The Jets take on yet another great defense when they travel to Denver. Can Zach Wilson earn the first victory of his NFL career?
New York in Week 1 faced a Carolina defense that’s atop the league in both yards allowed per game and points allowed per game. Then in Week 2, it went up against a Bill Belichick defense in a home loss to New England.
And now in Week 3, this Sunday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. ET, Wilson and the Jets will be facing Von Miller and the strong Broncos unit. Denver is currently third in average yards allowed and fifth in average points allowed.
Will Wilson improve following his dreadful four-interception Week 2 performance? Will the offensive line impress against this talented Broncos pass rush? Will the offense score more than 14 points, which is currently its season-high?
New York Jets (0-2) @ Denver Broncos (2-0)
Sunday, September 26, 2021 — 4:05 PM EDT
Radio: ESPN NY 98.7FM
Notable Game Props
(Courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Jets Total Points: Over-14.5 (-115), Under-14.5 (-115)
- First Team to Score: Jets (+165), Broncos (-210)
- Last Team to Score: Jets (+150), Broncos (-185)
- Jets Total TDs: Over-1.5 (-125), Under-1.5 (-115)
- Broncos Total TDs: Over-2.5 (-200), Under-2.5 (+150)
Player Prop Picks (Courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
Zach Wilson under-211.5 Passing Yards (-115)
This Denver defense is allowing just 184.0 passing yards per game (fifth in the NFL). The unit also employs a strong Von Miller-led pass rush that will be going up against a Jets offensive line that’s missing starting left tackle Mekhi Becton.
A ton of signs point towards Zach Wilson’s passing-yard total sitting below 211.5 yards, just like it did against a talented New England secondary last week (210 yards).
The Jets should also be running the ball a decent amount in order to take pressure off Wilson and tire the Broncos defense out.
Teddy Bridgewater over-0.5 Interceptions (+170)
Veteran Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t thrown an interception through two weeks and is most certainly due up for one. We know he’s not entirely careful with the football — he threw 11 picks in 15 games with Carolina last year.
This Jets secondary is also strong in comparison to the rest of its units, currently allowing 214.5 passing yards per game (10th in the NFL).
If Jeff Ulbrich’s defense just gets some pressure on Bridgewater, the signal-caller will make at least one big mistake — expect that to occur this weekend.
Ty Johnson over-34.5 Rushing Yards (-110)
Tevin Coleman will be missing the game due to a non-COVID illness, which will lead to guys like Ty Johnson earning even more carries.
The Jets increased Johnson’s role against the Patriots last week, providing him with 12 carries (he rushed for 50 yards in the loss). Expect the coaching staff to keep relying on Johnson (and rookie running back Michael Carter) as they look to run the ball and take pressure off Zach Wilson.
All Johnson will need to accomplish is one decent run in this matchup. After that, it should be smooth sailing when it comes to hitting the over on this rushing-yard total.
Players to Watch
QB Zach Wilson
Of course, we have to pay attention to the first-year quarterback.
Zach Wilson is definitely experiencing some growing pains — the rookie threw four interceptions last week in the 25-6 loss to New England.
Young quarterbacks will make mistakes, but how Wilson responds to the forgettable Week 2 performance should tell a lot about the guy the Jets drafted at No. 2 overall.
Will Wilson continue the early struggles or will he bounce back and put together a notable performance against a tough Denver defense?
RB Michael Carter
The Jets increased rookie running back Michael Carter’s role in Week 2.
The fourth-rounder out of North Carolina carried the ball just four times for six yards in Week 1 but followed that game up with an 11-carry, 59-yard performance against New England. He was on the field for just 25% of the offensive snaps against the Panthers but notched 45% of the offensive reps when facing the Pats.
Expect the Jets to keep ramping up Carter’s playing time against the Broncos; Tevin Coleman is also out (as was previously mentioned) — this situation could further pave the way for Carter to assume a larger role.
Earlier this week, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur spoke highly of the first-year back.
“It was really cool because in year one of a system, rookie or 10-year guy, you want to see a huge improvement from Week One to Week Two…so many of the veterans made such great strides in that second game. Sometimes you don’t expect that totally from rookies, you expect improvement, I thought [Michael Carter] had a huge improvement,” LaFleur said Thursday when speaking to the media. “He didn’t play a ton in [the Week 1] game, I don’t remember the snap count with Carolina, but he obviously played quite a bit in New England.
“He’s such a mature kid, he comes out, his attitude is absolutely great so it’s not surprising. It was really nice to see a rookie in his second game just transition to the speed of the game, as well as I thought he did on Sunday.”
Jets Pass Rush
I understand this isn’t a single player, but the Jets pass rush will play an important role Sunday.
New York only sacked Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold once and Patriots rookie Mac Jones three times. This defensive unit will need to consistently pressure Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in order to disrupt his rhythm and force him to make mistakes.
The veteran quarterback has played great thus far, having completed 77.1% of his throws for 592 yards, four touchdowns, and zero picks. If he has time to operate, he’ll dial it up against the Gang Green defense — the Jets cannot let this occur.
Getting in Teddy’s face, forcing him to escape the pocket, and not allowing him to fully go through his progressions should limit what he can do with the football.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY
Listen to ESNY’s Wide Right Podcast by clicking here.