New York Jets trade OLB Jordan Willis to the San Francisco 49ers

New York Jets, Jordan Willis

The fire sale continues! The New York Jets have now traded promising edge rusher Jordan Willis to the San Francisco 49ers. The Jets will get back another 2022 6th Round Selection while parting ways with Wllis and a 7th this season.

Willis has only played 42 snaps this season, and was even in active the last three games. Despite that, he has displayed promise. Since being drafted to Cinncinati in 2017, Willis has displayed potential with a total of 52 tackles, 8 TFL’s and 3.0 sacks. This is a move that provides the 49era more depth at a position that has been decimated by injuries this season. As for the Jets, this is only a sign of more to come.

As I previously noted, with some veterans on cheap deals, teams that are willing to part with a mid rounder could entice Joe Douglas. Calling this a full-blown fire sale is still a stretch on my end, but a fire sale would not be an awful idea.

The team would have more draft flexibility and more cap room while also providing some younger players an opportunity to get in game reps. As for the veterans, this lets them out of the awful coaching staff’s grips and gives them a shot to rebuild their stock. With the team continuing to flounder and reportedly, ”Tanking for Trevor”, there is no end in sight to the roster upheaval coming.

New York Jets: QB Sam Darnold returns to practice on Wednesday

Eager for any kind of momentum, the New York Jets are hopeful that Sam Darnold can return to action on Sunday against Buffalo.

Sam Darnold was a limited participant in New York Jets’ practice on Wednesday, returning to fields at One Jets Drive for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury in an October 1 loss to Denver.

It’s unknown whether Darnold will be ready for Sunday’s rematch with the Buffalo Bills (1 p.m. ET, CBS), but that appears to be part of the Jets’ plans. Head coach Adam Gase described Darnold as being on a “pitch count” and that more clarity on his Week 7 status should emerge on Thursday.

“If there’s anything that lingers or anything where he’s throwing (in pain), that’s kind of his red flag of, ‘Hey, I have to let you guys know.’ We need him to be real honest,” Gase said, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. “If it’s a little less reps, I’ll be all right with that. He can handle that. If it was a second-year player behind Sam, I’d be a little more concerned.”

Veteran Joe Flacco remains continues to likewise prepare to make his third consecutive start.

“Obviously, you give the priority to Sam in terms of the reps and things like that,” Flacco said about his preparation this week, according to transcripts from the Jets. “I just got to stay mentally locked in and make sure I’m going through as much of the week as I can like I’m going to play.”

Darnold has missed eight games due to injury or illness since taking over as the Jets’ quarterback in 2018. The Jets (0-6) have lost each of those games, including the last two with Flacco at the helm.

As the Jets desperately seek offensive momentum, they could be welcoming back not only Darnold, but rookie receiver Denzel Mims as well. The second-round pick out of Baylor has dealt with injuries all season, but may be poised for a return on Sunday.

“Mims had a great week of practice last week with the scout stuff that we had him doing,” Gase said, per Chris Ryan of NJ Advance Media. “This week, we’ll get him involved in the normal offensive practice and, as long as we don’t have any setbacks and nothing happens, injury-wise, for us it’s the same thing with (La’mical) Perine. Let’s get these guys in there, let’s see what they can do, let’s give him the ball, see if of these young guys can make some explosive plays.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

BREAKING: Jets’ Steve McLendon traded to Tampa Bay

Steve McLendon has been a quality veteran piece for the New York Jets since 2016. Coming over from Pittsburgh, he had decently high expectations. Ranked by PFF as one of the most efficient nose tackles in the game, the Jets were looking to gain a reliable piece upfront.

Since then, McClendon has provided that and then some on the field, McClendon has been a formidable piece for the squad. With his last season totaling up 36 tackles, seven QB hits, 10 TFL’s, 2.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. Not only that, but McClendon has not missed a game since 2017. McClendon is also a vocal leader and someone, the coaching staff, has been immensely complimentary of.

