zach wilson
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

ESNY previews the upcoming Jets-Jaguars Week 16 matchup at MetLife Stadium.

The Jets will not have Robert Saleh on Sunday.

The rookie head coach tested positive for COVID-19 during the week and didn’t test out of the protocol. As a result, tight ends coach Ron Middleton will serve as the acting head coach for his team’s Week 16 matchup with Jacksonville.

While that will be a major storyline in this game, eyes will additionally be fixated on the pair of quarterbacks. Rookie Jaguar Trevor Lawrence and rookie Jet Zach Wilson were the No. 1 and 2 overall picks (respectively) of the 2021 NFL Draft. Neither has overly impressed many this season, but that can be attributed to either signal-caller residing on a poor team.

There could be various battles between these two young NFLers throughout the duration of their respective careers. Who will take home the victory in the inaugural meeting?

Game Info

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12) @ New York Jets (3-11)
Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021 — 1:00 PM ET
TV: CBS
Radio: ESPN NY 98.7FM

Jets’ Final Injury Report


Questionable

  • CB Bryce Hall (Non-COVID Illness)
  • LB C.J. Mosley (Back)
  • DT Sheldon Rankins (Knee)
  • OT George Fant (Knee)
  • DT Quinnen Williams (Shoulder)

Doubtful

  • WR Jamison Crowder (Calf)

Out

  • S Elijah Riley (Concussion)

Jaguars’ Final Injury Report

Questionable

  • C Brandon Linder (Quad)

Out

  • EDGE Lerentee McCray (Ankle)

Betting Info

Odds

Jaguars: +1.5 // O41.5 // +105

Jets: -1.5 // U41.5 // -125

Notable Game Props
(Courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

  • Jets Total Points: Over-21.5 (-110), Under-21.5 (-120)
  • Jaguars Total Points: Over-20.5 (+100), Under-20.5 (-130)
  • First Team to Score: Jets (-120), Jaguars (-110)
  • Last Team to Score: Jets (-120), Jaguars (-110)
  • Jets Total TDs: Over-2.5 (+125), Under-2.5 (-165)
  • Jaguars Total TDs: Over-2.5 (+145), Under-2.5 (-190)

Player Prop Picks (Courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

James Robinson Over-75.5 Rushing Yards (-140)

This player prop might not have the most intriguing odds at -140, but I refrain from taking any rushing-yard under if the specific rusher is facing the Jets.

New York’s run defense has been awful this year — the unit is allowing 141.9 yards on the ground per game (30th in the NFL).

In James Robinson’s first game in the post-Urban Meyer era last week, the Jaguars running back racked up 75 yards on 18 carries against Houston.

Zach Wilson Under-223.5 Passing Yards (-115)

Zach Wilson has only surpassed this passing-yard total three times this season, and the Jaguars secondary hasn’t been terrible (Jacksonville is 17th in the NFL in average passing yards allowed).

Wilson also isn’t expected to have many of his primary weapons on the field with him. Corey Davis is out for the year, Elijah Moore is on injured reserve, and Jamison Crowder is doubtful with a calf injury.

Michael Carter Over-16.5 Receiving Yards (-120)

With the Jets expected to be without various receivers (as we previously mentioned), offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and Zach Wilson should be using rookie running back Michael Carter in the passing game.

Carter has exceeded this total in six of 11 games this season. He’s averaging 28.2 receiving yards per game overall.

Odds and prop bets courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Get up to $1,050 with a deposit bonus and free bet when you click here.

Players to Watch

Zach Wilson

Despite the fact he’s facing a struggling Jaguars team, the Jets’ rookie quarterback will be put to the test Sunday.

Wilson won’t have Corey Davis or Elijah Moore, with Jamison Crowder also expected to sit out with a calf injury.

The first-year player remaining poised and constructing a victory without many of his top targets would be an impressive feat in what’s been a disappointing rookie campaign.

Braxton Berrios

Wide receiver Braxton Berrios will see an enhanced role in the absence of alternative targets.

Whether he takes full advantage of the opportunity remains to be seen. But regardless, he’ll have a significant task on his hands going against this Jacksonville secondary.

Ron Middleton

I know — this isn’t a player.

But all eyes will be on Ron Middleton to see if he can lead this team to victory in the absence of Robert Saleh. The tight ends coach will be the acting head coach while Saleh deals with COVID-19 — will he help notch a late-season victory for New York?

Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY

Listen to ESNY’s Wide Right Podcast on Apple here or on Spotify here.

Ryan Honey is a senior NFL analyst, betting writer, and podcaster for Elite Sports NY. He hosts the Wide Right Podcast, which serves as both a New York Giants podcast and sports betting show.