The NY Jets head to Dallas for their second game of the season in much different circumstances than we would have thought a week ago at this time. After the loss of Aaron Rodgers, the Jets are now heavy underdogs in this game.
Both the Jets and Cowboys were victorious over division rivals in Week 1. The Jets squeked by the Bills, and the Cowboys dominated the Giants.
This is a big game for the Jets, as they were able to improvise on the fly in Week 1 but will now have a week to gameplan for what the Zach Wilson-led offense will look like.
Here are the top five Jets players to watch in Week 2 against the Cowboys.
1. Zach Wilson, QB, NY Jets
For now, this is Zach Wilson’s team. Wilson did enough to keep the Jets in the game and get the win in Week 1. However, after the beating the Cowboys defense put on Daniel Jones last week, this could be a tough matchup.
The Jets have an extremely talented roster. They do not need much for Wilson; he just has to be okay. He just has to make the easy throws and take care of the ball. The Jets' running game and defense are good enough for that.
Week 1 had its ups and downs, and Wilson has a lot to prove in Week 2 if he wants to be the guy for the rest of the season.
2. Breece Hall, RB, NY Jets
Breece Hall might be the most important offensive player after the Aaron Rodgers injury. Hall looked great in Week 1, despite the fact that he was on a pitch count while still recovering from his ACL tear.
Hall looked much better than Dalvin Cook and the Jets might have to start relying on him more for offense now. With Wilson at quarterback, you have to think they will rely more on the run game, as we saw in Week 1.
Having two capable running backs will certainly help with that, but if Hall can be close to what he was in Week 1, he will be in the conversation for the best running back in the NFL before long.
3. NY Jets offensive line
The Jets offensive line will all be important players to watch this week. The Cowboys' defense, especially Micah Parsons, wreaked havoc on the Giants offensive line last week.
The Jets' offensive line is going to have to step up for the Jets to have a chance in this game. Wilson does not play well under pressure, and it could be reminiscent of a 2022 Jets game if they cannot contain the Cowboys pass rush.
4. Sauce Gardner, CB, NY Jets
Sauce Gardner had a "bad" game last week against the Bills. Well, not really, but for someone as good as Gardner, it was a down game.
The Cowboys have two good receivers in CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks, although Cooks is not expected to play. In that case, the matchup of Lamb versus Gardner would be equally fun and important to the outcome of the game.
5. Mecole Hardman, WR, NY Jets
Mecole Hardman did not play any offensive snaps in Week 1. Head coach Robert Saleh said the gameplan changed when Rodgers went down, and instead of a lot of three-wide receiver sets, they were suddenly running the ball a lot more.
Hardman went on to like a tweet acknowledging his lack of snaps last Monday. He has since unliked the tweet, but Jets fans have some PTSD from the Elijah Moore situation last season.
Nathaniel Hackett should be able to find a way to use Hardman and his speed in this offense.