The Jets will make the trip to Buffalo Sunday afternoon arguably to begin one of their most controversial seasons in their history. Questions and story lines will abound.
Will Josh McCown be the starter the entire season or will Christian Hackenberg take over? Will the Jets win more than three games? Will head coach Todd Bowles keep his job? Will there be more veterans traded? Is this a “tanked” season to draft USC quarterback Sam Darnold as the top overall pick? If so, will he come to the Jets?
Yet, there can be some positive storylines along the way.
Here’s a look at some interesting issues for the 2017 season as well as a look at the Jets-Bills.
RUNNING BACKS: The Jets could be thin here with only four backs, especially is oft-injured Matt Forte breaks down. Bilal Powell, who has done a great job catching passes out of the backfield, should have a breakout year. Eli McGuire was the surprise of the camp, and Marcus Murphy appeared to have a job locked down until he was cut late in camp. Fullback Julian Howsare was cut and then brought back.
WIDE RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS: This is an interesting lot. Robbie Anderson was ticketed as the team’s top receiver before the team traded for Jermaine Kearse.
Jeremy Kerley is back after being released by San Francisco and he will help on punt returns. Charone Peake, who emerged last season, was a disappointment in the preseason. Rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hanson will get their opportunities to make an impact.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be the starter after he serves his four-game suspension. Ex-Giant Will Tye will get his chance and rookie Jordan Leggett should see some time.
OFFENSIVE LINE: This will be one of the areas of great concern as the line was a constant shuffle during the preseason. Brandon Shell and Kevin Beachum will get the starts at tackles after they were well tested.
Brian Winters and James Carpenter must be consistent. The Jets do have nine linemen on the roster.
LINEBACKERS: This was the deepest area in camp, but there wasn’t a potential pro-bowler just depth. Darron Lee could emerge as an All-Star and Demario Davis could have a stong season after his return from Cleveland.
Julian Sanford, Bruce Carter, and recent waiver pickup Edmond Robinson from Minnesota round out a solid six. Rookie camp sensation Dylan Donahue will look to develop as a pass rusher.
SECONDARY: The spotlight will be on rookie safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. They both have shown plenty of signs to have outstanding seasons, and both should be fun to watch.
Cornerbacks Buster Skrine and Raymond Claiborne will need to stay healthy and prove their mettle throughout the year.
BUFFALO: Like the Jets, the Bills have are in a rebuilding mode and have jettisoned some familiar faces. Buffalo has been a tough place to play for the Jets, hence their loss there last season that cost them a playoff bid. There will be plenty of youth on both sidelines, including first-year Bills head coach Sean McDermott.
The Jets should be able to stop “Shady” McCoy on the ground, but the cornerbacks will be tested by wider receiver Charles Clay, who has badly burned the Jets in the past.
If McCown can effective run the West Coast offense with short passes down the field and Forte and Powell are an effective one-two punch, the Jets will put points on the board. They will also need some points from kicker Chandler Catanzaro.
If the Jets defense plays well, they will have a great shot to capture a win.