FLORHAM PARK, N.J.- Last season the Jets were on a five game winning streak heading into its week 17 road match-up against the Buffalo Bills. With a trip to the AFC wild card round on the line, the game was dubbed, "win and you're in," for Gang Green in order to make the postseason. But Ryan Fitzpatrick was intercepted by Bills linebacker A.J.Tarpley with 11 seconds left in the game, squandering the teams playoff hopes.
The Jets must put that heartbreaking 22-17 loss behind them and get off to a good start because this season, the Jets opponent's have a combined winning percentage of (0.531) which is tied with the Arizona Cardinals for the seventh toughest schedule in the NFL.
Getting off to a great start would be ideal for any team, and after a 5-5 start last season the Jets need to win early and often as five of its first six games are against teams that made the playoffs last season.
On September 11 the Jets kick off the season hosting the Cincinnati Bengals who went 12-4 last season and saw its defense give up only 17.4 points per game which was second best in the league. Residing out of the AFC North, the Bengals are no stranger to physical play and the Jets will play all four teams in that division this season. The Jets have an all-time record of 33-48 against the AFC North. This game will surely be a defensive struggle and the winner could have a slight advantage if both teams end up jockeying for playoff position late in the season.
Four days later, the Jets will travel to upstate New York and face the Bills in a Thursday night game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Division games are never easy, especially when you have a short week to prepare. But that shouldn't matter because these teams know each other quite well. Given how its season ended last year, the Jets will have extra motivation facing a division rival and a former head coach in Rex Ryan, who may give the Jets some bulletin board material leading up to the game.
Three of the Jets next four games are on the road. All four of the games are against teams that reached the playoffs last season. Those teams, in order, are the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Arizona Cardinals. Aside from the Chiefs, these teams have combined for seven Super Bowl appearances in the last decade.
But facing the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium will be a challenge. The last time the Jets visited Kansas City they suffered a 24-10 defeat in 2014. The Chiefs had only 15 turnovers last season which was second fewest behind the New England Patriots who had only 14 giveaways. The Jets had the second best rushing defense last year, which will bode for an interesting face-off against the Kansas City rushing attack led by four-time Pro Bowler and Fantasy Football phenom Jamaal Charles, who is coming off a knee injury.
Week 11 the Jets have a bye week before facing the Patriots, who have won seven consecutive division titles, on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium. We know how important this game will be. The Jets will need to beat the Patriots at least once, like they did last season, in order to snatch the AFC East crown from Tom Brady and company.
Marcus Reynolds is a staff writer for Jetsinsider.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Marcus_JRNL) or email (email@example.com)