The New York Jets finished last in the AFC East in 2017, but they’ve made big changes this summer. Here are five bold predictions for the team in 2018.
The Jets have a long way to go if they’re going to close the gap with the New England Patriots in the AFC East. The chances of that happening in 2018 are pretty remote, but the Jets did work hard this summer to strengthen their team. In particular, the team’s investment on the defensive side of the balls should pay serious dividends this season.
Of course, all of the talk this offseason has been about the team’s quarterback room. Josh McCown played reasonably well last season as the starter and he’s back this year. New York signed Teddy Bridgewater on a one-year make good contract and he’s looked excellent this spring. Most importantly, the team spent a high draft pick on Sam Darnold and he looks ready to play. Darnold is definitely the quarterback of the team’s future, but there’s no guarantee he’s the signal-caller of the present.
The decision of who will throw the passes will go a long way towards determining how the Jets’ season goes, but there are a lot of other interesting storylines. We start this piece with a bold prediction about the team’s secondary.
5. The secondary will move up into the NFL’s top 10
Last season the Jets’ secondary gave up 198.9 yards per game. That placed them 24th in the NFL. Predictably, the team made big moves to correct this problem in the offseason.
Specifically, the team made big changes at the cornerback position. First, the Jets spent big to pry Trumaine Johnson away from the Rams. That contract drew criticism from a lot of fans and pundits, but he’s certainly an upgrade for Todd Bowles’ team on the field.
The team also made a late move to sign Morris Claiborne to play on the other side of the field. He never lived up to his draft status in Dallas, but a change of scenery should do him some good. Look for him to have a very productive year playing against the opponents’ second best receiver.
Combine the new corners with the team’s quality safety pairing of Jamaal Adams and Marcus Maye and it’s easy to see how this unit could really grow into a strength. Both second year safeties should improve significantly in year two.
Add it all up and this group is going to go from a weakness to a strength for the Jets. Expect a top-10 ranking in most categories by the end of the 2018 campaign.