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Let’s just get this out of the way now:
Hello DFO and Welcome to your 2016 New York Jets Team Preview!
(this concludes the portion of this preview that contains actual excitement)
So. The New York Jets. Or Jest, or New York Yets, or the North Jersey “Show Us Your Tits!” Unlicensed New Orleans Franchise. Or, the New York City supposed Football team that seemingly *can’t* beat the fucking Patriots when it damn well matters.
Also: the one not quarterbacked by a manchild football savant with a juice box fixation. Nope, instead we have the guy juuuuuuust good enough to get the fanbase’s hopes up, but also juuuuuuust shitty enough to miss the playoffs.
The Jets’ head coach is Bunny Colvin of The Wire, who feels that his post-Hamsterdam career should be an attempt at righting the ship Rex Ryan turned into the party boat from an early season of the Simpsons. You know, the one with the monkey knife fight. The Jets weren’t particularly *good* during the last four years of Ryan’s tenure, but they were fun in a “what will those kooky kids do next?” sort of way. For a little while, it seemed Bowles’ run would have a similar flavor when Geno Smith had his jaw broken over a $600 plane ticket.
But then Colv— I mean, Bowles— had to go and fuck it up and ship IKO Enemkpali to Buffalo, and a long, meaningful push toward mediocrity began. They would play well against opponents they had no business competing with, and lose to teams like the goddamn Eagles when they needed those fucking wins. Marshall & Decker would become the leading receiving duo in the League, and then take entire games off in order to help tame Fitz’s beard lice or some shit. The running game would explode one week, become decent the next, and then go off in search of Marshall & Decker the third week. A truly formidable defense would absolutely crush one team and then become a creampuff the following week. This was a team without an identity, or any manner of consistency.
In short, they were a tough team to defend to your friends, even the ones with losing records, because some of those teams only wins came against the fuckin Jets.
I could become all boring now (why change?) and list key departures (WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING, FERGUSON?!) and then wax ecstatic about the new guys coming in (when the most exciting thing to happen in your team’s offseason is the re-signing of a quarterback no other team wanted who still held out for more money, that’s a hard row to hoe), but instead, I think I’ll just take a look at the schedule and give you my predictions for how it’s all gonna shake out.
Here we go:
Episode 1 Cincinnati:
The Bowles Era begins each season with Ohio, it seems, which is fine, but I’d feel marginally better if this was Cleveland rather than Cincy. If the D gels by the opener, they may squeak by with a win here, but I think it’ll be a loss. Games until the Rise of Hackenberg: Undetermined.
Episode 2 @ Buffalo:
The week leading up to this game will be vastly more entertaining than the game itself, as the Ryans talk so much shit a new mountain range is founded in Western New York state. Fitz finally shuts them up, however, and the Jets go on to win this one. Hackenberg stays home for the game, outwardly supportive of his coaches’ decision.
Episode 3 @ Kansas City:
Andy Reid actually manages to figure out a two-minute drill, which completely shuts down an exhausted Jets D. While Marshall & Decker again have a great game, they are unable to put the Chiefs away early, and lose the game. Geno Smith begins a media campaign to become the starting QB, is immediately knocked out by New York Post Jets beat reporter Brian Costello. Sadly, he suffers no serious injury, and actually begins to look sympathetic.
Episode 4 Seahawks:
The entire team blitzes all game, but is wildly ineffective as they keep dogpiling on Pete Carroll, everyone screaming, “WHERE THE FUCK WAS THIS COACHING ABILITY WHEN YOU WERE HERE, COACH?!” Fitz begins trying to trim Mangold’s beard, unaware the center’s power is much like Samson’s, and all in his hair. Loss. Hackenberg makes inquiries about how to move up the depth chart.
Episode 5 @ Steelers:
Mangold emerges from the tunnel clean-shaven, and looks 75 pounds lighter. The Steelers defense runs right over him the entire game, but somehow the Jets pull off an upset here, if only so I can mock my Yinzer buddy and have some sliver of hope early in the season. No QB issues this week.
