Sam Darnold. Sam Darnold. Sam Darnold. Sam Darnold. Sam Darnold.
Well, now that I got that out of the way. There are 52 other players on the Jets roster other than the rookie quarterback who everyone is raving about. Unless you are Aaron Rodgers, it takes more than just a QB to win for a team.
The problem is that the Darnold mania has completely made us all look over the fact that this team just doesn't have enough talent to sniff the playoffs. This season will ultimately be about watching Darnold and hoping the hype is valid and that he does become the franchise QB for years to come. It won't happen overnight, especially with the lack of playmakers he has around him. The Jets finished 5-11 last season with a pretty bad roster and improved a bit in the offseason, but not by much.
First off, the Jets once again continue to fail to address the tight end position. Rookie QBs like to throw to tight ends as a safety net, and the Jets enter the season with some question marks at the position. Eric Tomlinson? Jordan Leggett? Neal Sterling? Chris Herndon? You can't have any confidence in any of those guys. This team really needs to get Darnold a top-tier tight end next offseason because this is a who's-on-first situation if I ever saw one.
He doesn't have any Antonio Brown-like receivers, either. Jermaine Kearse is hurt to open the season. Robby Anderson is their No. 1 receiver right now, and he wouldn't be the top guy for almost any other team. Terrelle Pryor has potential but can never stay healthy for an entire season. Quincy Enunwa is their next top option, and he isn't going to be a big-play receiver down the field.
The running game will be a mix of Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell for the most part. Powell has been a solid player but isn't a power back. Crowell has been wildly inconsistent in his time with the Browns. The Jets don't truly have that guy on third- or fourth-and-short who you can pound the rock up the middle with to get a first down. Every team needs one of those backs. They just aren't giving Darnold any superstar playmakers to make it easier for him.
Not to mention, this offensive line made almost no changes in the offseason outside of adding Spencer Long. They allowed the seventh most sacks in the NFL last season and didn't get better. That is quite alarming when you already lack dynamic running backs. Darnold is going to have to get rid of it quick and scramble around a lot more than he is accustomed to, which also could lead to an injury. The only positive with the guys up front is that they do have veterans in Long, Brian Winters, James Carpenter and Kelvin Beachum. The Jets badly will need to address the O-line next offseason.
On the defensive side, there aren't a ton of issues. They won't have a ton of sacks, but the addition of Trumaine Johnson helps the secondary a lot. Jamal Adams now has a year under his belt and will continue to improve this season. Avery Williamson gives them a tackling machine at linebacker, after recording 92 of them with the Titans last year. Leonard Williams will continue to pioneer the guys on the D-line. The Jets' defense should be solid if the offense doesn't keep them on the field the whole game.
TAKE THE QUIZ: Which Jets Player Are You Most Like?
Special teams continues to get overlooked. The Jets go into their opener with Jason Myers as their kicker. That shouldn't ooze confidence into a single person, considering his struggles in Jacksonville. The Jets will be settling for a lot of field goals, and not having a great kicker may come back to bite them. Coach Todd Bowles will have some more headaches this season, but the hope is that he does indeed have the answer at QB.
Let's take a look at the 2018 Jets schedule, predict how each game will turn out and see where their final record will end up.
Week 1 @ Detroit Lions: LOSS (0-1) Going to Detroit and Darnold making his debut. It won't be an easy task.
Week 2 vs. Miami Dolphins: WIN (1-1)The Jets usually play well in their home opener, and the Dolphins just aren't very good.
Week 3 @ Cleveland Browns: WIN (2-1)This is a tougher pick than usual to make because the Browns are much improved, but the Jets should win a tight one.
Week 4 @ Jacksonville Jaguars: LOSS (2-2)The Jags' defense will come at Darnold all day long and force him into bad decisions.
Week 5 vs. Denver Broncos: LOSS (2-3)The Broncos' defense will give the Jets fits.
Week 6 vs. Indianapolis Colts: WIN (3-3) The Colts are much improved with Andrew Luck back but still have too many holes.
Week 7 vs. Minnesota Vikings: LOSS (3-4)The battle of Darnold and big-money Cousins won't end in the Jets' favor ... at least this year.
Week 8 @ Chicago Bears: LOSS (3-5)The Bears are much improved from last season and ... Khalil Mack.
Week 9 @ Miami Dolphins: WIN (4-5)Won't buy into Ryan Tannehill.
Week 10 vs. Buffalo Bills: WIN (5-5)The Bills might just be the worst team in the NFL.
Week 11: BYE
Weel 12 vs. New England Patriots: LOSS (5-6)The Patriots are the cream of the crop in the division ... again.
Week 13 @ Tennessee Titans: LOSS (5-7)The Titans aren't light years better than the Jets, but give them the edge here at home.
Week 14 @ Buffalo Bills: WIN (6-7)Josh Allen will continue to prove that he isn't very good but better than Nathan Peterman (as every QB ever is).
Week 15 vs. Houston Texans: LOSS (6-8)This was a tossup with the Jets at home, but expect Deshaun Watson to be back in business this year.
Week 16 vs. Green Bay Packers: LOSS (6-9)Aaron. Rodgers.
Week 17 @ New England Patriots: LOSS (6-10) Even if the Patriots rest their starters, they still find ways to win in Week 17, as they may be fighting for the top seed.
FINAL RECORD: 6-10