Mosley
Coach of the Year: Ron Rivera
No. 1 overall pick in 2022 draft: Texans
No. 2 overall pick in 2022 draft: Lions
No. 3 overall pick in 2022 draft: Bengals
No. 4 overall pick in 2022 draft: Eagles
No. 5 overall pick in 2022 draft: Giants

Joe Blewett

Jets predictions:

Final regular-season record: 7-10
AFC East finish: 4th
AFC playoff seed: 12th
Playoff record (team to knock them off): No playoffs
Team MVP: Quinnen Williams
Offensive player of the year: Corey Davis
Defensive player of the year: Quinnen Williams
Rookie of the year: Zach Wilson
Coach of the year: Robert Saleh
Most surprising player: Trevon Wesco
Most disappointing player: Jamien Sherwood
Offensive yards NFL ranking: 19th
Defensive yards NFL ranking: 21st
Offensive points NFL ranking: 20th
Defensive points NFL ranking: 22nd
Offensive DVOA ranking: 19th
Defensive DVOA ranking: 21st
Special teams DVOA ranking: 8th
2022 first-round pick number: 10th
Pro Bowl players: Quinnen Williams, C.J. Mosley
All-Pro players: None
Zach Wilson’s stat line (PYD, PTD, INT): 3,931, 27, 13
Rushing yards leader: Carter
Receiving yards leader: Davis
Receptions leader: Davis
Sacks leader: Quinnen Williams
Tackles leader: Mosley
Interceptions leader: Mosley

NFL predictions:

AFC East winner (record): Bills 12-5
AFC North winner (record): Browns 12-5
AFC South winner (record): Colts 10-7
AFC West winner (record): Chiefs 14-3
AFC Wild Card 1 (record): Ravens 11-6
AFC Wild Card 2 (record): Titans 10-7
AFC Wild Card 3 (record): Patriots 9-8
NFC East winner (record): Washington 10-7
NFC North winner (record): Packers 12-5
NFC South winner (record): Bucs 14-3
NFC West winner (record): Rams 11-6
NFC Wild Card 1 (record): 49ers 11-6
NFC Wild Card 2 (record): Seahawks-10-7
NFC Wild Card 3 (record): Cowboys-10-7
AFC champion (runner-up): Browns
NFC champion (runner-up): Packers
Super Bowl champion (runner-up): Bucs
Super Bowl MVP: Mahomes
NFL MVP: Mahomes
Offensive Player of the Year: Devante Adams
Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Zach Wilson
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Patrick Surtain
Comeback Player of the Year: Dak Prescott
Coach of the Year: Ron Rivera
No. 1 overall pick in 2022 draft: Spencer Rattler
No. 2 overall pick in 2022 draft: Carson Strong
No. 3 overall pick in 2022 draft: Kayvon Thibodeaux
No. 4 overall pick in 2022 draft: Evan Neal
No. 5 overall pick in 2022 draft: Malik Willis

Vitor Paiva

Jets predictions: 

Final regular-season record: 8-9
AFC East finish: 3rd
AFC playoff seed: 9th
Playoff record (team to knock them off): N/A
Team MVP: Zach Wilson
Offensive player of the year: Elijah Moore
Defensive player of the year: CJ Mosley
Rookie of the year: Zach Wilson
Coach of the year: Mike LaFleur
Most surprising player: Greg Van Roten
Most disappointing player: Denzel Mims
Offensive yards NFL ranking: 16th
Defensive yards NFL ranking: 23rd
Offensive points NFL ranking: 15th
Defensive points NFL ranking: 16th
Offensive DVOA ranking: 15th
Defensive DVOA ranking: 15th
Special teams DVOA ranking: 4th
2022 first-round pick number: 14th
Pro Bowl players: 3 (Quinnen Williams, Mekhi Becton, Elijah Moore)
All-Pro players: 2 (Mekhi Becton, Quinnen Williams)
Zach Wilson’s stat line (PYD, PTD, INT): 3800, 28, 15
Rushing yards leader: Ty Johnson
Receiving yards leader: Elijah Moore
Receptions leader: Corey Davis
Sacks leader: Quinnen Williams
Tackles leader: CJ Mosley
Interceptions leader: Lamarcus Joyner
After starting hot and playing most of the season around .500, the Jets lose their last two games against the Bills and the Buccaneers, ultimately falling short of snagging a wild card spot.

