New York Jets 2020 Season in Review
Point Spread: 6-10
After trading away star safety Jamal Adams to the Seahawks in the offseason for two first rounders, and letting WR Robby Anderson walk away in free agency, it looked like the Jets were entering a rebuild in 2020. Quarterback Sam Darnold, entering his third season in 2020, was still unproven despite a solid rookie season in 2018.
Betting online odds pegged the Jets’ season wins at 6½ wins, while they were moonshots to win the Super Bowl. NFL Betting odds in the sportsbook listed them at +20000. Even with low expectations, I’m not sure anyone was prepared for the tragedy that was the New York Jets’ 2020 season.
It was a bad omen for the Jets’ season when they only managed to put up 37 points on the board in their first three games. Their offense looked completely toothless and defensively they certainly missed Adams. The Jets went 0-4 in the first quarter of the season without covering the spread once. Plus, they sported a league worst point margin of -66 through four games.
QB Sam Darnold looked all out of sorts with just three touchdown passes and four interceptions through four games. To make matters worse, Darnold injured his shoulder in a 37-28 loss to the Broncos in Week 4. Overall, it was a disastrous start to Adam Gase’s second season in charge.
Point Spread: 0-4
Unfortunately, things didn’t get better from here as the Jets dropped to 0-8 with Darnold missing Weeks 5 and 6. Just about the most positive thing you could say about the Jets through eight weeks betting-wise is that they covered the spread once against the Bills. They also managed more takeaways (10) than giveaways (9) but their defense was giving up nearly 30 points per game. It seemed like a matter of if, not when, Gase would be fired as the Jets season was completely lost even before the midpoint of the season. That point was driven home when Le’Veon Bell was released after Week 5.
New York’s offense was even worse here than it was at the start of the season. The Jets were shut out by the Dolphins 24-0 in Week 7, and scored a measly 29 points in this four games stretch. Gase was strangely relying on 37 year-old Frank Gore at running back while giving way fewer carries to younger backs in Ty Johnson and La’Mical Perine. Letting wide receiver Robby Anderson walk in the offseason proved to be a costly move.
Point Spread: 1-3
Total: Over-Under: 0-4
While the Jets were 0-8, the losses were getting more and more narrow. Darnold re-aggravated his shoulder injury, so former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco once again took over the offense for a few weeks. With him under the center, the Jets lost two games in a row but managed to cover the spread in both. Perhaps the Jets weren’t destined for a winless season after all.
But, the tragedy that ensued each and every week reached a climax in Week 13. The 0-11 Jets were leading the Raiders 28-24 at home with just 13 seconds remaining. The Raiders had a third and 10 on the Jets’ 46-yard line, and the Jets bizarrely decided to call an all out blitz. Raiders QB Derek Carr found WR Henry Ruggs in the end zone on a 46-yard hail mary to win the game and drop the Jets to 0-12. The Jets fired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams after the latest debacle, and there was a sense that Gase was next. Well, at least they covered the spread in three of these four games.
Point Spread: 3-1
Total: Over-Under: 3-1
At this point there were plenty of stories linking the Jets to drafting Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence with the number one pick in the draft before they even clinched it. An 0-16 season seemed more and more like a possibility each and every week. Especially so after a 40-3 loss to the Seahawks in Week 14 with the Rams, Browns, and Pats on the schedule.
The Jets came into their Week 15 matchup in Los Angeles against the Rams as 17½ point underdogs and with a moneyline of +960. Shockingly, New York beat the Rams 23-20 for its first win of the season. Things got even stranger when the Jets beat the Browns, 23-16, the week after. So, for two straight weeks the Jets prevented two eventual playoff teams from clinching playoff spots against them, after starting the season 0-12.
They’d lose the season finale 28-14 to New England to finish 2-14. However, the Jets managed to play themselves out of the number one pick, as the 1-15 Jaguars were the only NFL team with a worse record. Perhaps Darnold will live to see another day as Jets’ QB, but Adam Gase was fired after a horrible Jets’ season.
Point Spread: 2-2
Total: Over-Under: 1-3
Divisional Record: 0-6
Conference Record: 1-11
Full Season Grade: F
Looking Ahead to Next Season
Frankly, the Jets could benefit from upgrades at most positions. They had the worst offense in the league, gave up 28.6 points per game and were 27th in field goal percentage. Thankfully, the Jets have nine picks in the draft and could trade down from the number two pick to target more players.
Sam Darnold threw for just 2208 yards with 9 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 12 starts in 2020. It may be time to move on from him. The Jets could potentially use their second pick on BYU’s Zach Wilson and try to move Darnold. Certainly the blame for a terrible season doesn’t solely fall on Darnold’s shoulders. New York was a poorly coached team in 2020 who lacked playmakers on offense with a sub-par offensive line. The Jets could also use an upgrade to their pass rush, as just DT Quinnen Williams totaled more than 3½ sacks.
Robert Saleh, the former 49ers defensive coordinator, has his work cut out for him as Jets head coach. It might be a while before the Jets are competing again in an AFC East which looks like it’ll be dominated by the upstart Bills and Dolphins for the foreseeable future. The Jets have some pretty good players in Williams, WR Jamison Crowder, offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, safety Marcus Maye, and defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi. But, they could certainly use all of the depth they can get to rebuild a team that went 9-23 in two seasons under Gase.