By bringing in Tim Tebow, the they created a volatile situation out of thin air.
They signaled that Mark Sanchez might not be the franchise QB after all. They piled pressure on Sanchez, shortening his leash and crafting a situation where the first few games of the 2012 season are do or die.
And at the same time, they ensured themselves that their "Plan B" if Sanchez falters is also insufficient — because Tebow, while talented and unique and everything else, is not a good quarterback.
It's the nightmare scenario — Sanchez stinks, the team panics, they put in Tebow, Tebow stinks, and the franchise slides back into rebuilding mode.
And that's why Sunday's Week 1 game against the Buffalo Bills is so vital.
The distance between stability and chaos for the Jets is unbelievably short. In order to avoid a meltdown, they need to establish a beachhead on the 2012 season.
If they can squeak past Buffalo, everyone calms down, and they buy themselves a couple of weeks without the Tebow situation bubbling to the surface.
But if they lose, things can spiral out of control quickly. After Buffalo, the Jets play away at Pittsburgh, away at Miami, home to San Francisco, and home to Houston.
They'll be big underdogs in three of those games. So they're looking at a catastrophic 1-4 start. The schedule gets super easy after that. But heads will already be rolling if they lose four out of their first five.
So, basically, a loss to the Bills leads to an ugly sequence of events involving Tim Tebow starting at QB and general chaos. And a win against the Bills releases all the steam in the pressure cooker.