NFL predictions:

AFC East winner (record): Buffalo Bills (13-4)
AFC North winner (record): Cleveland Browns (12-5)
AFC South winner (record): Indianapolis Colts (12-5)
AFC West winner (record): KC Chiefs (15-2)
AFC Wild Card 1 (record): Pittsburgh Steelers (11-6)
AFC Wild Card 2 (record): New England Patriots (11-6)
AFC Wild Card 3 (record): Dener Broncos (10-7)
NFC East winner (record): Washington Football Team (11-6)
NFC North winner (record): Green Bay Packers (13-4)
NFC South winner (record): Tampa Bay Buccaneers (15-2)
NFC West winner (record): Los Angeles Rams (13-4)
NFC Wild Card 1 (record): San Francisco 49ers (11-6)
NFC Wild Card 2 (record): Dallas Cowboys (10-7)
NFC Wild Card 3 (record): New Orleans Saints (10-7)
AFC champion (runner-up): Kansas City Chiefs
NFC champion (runner-up): Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Super Bowl champion (runner-up): Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
NFL MVP: Dak Prescott
Offensive Player of the Year: Justin Herbert
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Zach Wilson
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Comeback Player of the Year: Dak Prescott
Coach of the Year: Sean Payton
No. 1 overall pick in 2022 draft: Houston Texans
No. 2 overall pick in 2022 draft: Cincinnati Bengals
No. 3 overall pick in 2022 draft: Jacksonville Jaguars
No. 4 overall pick in 2022 draft: Philadelphia Eagles
No. 5 overall pick in 2022 draft: Carolina Panthers
The biggest season in NFL history will truly be a historical one, with Tom Brady breaking Manning’s passing touchdown record and leading the Bucs to another Super Bowl win.

Andrew Golden

Jets predictions:

Final regular-season record: 8-9
AFC East finish: 3rd
AFC playoff seed: N/A
Playoff record (team to knock them off): N/A
Team MVP: Zach Wilson
Offensive player of the year: Corey Davis
Defensive player of the year: Quinnen Williams
Rookie of the year: Zach Wilson
Coach of the year: Mike LaFleur
Most surprising player: Jamien Sherwood
Most disappointing player: LaMarcus Joyner
Offensive yards NFL ranking: 15th
Defensive yards NFL ranking: 22nd
Offensive points NFL ranking: 18th
Defensive points NFL ranking: 17th
Offensive DVOA ranking: 13th
Defensive DVOA ranking: 19th
Special teams DVOA ranking: 12th
2022 first-round pick number: 13th
Pro Bowl players: Corey Davis, Quinnen Williams, Mehki Becton
All-Pro players: Quinnen Williams
Zach Wilson’s stat line (PYD, PTD, INT): 4627 yards, 30 TDs, 10 INTs
Rushing yards leader: Ty Johnson
Receiving yards leader: Corey Davis
Receptions leader: Corey Davis
Sacks leader: Quinnen Williams
Tackles leader: Jamien Sherwood
Interceptions leader: Marcus Maye

Wilson shines as a rookie behind an improved offensive line while the defense endures growing pains. Corey Davis finishes as a top 10 wide receiver in yards with over 1,300. Quinnen Williams earns his first All-Pro nod with a 10 sack season. Ty Johnson finishes just shy of 1,000 yards with 954.

Jarrad Davis never gets his starting spot back, as Jamien Sherwood starts all 17 games. The Jets will be looking for a CB2 in the offseason, but Bryce Hall will solidify himself as CB1. Jets finish third in the AFC East after beating Miami twice and beating New England in Week 2 but miss the playoffs at 8-9.

NFL predictions:

AFC East winner (record): Buffalo (13-4)
AFC North winner (record): Cleveland (12-5)
AFC South winner (record): Tennessee (12-5)
AFC West winner (record): Kansas City (15-2)
AFC Wild Card 1 (record): Baltimore (11-6)
AFC Wild Card 2 (record): LA Chargers (11-6)
AFC Wild Card 3 (record): Pittsburgh (10-7)
NFC East winner (record): Dallas (10-7)
NFC North winner (record): Green Bay (14-3)
NFC South winner (record): Tampa Bay (12-5)
NFC West winner (record): LA Rams (12-5)
NFC Wild Card 1 (record): Seattle (11-6)
NFC Wild Card 2 (record): Washington (9-8)
NFC Wild Card 3 (record): Arizona (9-8)
AFC champion (runner-up): Kansas City (Tennesee)
NFC champion (runner-up): Green Bay (Tampa Bay)
Super Bowl champion (runner-up): Kansas City (Green Bay)
Super Bowl MVP: Patrick Mahomes
NFL MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Offensive Player of the Year: Derrick Henry
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Zach Wilson
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Kwity Paye
Comeback Player of the Year: Dak Prescott
Coach of the Year: Andy Reid
No. 1 overall pick in 2022 draft: Houston
No. 2 overall pick in 2022 draft: NY Giants
No. 3 overall pick in 2022 draft: Jacksonville
No. 4 overall pick in 2022 draft: Cincinatti
No. 5 overall pick in 2022 draft: Detroit

