Coming off a loss to the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles fly into town on Sunday afternoon to face off with the Jets.
Zach Wilson is set to make his second start since returning from his knee injury, looking to progress in his late-season development and give Gang Green a chance against a postseason contender.
Philadelphia's quarterback Jalen Hurts has an ankle injury and is inactive, which is a big break for New York. That paves the way for backup Gardner Minshew to start.
The question is, can the Jets take advantage of Philadelphia's injuries? Hurts isn't just the Eagles' star quarterback, he's also their leading rusher, accumulating 695 yards on the ground with eight rushing touchdowns.
Even with Hurts' injury, it won't be easy for New York to win on Sunday. Remember, the Jets have the worst defense in the sport and there are still a handful of weapons on offense for the Eagles that can do some serious damage both in the trenches and over the top against New York's young secondary.
As the tradition goes here at Jets Country, let's dive into our score prediction for this week and add in some analysis as to what we'll see between the lines at MetLife Stadium.
Max Goodman's prediction: Jets 20, Eagles 21
Before Hurts was ruled out with his ankle injury, I had this as a more lopsided victory for the Eagles. Now, I think this will come down to the very last play, but I still have Philadelphia coming out on top.
Philly has rushed for an average of 157.9 yards per game this season. New York has allowed 128.7 rushing yards per game, better than only five other teams.
Let's not forget what happened a few weeks ago in Indianapolis when New York was embarrassed on the ground, giving up 260 rushing yards to the Colts.
Of course, we can't expect the same type of production on the ground with Hurts out. But the Eagles present a different challenge in their rushing attack with no clear No. 1 back. Instead of Jonathan Taylor, it's a four-headed monster out of the backfield.
It's worth noting, however, that Jordan Howard is out this week with a knee injury and Boston Scott is banged up as well. Those three players have accounted for the majority of Philadelphia's rushing production in 2021, leaving Miles Sanders (458 rushing yards) and Kenneth Gainwell (155 rushing yards) as the only other healthy backs.
On the other side, the Eagles are in the middle of the pack defensively. Philly has picked off eight passes this year and allows 341.1 yards per game. Either this bodes well for Wilson and the Jets—facing a defense that doesn't force a boatload of turnovers and could be susceptible to a big day through the air—or the rookie quarterback finds a way to dig New York into a hole.
Corey Davis is active, also. They won't have Keelan Cole, but the most important pieces of New York's aerial attack are good to go, which should in theory help Wilson this week.
I think Wilson takes a step forward from last Sunday, but isn't quite ready to produce an all-around comprehensive performance just yet. After all, he isn't completely healthy yet. He'll throw for 200 yards (maybe a little less) and fire his first touchdown pass since Week 4 against the Titans.
Wilson has only gone one week this season without throwing an interception and that was a shortened game when he left early with his knee injury. Sticking with that trend, as we predicted last week, Wilson will throw at least one ill-advised pass that gives Philadelphia great field position and leads to points.
I don't think this will be a similar result to the Colts game, in that New York's defense is more prepared for a barrage of running plays, but the Eagles will still rush for 100-plus yards, eating away at the time of possession.
The difference, as it usually is, will be a slow start for New York and missed opportunities along the way. This is a very winnable game, I'm just not sure if this unit has what it takes to capitalize.
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