Week 1 is now in the books, and the NY Jets won their first game on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Unfortunately, it didn't come easy, as Aaron Rodgers went down on just the fourth play of his Jets career, and the ball was turned over to Zach Wilson. Nonetheless, the Jets walked away with a 22-16 victory in overtime.
The Jets will now be facing another very tough task as they travel to Arlington to take on the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys come into this game after demolishing the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night. Can Zach Wilson and the Jets defeat the Cowboys? Here are the three keys to victory.
3. Feed Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook
Despite Dallas absolutely annihilating the Giants, one thing remained true — teams can run against the Cowboys. The Cowboys gave up 51 yards to Saquon Barkley and even surrendered 43 yards to Daniel Jones. The point here is that teams can find success running on the Dallas Cowboys' defense.
Now, factor in arguably the best running back duo in the NFL, Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook. Hall, who was one of the stars of Monday's game for the Jets, had his way with the Bills defense.
He ran for 127 yards on 10 carries in just his first game back from a torn ACL. He showed he didn't miss a step out on the field, and it was genuinely hard to believe he missed any time whatsoever with how well he did.
Adding Cook to the fray, who picked up 33 yards on 13 attempts, is enough to split the backs. The first key to victory on Sunday is to establish the run game by feeding Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook. Get them involved early and establish the momentum. If they can do this, the Jets can set the tone for the rest of the game.
2. Get to Dak Prescott early and often
Despite how well the Cowboys played on Sunday, Dak Prescott was held off the scoresheet entirely. Prescott finished Sunday night's game, completing 13 of his 24 passes.
He threw for 143 yards, more than half of which went to his favorite receiver CeeDee Lamb, and he did not throw an interception, or a touchdown.
Pressuring Dak Prescott starts with the men up front. Guys like Carl Lawson, Quinton Jefferson, Quinnen Williams, Jermaine Johnson, and John Franklin-Myers will need to continue to come up big as they did against Buffalo. Their play against Buffalo caused Josh Allen (who's much better than Prescott) to throw three interceptions, all to Jordan Whitehead.
Those three interceptions would turn out to be crucial as they changed momentum and were a big reason why the Jets won. One of the bigger keys to victory is to not allow Prescott to establish a rhythm and throw him off his game early.
1. Zach Wilson must protect the ball
As self-explanatory as this can be, this is a big issue for Zach Wilson. Despite not playing perfectly on Monday, Wilson came into the game and showed signs of improvement, including not forcing much and throwing the ball away. Wilson finished the game by completing 14 of his 21 passes, throwing for 140 yards and one touchdown in the process.
However, Wilson did have one hiccup in this game. He threw an interception right to Bills linebacker Matt Milano. On Sunday, Wilson has the power to either win or lose this game.
Despite Dallas having just an okay run defense, the same cannot be said about their pass defense, as they can make an offense pay for their mistakes. Just ask Daniel Jones.
Last Sunday, the Cowboys made Jones pay a big price for a mistake, as they returned an interception for a touchdown. The Cowboys' defense can make a lot of plays, but if Wilson is smart with the ball and doesn't force anything, this could put the Jets in a good spot to win the game.