The Jets (4-2) are back on the road for a game against Russell Wilson and the Broncos (2-4) at Empower Field at Mile High. History is not on New York’s side, as the Jets have lost four of their last five in Denver, three of which were shutouts.
But these aren’t the “Same Old Jets” of years past. This is a Jets team that is undefeated on the road. A win would mean Gang Green improve to a 4-0 away record and 5-2 overall.
The Green and White enter the contest riding a three-game winning streak, while the Broncos have struggled to string together points on offense and dropped their last three—two in overtime.
Rookie running back Breece Hall has been a difference maker for the Jets, whose four wins were all propelled by his impressive ground game. The Jets haven’t lost a game when Hall finds the end zone. He had 100 receiving yards and 197 total yards against an AFC East rival in the Dolphins and 116 rushing yards in Green Bay. Hall was voted the FedEx Ground Player of the Week after his performance against the Packers and received Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week honors in weeks four and six.
Denver’s defense gives up 4.41 yards per carry, putting them at 16th in the league in that category. This will set up Hall to have another big afternoon on Sunday, especially since second-year quarterback Zach Wilson is off to a rather slow start since returning from injury.
Z. Wilson has thrown just one touchdown pass with two interceptions while being sacked five times over three games. If the run game is working, the lack of production in the air won’t hurt the Jets, though Hall, Braxton Berrios, Corey Davis, and Garrett Wilson all have speed and the ability to get extra yards after the catch.
On the other side of the ball, Quinnen Williams is another big factor in this matchup. Williams is coming off his third two-sack game of his career. He also had a strip sack, three QB hits, and his first blocked field goal last week at Lambeau Field. Between Williams and Carl Lawson, the two linemen have a combined 25 hits this season.
Williams, Lawson, and the rest of the Jets defense will need to continue to put pressure on whatever quarterback they face. Russell Wilson, who signed a massive five-year, $245 million contract with the Broncos, got an MRI on his hamstring after sustaining the injury in Denver’s overtime loss to the Chargers on Monday Night Football. R. Wilson has also been dealing with a shoulder issue and is listed as day-to-day but has his eyes on playing Sunday. The Jets must take advantage of this because R. Wilson will not be able to scramble as much out of the pocket and will have limited mobility.
The Broncos can’t be overlooked, despite what many consider a slow and disappointing start. The offensive weapons are there. R. Wilson has two reliable wideouts in Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Denver needs to get them more involved on the offense, as the two receivers have combined for three touchdowns on 48 receptions.
The running game has been a tough scene to watch after Javonte Williams got hurt. The Broncos don’t use Melvin Gordon as much as they should—it seems anyway—and as a team, they have just two rushing touchdowns over six games (Gordon and R. Wilson).
Keys of the game: Establish the run early. Get to R. Wilson and apply pressure.
Betting Odds (Courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of 10/20):
Spread: Broncos (-1)
Moneyline: Broncos (-120); Jets (+100)
Over/Under: 38.5 (-110)
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers disappointed me last week when it came to the over 45.5. I love rooting for points. I just don’t see the over hitting in this game because of how strong the Jets defense is and the consistent lack of offensive production by the Broncos. Under it is. I also don’t see Denver solving their hefty issues and am all about Gang Green. I’m taking the Jets outright in this one.
My picks: Jets ML (+100); Under 38.5 (-110)
(Photo: AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
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