GAME OVERVIEW ::
By mike johnson >>
- Most of this game’s outlook will depend on the offensive mindset that the Jets start with.
- New York has faced an extremely difficult schedule of defenses to start the year but gets a reprieve against a historically bad defense.
- The Broncos offense operates with a very broad distribution of touches and has primarily been reactionary in its approaches to opponents so far this season.
- Denver is hoping to get some key defenders back this week, but the Broncos are unlikely to completely turn this thing around in one week.
- Common opponents between the Jets and Bears could potentially provide a glimmer of optimism for Zach Wilson and the Jets.
HOW NEW YORK WILL TRY TO WIN ::
The Jets offense has finally shown some signs of life in its last five quarters dating back to the end of the Patriots game in Week 3. Zach Wilson had one of the best games of his career in a failed comeback attempt on national TV against Patrick Mahomes last week. This week, he gets to face a historically bad defense that just made Justin Fields and the Bears look like a high-octane offense. Playing the transitive property game with NFL results can be dangerous, as teams, players, and schemes match up differently each week. However, there are some common threads we can tie together to try to wrap our heads around things here. The Bears played the Chiefs in Week 3, followed by the Broncos in Week 4. Chicago’s offense was atrocious against the Chiefs, scoring only three points prior to a late garbage-time touchdown. They followed that up by scoring 28 points in the first three quarters against the Broncos. Then you look at the Jets, whose offense looked solid against Kansas City and now travels to Denver to face that giving defense. There is certainly a lot of room for optimism here for the J-E-T-S.
Head coach Robert Saleh made waves this week by proclaiming there will no longer be any restrictions on running back Breece Hall’s usage. This is especially notable due to the poor performance of Dalvin Cook to start the year and the elite matchup the Broncos provide. Denver’s defense ranks in the bottom five of the league in most major categories against both the run and the pass, allowing teams to attack in any way they see fit. Hall and the Jets offense have not had a great start to the season, but it has to be noted that New York has faced a murderer’s row of defenses with the Bills, Cowboys, Patriots, and Chiefs. The Broncos defense can act as a desert oasis for a team thirsting for some offensive success and looking to build on the promise of the Kansas City game.
The passing game is also set up for success after a tough stretch to start the year. The four defenses the Jets have faced so far rank 1st, 3rd, 11th, and 16th in the NFL in QB pressure rate while the Broncos rank dead last. Star cornerback Patrick Surtain II ranks 43rd out of 72 qualifying CB’s in PFF coverage grade, as he has fallen off a bit with the talent around him providing less support. It’s also not as easy to cover someone when there is no pressure on the quarterback. Allen Lazard made some big plays last week and Garrett Wilson was targeted 14 times on 39 Zach Wilson pass attempts – good for a 36% target share.
Some other backs and receivers will be involved, as will the Jets tight ends, but Hall and Garrett Wilson will likely be the centerpieces of this offensive attack and draw the most appealing matchups they’ve seen all year. If you are into narratives, this is also Hall’s return to the scene of the crime where he tore his ACL last season. Usually the Jets take a very conservative approach, but if they want to try to salvage their season, they need to build the confidence of Zach Wilson and give themselves a chance to have a competitive offense. While they may be able to play conservatively and win this game by relying on their elite defense, their long-term goals would be well-served if they approach this game with an aggressive mindset and prove to themselves and their opponents that they are capable of having a breakout offensive performance. If not now, then when?