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The Jets’ Most Important Game Might Be Their First

PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 30:  Mark Sanchez #6 (L) and Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets stand on the sidelines during their preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on August 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Flipping around the Intertubes this week before the start of the NFL schedule, one thing is abundantly clear: Everyone thinks the Jets are going to be a total disaster this season. There are a few dissenters — Football Outsiders and their stats have the Jets as one of the ten best teams in the NFL — but on the whole, well, Drew Magary at Deadspin sums it up well.

This organization has no earthly idea what it's doing. Woody Johnson will just throw any shitty idea at the wall and go with it if he thinks he can get on the back page of the Post by doing it. You can smell the desperation as they attempt, in vain, to match the prestige and success of the Giants. It's pathetic. The Jets are the Redskins of the AFC. I've never seen a team whose implosion could so clearly be foreseen going into the season. Do you have any faith that the Jets will unfuck themselves this season? Of course you don't.

Perhaps a bit stronger than the average view, but not much different. The entire sports world is waiting — begging, salivating, really — for the Jets to burst into flames this season, as soon as possible. And by soon, of course they mean Sunday.

The Jets' season begins at 1 p.m. Sunday at home against Buffalo, and they couldn't have a more perfect foe to kick matters off. The Bills are everything the Jets are not; quiet, improving, a trendy playoff pick. They're also an AFC East rival that is exactly the type of team the Jets are going to have to beat to make anything of their season anyway, so hey, might as well play them first.

For all the talk of the Jets being a "circus," they are, in fact, an actual football team that will play an actual football game on Sunday, against a team that they match up well against. The Jets corners should be able to shut down the Bills' passing game — Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson has had success against the Jets before, but he's hobbled this week — and for all the Bills' advantages in the pass rush thanks to their offseason signing of Mario Williams, the Jets will be looking to run the ball like crazy anyway.

This is a winnable game, particularly at home, which is good, because the Jets absolutely cannot afford to lose it. Starting out 0-1 at home against a division rival ... well, that's the start everyone expects out of the Jets. It could ugly extremely fast. (It also doesn't help that the game hasn't sold out yet.) The Jets must win. They can hold off the circus ... or it can take over from the very beginning. This is an awfully nerve-racking, anxious way for a season to start, knowing it could be over with an opening loss, but this is the game the Jets always seem to play.

Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images