The New York Jets are coming off a disappointing week. They were dominated for the entire game against the Oakland Raiders last week after being picked apart by second-year quarterback Derek Carr and his new number one target wide receiver Amari Cooper.
The defense was lacking, giving up 333 passing yards for four touchdowns and another 118 yards on the ground. This was not a good showing, especially with the talent that the team possesses on the defensive line and having one of the best shutdown cornerbacks in the league in Darrelle Revis. However, the Jets need to forget about last week's matchup and focus at the task at hand, when they face off against another second-year quarterback in Blake Bortles.
An injury scare for the Jets happened last week with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who suffered torn ligaments in his left thumb early on against the Oakland Raiders. However, after practice on Wednesday, head coach Todd Bowles said he would be able to go on Sunday. It would be a questionable predicament, knowing that if the issue keeps on coming up, he would need surgical procedures to fix it up. However, the risk may deem a reward, as Ryan Fitzpatrick has beaten the Jacksonville Jaguars as a member of four different teams in his NFL career (Cincinnati, Buffalo, Tennessee and Houston).
More injury issues have plagued the Jets coming into the midseason, with players like running back Chris Ivory (hamstring) and wide receiver Brandon Marshall (toe/ankle) being knackered in prior games, but should be able to go for the Jets on Sunday. The Jets offense, highlighted by their three players who are dealing with injuries, need to step up against a young and inconsistent Jaguars defense. The Jaguars have allowed only 3.5 yards per carry, the lowest in the league, and would need a big game from Chris Ivory to help propel a heavily injured Jets passing offense to give support to their defense, who will be looking to recover their previous form early on in the season.
The Jaguars are coming of a bye week, after traveling to Wembley Stadium with their third annual appearance in front of the UK fans, in which they saw their first victory in London in three attempts. Jacksonville had a strong defensive showing in the second quarter, helping them jump out to a 24-point lead, but would blow it and then be saved by late-game heroics by quarterback Blake Bortles and wide receiver Allen Hurns.
The young quarterback is coming off of his worst game as a starting quarterback this season, after throwing 13 completions out of 29 attempts for 182 passing yards, two touchdowns, and an almost crucial pick six that could have lost the Jaguars the game. Now a bigger task is at hand for Bortles as he will face off against the eighth best passing defense in the league.
Despite powering through the adversity he endured last week, Bortles has little margin for error as he will have to deal with one of the best corners in football in Darrelle Revis and the rest of the Jets secondary. However, the young wide receiving corps for Jacksonville has taken the upcoming week as an opportunity to seize the day, especially from Allen Hurns, who said earlier in the week that this is why he came to play in the league because he wants the chance to up against the best and see where his abilities stack up.
Both he and Allen Robinson have been dire to the Jaguars passing game this season, with both leading the NFL in yards per catch (minimum of players with over 20 catches). Bortles, Hurns and Robinson are all in their second year in the league, which has been outstanding to know that the team seems to have found pieces to build upon for the future.
The Jaguars defense should get a wake-up call when they travel to East Rutherford, after allowing a comeback attempt from E.J. Manuel to even come to be. The team lost its aggressive style of play and it has been noted by defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, who believed the team should have blown out Buffalo last week and it was unacceptable for it to even be a close game in the end.
The defense will be playing a wounded Jets offense but should not take them lightly. The Jaguars have already lost fourth quarter leads in their last four games, with the likes of Matt Hasselbeck, Jameis Winston, Brian Hoyer, and E.J. Manuel as the opposing team's quarterbacks. The defense may be one of the youngest, if not the youngest in the league, but consistency will be needed to kick-start a second half run in the season.
Both teams have chances to make it to the postseason this year, with the Jets having an early season opportunity for a wild card spot and the Jaguars having to play in the wide open AFC South. However, both teams need to get out of their slumps, with the Jets suffering injuries and the Jags losing games late and not winning a road game since 2013.