Patrick Mahomes uses the new 17th game to break both of Peyton Manning’s single-season records for yards and TDs, earning his 2nd MVP and 2nd Super Bowl victory. Dak Prescott leads the Cowboys to an NFC East title and finishes second behind Mahomes in passing yards. Aaron Rodgers plays his last season in Green Bay, taking them to the Super Bowl but not winning it.

Myles Garrett wins DPOY with 21 sacks. Derrick Henry becomes the first player in NFL history with back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons. Houston finishes 1-16 and fires David Culley. Cincinnati finishes 4-13 and fires Zac Taylor. Jacksonville finishes 4-13 and fires Urban Meyer.

Kyle Smith

Jets predictions:

Final regular-season record: 9-8
AFC East finish: 3rd
AFC playoff seed: 7th seed. I think the Colts decline a lot with Wentz as their starter. The Steelers are old and looked horrible at the end of the season. I think 3 AFC East teams make the playoffs, the overrated Dolphins being the team that misses the playoffs.
Playoff record (team to knock them off): 0-1, Wild Card loss to the Bills.
Team MVP: Quinnen Williams
Offensive player of the year: Zach Wilson
Defensive player of the year: Quinnen Williams
Rookie of the year: Zach Wilson
Coach of the year: Robert Saleh
Most surprising player: Denzel Mims (Him playing good should surprise nobody, but way too many people keep sleeping on him).
Most disappointing player: LaMarcus Joyner
Offensive yards NFL ranking: 16th
Defensive yards NFL ranking: 21st
Offensive points NFL ranking: 14th
Defensive points NFL ranking: 18th
Offensive DVOA ranking: 14th
Defensive DVOA ranking: 18th
Special teams DVOA ranking: 10th
2022 first-round pick number: 22nd pick
Pro Bowl players: 2 (Mekhi Becton, Quinnen Williams)
All-Pro players: 1 (Quinnen Williams)
Zach Wilson’s stat line (PYD, PTD, INT):
YPA 7.2
Passing TDs – 32
Passing INTs – 14<
Rushing TDs 2
Rushing yards – 100
Passing yards 4,100
Completion percentage 61%

Rushing yards leader: Ty Johnson – 650 yards.
Receiving yards leader: Elijah Moore – 875 yards.
Receptions leader: Elijah Moore – 68 receptions
Sacks leader: Quinnen Williams – 8.5
Tackles leader: CJ Mosley – 110
Interceptions leader: Marcus Maye – 5
The Jets will surprise many people this season. I keep seeing mock drafts that have the Jets picking in the top five of next year’s draft. I think that is absolutely insane. The Carl Lawson injury is a huge blow, but Saleh has done well when key players have gone down. Zach Wilson will have the normal struggles that rookies have, but he will have those special moments of brilliance which will make the difference in a couple of games. The Jets have a relatively easy schedule and I think that’s a big reason why they make the seventh seed in the playoffs.

NFL predictions:

AFC East winner (record): Bills (13-4)
AFC North winner (record): Browns (11-6)
AFC South winner (record): Titans (13-4)
AFC West winner (record): Chiefs (14-3)
AFC Wild Card 1 (record): Ravens (10-7)
AFC Wild Card 2 (record): Patriots (10-7)
AFC Wild Card 3 (record): Jets (9-8)
NFC East winner (record): Cowboys (9-8)
NFC North winner (record): Packers (13-4)
NFC South winner (record): Buccaneers (14-3)
NFC West winner (record): Seahawks (11-6)
NFC Wild Card 1 (record): Rams (10-7)
NFC Wild Card 2 (record): 49ers (10-7)
NFC Wild Card 3 (record): New Orleans (10-7)
AFC champion (runner-up): Chiefs, (Bills)
NFC champion (runner-up): Packers (Buccaneers)
Super Bowl champion (runner-up): Packers (Chiefs)
Super Bowl MVP: Aaron Rodgers
NFL MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Offensive Player of the Year: Aaron Rodgers
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Zach Wilson
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Patrick Surtain
Comeback Player of the Year: Dak Prescott
Coach of the Year: Robert Saleh
No. 1 overall pick in 2022 draft: Houston Texans
No. 2 overall pick in 2022 draft: Lions
No. 3 overall pick in 2022 draft: Bengals
No. 4 overall pick in 2022 draft: Jaguars
No. 5 overall pick in 2022 draft: Falcons

