The NY Jets find themselves in an uphill battle against the reigning NFC champs this week. These matchups could determine whether or not they pull off the upset over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6.
NY Jets defensive line vs. Eagles offensive line
These might be the two strongest units on these teams’ rosters. Philadelphia’s offensive line is the highest-rated in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, and it often feels like any time the Jets are able to gain some momentum in a game, someone in their front seven sparks it.
They will need more than just a spark this week, though. The Eagles rely on long, arduous drives that have the opposing defense exhausted by the second half.
Limiting Philly’s success in the run game and making timely stops on third down will be instrumental if the Jets want to keep this thing close and have a shot in the fourth quarter.
Zach Wilson vs. Eagles pass defense
A team’s success is almost always going to be directly tied to the performance of its quarterback. Maybe the most glaring exception to this rule is Zach Wilson — how often do Jets fans come out of wins thinking, “Dang, we won even with HIM doing THAT?!”
The Jets are going to need all hands on deck to find a way to win this week, and Wilson has a better chance to be a part of that than it may seem.
Philly’s passing defense hasn’t been atrocious, but it has not been what fans would expect out of a veteran-laden squad. The only time they truly excelled was against the hapless Baker Mayfield in heavy rain.
Besides that, they’ve given up over 300 yards and three touchdowns to Mac Jones (who might lose his job), over 350 yards and four touchdowns to Kirk Cousins (who might get traded), and let rookie Sam Howell score 31 points with a QB rating of almost 100.
The Jets have weapons, and we just saw Wilson have his best game as a pro against last year’s Super Bowl-winning team. Who says he can’t have a similar performance against last year’s Super Bowl-losing team?
A.J. Brown/DeVonta Smith vs. Bryce Hall and Craig James
The most crucial matchup out-wide this week will be the duo of Bryce Hall and Craig James, filling in for the injured Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed, versus the Eagles' star wide receiver tandem of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.
Gardner and Reed have consistently shut down opposing wide receivers, but they won't be playing in this game. If the front seven can force some third-and-longs, the Eagles will have to throw the ball, giving the Jets' unproven cornerbacks a chance to make plays that put the Eagles offense on the sideline.
Both receivers are explosive — any time either one touches the ball, they can take it to the house. Today won't be an easy game for either Hall or James, but the Jets' defense is still talented enough to overcome their inexperience.