As soon as Aaron Rodgers stepped off the plane in New York, fans had some serious expectations for the Jets this season.
With the four-time MVP and both the offensive and defensive rookies of the year – the expectations are higher than ever.
But Jets fans have been let down in the past, so let’s dive into how the revamped offense and stalwart defense looked through the preseason and why American betting sites are actually listing the Jets in the top 10 to win the Super Bowl this year.
New York Jets vs. Cleveland Browns // L, 16-24
After sending Jets legends Darrelle Revis and Joe Klecko to the Hall of Fame, The Jets started off well with now-backup Zach Wilson making some decent plays, highlighted by a 57-yard toss to Malik Taylor.
Rookie RB Israel Abankianada had a solid first outing as a professional and scored the lone Jets TD of the night in the second quarter with a 10-yard run into the endzone. With most people looking to see how Breece Hall will look coming back from injury, Abanikanada showed some promise over his 9 carries of the night.
Fellow rookie Will McDonald IV also looked sharp in his debut as an edge rusher and will undoubtedly be a strong addition to one of the best defensive lines in the league. Twenty-five expected starters alongside Rodgers were rested for the game, which ended in a 16-21 loss after a late surge from the Browns in the second half.
New York Jets vs. Carolina Panthers // W, 27-0
A 27-0 blowout and utterly dominant preseason performance by the Jets was a huge relief after a rather lackluster preseason opener and was the largest shutout margin in franchise preseason history.
The Jets D held the Panthers to just 165 total yards and recorded 5 sacks (including the first from McDonald), a fumble recovery, and an interception to give the offense plenty of time on the field to rack up points. Quite the welcome for Panthers rookie QB Bryce Young.
Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight both had a few touches in the backfield and looked to be in good form, although Abanikanada took the lion’s share of touches and looked strong with a 4.7-yard per-carry average.
Even without their star players on the field, this is the outing Jets fans have been hoping to see for a while now, especially after the offense was limited to just a handful of yards in multiple games last season.
New York Jets vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers // L, 6-13
The second preseason loss for the Jets was a disappointing showing from the offense, though Zach Wilson did manage to look sharp again as he settled into the role of backup QB under Aaron Rodgers’ leadership.
It was a defensive battle through the whole game, but the three Jets turnovers (2 fumbles and one interception) compared to 0 from the Bucs ended up being enough for Tampa Bay to get the win. On the bright side, the O-line managed to protect both Wilson and Boyle for no sacks allowed, with the D-line adding 3 more sacks to the preseason tally.
Jason Brownlee showed up fighting for a spot on the final roster and ended the game with 50 receiving yards on 4 catches. Newly signed Jalyn Holmes put up two sacks and is just another defensive weapon the Jets can employ to pressure QBs this year.
New York Jets vs. New York Giants // W, 32-24
The Jets finished the preseason strong with a win over cross-town rivals as Aaron Rodgers stepped onto the field for the first time in a Jets uniform.
The buzz around Rodgers and Garrett Wilson has been on everyone’s mind, and it proved to be there with an incredible 14-yard touchdown throw. Most of Rodgers’ other throws were aimed at the star sophomore wideout.
The Giants looked to be catching back up through the second and third quarters. Still, the Jets’ defense was bolstered by a few starters getting some reps before the regular season, adding five more sacks, and putting points on the board following Brandin Echols’ 67 interceptions return.
Week 1: The Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football
It’s been a bit up and down through the preseason for the NY Jets, but there have undoubtedly been some exciting players to watch, both rookies and veterans.
The Jets take the field in their season opener against the Buffalo Bills, who have won the AFC East for the past three years, which gives them an incredible chance to set the tone for the season right away.
They managed to beat the Bills in one game last season.
With a retooled roster and some serious expectations with Aaron Rodgers, Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson, and Quinnen Williams leading the team, fans are hungry for success and ready to forget the last decade.
Photo: New York Jets