Per Jim Stroud, McLendon has been traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he reunites with former Jets had Coach Todd Bowles. In his last season with Bowles, McClendon had 3.5 sacks, 7TFL’s, a forced fumble, and 28 tackles. McClendon adds a veteran presents upfront to an already stout buccaneer defense.

As for the Jets, this is a sign of full-on rebuild mode. After releasing an offense of leader and playmaker and Le’Veon Bell earlier this week, they now followed it up by trading away a defensive captain in an eye-opening move. With the deadline just a few days away, you’d have to wonder if this is a signal of more to come. With the bulk of the Jets’ top players on short term deals and the team now sitting at 0-6, it would make more sense than not to begin the deconstruction now.

In terms of compensation, the Jets will send a 2023 7th Round selection along with him in order to gain a 2022 6th rounder. At 34 years old, yes, he does provide value, but he was likely not going to fetch anything more than a late rounder. Still, the Jets were able to shed cap, provide young guys opportunities to step up, and earn a role in the future, while also giving McClendon a much-deserved opportunity on a contender.

Buffalo Bills: Three reasons why they didn’t need Le’Veon Bell

Le’Veon Bell and the Buffalo Bills weren’t a match made to be, but that’s not a cause for concern for the AFC East leaders.

Buffalo Bell simply was not to be.

Despite reportedly keeping the Buffalo Bills on his shortlist, Le’Veon Bell opted to sign with the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs earlier this week. The three-time Pro Bowl running back spent less than 48 hours in free agency after his release from the New York Jets on Tuesday night, during the Bills’ 42-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Bell will not be eligible to play in the Chiefs’ Monday late afternoon meeting with the Bills (5 p.m. ET, ESPN), but is expected to join an already powerful offense headlined by Patrick Mahomes soon enough.

It may be a tough break for the Bills (4-1) to miss out on Bell, but ESM has three reasons why it’s not the end of Buffalo’s football world…

New York Jets, LeVeon Bell
 Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t Get Caught Up in the Bell Drama

During his brief availability, Bell had reportedly narrowed his list down to three suitors: Buffalo, Kansas City, and the Miami Dolphins. Bell surely had football reasons for his whittling, but it’s probably no coincidence that each of those choices each had meetings with the Jets on their schedule (Bell wouldn’t have been ready for the Jets’ Sunday visit to South Beach, but the teams are scheduled to reunite in New Jersey on November 29).

That’s the type of “baggage” that the Bills simply didn’t need.

In the grand scheme of things, it probably wasn’t a dealbreaker, but a personal revenge story nonetheless removes focus from the ultimate goal of a win. The Bills’ rise to power has been done with relatively little drama and an emphasis on team performances. It’d be great, at least from a Buffalo standpoint, to see Bell go to a division rival and torch the Jets for 150 yards and two scores at MetLife Stadium. But that’s the type of thing the Bills don’t need to concern themselves with. This is a story about the Buffalo Bills…not the Buffalo Bells.

Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

There’s More Help Available

If the Bills really want to improve a rushing game that’s struggled to find traction in the early going (currently 28th in the NFL at 93.8 yards per game as top option Devin Singletary has struggled to regain his rookie season form), there are other names available, even on their own roster, that can help things out. The injured Zack Moss struggled in the early going (48 yards on 17 carries) but T.J. Yeldon made the most out of an extended opportunity in the loss to Tennessee on Tuesday (74 total yards and a receiving touchdown). If the Bills do opt to seek help elsewhere, serviceable options linger in the form of Spencer Ware and Bilal Powell.

Adjusting the run game, for better or worse, might be moot, however, because…

Rushing Isn’t the Problem on This Team

For the first time in this era of contention, the Bills are facing some true adversity. They might’ve faced some scrutiny after the narrow loss in Cleveland last November, but they went to four of their next five games to wrap up a playoff berth. Questions now surround Buffalo after suffering a one-sided loss to the Titans, with doubters questioning who they’ve beaten and if they’re really ready to dethrone the Patriots in the AFC East.

Adding Bell to the run game wasn’t going to answer that question either way.

