The New York Jets venture out once again in desperate search for their first win. This time they’ll face the Dallas Cowboys at Metlife. Will Sam Darnold’s much anticipated return result in a miraculous turnaround? Or are their issues too much for him to carry on his back? Let’s preview week 6 with storylines, stats, and predictions.
Positive vibes only
The team has clearly been in good spirits following news of Sam Darnold being cleared to play. Le’veon Bell, in particular, once again waxed poetic about how excited he is to have Darnold back in the lineup. Bell has been a great role model with the Jets this season. Despite coming from a consistent, winning franchise, Bell has navigated the Jets hardship this season with professionalism and positivity. You can tell he’s a different type of player. None of the adversity this season has resulted in any drop in the quality of his performances or in his support as a teammate. With Darnold back, Bell’s productivity should increase. Defenses will have to show a bit more respect and probably won’t be loading the box as often as they have with the backup quarterbacks. That could help the Jets reeling offensive line get back on track as well. Let’s hope so. Bell deserves better.
One of the biggest stars in Dallas is cornerback Byron Jones. He’s one of the best corners in the NFL and he’s likely to be the odd man out amongst all the players Jerry Jones has to extend before next offseason. If Jones does become a free agent, in all likelihood he would be a big target for Joe Douglas and the Jets front office. Jones’ visit to MetLife this weekend should give the Jets a good look at what he’s capable of. Expect him to get plenty of looks with Darnold back as the Jets trying to resurrect what has been a flatlining passing attack.
If the Jets win…Hero: Sam Darnold
Zero: Kellen Moore
A Jets win would be credited to influx of energy from Darnold’s return. Even if he throws 5 interceptions tomorrow. Getting a player back of his quality usually raises the competitive level of the team. But this type of victory would likely mean Darnold not only energizes the team but puts up a legacy performance in his first game back since week 1. That’s going to be the key. The Jets defense has performed fairly well considering their own injuries. It won’t be a walk in the park for Dallas’ offense. If Darnold can elevate the Jets offense and get them multiple touchdowns in the same game for the first this season, they could find themselves with an opportunity to sneak out a win.
A Jets win would also mean Gregg Williams is able to stop what has been effective offense manufactured by new Cowboys’ offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. The Jets defense continuing to string together strong performances with a multiple takeaway performance on Sunday would be best case scenario.
If the Cowboys win…Hero: Kris Richard
Zero: Adam Gase
The biggest obstacle for the Jets tomorrow will be the Cowboys’ defense. The Cowboys have a top 5 pass rusher in Demarcus Lawrence that will be attacking Kelvin Beachum and rookie Chuma Edoga. They have elite linebackers in their front seven that will make it almost impossible to get anything going in the running game. They also two talented corners in the aforementioned Byron Jones and Chido Awuzie on the outside to counter the threat of Robby Anderson. Above all that, they have a impressive football mind in Kris Richard coaching their defense. The Jets losing would mean they just couldn’t find a way to score on Dallas’ defense.
I think the Jets will play noticeably better against the Cowboys. Unfortunately, I don’t it will result in a win. I think the Jets continue to struggle to get the ball downfield and the Cowboys dominate time of possession. The Jets will be keep it closer than people think which will likely leave a better taste than last week. A strong performance from the defense will keep them in the game but the offense won’t put up enough points to make it a game in the end. The Cowboys offensive line will take over late in the game to close it out. Jets start to realistically stare 0-6 down the barrel with an recalibrating New England the following week.