If the Jets thought they were going to have it easy against the Eagles after Jalen Hurts was ruled out in favor of backup Gardner Minshew, they were disabused of that notion early on when Philadelphia scored on its first seven possessions.
The former starter played like he had never left the huddle by tossing for 242 yards and a pair of touchdowns en route to the Eagles' 33-18 victory. New York was hoping to maintain at least some of the mojo they had after beating the Texans the week before, 21-14, but it was not to be but Zach Wilson did have two touchdown passes and a running TD, yet, he also had a pick in the process.
Saints vs. Jets
Sunday, December 12, 2021 - 4:25 PM ET at MetLife Stadium on CBS
Zach Wilson has shown glimpses of what made him one of the most highly-touted college quarterbacks in April's NFL Draft but the transition has not been easy. He was a school kid who was playing at BYU, one of the most strait-laced universities in the country and far away from the hotbed that is New York City.
And when he arrived in the big city, he, like many before him, was expected to thrive under a baptism by fire with a suspect offensive line and minimal weapons. It has not worked out all that great but the onus cannot be placed solely on Wilson as he is a big, strong, athletic passer who can make extraordinary passes that others cannot. We must ask ourselves if Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence, or even Mac Jones would have substantially better results under the same set of circumstances.
But it is what it is and off we are to a date with the Saints this coming Sunday. As of this midweek writing, the NFL odds at all of the best sportsbooks are showing the Jets as 5-point home underdogs against a New Orleans team that has been struggling mightily.
New York is 3-9 straight up on the season and 3-9 against the all-important spread but this week they could have a glimmer of hope of rewarding their backers, and maybe even pulling off the upset. For those interested in such things, the moneyline on the Jets is roughly +190 which has dropped from +210 since the opening line. That drop in price reflects that there is money being wagered on the Jets to win this game on their home turf and send the Saints home mighty unhappy.
Taysom Hill was tapped as the new Saints' starting quarterback in place of the struggling Trevor Siemian last week and the results did not change. Hill was picked off four times and he suffered an injury to the middle finger of his throwing hand in a 27-17 loss to Dallas. The finger injury was not as severe as Russell Wilson's, as this won’t require surgery but it won’t make it easy for Hill this week and that’s good news for the Jets.
Stephania Bell, an injury analyst for ESPN and physical therapist, commented on Hill's injury and the consequences of playing quarterback in the NFL with a splint on one’s throwing hand.
"My expectation is that we will see them customize a splint that is similar to what they fashioned [Thursday] night that is open on the undersurface so he can feel and grip the ball," Bell said. "Then when he's not playing, he'll probably be in a sturdier splint. It's not ideal for a quarterback to play with a splinted finger."
Unfortunately, the Saints will likely be welcoming back Alvin Kamara, a dual-threat out of the backfield who could give the Jets’ linebackers fits as he catches the short stuff over the middle and off the edges. When he does run the rock, New York's 30th ranked run-stop unit better be prepared to do much better than they have been doing this season as Kamara is lethal both as a receiver and a rusher.
Zach Wilson could very well have a career day on Sunday for a couple of reasons. First, he looked excellent in the first half of last week's game before fading, along with the rest of his team, in the second half. It is clear he is starting to understand the speed and alacrity of the game at the next level. There are things he could get away with in college that won’t pass muster in the NFL as everyone he faces on defense now is faster, quicker, stronger and more skilled than the vast majority he shredded at the college level.
Secondly, the Saints don't generate much of a pass rush. In fact, they are ranked 29th in that category compared to the 12th ranked pass rush of the Eagles last week. Wilson should be able to connect early and often as the Saints secondary is not much to speak of with the notable exception of Marshon Lattimore. This looks like a good spot for the Jets so if you’ve got a hunch – bet a bunch!