Even if the top option Singletary has struggled in the early going (down to 3.9 yards a carry after averaging 5.1 last season), Buffalo has managed to procure a 4-1 record thus far. If anything, Josh Allen’s ability to partially sustain the ground game in the early going (a 3.5 average but 101 yards, 3 touchdowns) should only add to his MVP case. The passing game, bolstered by the addition of Stefon Diggs, has them situated as one of five NFL teams averaging 400 yards a game. If any outside help should be contacted…and the Bills have only about $4 million in cap space (which more than likely rules them out on a trade deadline candidate like David Johnson)…it should go toward the defense, namely the efforts in stopping the pass. The Bills let up just over 263 yards through the air a game (24th in the NFL), and matchups with the pass-happy Chiefs, Patriots, Seahawks, and Cardinals loom large before their Week 11 bye.

Problems on offense can be adjusted. Missing out on Bell stings now, but that wasn’t going to be the make-or-break move when it comes to a potential Buffalo Super Bowl run. Using whatever cap space they have would be much better spent on bolstering the defense.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Joe Flacco prepares for another start

With Sam Darnold still ailing, Joe Flacco will make his second consecutive start for the New York Jets on Sunday.

The New York Jets announced on Wednesday that Joe Flacco will make his second straight start with Sam Darnold still ailing from a shoulder injury.

Flacco will make his first road start in Jets colors, as the New York head to Miami on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS). The match previously scheduled for November but shifted forward due to schedule adjustments enforced by COVID-19 outbreaks across the league.

A matchup with Miami could be exactly what Flacco needs to earn what could be a final blaze of glory in a strong NFL career. Numerous celebrities are listed as minority owners of the Dolphins (including tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams), but Flacco could make a case to add himself to that list. He owns a 7-0 record against Miami and owns a 109.4 passer rating over those six showdowns.

Flacco was aware of his success against the Dolphins when fielding questions on Wednesday. When his streak came up, Flacco jokingly accused the inquirer of “jinxing it”.

“I’ve been fortunate to play on a lot of good teams and you know some that maybe weren’t as good outcome wise at the end of the year but we still have some good teams and some good players that showed up to play on Sundays,” Flacco said of the streak, per transcripts provided by the Jets. “So, (I’ve) played down there a few times and definitely know a little bit about getting ready for the heat, doing all those things and I think if we prepare right and hydrate right, then we’re in good shape and then we can be the team that you know tries to wear the other team out, even though we’re coming down there only one time a year.”

The monopoly over Miami began in Flacco’s rookie campaign in 2009 after first-round call from the Baltimore Ravens. Flacco threw for 232 yards and a score in an October win in Miami before managing a 27-9 decision in the AFC wild card playoffs three months later. More recently, Flacco earned his most recent of three career four-touchdown pass games in a 38-6 shellacking in Baltimore in December 2016.

The Jets could use any victorious distraction in these trying times. They’re back in the headlines for the wrong reasons after the release of Le’Veon Bell on Tuesday night, sinking their perpetual rebuild into new levels of woe.

In times of offensive trouble, attention almost always turns to the quarterback. Flacco acknowledged that role in his Wednesday statements.

“You just need to have plays build off of plays. You need to get some chunks here and there. Right now, we are just going the long hard way,” Flacco said. “It’s a good sign to have a long drive, because you know you’re obviously doing a lot of little things right, but it’s hard to do that consistently. And right now, that’s what we’re kind of forcing ourselves to do, is just be so perfect and as soon as one little thing gets messed up by us, or it goes wrong because there’s a good defense, we’re off the field.”

“I think that, you know, we need to try to get some more first downs in first and second down and then once we get in the red zone we really just have to finish, we have to get points.”

To Flacco’s point, the Jets reached the opposing 35-yard-line four times on last Sunday afternoon against Arizona, but emerged with only one touchdown, as the others ended in a Sam Ficken field goal and failed attempts on fourth down. New York lost 30-10 and fell to 0-5 on the season.

Reinforcements will slowly begin to trickle in for the Jets. Breshad Perriman is expected to play this week after suffering an ankle injury in Week 2’s game against San Francisco. Like Flacco, Perriman was a first-round pick of the Ravens and they spent several seasons together in Baltimore (2015-17).

