The New York Jets have been searching for their franchise quarterback since Eric Mangini pushed out Chad Pennington for Brett Favre in 2008. Sam Darnold most recently joined Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith as QBs that failed to become the face of the franchise in the NFL's largest media market. New head coach Robert Saleh will look to Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick, to help Jets fans forget the past and embrace this new era.
The jump from BYU to the Big Apple will be an adjustment, but Wilson has been handling the transition with maturity. Time will tell if the Jets finally got the quarterback right, but they made good on their intent to set him up to success. Saleh brought over Mike LaFleur from the 49ers to modernize a unit that ranked last in the below offensive metrics.
Yards per play (4.7)
Passing yards per attempt (5.6)
Red zone TD scoring percentage (42.11)
Goodbye Gase, hello LaFleur
Saleh's determination to wipe the slate completely clean on offense is a breath of fresh air for New Yorkers. The Jets recognized the importance of getting Wilson adequate weapons to complement LaFleur's quarterback-friendly scheme. By acquiring former top-five pick Corey Davis, the Jets give Wilson a talented playmaker that can grow into a bonafide WR1. Rookie Elijah Moore and Denzel Mims can now grow into more complementary roles without pressure. Davis, Moore and Mims give LaFleur plenty of speed to execute his brand of offense. The Jets' commitment to improving the roster to match the scheme gives me confidence Saleh is steering the ship in the right direction.
In a world of instant gratification, it seems unfair to ask Jets fans to be patient. I expect the Jets to be much improved from their 2-14 campaign last season. The reality is the AFC East will be one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL. The Patriots' offseason spending spree showed their urgency to get back to the postseason. The Miami Dolphins are a young ascending team coming off a 10-win season. Even with a four-game improvement, it's possible the Jets could find themselves in last in the AFC East. If you think Saleh can strong-arm New York out of the cellar this season, you can bet the Jets will finish in 3rd place at +625.
There are better bets on the board if you want to bank on the Jets improving this season though. BetMGM offers betting options for every win total scenario. The Jets are the betting favorites in four games this year, but there are some situational spots on the schedule that could lead to some upset victories for New York.
The end of the season presents an opportunity to steal a game as well. NY's last two opponents in Weeks 16 & 17 are Tampa Bay and Buffalo. Coaches are becoming more injury-risk averse each year, so there is a possibility the Jets are playing an unmotivated team resting their starters.
Jets take flight to over 5.5 wins
I loved the Jets' offseason and I think they are building a strong foundation for the future. It's important to keep into perspective that Saleh inherited a two-win football team. I have the Jets rated as a six-win team with the possibility of hitting seven. The OL is still a work in progress and keeping Wilson clean in the pocket will be no easy task. The Jets' 8.1% adjusted sack rate was the fourth worst in the NFL. LaFleur's scheme will help but NFL games are won and lost on the line of scrimmage.
The odds are -150 for betting over 5.5 wins and +130 for over 6.5 wins. The odds imply roughly a 17% range in the probability between the two bets, demonstrating that 6-11 is the more likely outcome. If you are into taking longshots you can also wager on the exact amount of games the Jets will win. Working under the assumption that the Jets' ceiling is at 6-7 wins, those bets payout in the range of +600-700 and might be worth a small stake to complement your win total wager.