The Jets (1-3) vs. the Denver Broncos (2-2) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 1 p.m. ET.
It’s not quite fall yet. There should be plenty of sun, temperatures near 80 and nothing but the normal light Meadowlands winds.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Jets need to stop the bleeding, because the worst thing that can happen to their young quarterback, Sam Darnold, and Todd Bowles is for this season to spiral out of control early. We all know this season is more about the big picture than winning, but the players in the locker room want to win. Bowles can’t have their attitude slipping or their discipline issues getting worse just because they realize there’s nothing left to play for in Week 6. It happens to a lot of teams, for a lot better coaches and even ones with veteran quarterbacks. So unless they win sometime soon, the spiral to nowhere is a very real danger.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Isaiah Crowell
It’s bad enough that he made the crass and stupid decision to celebrate a touchdown in the Jets’ loss in Cleveland two weeks ago by wiping his butt with the ball. It’s worse that, despite his coach’s anger, he decided to parlay that into an endorsement. That certainly seems worthy of a benching, even though it seems unlikely that Bowles will take that step since he didn’t last Sunday. Perhaps more importantly, Crowell rushed four times for zero yards against the Jaguars and caught one pass for three yards. If he’s that invisible again, the Jets aren’t going to have much of a chance against the Broncos. The Jets need to commit to the run a little more and Crowell has to come through. That means both performing and avoiding the dumb, selfish penalties.
This is a very average Broncos team that can run the ball and stop the run and doesn’t do a whole lot else really well. That means there’s at least a chance for the Jets to keep the score down and for Darnold to have some success. He’s shown some progress despite a three-game losing streak, and the Jets are beginning to open up their offense. Both of those things have to continue. If they do, there will be opportunities. They also need the defense to come through better than it did a week ago. They gave up 126 yards on 3.7 yards per carry against the Jaguars last week. That wasn’t terrible.
What was terrible was that they got lit up for 388 yards by Blake Bortles. They can’t let Case Keenum erupt on them too. My bet is they probably won’t. This Jets’ defense is better than it showed, and I think Bowles and Kacy Rodgers have really clamped down on them this week. I think the defense will force a Keenum turnover or two and keep the Broncos in check just enough for Darnold to come through with a long-awaited big pass play. Watch for Robby Anderson to finally have his breakout game. Watch for the running backs to bounce back, too. … Jets 20, Broncos 17.
MY RECORD: 1-3
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO WIN: 0-2
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO LOSE: 1-1