Jets quarterback Mike White is back in the starting lineup.
Over a year removed from his infamous 2021 performance against the Bengals, when he thew for 405 yards and three touchdowns in place of an injured Zach Wilson, White now earns a promotion by way of Wilson’s benching. The second-year quarterback and primary starter completed just 41% of his throws in last week’s loss to the Patriots, and has the worst completion rate (55.6%) and second-worst passer rating (72.6) in the NFL.
Head coach Robert Saleh deemed enough was enough. And while he noted this wasn’t the end of Wilson’s Jets tenure, Saleh admitted the young quarterback needs a “reset.” He will be inactive against the Bears Sunday, and White will try to lead this talented 6-4 squad to a much-needed victory.
If White struggles mightily and the Jets lose, there’s a chance Wilson is back in the starting lineup against the Vikings in Week 13. But if White replicates his remarkable performance against Cincinnati and the Jets win, it could add to the chaos that’s been Wilson’s NFL tenure.
Jets vs Bears
When: Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022
Where: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Radio: ESPN Radio New York 98.7 FM
Keys to victory
Get off the field. The Jets need a huge game out of their strong defense, which must take pressure off the White-led offense. Falling behind early would not fare well for a Jets offense that’s been forced to turn to its backup quarterback. Especially since we don’t even know if White will play as great as he did against the Bengals.
Establish the run. Another way to take pressure off White is to establish the run. The Bears sport a weak run defense and are allowing 142.6 rushing yards per game (29th in the NFL). Jets running backs Michael Carter and James Robinson must exploit this.
I-Spy. The Jets’ defense needs to have a quarterback spy on Chicago’s Justin Fields constantly (if he plays with his shoulder injury). He’s not going to beat you with his arm — the Bears are last in the NFL with 128.1 passing yards per game. But he can certainly contribute to a strong Chicago rushing attack that’s atop the NFL with 197.9 yards per game.
Fields has rushed for 834 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 games.
Going to go with a coach this week — our X-factor is Mike LaFleur.
While Wilson has struggled and is now on the bench because of it, the second-year coordinator should carry heavy blame for the offensive woes. The offense only gained two total yards in the second half against New England last week.
With a backup quarterback under center, LaFleur needs to call a great game. A productive offensive performance would certainly improve his current lousy reputation as the team’s offensive play-caller.
Did you know?
The Jets haven’t defeated the Bears in 22 years.
That’s right — the last time New York beat Chicago was Nov. 26, 2000, a 17-10 victory that saw Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde throw for 215 yards and two touchdowns.
The Jets have lost all five meetings since then, by an average margin of just 8.6 points.
White is starting at quarterback as Wilson takes a step back after another awful performance. While White is infamous for his tremendous 2021 performance against the Bengals, it’s tough to imagine he will replicate it. Especially against a Chicago secondary allowing only 196.8 yards per game (eighth in the NFL).
However, I think the Jets’ defense is good enough to take pressure off White, who won’t need to do too much if the Jets just get the run game going. That shouldn’t be a huge issue either, as Chicago sports the fourth-worst run defense in the league.
Expect a low-scoring, defensive battle, with the Jets’ offense doing just enough to snag the victory. Jets 17 Bears 10