Jets predicted to finish in basement of AFC East at 5-12

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It’s been a rough 11 years for the New York Jets since 2011, missing the playoffs each season and finishing with a winning record just once. But now with Zach Wilson and a bevvy of young playmakers on the roster – including three first-round rookies – the Jets appear to be a team on the rise.

Nate Davis of USA TODAY (subscriber only) just doesn’t see them rising very much in 2022. Davis released his annual record predictions for each team and he has the Jets going 5-12, only one game better than last year’s record.

New York Jets (5-12): Easy to get excited about a draft that appeared to deliver four Round 1-caliber players (CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, WR Garrett Wilson, DE Jermaine Johnson and RB Breece Hall – even though the latter was picked atop the second round). But as improved as this roster seems, hard to predict the NYJ making up much ground in this division, especially if QB Zach Wilson can’t take a significant step forward following a disappointing rookie campaign.

Davis is spot on with his take of the Jets’ current situation heading into this season, given the excitement of young talent added to the roster this offseason. But it mostly comes down to one thing: the play of Wilson.

Wilson struggled as a rookie, throwing only nine touchdown passes compared to 11 interceptions. He only completed 55.6% of his passes, too, going 3-10 in his 13 games as the starter. But rookie quarterbacks are expected to struggle in the NFL, and Year 2 is when they typically improve noticeably.

Wilson needs better protection up front, which will hopefully come in the form of Mekhi Becton and George Fant on the edges, but Wilson himself must improve, too. There’s a good chance that if he’s an above-average quarterback in 2022, the Jets will finish close to .500 or better.

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