The Jets are coming off of a shootout win at home against the Kansas City Chiefs in which they trailed 14-0 within the first six minutes. Now they travel to Denver to take on the Broncos who have lost eight straight games. The Jets have a favorable matchup today but are 1-4 on the road this season and the last time they were on the road, they laid an egg in Tampa Bay. Let’s take a look at how the teams matchup against each other.
Josh McCown had his best game of the season last week when he went 26/36 for 331 yards, one passing touchdown and two rushing touchdowns. He moved the ball up and down the field against the Chiefs and thrived on third down. McCown has had okay stats this season but last week was the first game where his play on the field matched the stats in the box score. Over the Broncos eight game losing streak, they’ve allowed just over 30 points per game. This isn’t the Broncos secondary that was in the Super Bowl two years ago. They’re vulnerable and McCown should be able to exploit them.
Trevor Siemian was a one week wonder when he tore up that Cowboys defense way back in Week 2. Since then he’s been benched for Brock Osweiler then Paxton Lynch then got his job back. If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about him then I don’t know what more I can give you. He’s inaccurate and makes bad decisions. The Jets secondary doesn’t have much to worry about in the Broncos receivers and should have a day in Mile High.
Running Back: Jets
It seemed like the Jets finally figured out how to use their trio of running backs last week. Matt Forte lined up at wide receiver on some plays with Bilal Powell in the backfield and you know what? It worked! The Jets should look to use more of that today against Denver. Powell hits the hole harder than Forte and has the burst at the second level that Forte does not. Powell has just under 40 more carries than Forte and that gap should increase today.
CJ Anderson is a serviceable back that I will never like because of how many times he let my fantasy team down. He’s not much of a threat but he’s a big running back that the Jets need to make sure they tackle on the first hit. Jamaal Charles was brought in to be the change of pace back to complement Anderson but he hasn’t been exactly what they’ve expected, with just 296 yards on 69 carries this season. He can still hurt the Jets if he’s accounted for so the Jets will have to make sure they don’t let him get in open space.
Wide Receiver: Jets
Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse have had two straight 100 yard receiving games in a row. Both have shown a great ability to get that all important YAC as a receiver and both have shown up on third downs. Anderson has developed himself into a legitimate, well rounded receiver as opposed to only the deep threat he was last season. Kearse has been one of, if not the best addition this offseason. Chad Hansen even got into the mix last week with some third down catches. For a team that wasn’t supposed to have anybody to throw to, they’ve done a tremendous job this season.
Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders with a good quarterback would scare the hell out of me. Thomas is a big receiver that can go up and get the ball at its peak and there’s not many corners that can handle him. Sanders is a guy that I would want on my team. He can stretch the field on you and get behind the defense. He’s not as fast as Tyreek Hill (nobody is) but he’s still somebody that has to be accounted for in that aspect. The problem? They have Trevor Siemian throwing them the ball. Thomas has countless times seemed disinterested late in games and I think most of that has to do with the quarterback play.
Tight End: Jets
Austin Seferian-Jenkins was quiet last week against Kansas City but this season he’s been a great option for McCown. The Jets are gradually calling more routes for him downfield but they still need to do that more. He will probably catch a touchdown and it will probably be wrongfully overturned. Eric Tomlinson has quietly been a great blocking tight end who can you a couple of catches when needed.
The Broncos tight ends have combined for 20 catches this season and two touchdowns. They clearly don’t like to get them involved in their offense. They don’t pose a real threat to Jets linebackers or the safeties.
Offensive Line: Push
The Broncos are tied for third in allowing sacks this season and eighth in the league in allowing QB hits. Trevor Siemian has fumbled the ball five times as well this year. They’re in the middle of the pack in rushing yards per attempt as well. By comparison, the Jets are 21st in yards per attempt, 10th in sacks allowed and 10th in QB hits allowed. If I have to give the edge, I slightly lean towards the Jets.
Defensive Line: Jets
Outside of Mo Wilkerson, this Jets defensive line has been playing very well compared to earlier this season. Steve McClendon is the run stopper we thought he was and he’s been getting pressures as well. Leonard Williams has been in the backfield a lot more as well. Kony Ealy has taken a little step back but as a group they are playing a lot better.
The Broncos defensive line without Derek Wolfe is similar to the Jets except without the big names. They have 2.5 sacks on the season as a unit but are very good at stopping the run (5th in the league in yards allowed per game). I see them being on the field a lot this game and eventually getting gashed.
Brandon Shell better have gotten a good nights sleep because going against Vonn Miller is going to be a tough task. He has 9.0 sacks on the season and is a mismatch for almost every offensive line he goes up against. Brandon Marshall (no, the other one) has two sacks as well and is good in coverage. They’re an athletic, rangy group.
Jordan Jenkins is not near the level of Vonn Miller but he’s been getting after it this season. He has 3.0 sacks and has improved greatly as a pass rusher. Demario Davis 2.0 is completely different from the 1.0 version we saw in his last tenure with the Jets. He’s still a liability in coverage however he’s a tackling machine and is showing signs of being a David Harris-lite for this defense. And then there’s Darron Lee. Inactive last week for being late when he’s been playing his best football. I’m assuming he plays and I’m assuming he gets his usual snaps.
Chris Harris is still one of the best cornerbacks in the league and Aqib Talib is not afraid of any matchup. I’m assuming Harris will be put on Robby Anderson for a majority of the game which will be Anderson’s toughest matchup yet. The Jets receivers will have trouble getting separation against these guys. The safeties of the Broncos aren’t the greatest which means that Seferian-Jenkins should get a good amount of targets.
The Jets safeties are better than the Broncos safeties but the Broncos corners are better than the Jets corners. Even with how good Morris Claiborne has been playing, the other side of the field is a liability no matter who is in there. Marcus Maye has been the better of the two rookies between him and Jamal Adams this season. This week they won’t have a tight end threat to deal with nor will they have a speedster getting behind them to worry about. They should cause a lot of issues for Siemian and I think Adams finally gets his first pick of the year.
Special Teams: Push
The Jets have the better kicker of the two teams but the worse special teams coverage. The Broncos don’t have a real threat to exploit that in the Jets. I would give the slight edge to Brandon McManus’s experience as the kicker for having a lot of experience in this altitude.
Vance Joseph is not a good NFL coach. He might not have been given the best options at quarterback but he’s still not a good coach. His team has lost eight straight games, giving up 30 a game. Todd Bowles is 1-4 on the road this season and last time he was on the road, laid a complete egg against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs. He’s still a better coach.
Photo courtesy of: nyjets.com