Aidan Hutchinson, Jets, NFL Draft, 2022
Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan Wolverines, New York Jets, Getty Images

Rooting guide for New York Jets fans aiming for better draft position

With three games left in the 2021 regular season, the New York Jets are 3-11 and in possession of the fourth overall pick of the 2022 NFL draft.

Here is how the top of the draft looks as of Dec. 21, 2021:

  1. Jacksonville (2-12, .508 strength of schedule)
  2. Detroit (2-11-1, .534 SOS)
  3. Houston (3-11, .496 SOS)
  4. NY Jets (3-11, .502 SOS)
  5. NY Giants via Chicago (4-10, .528 SOS)
  6. NY Giants (4-10, .532 SOS)
  7. Carolina (5-9, .504 SOS)
  8. NY Jets via Seattle (5-8, .515 SOS)

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This means it’s time to bring back an annual tradition for Jets fans – rooting for teams that can help move the Jets up the draft board.

Of course, while a select few fans may be on the “tanking” train – going so far as to root for Jets losses to help them climb the draft board – most fans would likely prefer to still root for the Jets themselves to pull out victories.

Regardless of whether you are a pro-tank fan or an anti-tank fan, it makes sense to keep track of the outcomes around the league that could benefit the Jets’ fortunes.

Here is a list of things that would benefit the Jets over the last three weeks of the season (and including the Tuesday night games to come that will wrap up Week 15):

  • Wins by Jacksonville, Detroit, and Houston – Can help the Jets move up the board (only 1.0 game separates Jets from Jacksonville in the No. 1 slot)
  • Wins by Chicago and the NY Giants – Can help the Jets avoid falling down the board (both teams are only 1.0 game back of the Jets)
  • Losses by any team on the Jets’ schedule – Will lower the Jets’ overall strength of schedule (SOS – the combined record of all 17 teams on a team’s schedule), helping them win tiebreakers (draft tiebreakers are awarded to the team with the weaker SOS)
  • Wins by any team on Jacksonville and Houston’s schedules – Would raise the SOS of those teams to help the Jets win potential tiebreakers against them. (Detroit’s SOS technically matters as well, but since Detroit has a tie, it’s highly unlikely the Jets tie them in the standings)
  • Losses by Seattle – The Jets own Seattle’s first-round pick, so any loss by Seattle helps move the selection up the board
  • Losses by Carolina – The Jets own Carolina’s second-round pick, so any loss by Carolina helps move the selection up the board

With these goals in mind, here are all of the outcomes that Jets fans should root for over the rest of the season (not including Jets losses – how you choose to root for the Jets is your decision):

Week 15 (Tuesday)

  • @LA Rams over Seattle (SEA loss)
  • Washington over @Philadelphia (Lowers SOS of NYJ)

Week 16

  • Chicago over @Seattle (SEA loss + CHI win)
  • @Houston over LA Chargers (HOU win)
  • Tampa Bay over @Carolina (CAR loss + lowers SOS of NYJ)
  • Detroit over @Atlanta (DET win + lowers SOS of NYJ)
  • Baltimore over @Cincinnati (Lowers SOS of NYJ)
  • @Las Vegas over Denver (Lowers SOS of NYJ)
  • @Arizona over Indianapolis (Lowers SOS of NYJ)
  • @Tennessee over San Francisco (Raises SOS of JAX and HOU)
  • LA Rams over @Minnesota (Raises SOS of JAX and HOU)
  • Cleveland over @Green Bay (Raises SOS of HOU)
  • NY Giants over @Philadelphia (Lowers SOS of NYJ + NYG win)

Week 17

  • Detroit over @Seattle (SEA loss + DET win)
  • Jacksonville over @New England (JAX win + lowers SOS of NYJ)
  • Houston over @San Francisco (HOU win)
  • @New Orleans over Carolina (CAR loss)
  • @Washington over Philadelphia (Lowers SOS of NYJ)
  • Kansas City over @Cincinnati (Lowers SOS of NYJ)
  • Atlanta over @Buffalo (Lowers SOS of NYJ)
  • Cleveland over @Pittsburgh (Raises SOS of HOU)
  • @LA Chargers over Denver (Lowers SOS of NYJ + Raises SOS of HOU)
  • @Dallas over Arizona (Raises SOS of JAX and HOU)
  • @Tennessee over Miami (Lowers SOS of NYJ + Raises SOS of JAX and HOU)
  • @Indianapolis over Las Vegas (Raises SOS of NYJ, JAX, and HOU, but a bigger increase for JAX and HOU than NYJ since they play IND twice)

Week 18

  • @Detroit over Green Bay (DET win)
  • @Houston over Tennessee (HOU win)
  • @Jacksonville over Indianapolis (JAX win)
  • @Arizona over Seattle (SEA loss)
  • @Tampa Bay over Carolina (CAR loss)
  • @NY Giants over Washington (NYG win)
  • Chicago over @Minnesota (CHI win)
  • Dallas over @Philadelphia (Lowers SOS of NYJ)
  • Kansas City over @Denver (Lowers SOS of NYJ)
  • @Atlanta over New Orleans (Raises SOS of JAX)
  • @Las Vegas over LA Chargers (Raises SOS of HOU)
  • @Cleveland over Cincinnati (Raises SOS of HOU + Lowers SOS of NYJ)

There you have it: the full list of 37 non-Jets games that can have an impact on the future of the Jets. Happy rooting!

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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barzana
barzana
9 months ago

Great analysis. One thing to keep in mind that while losses by Panthers help the Jets own pick, at least one win by the Panthers is desirable so it improves the Seahawks 1st rd pick which belongs to the Jets. As per tankathon, Panthers currently at sit at 7 with a SOS of .504 while Seahawks are at 8 with a SOS of .517. Panthers need at least one more win over whatever the Seahawks get over the past three weeks.

Now with all that being said, Panthers have two games against Bucs and Seattle still has a game against Detroit – so might all be a moot point.

barzana
barzana
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

Hard to say with how the rounds play out, but I’m sure one draft position in the top 10 is worth more than 2 to 3 draft positions in the 2nd round. Either way, there may be a silver lining there. Love your work man.

DHB
DHB
9 months ago

Definitely not pro-tank this year. Last year’s win against the Rams was one of the most demoralising results I’ve experienced in 35 years of following the Jets. With a viable (franchise?) QB in place I just want wins, progress and development.