New York Jets defensive key against Detroit Lions Zach Wilson Backs mean little

Published on: December 15, 2022, 01:28 am.

Last update: December 15, 2022, 01:28.

Lots of ink in the New York tabloids today about Zach Wilson being elevated to backup quarterback for the New York Jets ahead of Joe Flacco. Mike White remains the starter this Sunday against the Detroit Lions. But if he gets hit as hard as he was last weekend against the Buffalo Bills, the guy coming off the bench will be the same guy who started seven games earlier this season.

Which makes for a nice story, especially since Wilson spoke to the press.

But do you know what makes or breaks the Jets in this make-or-break game against a Detroit team that just knocked off Minnesota? Hint: Start with the letter “D”.

That was Josh Allen last weekend after the Jets held him to a season-low 147 passing yards while holding Stefon Diggs to a season-low 37 receiving yards. New York is third in the NFL in total defense and sixth in scoring defense, and the Jets have cut their points allowed from 29.7 to 18.7, the second-most drop in NFL history behind Rams from 2001.

How will this defense fare?

So if you’re wondering why the over/under line is 44 1/2, 7 1/2 points higher than what we see for Browns-Ravens, well, there’s the matter of the Lions’ high-powered offense. The game will be played in cold conditions at Met Life Stadium, and the Lions are a team that plays their home games in a heated dome. Yes, they ranked 4th on offense in total yardage and scored more points than any NFC team except the Eagles and Cowboys. But they are growing a Jets defense that has allowed more than 20 points just twice in the last nine games. Push meets push, right?

“It’s a combination of a few different things,” defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins told reporters. β€œObviously, you’re going to keep improving the talent and adding pieces. But then it’s about each and every time we go out there, it’s a personal challenge. We take this challenge to heart.

β€œIt means something to us to be able to stop teams. It means something to us to be able to make those plays to help this team achieve everything we want. Then finally, everyone is always on the same page. Whenever you see pieces that we give up, it’s not really pointing the finger. Not too many heads down. You add all of that with the talent, with the mentality that we take on the field, and you get a recipe for success.”

A recipe for success is crucial this weekend and again next Thursday as the Jets play a pair of must-win games against the Lions and Jaguars, both of whom are on the rise. New York is currently ninth in the East due to tiebreaker losses to the Chargers and Patriots (both have 7-6 records), and New York likely needs to win three of the remaining four to clinch a wild card spot . They close out the regular season with road games at Seattle and Miami.

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OK, so what are the betting angles?

Player props for this game are not yet listed on DraftKings, the only one of New York’s nine licensed sportsbooks to list individual player props for NFL games (others do for the NBA and football, but not NFL). File it under “Mysteries of why New York sportsbooks are harder than a combination of the Sunday NY Times crossword and Super Soduko, both solved in a timed challenge.”

These props probably won’t show up until Saturday, so we’re citing a few trends for now.

The Lions are 9-4-0 against the spread, tied with the Giants for second-best in the NFL behind the 10-3-0 Cincinnati Bengals. The Jets have covered the spread in eight of their 13 games, and with New York listed as a 1-point favorite, this looks like a wash.

Both the Lions and Jets have played 13 games, with Detroit in nine and New York in four. Detroit has won four of its last five, while the Jets have won six of its last eight.

This is what we call trendsetting and it happens between two teams fighting for postseason life. Website fivethirtyeight now lists New York as having a 33% chance to make the postseason (Their odds moved this week from +140 to +150 after New England’s win on Monday night) and Detroit’s chances of rising from ninth to seventh and making the postseason are 20%. (The Chiefs and Giants are tied for sixth at 7-5-1, and Seattle is sixth heading into tonight’s matchup with the 49ers as a 3 1/2-point home underdog).

Whoever loses this game has a bleak three weeks ahead, and the Jets face a team that has won five of six after a 1-6 start.

Draft Kings sees a 55-45 handle split in favor of the Lions and a 69-31 split in favor of Detroit. On the over/under, 63% of the handle comes under, which shows that bettors believe that New York’s defense, led by newcomers Sauce Gardner, DJ Reed and Jordan Whitehead, along with sack master Quinnen Williams (has 11 – tied for sixth in the NFL) will hold quarterback Jared Goff in check a week after he threw three TD passes and had 330 passing yards in a 34-23 win over Minnesota.

Allen’s 147 passing yards in cold weather last week came a week after he threw for 223 against New England. As a result, he went from one of the MVP co-favorites to being the +2000 fourth MVP pick behind -160 Jalen Hurts, +190 Patrick Mahomes and +1000 Joe Burrow.

And what about Zach?

Well, if White gets knocked out again β€” as he was twice against the Bills β€” the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft will be on the spot for the first time since he was downright stupid in a loss to 10-7 at New England. . This is a game where he failed to take his share of the blame and lost a good part of the dressing room. Jets players are clearly more comfortable with White’s professionalism. But the bottom line is that they can’t let themselves have a mental let down if White goes down again. The Jets haven’t talked about the extent of White’s chest injury, so it’s a wild card in itself.

Wilson was supposed to be the quarterback of the future, but Sam Darnold was supposed to be that guy, too, just like Geno Smith was in 2013 before he took nine years out of the NFL to realize the guy is damn good (Smith is the -360 super-favorite for Returning Player of the Year for the job he did replacing Russell Wilson in Seattle).

The Jets are probably the better team, but the Lions have the momentum. This line could very well be pick’em by the time the 1 pm EST start time comes at the Meadowlands, where the forecast calls for sunny skies with a 10-15 mph wind and a temperature in the low 30s.

It is not a sellout.

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