By Frank Vajcner
As I begin my third full season with Friday Night Victors, I tried to think of ways to mark such a milestone.
But when we were in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided that it would be best to work on my schedule analysis series while practicing social distancing.
As always, I include the disclaimer that this is NOT a prediction on a team’s record for the 2020 season, as certain fanbases like to make it to be. This is rather a deep dive into a team’s schedule, where I take a look at certain games, and how they could potentially impact said team’s season.
As always, I start at the beginning of the alphabet. Up first is a team that returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2012 in Airport. How does the Jets’ schedule set up? Let’s dive in.
Aug 27 Ida
Sept 4 SMCC
Sept 11 @ Grosse Ile
Sept 18 New Boston Huron
Sept 25 Jefferson
Oct 2 @ Riverview
Oct 9 Flat Rock
Oct 16 @ Milan
Oct 23 @ Melvindale
Gut-Check Game: at Riverview. It’s not a stretch to say that Jim Duffy and company could be 5-0 by the time they head up to Riverview to battle the Pirates on October 2. The Pirates return plenty of talent, and many think they will ascend to the top of the Huron League in 2020. The Jets gave the Pirates a fight to the bitter end, before falling 14-13 in last season’s contest. Can Airport turn the tables? The Jets’ last win over the Pirates came in 2012.
Trap Game: vs Jefferson. There are a few games to pick from, but I’m going with Jefferson. The main reasons are that this game comes a week before the trip to Riverview, and that the Bears took some steps forward after being a doormat in the Huron League last season. Duffy will have to keep his team focused before a tough three-week stretch in October. Speaking of that, Flat Rock comes to McCormick Field a week after Riverview, and a week before a visit to the reigning Huron League champs in Milan.
Snoozer: at Melvindale. The Cardinals’ first season as a member of the Western Wayne Athletics Conference was abysmal, as they went 0-9, got outscored 382-47, and were shut out four times. One of those was a 47-0 thrashing by the Jets. The best storyline in this game is a reunion of former Jet greats Duffy and Derek Anderson.
Non-Conference Challenge: The Jets welcome Ida to McCormick Field in Week 1. The Blue Streaks will be looking to rebound from a 4-5 season, and a 37-24 loss to the Jets last year.
Notable: Airport is one of four teams on the blog that do not have any new opponents on the schedule.
Thoughts from Frank: The Jets finally got over the hump and qualified for the postseason last year. A return trip is feasible, but wins over Ida and New Boston Huron will be key. The three-week stretch in October with trips to Riverview and Milan, sandwiched around a rivalry game with Flat Rock will also be paramount to getting playoff points.
Thoughts from Chris: The opener against Ida will be huge with the winner having an early advantage toward a playoff birth. When looking at the schedule as a whole though, nearly every game is winnable, yet every game is losable with the exception of maybe week 9 against Melvindale. The Jets lose a bunch of players up front, but have one of the best offensive players around in RB Jacob Pac.
Thoughts from Gary: The first four games to open the season will make or break the Jet’s year. Airport has taken small steps forward each year under Coach Duffy, if they are to continue that momentum, they will need to come out of that opening stanza at no worse than 2-2. We will know what the Jets are made of right away.