With the 2011 season coming to a disappointing end, the New York Jets are now forced to move forward.
The focus now is on the offseason, and finding the fixes needed to get back into contention in 2012.
This week NFL announced 2012 regular season opponents for all 32 teams, and although an actual schedule has not been finalized, we now know who the Jets will play against next season.
As usual, the Jets will have six games against their division rivals, one home and one away against the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.
Every NFL team faces a division rival in Week 17, and it’s a very real possibility that the Jets will face the Patriots in Week 17 next season. They faced Buffalo in 2010 and Miami in 2011.
The NFL also has a scheduling formula that has certain divisions play one division from each conference per year. In 2012, the Jets will play the AFC South and the NFC West.
The AFC South, which was won by the Houston Texans in 2011, consists of the Texans, the Indianapolis Colts, the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
In 2012, the Jets will host home games the Texans and Colts at MetLife Stadium in New York, and they’ll travel to Tennessee and Jacksonville for the other two AFC South games.
In 2010, the NFC West became the first division in NFL history to have every team in the division finish with a losing record, as the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks were granted a home playoff game and actually won it.
But in 2011, the San Francisco 49ers emerged as a powerhouse, winning 13 games and earning a first-round bye under rookie head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Arizona Cardinals also improved, finishing 8-8.
The Jets will host the 49ers and the Cardinals in 2012, and they will go on the road to face the Seahawks and the St. Louis Rams.
For the remaining two games on the schedule, each NFL team plays one opponent each from the other two divisions in their conference, a team that finished in the same place in the standings.
Since the Jets finished second in the AFC East, and they are playing all four teams in the AFC South, they will face the 2011 second place finishers in the AFC West and the AFC South.
That would be the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively. The Jets will host the Chargers and go on the road to face the Steelers.
So to recap, the Jets will have 2012 home games against the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, and San Diego Chargers.
The Jets will go on the road to face the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The actual order of the games and the dates and times will be revealed when the NFL releases its official 2012 schedule in a few months.