<
>

ESPN's NFL Nation 2017 forecast: 'Sam' old Jets ... only worse

After the schedule is released and the game-by-game predictions are posted, it's always a fun exercise to see how the New York Jets are viewed around the league. After checking out the forecasts from ESPN colleagues, the best conclusion that can be drawn is this:

Sam Darnold should start looking for a place to live in New Jersey.

Our ESPN crystal ball says the rebuilding Jets are headed toward 1-15, which almost certainly would secure the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft. If the USC quarterback decides to turn pro, he'd be a strong candidate to be the top pick -- or at least that's what talent evaluators are saying now.

You can almost hear the "Suck for Sam" rumblings getting louder and louder.

Based on the game-by-game predictions from reporters covering the Jets' opponents, Todd Bowles' team will stumble out of the gate and continue to falter through October ... through November ... into December, falling to 0-14. Finally, on Dec. 24, they will upset the Los Angeles Chargers, according to Chargers reporter Eric Williams.

The Jets can rejoice on Christmas Eve, singing, "No L."

And then it's back to reality with a season-ending loss to the New England Patriots.

Scanning the comments from ESPN's NFL Nation reporters, the Jets appear dangerously close to falling into the laughingstock category. In Week 1, Buffalo Bills reporter Mike Rodak writes, "Are the Jets tanking for a top pick in 2018? It sure seems so. The Bills' division rivals looked primed to stumble through another season, and their slide will start at New Era Field."

OK, then.

In Week 5, the Jets travel to the Cleveland Browns, who finished 1-15 a year ago. What say you, Browns reporter Pat McManamon?

"Here is win No. 1 (for Cleveland)," McManamon writes. "The Jets rival the Browns in quarterback issues and are rebuilding."

The most stinging assessment of the Jets comes from Atlanta Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure, who naturally predicts an Atlanta win over the Jets in Week 8.

"Although it's the second consecutive game on the road, the Falcons should have no issues against a Jets team that's been in disarray," he writes. "The Jets' quarterback situation has been a joke."

For many decades, my friend. Many decades.