- Kevin Lidlow
Jets young players look to make a statement against the Houston Texans
The New York Jets have been dealing with injuries all season long, and this week will be no different as they will be without Quincy Enunwa, Jeremy Attaochu, and Darron Lee (four game suspension). While Jordan Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson, Trenton Cannon, and Kevin Pierre-Louis are listed as questionable, if that weren't bad enough they lost Crowell for the rest of season from a toe injury. It looks like Elijah McGuire will get his first start as a running back followed by Trenton Cannon if he is healthy enough to play, and they both will have their works cut out for them as they will be going up against a Houston Texans defensive line that features the likes of J.J Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Merriclus that averages about 88 yards given up on the ground this year.
Speaking of rushing, this will be the matchup to watch for as the Houston Texans are averaging over 136 yards on the ground which is top in the AFC and third in the NFL; only behind Seattle and Carolina for most. The Jets on the other hand have given up about 183 yards rushing in the past four games and rank 27th overall in the NFL. Last week against the Buffalo Bills, they given up 101 yards to fellow rookie quarterback Josh Allen but did a decent job against their running backs as Chris Ivory only rushed for 42 yards total.
Another matchup to look for are the quarterbacks between Sam Darnold and Deshaun Watson. Darnold got his first NFL game winning drive last week against the Bills where McGuire ran in on 4th and goal, and was his return to the lineup after missing four games from an ankle injury. I thought Darnold had a pretty good game last week where he only made the one crucial mistake, but he also threw his 12th touchdown of the season which ties Mark Sanchez, and Geno Smith for touchdowns thrown by a rookie quarterback in franchise history (pro football reference).
Deshaun Watson also tied a franchise record by throwing for over 200 yards passing in six consecutive games, which is tied for fourth only Matt Schaub and David Carr had longer games. The Texans just had their nine game winning streak snapped against the Colts last week after starting the season 0-3 and are looking to finish off the season with a AFC south division title and a spot in the post season.
The Texans have won the passed the two meetings against the Jets (2012, 2015) and looking to make it a third straight win, while the Jets are looking to finish the season on a high note with the young players they have as they try to prove they can play an impactful role on this team.