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3 Dream Scenarios, 3 Nightmare Scenarios For Jets

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Jets came within a whisker of making the playoffs last season. If you want to interpret that as a Ryan Fitzpatrick beard joke, that's up to you.

Coming off a 10-6 record, Gang Green is a trendy postseason pick. But as any sports fan can attest, sometimes teams live up to the hype, and sometime things go south in a hurry.

Here's a look at three dream scenarios and three nightmares scenarios (excluding obvious injury fears) that could potentially define the Jets' success or failure in 2016.

3 Dream Scenarios

The Defensive Ends Go Crazy

The Jets have perhaps the best trio of young defensive ends in the NFL. New York finished a respectable 12th in sacks last season, but the potential is there for bigger and better things. Envision Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson combining for 27 sacks, and Leonard Williams adding at least another eight. That would be something.

Ryan Fitzpatrick Proves To Be The Next Rich Gannon

Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick of the New York Jets passes against the Tennessee Titans during their game at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 13, 2015. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Some of Fitzpatrick's detractors argue that because the 33-year-old quarterback has yet to be truly great, he won't ever be. But remember Gannon? He, too, was a journeyman, and he didn't emerge as a dependable starting QB until he was 34. He went on to be selected to four Pro Bowls and reached a Super Bowl with the Raiders. Last season, Fitzpatrick passed for a career-high 3,905 yards and a Jets-record 31 touchdowns.

Jace Amaro Breaks Out

The tight end showed some flashes as a rookie in 2014 before missing all of last season with a shoulder injury. Now Amaro returns with a better quarterback throwing to him and better receivers to help create space for him. We're not expecting the next Rob Gronkowski here, but is 700 yards and eight touchdowns that ridiculous to ask for? Amaro was a second-round pick for a reason.

3 Nightmare Scenarios

Matt Forte Shows His Age

When the Jets signed Forte in March, they quickly tried to downplay the fact that he's 30 years old, over the hill by running back standards. Maybe Forte has another strong year or two left in him, but the dropoff for running backs at his age tends to be steep. Forte has already missed two weeks of practice time during training camp with a hamstring injury, which is not exactly reassuring.

Ryan Clady Doesn't Bounce Back

Ryan Clady Jets
Jets tackle Ryan Clady blocks the Jaguars' Dante Fowler Jr., left, during a preseason game at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 11, 2016. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The Jets dealt for Clady just after left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson announced his retirement. Clady is a three-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler, but he has battled significant injuries in recent years, having played in just 18 games the past three seasons. The Jets were a solid rushing team in 2015, and Fitzpatrick was one of the least-sacked QBs. If Clady doesn't stay healthy or regain his old form, those things could change.

No Second Cornerback Steps Up

When a defense has one very good cornerback and one suspect cornerback, well, there's no guessing which one offensive coordinators will pick on. If Buster Skrine, projected to start opposite Darrelle Revis, doesn't prove he can hold his own, opposing QBs will mercilessly take advantage of him. Pro Football Focus ranked Skrine as the 94th best cornerback in the NFL last season.

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