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What Needs To Go Right For Jets in 2016?

Eric Decker (AP Photo)

Eric Decker (AP Photo)

 

The difference between now and a year ago is remarkable for the New York Jets.

At this time last year, Ryan Fitzpatrick had already been named the starting quarterback by default after Geno Smith had his jaw broken from a punch by IK Enemkpali. And around this time last year, I wrote an article with my opinion of everything that had to go right for the Jets to win nine games and fight for a playoff spot. Well, a lot went right and they were one win away from 11 wins and a playoff berth.

But the past is the past. How about this season, what has to go right for the Jets to get over the hump and make the playoffs this year?

Perhaps the biggest thing – health. This goes for just about any team in the National Football League, but if the Jets lose Fitzpatrick to injury, they will be in big trouble. The Jets did not have many injury troubles last year with the exception of Chris Ivory missing one game, Muhammad Wilkerson getting injured in the final game, and Fitzpatrick briefly injuring his thumb. Other than those short term hiccups, the Jets were a healthy team last year. The only two major injuries on the team right now are Wilkerson, who is still getting his strength back after breaking his leg, and running back Matt Forte who has been recovering from a hamstring injury. But both players look like they will be ready for the season opener.

The second thing that has to go right this year is winning games they are supposed to win. Despite winning 10 games last year, the Jets dropped a few games that they should have won. It’s no secret going into this year the Jets have one of the toughest schedules in the league. But there are a few games on the schedule that are “must wins” because they don’t have many easy games. Those games include beating the Ravens, Browns, Rams, 49ers, Dolphins twice, and at least splitting with the Bills. If the Jets are able to win these games, that puts them at seven wins. Splitting with the Patriots would be ideal as well which would idealistically put the Jets at eight wins. The Jets will have to earn their way to ten wins from there.

Since this year’s team is almost identical to last year’s, there are a lot fewer question marks going into the season. There are also a few smaller things to watch as the year goes on like the special teams hopefully improving from last year, can Dee Milliner finally stay healthy, and how big of a contributor Matt Forte will be.

Entering this season, I think you have to be a lot more confident in this team than going into last year even though last year ended up being a really good year. There are only a few things stopping the Jets this year from making the playoffs. Even if the Jets get off to a slow start because of their tough schedule in the first few weeks, this team can still finish with nine or ten wins.

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