The NY Jets are set to face a struggling, injury-riddled Denver Broncos team in Week 7, and one that will now be led by backup quarterback Brett Rypien.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Saturday that starting quarterback Russell Wilson would be held out of Sunday's game with a lingering hamstring injury. In his place, Rypien is set to make his second career NFL start.
His first came two years ago against the Jets in a game in which he threw a pair of touchdowns and three interceptions but came away with the victory. That was a very different Jets team, however.
That was a Jets team starting Chris Hogan and Jeff Smith at wide receiver. A Jets team with Pierre Desir (who had two interceptions in the game, mind you) and Blessuan Austin at cornerback. Chuma Edoga, Alex Lewis, and Greg Van Roten started on the offensive line.
That was a bad Jets team. There's a reason the Jets are now favored to win in Denver this week. They're the better team — but the better team doesn't always win in the NFL, as we've seen so many times this season.
This is what the Jets need to do to avoid a disappointing letdown against the Broncos in Denver.
The NY Jets must win the turnover battle against the Broncos
The Jets' defense should encounter few difficulties against a Broncos offense that was already a trainwreck with Wilson under center. Their offensive line is bad and dealing with injuries. Their offensive coaching staff is a mess.
The only thing Denver's offense has going for it is a talented crop of wide receivers, but that should play right into the strength of this Jets' defense. There's no reason the Jets should give up more than 20 points on Sunday.
The real challenge comes on offense. The Jets need to score against a Broncos defense that could lay claim to being the best unit in football despite their team's offensive ineptitude.
If the Jets are going to win this game, they need to avoid back-breaking turnovers. That falls on Zach Wilson who likely won't be asked to win the game for his team on Sunday. His only job will be not losing it.
This is very likely going to be a low-scoring game. Turnovers, especially ones on your half of the field, are monumental momentum shifters and they're what ultimately could decide this game.
The Jets have won their last three games due in no small part to the fact that they've been winning the turnover battle. In an expected low-scoring affair against an elite Broncos defense, that battle has never been more important.
The Jets will win on Sunday if they win the turnover battle and score at least 20 points. In all honesty, 14 might be enough to get it done if the defense plays to their ability.
This is a game the Jets should and almost have to win if they're to make a legitimate playoff run this season. But to avoid a trap game scenario, they must avoid making mistakes that could alter the outcome.
Play safe, play smart, and return home with a 5-2 record.