The Jets have yet to win a game. Their quarterback Sam Darnold won’t play Sunday as he recovers from mononucleosis, and someone named Luke Falk will start in his place. New York has Le’Veon Bell in their offensive backfield, but its offensive line has done little to create holes for the NFL’s most patient running back. It may be the worst unit in the league.
The Jets’ defensive front — led by nose tackle Steve McLendon and linebacker C.J. Mosley — has been stout against the run. But they haven’t generated enough pressure on quarterbacks, partially because the secondary has been a sieve. New coach Adam Gase has looked like a deer caught in headlights, although that may just be his bug eyes.
The Eagles haven’t been a sure bet, obviously. But they might have saved their season with last week’s win at the Packers. A 1-3 record wouldn’t have been impossible to come back from, but it would have put them in a considerable hole with a stretch of six games — following Sunday — against teams with a combined 18-6 record.
I’m not a fan of the narrative that the Eagles should become a run-first offense after their success on the ground in Green Bay. They have a good run-blocking offensive line and complementary pieces in running back Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders. But Carson Wentz is a gunslinger and he has enough weapons through the air — even if receiver DeSean Jackson is unlikely — to torch most defenses. This Sunday should offer a great opportunity for the Eagles’ pass offense to tee off on an opponent.
The same could be said of the Eagles’ pass rush. If it can’t get to Falk on multiple occasions it might be time to sound the alarm. A 14-point spread is huge, especially considering how inconsistent the Eagles have been. But I think they can score 30 on a bad day, and against this Jets defense, I imagine it’ll be more.
Prediction: Eagles 35, Jets 20.
With a big win over the Packers still fresh in their minds, and three straight road games around the next turn, it would be easy for the Eagles to come out flat against the 0-3 Jets Sunday.
But Doug Pederson typically does a good job of keeping his team focused on the task at hand, even when the task is beating a winless football team.
The Eagles ran the ball down Green Bay’s throat last week, but the Jets have done a good job against the run this season. So I think Carson Wentz and the pass game is going to be a bigger factor this week.
Wentz leads the league in third-down passing and the Eagles have the best third-down success rate in the league.
The Jets, who have scored just 33 points in their first three games, gave running back Le’Veon Bell a ton of money. But he’s running behind a below average line and is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry. That doesn’t figure to change against the Eagles, who own one of the league’s top run defenses.
Sam Darnold, who has missed the last two games with mono, won’t play this week. But it’s not going to matter, even against an Eagles secondary that is missing five of its top six corners and a pass rush that has just three sacks in four games.
Do I think the Eagles will cover the 14-point spread? Probably not. Do I think they still will manage to win the game comfortably? Yes.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Jets 14
I have pretty much the same take as many people do on this: The Eagles need to win easily, to seal the reclamation of their status as real contenders.
Now, am I really confident that will happen? Not so much. This is a team that has trailed by double digits in every game it has played this season, which is just absurd, for a contender. The Jets’ defense might be good enough to keep them in it. Though somehow the Eagles, who might be starting Craig James at cornerback, are favored by 14 points, against a team that only lost to New England by 16.
But I don’t really see the Jets franchise earning its first-ever victory over the Eagles (0-10, of course not counting the annual fourth preseason game spectacular). If quarterback Luke Falk, starting in place of Sam Darnold (mononucleosis), even keeps the Jets close, it might be time to stop kidding ourselves about what the 2019 Eagles are.
I still think this Eagles team is very good, I think it might be ready to finally put a complete game together, so I’m gonna go with the flow, I guess.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Jets 16.