New York Jets 2023 season preview and predictions
This appeared in the original VSiN NFL Betting Guide released on June 29, 2023.
Dave Tuley: The Jets had a roller-coaster of a 2022 season. Despite having one of the worst offenses in the NFL, they had one of the best defenses that carried them to a 7-4 record and looked like a playoff team. Then, they lost their last six games to finish 7-10. The consensus was they were a quarterback away from being a legit contender, so they traded for Aaron Rodgers. DraftKings has them as the +270 second-choice (behind the Bills) to win the AFC East, the 11-1 co-fourth choice (with the Dolphins and Ravens) to win the AFC and 18-1 to win the Super Bowl with an Over/Under Season Win Total of 9.5.
Despite the strong start to last season, the Zach Wilson experiment failed, and the Jets also tried Mike White and Joe Flacco to turn the offense around. Only Flacco had more TDs than INTs, and that was 5-3. The Jets were held without a touchdown in their last three games (15 points total) to finish at 17.4 points per game (ranked No. 29 in the league).
There was talent on the offensive side of the ball, so Rodgers is expected to right the ship. Despite the poor QB play, Garrett Wilson led the team with 83 catches for 1,103 yards to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Corey Davis also returns, plus the Jets added former Packers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb to make Rodgers comfortable, as well as Mecole Hardman Jr. from the Chiefs.
RB Breece Hall was contending with Wilson for Offensive Rookie of the Year with 463 rushing yards and an impressive 5.8 yards per carry in just seven games before suffering a season-ending ACL injury in October. If he returns as expected, the Jets will again have a solid 1-2 combo with Michael Carter to take pressure off Rodgers.
The Jets’ defense allowed just 18.6 points per game (ranked No. 2 in the league) and only 311.1 yards (No. 4), so they deserved to have a better record. A lot of the hype went to rookie CB Sauce Gardner as he won Defensive Rookie of the Year, but it was truly a group effort.
Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams led the team with 12 sacks and joined Gardner as first-team All-Pro selections. Linebacker C.J. Mosley led the team with 158 total tackles (99 solo) to make the second team. All three are still under contract, and it’s scary to think that the defense could be even better if Rodgers and the offense can keep them off the field more this season.
The Jets might have the best defense in the NFL, and the offense should definitely be improved, assuming Aaron Rodgers can hold off Father Time. The problem with finding a way to bet on the Jets is we’re still unsure if they can close the gap on the Bills in the AFC East. If they’re destined for a wild-card spot, that’s a tough road for AFC or Super Bowl futures. The best play is probably on the Jets Over 9.5, though DraftKings has it juiced at -130, so look for a cheaper price. If you believe they can get to 11 wins, the better bet might be to find an Over 10 at plus-money. Over 9.5.
This appeared in the Updated VSiN NFL Betting Guide released on August 31, 2023.
Michael Lombardi: Remember in the board game Monopoly, when you landed on Chance and pulled the card that said, “Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect 200 dollars?” The 2023 version of “Jets Monopoly” doesn’t include a jail card. It includes a Super Bowl card: “Do not worry about the regular season, do not worry about the playoffs, go directly to the Super Bowl.”
Everyone, the Jets included, believes they have what it takes to win it all as a team. Getting Aaron Rodgers this off-season changed the conversation for the Jets. They went from wondering about whether Zach Wilson is a starter to believing their team is not good but great. And with Rodgers playing more like 2021 than 2022, the Jets could be correct with their assessment. However, not to be a “Debbie Downer,” the Jets under head coach Robert Saleh have only won two AFC East games in two years and lost seven of their last eight games. Their defense is good. But how good? Well in those last eight games of the season, they only forced two turnovers, which signals good-not-great play. However, with Rodgers, they can expect to play from in front, something that rarely happened last season, which will highlight their pass rush and create turnovers.
As with most teams competing for a Super Bowl run, their success is tied to the play of their quarterback, and in the brief view of Rodgers this summer, it appears as if he is more like the 2021 version than 2022. This is great news for those playing in the Jets Monopoly board game.
Player to Watch: WR Randall Cobb
There is no question that Garrett Wilson is the WR1 for the Jets, but Cobb might already be the WR2 over Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman Jr. Cobb was getting a lot of reps as the preseason went along and the Jets reportedly value his run-blocking skills quite a bit. The obvious connection between Rodgers and Cobb factors in here as well, especially since Rodgers basically handpicked he and Lazard in free agency after joining the Jets. The 12-year vet had 89 targets in 25 games with the Packers over the last two seasons and he may emerge as a trusted red-zone option when teams focus more on Wilson. – Adam Burke
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