Usually, when I bring up a player on the opposing roster, it’s to discuss how incredible they are and how the Jets should prepare for that player's domination. I usually talk about how that guy can dissect the NY Jets’ defense or tear up the team's offense, and I stay up all night worrying about each of those ways.
This time around, it seems as if the Jets have a pattern: Play up to the elite, play down to the struggling folks. So, looking at what the Jets did to Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts, I’d say things look pretty good for their chances against Justin Herbert.
He is certainly in their class, no QB in the history of the NFL has accumulated more passing yards in their first three years in the league, and he is one of the most prolific touchdown-throwers of all time as well.
He is human, however, and we’ve already seen him get sacked five times and throw a pick en route to a 20-17 loss against the elite Cowboys defense.
17 is important to note because that is the fewest amount of points the Chargers have scored in a game this season. Just for reference, the Jets have scored 17 points just three times in seven tries this season — less than half the times they’ve played.
Can the NY Jets defense contain Justin Herbert in Week 9?
So, is it possible that the elite Jets defense forces Herbert into the lowest-scoring game of the Chargers’ season? Justin Herbert has thrown at least one touchdown in every single game he’s played and is currently on a three-game streak of throwing no interceptions.
The Chargers may opt to run more as, on paper, it looks like the Jets' run defense is less-than-stellar. Looking at the Giants successfully complete a long touchdown drive solely on the ground, Jaleel McLaughlin of the Broncos looks like the second coming of Barry Sanders at times versus the Jets, or the fact that the Jets currently allow the second-most rushing yards per game are all valid reasons to give Austin Ekeler a shot.
Considering Al Woods tore his Achilles last week, perhaps this is the golden opportunity for Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to pound the rock?
Probably not. The Chargers average the eighth most passing attempts per game for a reason, and that reason is a 6-foot-6 game-changing passer under center.
Can the Jets stifle his skills and add him to the list of elite QBs they’ve embarrassed, or will Zach Wilson have to engage in some sort of shootout with one of the most explosive young passers in NFL history?