The 2022 New York Jets season is on the line tonight. In the midst of a three-game losing streak, the Jets sit at 7-7 as the ninth seed in the AFC. To make the playoffs for the first time since 2010, the Jets have got to win out over their final three games.
Going into this matchup, many factors favor the Jets. First, being the home team for any Thursday game on a short week is always an advantage. Especially at this later point of the regular season when players are physically more exhausted, it makes things only tougher for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Also, with the expected inclement weather, around 50 degrees, with rain, and over 15 mph winds, the Jets, playing against a warm-weather team, have much going for them entering this pivotal ballgame.
They are, however, going up against yet another hot football team surging late in the season with everything still to play for. The 6-8 Jaguars have won three of their last four, two in a row, and are only one game out in their division.
Situational execution as a team will once again be paramount for the Jets. Third down and red zone efficiency has got to consistently be there to win. The Jets have lost the turnover battle three games in a row, and that must change. Improved special teams’ play has got to come. Lastly, the time of possession battle, a lingering issue for the Jets, needs to be better and the penalty battle will all be keys to who wins this likely competitive game.
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New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Preview:
On the offensive side of the football, it will be the second-consecutive start for Zach Wilson. His start on Sunday was filled with inconsistency. For Wilson to prove himself in a primetime game and, most importantly, for the Jets to win, Wilson needs to be consistent with his accuracy. He once again gets the luxury of going up against a bottom-ranked defense in the NFL. The Jaguars’ defense is 27th overall (370.7 yards per game), and their pass defense is 29th (252.6 yards per game).
With the cold temperature, rain, and wind, simply put, the Jets’ ground game needs to get going and be way more effective than it was on Sunday. Zonovan “Bam” Knight and Michael Carter have got to give this Jets offense some overall efficiency and a splash play or two. The Jaguars will be without first overall pick Travon Walker and well-known recent Jet, great run-stopper, Folorunso Fatukasi, which gives the Jets no excuses.
Wilson will have to connect with Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore for the Jets’ passing game to be effective. Also, the offensive line will have to do a much better job than the last few weeks.
The Jaguars’ scoring defense is giving up 23.4 points per game. For the Jets to win, they will likely need to reach 20 points.
Defensively, the Jets should have team MVP Quinnen Williams back tonight. The unit ranks third overall in football going into this game (305.4 yards per game).
Being opportunistic will be the main factor that determines how well the Jets’ defense plays tonight. They have not forced a turnover over the last three games and have one over the last five. That will have to change to win tonight.
In bad conditions, the Jets’ fourth-ranked pass defense (193.9 yards per game) should be able to limit what the Jaguars do through the air.
In the trenches on the ground, though, the Jets’ run defense will need to bring it. The Jets rank 11th in the league against the run (111.5 yards per game). They will go up against the 10th-ranked rushing attack in the Jaguars (127.2 yards per game). This battle could very well make the difference in this one.
The Jets scoring defense ranks fourth in football entering this contest (18.8 points per game). The Jaguars’ offense is scoring, on average, 23.9 a week (12th in NFL). Defensively, the Jets will once again have to find a way to hold their opponent to roughly 17 points to win.
This will undoubtedly be yet another tough, hard-fought challenge of a game for the Jets, their fourth in a row. For once, they need to find a way to get the job done late and just edge out their opponent. Much is going for them in this game. Being the home team on a short week, favorable weather conditions, and the Jaguars front seven a bit banged up defensively. It will be a matter of the Jets’ offense, with Wilson reaching 20 points to win this one. As difficult as this game will be, the Jets need to find a way to be 8-7 by the end of tonight.