The Jets are on a two-game losing streak and have a tough opponent coming to MetLife on Sunday.
The Lions, while 6-7, have won five of their last six games thanks to their high-powered offense. In this six-game span, Detroit has gained 354.8 yards and scored 29.3 points per game.
In order to notch a victory and stay afloat in the tough AFC Playoff race, the Jets will need to somehow keep up with the Lions in what could be a high-scoring affair. That could be a tough task though, as Zach Wilson is returning to the starting lineup for the first time in nearly a month.
Can the second-year quarterback (who was struggling mightily prior to his benching) lead the Jets’ offense in this crucial matchup?
Jets vs Lions
When: Sunday, Dec. 18, 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
Stellar DB performance. The Lions are 7th in the NFL with 248.8 passing yards per game and quarterback Jared Goff is putting together a productive season (3,352 passing yards and 22 touchdowns through 13 games). Head coach Robert Saleh‘s secondary needs to be locked in during this matchup.
Pressure. However, the Lions are only tied for 16th with a 59% pass block win rate, per ESPN. So the Jets should absolutely be game-planning to get pressure in Goff’s face to limit the effectiveness of the passing game.
Throw the ball. The Jets would benefit from running the ball and constructing long drives to keep the Lions’ offense off the field. Still, Gang Green needs to take advantage of the weak Lions secondary, which is 30th against the pass (263.4 yards allowed per game).
This week’s X-factor is, without a doubt, Zach Wilson.
This game will be a major opportunity for the young quarterback. If Wilson turns the corner, impresses in a big win, and puts the prior struggles completely behind him, he will be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season. But if he struggles, he will absolutely go back to the bench, in a move that could all but end his Jets tenure.
Did you know?
The Jets are right outside the playoff picture looking in with four games left, and the same goes for the Lions.
So when was the last time both these teams made the playoffs?
You’d have to go all the way back to the 1991 season: the Jets finished second in the AFC East and made the postseason as a Wild Card team while the Lions were the NFC Central champions.
The Jets then suffered a 17-10 defeat against the Oilers in the Wild Card Round. Detroit, on the other hand, beat the Cowboys in the Divisional Round before losing to Washington in the NFC Championship Game.
Wilson and the Jets’ offense will need to keep up with the high-powered Detroit offense, but that’ll be a huge task.
The second-year passer is starting his first game in nearly a month and wide receiver Corey Davis is out with a concussion. Taking all that into consideration, along with how Wilson’s most recent performance went (9-for-22 in the Week 11 loss to New England), expect the Lions to pull away in the end. Lions 34, Jets 21.