The New York Jets are poised to be prime-time darlings on the NFL’s 2023 schedule
The arrival of Aaron Rodgers has made the New York Jets an attractive product for the NFL’s broadcast partners.
New York is already confirmed to be hosting two prime-time games (a Monday Night Football season-opener against Buffalo and a Black Friday contest against Miami), and when the league’s full 2023 schedule drops tonight at 8 p.m. ET, the expectation is that the Jets will be featured in many more nationally-televised windows.
Here are four more prime-time matchups I’d love to see on the Jets’ schedule.
Jets @ Giants (Thursday Night Football)
The Jets and Giants have played each other 14 times throughout history (the Giants lead the series 8-6), yet none of those games were under the prime-time spotlight. It’s somewhat surprising considering the easy storylines provided by the matchup, but it’s also understandable considering the limited national appeal – a Jets-Giants game only draws in viewers from one media market (granted, it’s the country’s biggest market by far).
Now is the perfect time for the first-ever Jets-Giants game on prime-time.
Big Blue is coming off a surprising season in which the franchise earned its first playoff victory in 11 years, led by a breakout season from Daniel Jones and a fantastic new head coach in Brian Daboll. Meanwhile, the Jets are among the league’s top Super Bowl favorites led by Aaron Rodgers. It’s the first time in a while that both New (Jersey) York teams enter a season with legitimate hopes of a deep playoff run.
Many fans are expecting the NFL to schedule Jets-Giants for Monday Night Football in Week 1, as it falls on September 11. I could definitely see that happening, but I would prefer for the Jets to start their season with a Sunday afternoon home game against a more low-key opponent such as Houston or Atlanta. Rather than jumping directly into the limelight, I think the Jets would benefit from an opportunity to build some momentum before stepping onto the grand stage.
Plus, for Week 1 of the most-anticipated Jets season in over a decade, I would love to see MetLife Stadium filled with 100% Jets fans (as opposed to playing a team like Kansas City or Philadelphia that has a great traveling fanbase and will fill a significant portion of the seats). It’s going to be a completely filled stadium, so I want every seat to be filled with a Jets fan. Give me the Texans or Falcons in Week 1 and let’s see how loud MetLife can get with a packed house of Jets fans. We haven’t seen 100% capacity at a Jets game (without the help of a strong road fanbase) in eons.
A Thursday night slot makes sense for Jets-Giants, as the effects of the short week can be mitigated by the lack of travel required for both teams.
Chiefs @ Jets (Monday Night Football)
This matchup is all but a lock to be featured on prime-time, as we are yet to see a duel between Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers despite their teams facing each other twice over the past four seasons.
The Packers and Chiefs have met up twice since Patrick Mahomes took the reigns, and both times, one of the two quarterbacks missed the game due to injury. Mahomes missed the 2019 game while Rodgers missed the 2021 game. The league will almost certainly want to take another crack at having Mahomes-versus-Rodgers on national television.
I would like to see this matchup on Monday night, and here’s why: It would be fascinating to hear what Peyton and Eli Manning have to say about it on the ManningCast. Two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks watching a duel between two other Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks would make for some juicy television.
Rodgers-versus-Mahomes is not the only intriguing head-to-head matchup Chiefs-Jets would offer. Two of the league’s most destructive defensive tackles would try to outduel each other: Chris Jones and Quinnen Williams. The Jets’ ocean-deep defensive line will battle against a stacked Chiefs offensive line. Sauce Gardner will surely get some reps against Travis Kelce.
Patriots @ Jets (Sunday Night Football)
The Jets have not played on Sunday Night Football since they hosted the Patriots in Week 10 of the 2011 season, a 37-16 defeat. It would be fitting for New York to return to the NBC spotlight with the same matchup.
Even more fitting would be for the Jets’ SNF return to feature an opportunity to snap a 14-game losing streak against New England. For that reason, I’d like to see this game scheduled prior to the Jets’ road game against the Patriots.
Jets @ Raiders (Monday Night Football)
There are a lot of enticing road matchups on the Jets’ schedule. The Broncos could be interesting, featuring Nathaniel Hackett’s return to Denver, Rodgers-versus-Russell Wilson, and the looming storyline of Denver’s apparent pursuit of Rodgers one year ago. It goes without saying that Rodgers in Jerry’s World would also draw eyeballs.
But I’m going to take the Jets-Raiders matchup here.
Rodgers looks for revenge against Jimmy Garoppolo, who ended Rodgers’ season in 2019 and 2021 (although Jimmy had little to do with it, throwing 27 total passes across the two games). Additionally, Rodgers squares off with his former No. 1 receiver, Davante Adams, for the first time. Seeing Adams and Garrett Wilson on the same field would be a delight – as would watching Adams go toe-to-toe against Sauce Gardner.
Not to mention, there’s the underlying storyline of the Raiders’ rumored consideration of pursuing Rodgers in the 2023 offseason.
These week 1&2 divisions games just plain have to stop. There is no reason for any team to play a division game until week 3…none. You have new players, coaches etc and teams that are adjusting have to jump in to a week 1 division game? There is no need. The Jets could have easily opened on Monday Night against the Cowboys and may have been a better TV draw.
They also have to stop playing division games on the last week of the season. It blows a potential rivalry game, if a team has their playoff position locked up. It happened in several contests last year, like Philly/Giants, it becomes a scrub game.