6 takeaways from the Jets’ 2021 regular season schedule

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The 2021 NFL season is slowly but surely approaching.

The league announced its first-ever 17-game regular season schedule on Wednesday and it features plenty of interesting twists and turns — especially for the Jets. Between a trip to London, consistent start times and some home cooking toward the end of the season, New York’s 2021 schedule is one of its most interesting in recent history for a bevy of reasons.

Let’s break down Gang Green’s slate with six takeaways from the schedule announcement.

Not much spotlight

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Going 2-14 makes it tough to land primetime games the following season. That rang true when the 2021 schedule was released, as the Jets won't spend too much time in the spotlight in Robert Saleh's first season as head coach. New York was granted just two premium games: Week 5 against the Falcons in London and Week 9 on the road against the Colts on Thursday Night Football. Gang Green's trip to London to take on Atlanta is not a traditional primetime matchup, as kickoff is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. EST. It is easy to understand why the NFL looked elsewhere for most of its primetime matchups. The Jets simply did not make for good television last season. The hope is that changes with Saleh now in charge and an influx of talent arriving in the Big Apple over the offseason.

Reunions aplenty

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Many of New York's new players are slated for a reunion with their former team in 2021, as eight are scheduled to take on their former employer. Corey Davis will play against the Titans for the first time in his career in Week 4, while Tevin Coleman will see the Falcons in London the following weekend. Carl Lawson will face off against the Bengals in Week 8 and so will Tyler Kroft, who is also due for a reunion with the Bills in Weeks 10 and 18. Vinny Curry will exchange pleasantries with the Eagles in Week 13 and the Buccaneers in Week 17, while Justin Hardee and Sheldon Rankins will see the Saints from the opponent's point of view in Week 14. Keelan Cole plays the Jaguars in Week 16. The Jets will also be on the receiving end of multiple reunions in their own right, most notably Sam Darnold against the Panthers in Week 1.

Early starts

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Thirteen of the Jets' 17 games are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EST, a far cry from a 2020 season that featured numerous west coast starts and nighttime matchups. New York's abundance of early starts could potentially lead to a consistent routine. Athletes are creatures of habit and football players are no different. Suiting up at the same time on most Sundays might not seem like a big deal, but it could be to some in the locker room at One Jets Drive.

Home cooking at the end

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The end of an NFL season is always a grind and in 2021, the Jets will benefit from playing in friendly confines at the end of the year. Six of New York's final nine games are slated to be played at MetLife Stadium. That stretch features two divisional home games against the Bills and Dolphins, as well as home matchups against the Eagles, Saints, Jaguars and Buccaneers. The back end of the Jets' schedule is the toughest stretch the team will face all season, making playing at home all the more important -- especially if MetLife Stadium is back at full capacity by the winter.

Soft start

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Wins were hard to come by for the Jets last season, but they'll have a legitimate chance to get off to a good start in 2021 thanks to a soft early portion of their schedule. Six of New York's first seven opponents did not make the postseason last year and combined to go 32-63-1. The Panthers, Patriots, Broncos, Falcons and Bengals all figure to be improved to some degree in 2021, but opportunity is certainly calling the Jets' name to begin the new season.

New England early

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A healthy dose of Bill Belichick and the Patriots is on deck for the Jets early in 2021, as they will host New England at home in Week 2 before traveling to Gillette Stadium to conclude their season series with the Patriots in Week 7. Playing a team as well-coached and apt at making adjustments in just over a month's time is never ideal, but the Jets will have to make due. Like it or not, Saleh will be introduced to New York's rivalry with New England in short order in 2021.

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