Episode 6 @ Cardinals:
If this were the St Louis Cardinals, I would say a win, easy, but Bowles has a hard time overlooking his affection for his old team and refuses to lay the smack down. On the other side, Arizona just wants Todd to do well, and they give one of the best jobs of throwing a game anyone has ever seen. Jets win, final score of 3-2. Mangold’s facial hair is coming back in, and he looks like a hall of famer again. Hackenberg is oddly quiet during his interviews, staring off into the distance, muttering, “soon… oh yes, very soooooon…”
Episode 7 Ravens:
Mo Wilkerson breaks Joe Flacco’s elite left leg in the sixth play of the game. Win. A quiet week on the QB front, although there are some tense responses when the backups are interviewed by various radio outlets the following week.
Episode 8 @ Browns:
RG III delivers one of the most powerful pre-game speeches ever from the confines of his wheelchair, the end result of his knees imploding weeks earlier in the season. Fitzpatrick, in solidarity, suffers a torn ACL in the fourth quarter. Geno comes in wildly underprepared, and plays to his usual level of suck. Loss.
Episode 9 @ Dolphins:
Geno Smith does the unthinkable: plays a complete game, and does well. Jets win, and every major New York media outlet begins to question their hatred of him for the past few years. Bowles gives a half-smile in the post-game presser when asked if he always knew Smith was capable of this level of play. Hackenberg’s mood darkens.
Episode 10 Rams:
The Jets host the homeless Rams, and win easily with Smith under center. Hackenberg’s plans come to a head, as Enemkpali is seen in the parking lot after the game, and Geno Smith is mysteriously hospitalized after a brutal beating.
Episode 11 Bye:
Straight up loss. Lord knows if anyone could find a way to lose to the bye, it would be the Jets.
Episode 12 Patriots:
Continuing with the fine tradition of the NYJ not being able to have nice things, here we see how the one team most likely to have some real benefit from playing New England while Brady is on the bench doesn’t get to play them until the bastard is back for 8 weeks and has found his rhythm again. As much as I’d like to see a win here, I predict bad things, and Bryce Petty will lead a daring second-half attempt at an interception record. Loss.
Episode 13 Colts:
The Fat Humps have no solution for the ferocious defense the Jets will begin to rely on here, as Petty throws for a Sanchez-esque number of interceptions. He plays just well enough to keep the starting job, however, and Hackenberg looks for another solution to his pine-riding dilemma.
Episode 14 @ 49ers:
The 49ers may not even have a team left at this point, what with their injuries and retirements. Hackenberg is named captain, walks out to flip the coin, is met by a 16 year old waterboy and two people from the San Francisco PR Department in Niners unforms, which empties their bench by a third. Win by forfeit.
Episode 15 Dolphins:
Petty plays an uncharacteristically mistake-free game, and dispatches Miami with ease. Hackenberg plays the majority of the 4th quarter, and likes it so much he refuses to leave the field after the game, instead making his line of second-stringers play long into the night against anyone who will stand opposite them, from the grounds crew, to drunken fans, and finally the security guards brought in to escort them out. Bowles begins to question his backup QB’s sanity.
Episode 16 @ Patriots (special extended episode, just to prolong my misery):
Because the New York Jets and the NFL want to give me the gift of unbridled rage for Christmas, they scheduled round two of this year’s matchup against New England *in* New England, for Christmas Eve. Fucking hell. Bowles gives Hackenberg a psych eval for Christmas. Loss.
Episode 17 Bills (double-length episode, with special appearances by Joe Namath, Suzy Kolber, and Keyshawn Johnson):
If this game matters for a playoff spot, it’s a loss for the Jets, because they hate me. If it doesn’t matter and they have no shot at making the playoffs no matter what, the Jets will demoralize Buffalo to the point the entire team begins a sad, slow march into the sea after the game, with the rest of that city following suit symbolically by walking into Lake Erie at the conclusion of the game. Petty gets the start, but comes down with severe food poisoning after a team dinner the night before while seated next to Hackenberg. Hackenberg takes the field, a chilling smile on his face. Bowles finally understands what has happened all season, but is unable to prove it. The season ends on a cliffhanger of Bowles confronting Hackenberg in a dark locker room, and as the screen fades to black, a loud bang is heard.
That’s how I see it, any way. Your take may be different, and involve things like “statistics,” and “matchups,” “facts,” and even “reality,” but I believe my season preview will be more entertaining than the stunning mediocrity we’ll probably be served up by New York again this season… but I have hope it’ll be different.