The New York Jets enter week 8 looking to rebound after getting stomped out by the Patriots last Monday night. This week they face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars. As always, let’s preview this matchup with storylines, stats, and predictions on this week’s Let’s Get Weird.
What is vs. What could’ve been
The Jets are going to get a close up look at a player they passed up on in the first round of the 2019 draft: Josh Allen, the Jaguars rookie outside linebacker. Allen has already been producing at a high level. He’s only the second player in franchise history to record 5 sacks in his first 7 games. Allen is also one of the leaders in the race for defensive rookie of the year.
For Jets fans, his production will be compared to Quinnen Williams’ constantly. The Jets chose Williams over Allen in the draft despite what they had already invested at the position, and their barrenness at outside linebacker. Injuries slowed down the start to Williams’ season but so far he’s been fairly good for his position despite lack of production. While it’s definitely way too early to draw conclusions about either player’s career, it does make sense to use your eyes. The important thing to watch on Sunday will be how often each player affects the game.
At 1-5 the Jets chances of making the postseason have already diminished greatly. This season will now test their professionalism. The Jets have won 3 road games in the last 3 seasons. If you’re wondering that’s incredibly bad. They have failed to show up on the road pretty consistently. It’s often seen as a coaching problem and it could rear its ugly head with Adam Gase in Jacksonville. The Jets enter this game full of distractions and potential lame excuses. Players are on trading block, C.J Mosley’s injury was mishandled and now they have no ILB’s, #ghostgate, and Kelechi Osemele’s saga all ruled the week as they prepared for the Jaguars. While every team deals with trade rumors, the other issues they had a chance to handle much better than they did. As a result, this game definitely has the feeling of another emotional absence.
What if?…Heroes and Zeroes.
If the Jets win…
Hero: Jamal Adams
Zero: Doug Marrone
If the Jets are able to pull off the win it would be a herculean effort from Jamal Adams. The Jets are severely compromised at ILB with C.J Mosely, Albert McLellan and Neville Hewitt all out. The only starter remaining is rookie Blake Cashman, who struggled mightily last week against the Patriots. A Jets win means Adams is able to make up for this deficiency by displaying the full arsenal of his skill set. That means, stopping Leonard Fournette in the run game, making sure tackles and pass breakups in the short to intermediate passing game, and getting to Gardner Minshew on safety blitzes.
A Jets win would also be a significant bad mark on Doug Marrone’s resume. The Jaguars have battled through a lot of adversity this season. However, they have been able to beat the teams that they should beat this season. The Jets are unfortunately amongst that group. If the Jets are able to grab one from Jacksonville it would mean they were able to outsmart Marrone with a depleted roster.
If the Jaguars win…
Hero: Leonard Fournette
Zero: Adam Gase
If the Jaguars win, it’ll likely be the result of a complete physical destruction of the New York Jets, mainly by the hands of Leonard Fournette. The Jets have struggled against the pass, and have been decent against the run this season against lesser teams. However, with the players they are missing in the middle of their defense, I would expect the Jaguars to try to run the ball down their throats. Even in the Jets lone miracle win, Ezekiel Elliot was able to rush for over 100 yards behind a banged up offensive line. He physically dominated the Jets backup ILB’s in the second half particularly, churning for extra yards. Fournette is a physical runner too and if he can get past the Jets defensive line consistently, there’s a much softer layer behind that which he can exploit.
I think this is worst time for a road game for the Jets. This is also Sam Darnold’s first road game of the season. I think the Jaguars will have a solid game plan for the Jets and I don’t think the Jets will be able to overcome their deficiencies. I expect a close, low scoring first half for both teams. But I think the Jaguars pull away in the second half and win comfortably. That will likely start to lead to some interesting and likely anonymous quotes as things start to fall apart.