Game Overview ::
- Christian Darrisaw missed practice to begin the week with his second concussion in two weeks, which is likely to keep him out of action in Week 13.
- Michael Carter missed practice on Wednesday for the Jets with a low ankle sprain that forced him from last week’s game against the Bears – head coach Robert Saleh called his absence “maintenance,” insinuating that he is likely to play this week.
- Mike White drew the start for the Jets last week after Zach Wilson was made a healthy inactive – there have been no reports indicating a change to the quarterback situation moving forward from New York.
- A large piece of this game will be decided by how the Jets choose to run coverages against one of the most elite wide receivers in the league in Justin Jefferson.
How New York Will Try To Win ::
The recipe for the 7-4 Jets has remained fairly consistent this season – disrupt opposing drives via a lockdown defense (top five in all efficiency metrics, heavy zone concepts, organic pressure), manage the game environment through a balanced offense and slow-to-moderate pace, and try not to lose the game on offense. After starting the season with an underperforming defense that forced the Jets into increased aerial aggression over the first four weeks, the Jets have not had a single game with higher than league average offensive plays run from scrimmage over their last seven games. During that stretch, their defense has held opponents to just 14.4 points per game. That included games against Buffalo and Miami while the other six games were against teams in the bottom half of the league in scoring (NEx2, DEN, GB, PIT, and CHI without Fields). This week presents one of their more difficult challenges against Minnesota, particularly considering Justin Jefferson has absolutely demolished zone coverage this season to the tune of an 83.6% reception rate, 720 yards receiving, and two scores.
The ground game comes with uncertainty due to the expected level of involvement of lead back Michael Carter. That said, no back has seen more than 56% of the offensive snaps for the Jets since Breece Hall went down with a season-ending ACL tear, leaving us with a good idea of the kind of upside (or lack thereof) any Jets back carries this week. The Jets backfield has combined to average 27 running back opportunities over the previous four games (since Hall’s injury), which should be thought to be split at least two ways, more likely three considering rookie Zonovan Knight saw his opportunities at the expense of recent addition James Robinson last week, the latter of whom was ruled a healthy inactive. As in, expect the lead back (whether Carter, Robinson, or Knight) to handle around 50% of the offensive snaps, with the rest likely split up between the other two healthy/active backs. The pure rushing matchup yields a well below-average 4.175 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Minnesota defense holding opposing backs to just 3.76 yards per carry this year.
First off, Elijah Moore’s fall from grace (both in his performance this season and the graces of his teammates and coaching staff) has been difficult to watch as a fan of his talent, but the reality of the situation has meant Moore has not cracked a modest 66% snap rate since Week 4. That has left rookie Garret Wilson as the lone near every-down pass-catcher on this offense, with Corey Davis returning from injury in Week 12 to a 68% snap rate and Braxton Berrios and Denzel Mims combining with Moore for the remainder of the wide receiver snaps. Primary pass-catching tight end Tyler Conklin has been between 68% and 81% snap rates in every game since Week 3, with the team increasing their 12-personnel rates to the 40-55% range since their Week 10 bye through the increased utilization of blocking tight end C.J. Uzomah. Considering the current state of the pass-catching options on the team, I would tentatively expect the increased rates of 12-personnel to continue here as it appears to be a concerted effort by the coaching staff to change the dynamics of their offense. Finally, while the team appeared to open things up through the air last week based on a quick glance at the box scores, they ran a league average 63 offensive plays from scrimmage but mustered only 28 pass attempts. This is very much still a team that would like to control the time of possession and dictate the game environment through moderate pace and elevated rush rates.