October 28, 2020

Will the New York Jets Really Go 0-16?

It should be no surprise that the J-E-T-S are B-A-D. 

Nearly halfway through their 2020 season, the New York Jets are sitting at 0-7, with a -118 point differential. The Adam Gase-led embarrassment hasn't even come close to winning a game through these first seven games. In fact, the Jets are the last remaining “defeated” team in the NFL.

In some games, the Jets look like one of the worst teams in NFL history. In other games, like their game last week against the Buffalo Bills, the Jets appear to be semi-competitive.

But semi-competitive won't be enough to avoid joining the NFL record books. 

Of the dozens of teams in NFL history to finish their season defeated, just two have gone 0-16. The 2008 Detroit Lions finished their season winless, making them the first non-expansion team to lose every game in a full season since World War II. The other team to finish without a victory was the 2017 Cleveland Browns. Their 0-16 season was part of a 19-game losing streak. 

With nine games to go, the Jets have plenty of chances to avoid joining the Browns and Lions as the only franchises to go 0-16. But will they? 

The Jets Struggle to Take Flight

Entering the season, the New York Jets had the second-toughest schedule in the NFL (.533), behind only the New England Patriots (.537). Through seven games, they have faced some tough opponents in the Bills (twice), 49ers, Colts and Cardinals. With nine games left, it doesn’t get any easier as they still have to face the Chiefs, Patriots (twice), Raiders, Chargers, Rams, Dolphins, Seahawks and the Browns.

In their seven losses thus far, only one of them ended in a one-possession game. That was last week when they lost 18-10 to Buffalo after leading 10-0 at one point. The Jets lost to San Francisco by 18, Indianapolis by 29, Arizona by 20 and Miami by 24. That -118 point differential is the worst in the league by a whopping 52 points. 

Aside from their eight-point loss to the Bills last week, the only other game where the Jets didn’t lose by double digits was their nine-point loss to Denver, who had backup quarterback Jeff Driskel playing.

Even sportsbooks are having a hard time projecting just how bad the New York Jets are. They started the season 0-6 against the spread before finally covering as 10-point underdogs against the Bills last week. Only the Dallas Cowboys (0-7 ATS) are worse against the spread than the Jets.

Forecasting the Rest of the Jets Season

Looking ahead to next week, the Jets are already 19.5-point underdogs against the Chiefs, by far the highest spread of the season so far. There is no doubt the Jets will be underdogs in every game for the rest of the season. 

Of the Jets remaining nine games, which clashes do the Jets have the best chance of pulling off an upset? 

Let’s first start by looking at the games that the Jets have absolutely no chance of winning:

  • Week 8 against the Chiefs
  • Week 14 against the Seahawks
  • Week 15 against Rams

Among the other six games remaining on their schedule, two are against the New England Patriots. This season, the Patriots are not what they have been in the past two decades as Tom Brady is now in Tampa Bay and Cam Newton is under center for Bill Belichick. While divisional games are typically tougher games, it is still hard to imagine this Jets team taking down a coach like Bill Belichick, even with a struggling team.

Their other divisional game to play is against the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins cruised by the Jets earlier this year 24-0. Now with the Dolphins moving to Tua Tagovailoa, despite a solid season from Ryan Fitzpatrick, it will be interesting to see if the team actually does improve or not. Regardless of Tua’s performance, he will have five weeks to improve before his meeting with the Jets. Also, the Dolphins could turn back to Fitzpatrick by then if the rookie passer does struggle. Either way, after a 24-point beatdown last meeting, the odds of the Jets taking down this rising Dolphins’ team are unlikely.

A Week 11 meeting with the Los Angeles Chargers will not be a fun one for the Jets, either. Justin Herbert is off to an excellent start to his rookie season and he has the Chargers at 2-4. However, the Chargers could easily be 6-0 as they lost to the Chiefs, Panthers, Buccaneers and Saints by a combined 18 points. This is a very good Chargers team that should have no issue destroying the Jets in a few weeks.

In Week 13, the Raiders come to town. Despite a record of 3-3, this Raiders team is a very solid unit. Derek Carr is off to arguably the best season of his career. The Raiders offense has proven to be potent and while their defense hasn’t been very good, a lot of that is due to the talented offenses they have faced. The Jets should be no problem for a Raiders team that will be fighting for a playoff spot in Week 13.

The second-to-last game of the season for the Jets will be against the Cleveland Browns. In past years, this would be a battle of the bottom feeders. This year, however, the Browns are off to a 5-2 start and right in the mix of the AFC playoff race. The Browns have an offense that is currently the best rushing team and 12th-highest scoring. In what will likely be a must-win for Cleveland in Week 16, don’t expect them to sleep on the Jets.

Will the Jets Win a Game?

Having Sam Darnold back as their starting quarterback instead of Joe Flacco does make this Jets team better. Also, moving on from a player like Le’Veon Bell is also a bonus. La’Mical Perine has looked solid in his limited appearances as he looks to earn a starting spot for next season. The Jets’ defense even looked decent last week against the Bills.

Despite all of these minor positives, there are just so many negatives for this team to overcome. While Darnold is an improvement over Flacco, that isn’t saying much. Darnold still is as turnover prone as any quarterback in the NFL and his accuracy is a concern. Having his number one target in Jamison Crowder constantly injured doesn’t help, either.

Other concerns about the offensive line, receiver depth and defensive issues can be discussed as well. In almost every aspect, there are issues for this Jets’ team. Perhaps the biggest liability for this team starts at the top with Adam Gase. Each week he continues to coach in New York is a disadvantage to the Jets.

The statistics sum it up well. Under Gase, the Jets are:

  • 31st in Total Offense (303.5 YPG)
  • Last in Passing Offense (171.3 YPG)
  • 21st in Rushing Offense (105.3 YPG)
  • Last in Points Scored (12.5 PPG)
  • Last in 3rd Down Conversion (30.2%)
  • 20th in Total Yards Allowed (387.2 YPG)
  • 23rd in Passing Yards Allowed (253.3 YPG)
  • 20th in Rushing Yards Allowed (125.5 YPG)
  • 29th in Points Allowed (30.8 PPG)

While the Jets might have a chance to beat one of their division rivals — such as the Patriots or Dolphins — as long as Gase is the coach, this team will go down as the third 0-16 team in NFL history. 

The silver lining for Jets fans is that Trevor Lawrence is the light at the end of the loooong tunnel. 

Photo: Getty Images