“I think Breshad over the last couple years has gained a lot of confidence and he’s been playing really well when he’s healthy and he’s rolling,” Flacco said. “You know he’s a tough guy to cover. He can bring a lot of explosive plays to your offense, so it’ll be exciting to kind of get him back out there and it was exciting to see him back out there at practice today.”

Further good news came from the Jets in the form of an update on second-round pick Denzel Mims. The rookie receiver has dealt with injuries all season, but was recently cleared to return to practice alongside Arthur Maulet and fellow rookie Cameron Clark.

No matter the on-field activity, the main talking point throughout Sunday late afternoon will more than likely be Bell’s absence, even if it fully isn’t shown on the statsheet. Flacco, of course, is more than familiar with what will be missed in his departure, as the two were on opposite sides of one of the NFL’s most intense, continuous rivalries in the Ravens-Steelers’ battle for AFC North dominance.

But nonetheless expressed hope that an opportunity has arisen for younger players to take on a role, namely fourth-round rookie La’Mical Perine. The development of these young talents, with the help of some veteran leaders, could well give the Jets something to play for over these dire eleven weeks left on their docket.

“I think we got a really good room. I think we got, obviously in Frank (Gore), a Hall of Fame veteran, a really good young kid coming up (in Perine), I think those guys are going to step up and play really well.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets Game Preview Week 5: Arizona Cardinals

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

The New York Jets have been cleared for Sunday action at MetLife Stadium, but a dangerous, angry opponent awaits.

What: Arizona Cardinals @ New York Jets
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Watch: CBS

After the ongoing health crisis invaded the NFL realm in Florham Park, the New York Jets have been cleared for Sunday action barring any unforeseen developments. They’re set to take on an avian invasion at home, one seeking revenge after a strong start has given way to distress.

The Jets (0-4) will take to the field for the first time in 10 days, as they battle the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium. They’ll go into battle with a quarterback who previously earned plenty of success with a bird on his helmet, as backup Joe Flacco takes over for the injured Sam Darnold.

New York last took the field on October 1, opening the Week 4 slate in a Thursday night tilt against the Denver Broncos. In what became their closest game of the season, the Jets fell in a 37-28 decision. Darnold earned 314 yards of offense, including a career-best 84 on the ground. A majority of that tally came on a 46-yard scoring rush that gave the Jets their first lead of the season. Jamison Crowder broke the century mark in receiving yardage (104) while Pierre Desir had two interceptions on defense.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals (2-2) have suffered consecutive defeats after a strong start. They by a 31-21 final to the Carolina Panthers last weekend in Charlotte after dropping a home tilt with the Detroit Lions. Kyler Murray threw a trio of touchdown passes in the Carolina defeat, while Jordan Hicks had four tackles for a loss.

The Series

The Cardinals are on the Jets’ opposite coast in more ways than one. Not only do they play three time zones away from New Jersey, but they play in a different conference. In other words, meetings between the Jets and Cardinals are not very common, even with the latter franchise lingering around in some way, shape, or form since 1898.

In either case, the Jets lead the all-time series 6-3, earning each win in succession between 1978 and 2012 (the first one coming under the Cardinals’ St. Louis moniker). Arizona broke the streak in their last meeting in 2016, when they took home a 28-3 decision in Glendale.

History Happens: 2008

Brett Favre’s brief yet eventful time as a New York Jet got off to a tough start. The Jets sat at 1-2 and were reeling from a one-sided Sunday night loss in San Diego in a return to Giants Stadium. An ensuing matchup with future NFC champions Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin was perhaps one of the earliest signs that the 2008 was going to be quite out of the ordinary.