Andrew Shenberg

Jets predictions:

Final regular-season record: 6-11
AFC East finish: 4th
AFC playoff seed: N/A
Playoff record (team to knock them off): N/A
Team MVP: Quinnen Williams
Offensive player of the year: Corey Davis
Defensive player of the year: Quinnen Williams
Rookie of the year: Elijah Moore
Coach of the year: Robert Saleh
Most surprising player: Hamsah Nasirldeen
Most disappointing player: Bryce Hall
Offensive yards NFL ranking: 14
Defensive yards NFL ranking: 25
Offensive points NFL ranking: 17
Defensive points NFL ranking: 23
Offensive DVOA ranking: 16
Defensive DVOA ranking: 25
Special teams DVOA ranking: 16
2022 first-round pick number: 6
Pro Bowl players: Quinnen Williams
All-Pro players: N/A
Zach Wilson’s stat line (PYD, PTD, INT): 3,745, 24, 15
Rushing yards leader: Tevin Coleman
Receiving yards leader: Corey Davis
Receptions leader: Corey Davis
Sacks leader: Shaq Lawson
Tackles leader: CJ Mosley
Interceptions leader: Marcus Maye

NFL predictions:

AFC East winner (record): Buffalo Bills (12-5)
AFC North winner (record): Cleveland Browns (12-5)
AFC South winner (record): Indianapolis Colts (10-7)
AFC West winner (record): Kansas City Chiefs (13-4)
AFC Wild Card 1 (record): LA Chargers (12-5)
AFC Wild Card 2 (record): Miami Dolphins (9-8)
AFC Wild Card 3 (record): Tennessee Titans (9-8)
NFC East winner (record): Washington Football Team (9-8)
NFC North winner (record): Packers (11-6)
NFC South winner (record): Buccaneers (13-4)
NFC West winner (record): Rams (14-3)
NFC Wild Card 1 (record): 49ers (12-5)
NFC Wild Card 2 (record): Seahawks (11-6)
NFC Wild Card 3 (record): Bears (9-8)
AFC champion (runner-up): Chiefs (Colts)
NFC champion (runner-up): Rams (Buccaneers)
Super Bowl champion (runner-up): Chiefs (Rams)
Super Bowl MVP: Patrick Mahomes
NFL MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Offensive Player of the Year: Patrick Mahomes
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Trevor Lawrence
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Micah Parsons
Comeback Player of the Year: Dak Prescott
Coach of the Year: Kyle Shanahan
No. 1 overall pick in 2022 draft: Kayvon Thibodeaux
No. 2 overall pick in 2022 draft: Spencer Rattler
No. 3 overall pick in 2022 draft: Evan Neal
No. 4 overall pick in 2022 draft: Derek Stingley
No. 5 overall pick in 2022 draft: Kyle Hamilton

Geoff Magliocchetti

Jets predictions:

Final regular-season record: 5-12
AFC East finish: 4th
AFC playoff seed: N/A
Playoff record (team to knock them off): N/A
Team MVP: Zach Wilson
Offensive player of the year: Zach Wilson
Defensive player of the year: Quinnen Williams
Rookie of the year: Zach Wilson
Coach of the year: Mike LaFleur
Most surprising player: Tevin Coleman
Most disappointing player: Lamarcus Joyner
Offensive yards NFL ranking: 14th
Defensive yards NFL ranking: 28th
Offensive points NFL ranking: 17th
Defensive points NFL ranking: 25th
Offensive DVOA ranking: 9th
Defensive DVOA ranking: 19th
Special teams DVOA ranking: 15th
2022 first-round pick number: 4th
Pro Bowl players: Mekhi Becton, Quinnen Williams
All-Pro players: N/A
Zach Wilson’s stat line (PYD, PTD, INT): 3,800 yards, 28 TD, 19 INT
Rushing yards leader: Michael Carter
Receiving yards leader: Elijah Moore
Receptions leader: Corey Davis
Sacks leader: Foley Fatukasi
Tackles leader: Marcus Maye
Interceptions leader: Bryce Hall
This year’s New York Jets will undoubtedly be an improvement over last year’s squad—if only because if this team takes a step back from last year’s team, relegation to whatever spring league is going to fail within the span of the calendar year should really be considered.
On a less macabre note, there’s plenty to be excited about from a Jets standpoint, headlined by the fact that, on paper, Zach Wilson is surrounded by a better arsenal now than Sam Darnold ever had. There are far too many flaws, particularly on defense, to ask this team to immediately launch itself into the playoffs in a conference pack to the brim with established talent.
A prime opportunity nonetheless lingers for the Jets and their returning fans to enjoy a “throat-clearing” season: a not-so-subtle “ahem” that gets things trending in the right direction. Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh have a plan to make things right, but it’s going to take some patience on the part of a long-suffering fanbase that is understandably hardened by years of false prophets.

NFL predictions:

AFC East winner (record): Bills 12-5
AFC North winner (record): Ravens 13-4
AFC South winner (record): Titans 13-4
AFC West winner (record): Chiefs 13-4
AFC Wild Card 1 (record): Chargers 11-6
AFC Wild Card 2 (record): Browns 11-6
AFC Wild Card 3 (record): Steelers 10-7
NFC East winner (record): Giants 9-8
NFC North winner (record): Packers 11-6
NFC South winner (record): Buccaneers 12-5
NFC West winner (record): Rams 11-6
NFC Wild Card 1 (record): Cardinals 10-7
NFC Wild Card 2 (record): Vikings 10-7
NFC Wild Card 3 (record): Seahawks 10-7
AFC champion (runner-up): Bills (Browns)
NFC champion (runner-up): Buccaneers (Rams)
Super Bowl champion (runner-up): Bills (Buccaneers)
Super Bowl MVP: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo
NFL MVP: Matthew Stafford, LA Rams
Offensive Player of the Year: Derrick Henry, Tennessee
Defensive Player of the Year: Chase Young, Washington
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyle Pitts, Atlanta
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Zaven Collins, Arizona
Comeback Player of the Year: Dak Prescott, Dallas
Coach of the Year: Mike Vrabel, Tennessee
No. 1 overall pick in 2022 draft: Malik Willis, Liberty
No. 2 overall pick in 2022 draft: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
No. 3 overall pick in 2022 draft: Derek Stingley, LSU
No. 4 overall pick in 2022 draft: Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
No. 5 overall pick in 2022 draft: Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma

Thomas Christopher

Jets predictions:

Final regular-season record: 6-11
AFC East finish: 4th
AFC playoff seed: None
Playoff record (team to knock them off): N/A
Team MVP: Zach Wilson
Offensive player of the year: Zach Wilson
Defensive player of the year: C.J. Mosley
Rookie of the year: Zach Wilson
Coach of the year: Robert Saleh
Most surprising player: Bryce Hall
Most disappointing player: Marcus Maye
Offensive yards NFL ranking: 24th
Defensive yards NFL ranking: 27th
Offensive points NFL ranking: 21st
Defensive points NFL ranking: 22nd
Offensive DVOA ranking: 19th
Defensive DVOA ranking: 21st
Special teams DVOA ranking: 18th
2022 first-round pick number: 6th
Pro Bowl players: Quinnen Williams
All-Pro players: None
Zach Wilson’s stat line (PYD, PTD, INT): 4391, 26, 16
Rushing yards leader: Ty Johnson
Receiving yards leader: Corey Davis
Receptions leader: Corey Davis
Sacks leader: Shaq Lawson
Tackles leader: C.J. Mosley
Interceptions leader: Bryce Hall

NFL predictions:

AFC East winner (13-4): Buffalo Bills
AFC North winner (14-3): Cleveland Browns
AFC South winner (12-5): Tennessee Titans
AFC West winner (15-2): Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Wild Card 1 (13-4): Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC Wild Card 2 (12-5): Baltimore Ravens
AFC Wild Card 3 (11-6): Las Vegas Raiders
NFC East winner (11-6): Washington Football Team
NFC North winner (13-4): Green Bay Packers
NFC South winner (14-3): Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC West winner (12-5): Seattle Seahawks
NFC Wild Card 1 (12-5): Los Angeles Rams
NFC Wild Card 2 (11-6): New Orleans Saints
NFC Wild Card 3 (11-6): Dallas Cowboys
AFC champion: Buffalo Bills
NFC champion: Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl champion: Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl MVP: Aaron Rodgers
NFL MVP: Lamar Jackson
Offensive Player of the Year: Alvin Kamara
Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Zach Wilson
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Micah Parsons
Comeback Player of the Year: Jameis Winston
Coach of the Year: Sean Payton
No. 1 overall pick in 2022 draft: Houston Texans
No. 2 overall pick in 2022 draft: New York Giants
No. 3 overall pick in 2022 draft: Jacksonville Jaguars
No. 4 overall pick in 2022 draft: Detroit Lions
No. 5 overall pick in 2022 draft: Cincinnati Bengals

Ian Roddy

Jets predictions:

Final regular-season record: 8-9
AFC East finish: 4th
AFC playoff seed: N/A
Playoff record (team to knock them off): N/A
Team MVP: CJ Mosley
Offensive player of the year: Corey Davis
Defensive player of the year: Quinnen Williams
Rookie of the year: Zach Wilson
Coach of the year: Robert Saleh
Most surprising player: Ty Johnson
Most disappointing player: Denzel Mims
Offensive yards NFL ranking: 18th
Defensive yards NFL ranking: 25th
Offensive points NFL ranking: 22nd
Defensive points NFL ranking: 26th
Offensive DVOA ranking: 23rd
Defensive DVOA ranking: 27th
Special teams DVOA ranking: 20th
2022 first-round pick number: 12th
Pro Bowl players: Quinnen Williams, CJ Mosley, Mekhi Becton
All-Pro players: Quinnen Williams
Zach Wilson’s stat line (PYD, PTD, INT): 3,700 passing yards, 24 passing TDs, 12 INTs
Rushing yards leader: Michael Carter
Receiving yards leader: Corey Davis
Receptions leader: Elijah Moore
Sacks leader: Quinnen Williams
Tackles leader: C.J. Mosley
Interceptions leader: LaMarcus Joyner

As new and exciting as this Jets team feels, it’s not realistic to expect such a young team to come out and be amazing right away. That being said, the Jets’ schedule is much easier than last year’s and I do expect Saleh and LaFleur to both be very good coaches. I think the Jets’ offense will, for the first time in a long time, be more effective than the defense. It’s not that the defense isn’t immensely talented, but the combination of an inexperienced cornerback room and the loss of the team’s top pass rusher in Carl Lawson just doesn’t seem to bode well.

The offense, however, will be pretty fun to watch. LaFleur’s system should set up Wilson for success and the team’s receiving core is better than it’s been in years. The season won’t be without low points, but it’s fair to expect a lot of high points as well. All we’re looking for is promise.

NFL predictions:

AFC East winner (record): Bills (13-4)
AFC North winner (record): Browns (12-5)
AFC South winner (record): Titans (12-5)
AFC West winner (record): Chiefs (14-3)
AFC Wild Card 1 (record): Chargers (12-5)
AFC Wild Card 2 (record): Ravens (11-6)
AFC Wild Card 3 (record): Patriots (10-7)
NFC East winner (record): Cowboys (10-7)
NFC North winner (record): Packers (14-3)
NFC South winner (record): Buccaneers (13-4)
NFC West winner (record): Rams (11-6)
NFC Wild Card 1 (record): Vikings (12-5)
NFC Wild Card 2 (record): 49ers (11-6)
NFC Wild Card 3 (record): Cardinals (10-7)
AFC champion (runner-up): Bills (Chiefs)
NFC champion (runner-up): Packers (49ers)
Super Bowl champion (runner-up): Packers (Bills)
Super Bowl MVP: Aaron Rodgers
NFL MVP: Patrick Mahomes
Offensive Player of the Year: Christian McCaffrey
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Najee Harris
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Micah Parsons
Comeback Player of the Year: Dak Prescott
Coach of the Year: Kyle Shanahan
No. 1 overall pick in 2022 draft: Texans
No. 2 overall pick in 2022 draft: Lions
No. 3 overall pick in 2022 draft: Bengals
No. 4 overall pick in 2022 draft: Eagles
No. 5 overall pick in 2022 draft: Jaguars

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder/Consultant: Elite Sports NY - ESNY. Email: robby.sabo@jetsxfactor.com

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