The Jets believed for most of the week that Sam Darnold would return for this game. Without him, this will be a game that feels impossible for them to win. I do think the offense will play better than it has recently, but the Eagles will score on the Jets.
Eagles 35, Jets 17
Jets safety Jamal Adams vs. Eagles tight end Zach Ertz
Despite the Jets’ struggles, Adams has been a bright spot. The third-year safety has had a strong start to the season. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 8 safety in football, and he had a pick-six two weeks ago against the Patriots.
Adams clearly has been frustrated with all of the losing, and he said he escaped to Turks and Caicos during the bye week to clear his head. Now, he returns to the challenge of facing one of the best tight ends around in Ertz. The Eagles star has not scored a touchdown yet this year, but leads the team with 24 catches and 255 receiving yards.
“I’m a competitor,” Adams said. “I’m looking forward to going against anybody I go against but this is definitely a great tight end. He’s really a receiver. My hat goes off to him. I have a lot of respect for what he does. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Watching Wentz: The Eagles are coming off a huge win over the Packers at Lambeau Field, and they were led in that win by quarterback Carson Wentz. The Jets realize how much of a challenge they are facing against Wentz (88-for-145, 963 yards, nine TDs, two INTs) this week and spoke glowingly of him.
“Well, to me, his ability to extend plays is damaging on all levels because that turns those guys loose down the field,” coach Adam Gase said. “His arm is phenomenal. You’ve got a guy with an explosive arm. He can push the ball down the field, he can make all the throws. He’s a big man and it’s hard to bring down. … He can do so many things with RPOs [run-pass options] and how intelligent he is and how competitive he is. You can see it. This guy, he is feisty and wants to win. The toughness is there. He takes some shots and he bounces right back up.”
The Jets’ defense played well after giving up scores on the first three drives at New England. This week, they can’t have that slow start.
Ring the Bell: The Jets have leaned on running back Le’Veon Bell heavily in the first three weeks despite there not being much room for him to run. He has played 96 percent of the offensive snaps, but is only averaging 2.9 yards per carry.
Despite the struggles, Bell has kept a positive attitude.
“He’s not a complainer,” Gase said. “He’s always, ‘Hey, what do I need to do different? How can I help?’ He’s always looking for the solution. He’s been awesome in that aspect of just trying to help, like how do we get positive plays? How do we stay ahead of the sticks? How do we get third-and-manageable? How do we stay first down, second down, first down? He’s been outstanding as far as just trying to find the solution.”
Getting line up: It was clear what the one area the Jets felt needed the most improvement was coming out of the bye week. Gase said they would look at changes to the offensive line and they are expected to have new starters this week.
Left guard Kelechi Osemele missed practice time with shoulder and knee issues, but he may have been benched anyway. Expect Alex Lewis to start in his place. Lewis was acquired in a trade with the Ravens this summer. Another position to watch is right tackle, at which rookie Chuma Edoga may get the call in place of Brandon Shell. Edoga impressed the coaches in the preseason.
Take a pass: This is a matchup of the worst passing offense in the NFL (Jets average 131 yards) and the worst passing defense in the NFL (Eagles average 324 yards allowed). Something has to give. The Jets are without starting quarterback Sam Darnold, but the Eagles’ secondary is very banged up as well. They are missing cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Avonte Maddox. Sidney Jones has a hamstring injury, but is expected to play. They signed Orlando Scandrick off the street this week, and Craig James has played three snaps in two games.
It is a weakness versus weakness battle that could be a major factor in the game.