The Jets scoring 34 points seems like a pipe dream to some modern fans, but they acquired that tally in a single quarter on a late September afternoon against the Cardinals. Dressed in their New York Titans-inspired throwbacks, Favre and Laveranues Coles united for three scores while Darrelle Revis took back a Warner interception back for a touchdown. Arizona slowly worked their way back with three unanswered rushing scores (two from Edgerrin James) in the third quarter, but Favre kept the Cardinals down with three more touchdown passes. Jerricho Cotchery was the recipient of two, while Dustin Keller had the last. New York took the game by a 56-35 final. The six touchdown passes were a career-best for Favre, who united with Warner to throw for 761 passing yards.

They Said It

“I’m not looking at it in terms of bringing a spark,” Flacco said. “Of course, we want to get things rolling as a team and kind of get our morale up and get us headed in the right direction. But not one guy, including myself, can try to do too much. We just have to go out there, take it play-by-play and let things fall in place.”Jets QB Joe Flacco on starting Sunday, per Eric Allen 

“I think this week particularly, all of us want to get back on the field. There was frustration with how we played last week, so we’ve been chomping at the bit to get back after it. So when you hear that initially, you’re like, ‘Oh no, we really want to get back out there.’ And then you settle in and realize, hey, you can control what you can control.”-Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury on dealing with the Cardinals’ current situation, per Katherine Fitzgerald 

Matchup To Watch

RB Le’Veon Bell vs. Arizona’s Run Defense

Even when we were having the “Is Joe Flacco elite?” debate every week, it was never wise to put the game solely in his hands. The Jets have averaged 35 pass attempts a game over the first four games of the 2020 season. Flacco-led are 31-48 in the regular season when he throws the ball at least 35 times.

New York enjoys a bit of a boost this week with Le’Veon Bell making his return from injury, but the reunion comes in a game where Mekhi Becton, one of the Jets’ rare silver linings, list listed as doubtful on the injury report. With the franchise quarterback down and the receiving corps still missing links (Breshad Perriman is likewise doubtful and Denzel Mims is still inactive), Bell may be called upon to take on an increased workload to alleviate the pressure on Flacco.

Head coach Adam Gase was pleased with the way Bell kept himself in game shape during his injury absence. Bell hasn’t played since the Week 1 defeat in Buffalo.

“I think he can be pretty effective,” Gase said his top rusher in a report from ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “He did a good job of getting healthy and then staying in good shape. (He) did a good job making sure that he maintained where his weight was. I think he feels even better now than he did when we kind of hit that first game.”

Arizona’s run defense ins’t anything to truly write home about, stagnant in around the middle of the pack in the statistical rankings. If Bell can get his legs back quickly and overcome the losses of some starting big men on the line, he can earn a long-awaited return to form and shoulder some of the load a desperate offense needs to properly distribute.

The Jets Will Win If…

They contain Kyler Murray.

Over the past two weeks, the Jets’ defense failed to contain an aging Phillip Rivers and a third-stringer in Denver making his first career start…and they had trouble with Nick Mullens and the 49ers’ reserves the week before that. That was all before they ran into a showdown with Murray, a dual-threat who was working on MVP candidacy over the first two weeks before running into trouble against Detroit and Carolina. Murray has no doubt seen the struggles of the Jets’ defense and has to be licking his chops going into this matchup. The Jets have earned only six sacks so far and was already torched by one dual-threat, Josh Allen, in aforementioned opener against Buffalo. Murray’s prescience has loomed over Jets practice all week.

“To keep him in the pocket, try to make him one-dimensional because he can throw and use his feet as well once he gets outside the pocket,” safety Marcus Maye said on Thursday, per Kristian Dyer of Sports Illustrated. “If we can pressure him, make him one-dimensional, I think we can be OK.”

The Cardinals Will Win If…

They embrace their sense of desperation.

Arizona was seen by some as a team able to play consequence-free football in 2020. Murray excelled in his rookie year, and the outlook was mostly positive moving forward. Expectations rose slightly when DeAndre Hopkins was gifted to them from Houston, but there still would’ve been no shame from a Cardinal standpoint if they didn’t beat out the Seahawks or 49ers in the competitive NFC West.

