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Raiders-Jets preview: Can Zach Wilson win a game?

Five questions with Gang Green Nation

Los Angeles Chargers v New York Jets
Zach Wilson
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Ahead of the Las Vegas Raiders Week 10 matchup with the New York Jets on Sunday Night Football, MacGregor Wells of Gang Green Nation was kind enough to answer a few questions about the Jets for Raider Nation, brought to you by DraftKings Sportsbook.

Question: What is the ceiling for the Jets’ with Zach Wilson at quarterback? And have there been any talks about the team turning to someone else under center to try and keep the playoff hopes alive?

Answer: I think with Wilson at quarterback the best the Jets can hope for is roughly a .500-ish team. If the defense plays exceptionally well and the team gets some breaks maybe the Jets can be a wild card team, but anything more than that would probably require Wilson to have a big leap in his performance.

As far as talk about the team turning to somebody else at quarterback, the problem is the Jets don’t have anyone appreciably better on the roster.

Nick Boyle has been demonstrably worse than Wilson in limited playing time during his NFL career. Trevor Siemian has been better, but not enough better to make any substantive difference. Unless Aaron Rodgers makes a miraculous comeback, the Jets are stuck with Wilson or somebody who is not much of an upgrade.

Bottom line, unless Wilson suddenly has a leap forward in bis development, the Jets will be fortunate to be in the playoff hunt, and probably won’t get there.

Q: It seems like Breece Hall is either breaking off a long run or getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage. Is that a result of his playing style, the offensive line or some combination of the two?

A: I’m not sure that is really the case, or at least not much more than other backs. We published an article on Gang Green Nation recently regarding Hall’s distributions of runs, and they looked pretty similar to Christian McCaffrey. But let’s say for the sake of argument that what you’re proposing is true.

To the extent Hall gets stuffed at the line a lot, it seems pretty clear to me it’s the result of a Jets’ offensive line that wasn’t that good to begin with, and has suffered a ton of injuries this season. The line makes any running game go, and the Jets' offensive line stinks.

Q: Quinnen Williams is the headliner on New York’s defensive line but other than him, can you give us another Jets’ defensive lineman who you think will have a big impact on Sunday night? And why?

A: Bryce Huff is the obvious choice. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent, Huff is as explosive off the snap as anyone in the NFL, and it shows in pressure rates that rival any pass-rusher in the NFL. He’s not a household name just yet, but he’s just starting to reach his full potential. I wouldn’t be surprised if Huff has double-digit sacks by year’s end. He may give Aidan O’Connell fits in the pass rush on Sunday.

Los Angeles Chargers v New York Jets
Sauce Gardner
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Q: This game features a one-on-one battle between a couple of 2022 first-team All-Pros in Sauce Gardner and Davante Adams. Who do you think has the advantage heading into that matchup, and how do you see it playing out?

A: I’m not sure either player has an advantage. They’re both All-Pro level players, and on any given day they’re both capable of getting the better of the other guy. But I’m not sure there’s going to be a big battle between these two anyway.

Sauce Gardner doesn’t usually travel to take on the other team’s best receiver. Sauce plays one side, D.J. Reed plays the other side. If you want to avoid Sauce, you just have to line up your guy on D.J. Reed’s side of the field. However, D.J. Reed is an excellent cornerback in his own right, who is playing at a Pro Bowl level this year. He’s not as good as Sauce, but he’s not that far behind either.

Q: DraftKings Sportsbook has set the total for this game at 36 points, which is the lowest of any Week 10 matchup and makes sense as both offenses have struggled for the majority of the season. In your mind, is there any chance the over hits? And can you give us a final score prediction?

A: Sure, the over could hit. The Raiders played a great game offensively last week. If they can repeat that performance the over will probably hit. In addition, you never know when a team will get a few breaks in the form of turnovers or big special teams plays. It’s always possible you get a lot of points off of such events that don’t require a big offensive output. And occasionally Zach Wilson and the Jets offense clicks. Not often, but occasionally. So yeah, the over could hit. But I expect a low-scoring game.

As for a final score, I’m pretty terrible at such things. But making the trip to play the Raiders on the road has rarely worked out well for the Jets. Let’s say Raiders 17, Jets 16.