The worst defense in the NFL travels to Houston to take on the worst offense in the NFL.
Something's gotta give!
The Texans are coming off an upset victory over the Tennessee Titans, the same team that the Jets defeated in overtime earlier in the year. Before that, Houston had lost eight games in a row.
Meanwhile, New York—2-5 over their last seven games—will get a boost in the form of Zach Wilson's return from injury. There's no guarantee that Wilson will be an improved version of the quarterback fans watched through the first couple months of the season, but he's certainly confident that he'll show what he's learned...
Can Wilson lead his club to their first road victory of the season? Or will Houston win again this week, pushing the Jets to a 2-9 record?
Here is our score prediction with some analysis of how the Jets will fare between the lines here in Week 12.
Max Goodman's prediction: Jets 20, Texans 13
Other than hosting the Jaguars in Week 16 next month, this game feels like the most winnable contest for the Jets this season.
Sure, Houston is riding high after their stunning win over the Titans a week ago, but that was in the pouring rain with no Derrick Henry. If Ryan Tannehill didn't throw four interceptions, that game would've been a different story.
The Texans average 271.1 yards and 15 points per game on offense, both the lowest mark in football. The Jets aren't too much better, but you have to figure they'll be amped up and ready to go with Wilson returning to the lineup, right?
I'm expecting Wilson to struggle in the first half, gathering his bearings as he readjusts to an in-game atmosphere. Can he stick to the game plan and avoid forcing passes down the field? Will we see any residual effects of his right knee injury as he moves around in the pocket? I've got a 250-yard performance with two interceptions and two touchdowns for Wilson, flashing some maturity and playmaking ability.
With Michael Carter unavailable for the Jets, I think New York will end up airing it out quite a bit, especially in the second half. So, the deciding factor on Sunday will be Wilson's ability to settle into a groove and overcome a slow start, putting points on the board in the third and fourth quarters.
Look for Ty Johnson to have a big game out of the backfield (approaching 100 yards from scrimmage) and Elijah Moore will continue to shine, hauling in seven passes for 95 yards.
That brings us to Houston's defense. While New York is ranked last in the league in yards per game (414.2) and points per game (32), the Texans aren't far behind. Houston is ranked 30th in both of those categories and when you look through their losses leading up to this past week, they have a tendency of getting blown out while scoring less than 10 points. That's happened five different times this year.
You have to figure Robert Saleh and the Jets are hungry to take advantage of an opportunity to make a statement on defense, playing to their potential after several miserable performances. Yes, injuries on the defensive end have been brutal for Gang Green in 2021, but Sunday is a rare chance to dominate on that side of the ball against a lowly opponent.
New York will keep a lid on Houston's offense all afternoon. In fact, I think the Texans' one touchdown on the day will be a direct result of a mistake from Wilson, turning the ball over in the first half and giving Houston's quarterback Tyrod Taylor some magnificent field position.
Houston has 13 interceptions this year (tied for the fourth-most picks in football this season), so Wilson better be careful. Again, if he starts reverting to the tendencies he exhibited earlier in the year—making ill-advised decisions and failing to utilize his checkdowns—this could be another ugly loss.
- Expect the Same Zach Wilson Against Texans, If Not Worse, Says Former Jets Scout
- Jets' Zach Wilson Is Eager to Show What He Learned While He Was Injured
- Saleh's Growing Pains Rearing Their Heads in Jets' Losses