The New York Jets began the Robert Saleh era the same way they ended the Adam Gase era – with a loss. The Carolina Panthers beat the Jets 19 – 14 on opening day of the 2021 season. To rub salt in the wound, the Panthers’ first touchdown was scored on a 57 yard bomb from former Jets quarterback Sam Darnold to former Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson. The Jets made the score close with a late touchdown pass from Zach Wilson to Corey Davis, but it was too little, too late. How did the power rankings feel about this loss? Let’s find out.
28. New York Jets
Zach Wilson looked like a rookie quarterback in Week 1. He made some nice plays, but he was also sacked 6 times for 51 yards. The offensive line struggled, and they lost Mekhi Becton, which doesn’t give us much hope for improvement. New York only rushed the ball 17 times for 45 yards, which certainly won’t help their signal-caller in Year 1. The offense must carry this team because the defense doesn’t have enough talent to succeed.
29. New York Jets (0-1)
Last week: Loss at Carolina 19–14
Next week: vs. New England
The Jets were always going to have a difficult season, but the performance of recent free agent acquisitions like Corey Davis bode well for the future. This team should be solely focused on getting Zach Wilson out of 2021 without any kind of serious injury or developed tic from a constantly muddy pocket. Too many of the club’s passers were ruined through inept roster mismanagement. Joe Douglas feels like he’s cut from a different cloth, but time will tell. At the least, this is a punch-less offense that hangs with the ebbs and flows of a game. The Jets made this one close, which was more than you could say about them a year ago.
30. Jets (0-1)
A loss in the standings but a moral victory because quarterback Zach Wilson showed promise — and the rookie’s development is all this season should be judged upon. The Jets have to manage to keep Wilson healthy, however. And the complete lack of a rushing attack and an offensive line surrendering six sacks won’t help the cause.
31. New York Jets (0-1)
Top rookie: QB Zach Wilson
Wilson rallied from a shaky start and led two scoring drives in the second half to keep the Jets competitive in a 19-14 loss at the Panthers. He completed 20-of-37 passes for 258 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. It was a gritty, if not clean, performance. He held the ball too long at times, contributing to six sacks, but displayed the arm strength and improvisational skill that made the Jets fall in love with him during the pre-draft process. The Jets dressed nine rookies in Week 1 — Wilson was clearly the best.
28. Jets: Darnold’s NFL debut (Sept. 10, 2018) marked the NYJ’s last win in September. His Panthers debut marked the Jets’ 10th consecutive defeat in the month.
Well, I guess there’s been a little progress. Last year the Jets sat in last place in the power rankings for most of the year. This year they are at least out of the cellar for the time being. Baby steps.
With the obvious proviso that power rankings are stupid, unless they praise the Jets, in which case they’re awesome, what do you think? Where should the Jets rank in the NFL power rankings?