However, after topping the Niners in Week 1, the Cardinals were seen as surprise contenders. The past two weeks have been disappointed, and Arizona now sits at .500 while the Seahawks remain dominant, the 49ers thrive despite several big injuries, and the Rams start to reintroduce themselves to the NFL scene. A terrifying trap game scenario awaits in New York. It’s a game that’s starting at 10 a.m. local time. It’s a game that the eternal Cardinal Fitzgerald has labeled a “must-win”.

Seattle is the leader in our division, 4-0 right now, and they are rolling,” Fitzgerald said, per team writer Darren Urban. “We have to be able to find a way to get back on the right track. Another road game, going across three time zones to play, you have to find a way to put together four good quarters in all three phases. It’s as simple as that.”

“We need to be able to keep pace with the Rams and the other teams playing well in the division. It’s definitely a must-win.”

Prediction

Even with Arizona’s struggles, it’s far too much to ask this Jets team to pull off what would nonetheless be a miracle. The loss against Denver provided a small hint of momentum, but topping an interconference foe bent on division domination is too far out of the Jets’ realm of possibilities.

Cardinals 23, Jets 10

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: False positive reveal clears a path to Sunday

New York Jets

After a health scare on Friday sent players and personnel home, the New York Jets have received clearance to play on Sunday against Arizona.

A Friday morning health scare forced the New York Jets to send their men in green home, but all signs now point to spending Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The Jets announced in a team statement that all players, coaches, and personnel have all tested negative for COVID-19. These negatives come hours after ESPN’s Adam Schefter stated the Jets emptied their Florham Park headquarters after “a presumptive positive player test”. But the team is now on pace to welcome in the Arizona Cardinals to MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, Fox).

“This evening, we received negative PCR COVID-19 test results for all players, coaches, and personnel,” the statement reads. “Following a presumptive positive COVID-19 test and out of an abundance of caution to ensure everyone’s health and safety, we sent all players and personnel home this morning. We also initiated all NFL mandated protocols including player isolation, subsequent testing, and contact tracing.”

“As we have thus far, we will continue to follow required health and safety protocols in the best interests of our coaches, players, staff, and community. We look forward to our game this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.”

The Jets previously dealt with false positives during training camp. Their proximity to the NFL’s New Jersey-based BioReference testing lab helped exepditate the process that’s allowing them to play on Sunday.

As the NFL continues to navigate its way through the ongoing health crisis, two games originally scheduled for Sunday have been shifted. The New England Patriots saw one of their games moved for the second straight week, as they’ll take on the Denver Broncos on Monday late afternoon (5 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans have had no new positive tests for consecutive days after having 23 positive tests since September 24. Their matchup with the Buffalo Bills has been moved to national television status on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, CBS) and their Nashville facility could reopen this weekend.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

BREAKING: Jets have presumptive positive COVID test per Adam Schefter

New York Jets, Adam Gase

Navigating the Coronavirus Pandemic during this football season was never going to be an easy task. The NFL has now begun to see a spike in cases that is felt throughout the world. Yet,  the Tennessee Titans outbreak looks to be a little more contained as they had zero new positive cases. Along with the NFL seemingly getting a grip on the game schedule during a pandemic, the New York Jets have thrown a curveball into that premise.

Today, Adam Schefter has reported the New York Jets had a presumptive positive test.

What We Know

What is known is that the Jets had one of their routine tests come back positive today on One Jets Drive. Thus, all players and coaches were sent home, and the player who tested positive is awaiting the results of their retest, per Rich Cimini. The Arizona Cardinals were slated to fly out today for this Sunday’s contest, and that game now hinges on the results of this test. This positive test is considered presumptive as there have been false positives in the last week or so.

Still, the organization must act out of an abundance of caution to prevent a continued spread. One scenario that could come into play is reminiscent of this past Monday’s game between the Patriots and Chiefs. Despite a positive test, the Patriots kept the virus contained between Cam Newton and now All-Pro Corner Stephon Gilmore, and the team were still able to play their scheduled game.

Long Term Outlook

The Jets must now act with the same sense of fluidity that the entire league and country, for that matter, has operated under in order to prevent a larger spread. The players and coaches need to continue to take responsibility in order to finish the season. With that said, if cases continue to become more widespread nationally, the league may have to consider a bubble setup to finish out the season and the playoffs safely.

Hopefully, the Jets get everything in order within the organization, because no matter how critical you are of the team, I wish them nothing but the best in their health and potential COVID-19 recovery.

Buffalo Bills’ Week 5 contest moved to Tuesday night

The anticipated matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans will move to Tuesday night, pending further Tennessee testing.

Buffalo Bills fans will be waiting all day for Tuesday night this week.

The team confirmed on Thursday that their Week 5 tilt against the Tennessee Titans will be shifted from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday night. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. ET and will be nationally broadcast on CBS. Tom McCarthy and Jay Feely are expected to retain the call.

Buffalo (4-0) has been on standby in the wake of positive COVID-19 tests out of Tennessee, a number that moved up to 23 since September 24 this week. This Tuesday date hinges on whether more positive tests emerge prior to kickoff. The Titans (3-0) previously saw their Week 4 game against Pittsburgh rescheduled to October 25 in the wake of their positives.

This week’s situation with the Bills was made all the more precarious with the BIlls’ situation in Week 6, as they were slated to open the proceedings with a Thursday night match against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. If the Bills and Titans play on Tuesday, Buffalo’s visit to Arrowhead Stadium will be moved to Week 6’s Sunday slate at an unspecified time. Otherwise, it will retain its spot in Fox and NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football package.

Buffalo last had a game rescheduled in 2014, when a snowstorm moved a November tilt against the New York Jets from Sunday to Monday. Proceedings were also moved from Bills Stadium (then known as Ralph Wilson Stadium) to Ford Field in Detroit. The Bills won the game 38-3.

This anticipated matchup between unbeaten teams is one of two Week 5 games shifted in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in the NFL. For the second straight week, the New England Patriots will partake in a Monday night doubleheader, as they’ll battle the Denver Broncos a day later than anticipated (5 p.m. ET, ESPN). That’ll be followed by the originally scheduled Monday night showing between the Los Angeles Chargers and New Orleans Saints.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Jets will start QB Joe Flacco on Sunday

New York Jets, Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco will make his first start in green, as the New York Jets prepare to face an angry Arizona Cardinals squad on Sunday.

The New York Jets announced on Wednesday that Joe Flacco will start Week 5’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. Sam Darnold is considered “week-to-week” and will miss Sunday’s game (1 p.m. ET, Fox) with a shoulder ailment.

Flacco, 35, will make his first NFL start for the Jets after signing a one-year deal with the team back in May. He has established himself as one of the more successful postseason quarterbacks in recent NFL memory, earning a 10-5 record as a playoff starter with the Baltimore Ravens. Seven of those victories have come on the road, an NFL record. Flacco was the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII, helping the Ravens top the San Francisco 49ers 34-31. It capped off a trek that saw Flacco tie Joe Montana’s NFL record with 11 touchdowns in a single postseason.

After he was supplanted by Lamar Jackson in Baltimore’s franchise spot, a role he had held since his first-round drafting out of Delaware in 2008, Flacco signed with the Denver Broncos last season. He started eight games, throwing for 1,822 yards, six touchdowns, and five interceptions before a neck injury ended his season. Flacco underwent surgery prior to being signed by the Jets and was cleared to play last week.

Darnold is now set to miss games in each of his three NFL seasons. He left the game late in the first quarter of the Jets’ showdown against Denver on Thursday after getting thrown down on his throwing shoulder during a sack by Alexander Jones. Darnold went to the locker room but returned to finish off the Jets’ next drive before the first half let out. Flacco completed two passes for 16 yards while Darnold was being evaluated. The latter would finish the game, a 37-28 New York loss.

The Jets (0-4) are 0-6 over the prior two seasons when Darnold has missed his starts. Josh McCown took over for three games when Darnold hurt his foot in his rookie season, while a mononucleosis diagnosis saw Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk take over in a matching three-game absence.

Mike White will serve as the Jets’ backup against Arizona, reprising a role he held over the first three weeks of the season while Flacco recovered from neck surgery. 

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags