The first week of the New York Jets season isn’t something that makes much sense. The Jets’ fan base was supercharged by landing veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Then, four plays into the season, New York was in a somber state while watching Rodgers get carted off with what turned out to be a torn ACL.
The Jets now have to face a reality where they turn back to former first-round pick Zach Wilson at quarterback. New York did get the win against Buffalo last week but is now rewarded with having to turn around against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys put a 40-point smackdown on their NFC East Division rival, New York Giants, last week. Dallas won’t want to miss a chance to beat up on the downtrodden Jets.
Jets on Winning Streak vs. Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys lead the all-time series against the Jets 7-5. However, the Jets have won the past three games in the series, including a 24-22 win over Dallas on Oct. 13, 2019. Both sides don’t meet frequently due to being in other conferences.
The Cowboys will be 9.5-point favorites when they take on the Jets at 4:26 p.m. Sunday at A&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Welcome Back Zach
Wilson was thought to have been on the outs with the franchise. The former first-round pick struggled with his accuracy last season, only completing 54.5 percent of his passes during his nine starts. While Wilson piled up a 5-4 record as starter, that was largely thanks to a strong Jets’ defense. First-year New York Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has emphasized he wants Wilson to play to his strengths this season.
Wilson passed for 1,688 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions before sitting out the rest of the year due to injury and ineffectiveness. Against the Bills, Wilson demonstrated he could be more accurate, completing 66.7 percent of his passes. Wilson made a strong pass for a touchdown to Garrett Wilson along the goal line for New York’s only offensive touchdown.
Dallas Cowboys Dominated on Defense
There wasn’t much the Dallas Cowboys didn’t do right against the New York Giants. Long after the game had been decided, Dallas’ defense locked down the Giants until the bitter end. The Cowboys only allowed the Giants to gain 171 yards of total offense, including 63 through the air.
Dallas recovered a fumble and also intercepted Giants quarterback Daniel Jones twice. One of the biggest plays came early in the game. The Giants would take the first drive of their game deep into Dallas territory. After the Cowboys’ defense stiffened up, New York attempted an ill-fated field goal attempt by Graham Gano. Juanyeh Thomas blocked the kick, and Noah Igbinoghene returned it 58 yards for a touchdown.
Breece Hall Appears Rejuvenated
The New York Jets didn’t have running back Breece Hall practice on Monday due to a knee injury. This is a precaution that is looking to protect the star running back, who missed most of his rookie season with a torn ACL. Hall clearly hasn’t lost a step.
Hall sliced through Buffalo’s defense for 127 yards on 10 carries. During Hall’s rookie season, he was only able to appear in seven games and made two starts. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry, picking up 463 yards and scoring four touchdowns on 80 attempts.
Dallas Cowboys Pass Rush May Not Be as Effective This Week.
Against the Giants, Dallas was able to bring down Daniel Jones seven times for sacks. While Jones is a mobile quarterback, much like Wilson, the Jets’ third-year quarterback has been more effective at getting away from the pass rush. Wilson has only been sacked 1.7 times per game during his career.
In Week 1, Osa Odighizuwa and Dorance Armstrong each were credited with two sacks. Dallas would have recorded another sack against the Giants, but Chauncey Golston’s effort was wiped out following a holding penalty.
Xavier Gipson Looks for Expanded Role
There was some question about whether Gipson would make the Jets’ opening day roster. He signed with the Jets out of free agency after playing collegiately at Stephen F. Austin. Gipson returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown in overtime to help the Jets topple the Bills.
With how Gipson looked running with the ball in the open field, the Jets will likely look for more opportunities to get the ball in the hands of the 5-foot-9, 189-pound wide receiver. Gipson was rewarded by being the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week.
Dallas Cowboys Offense Will Need Few Weeks to adjust
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy let offensive coordinator Kellen Moore go in the offseason and decided to take over play-calling duties. What McCarthy was hoping was to put together a more efficient offense. That didn’t happen in Week 1, as the Cowboys were mainly aided by New York Giants’ miscues during a rain-soaked contest.
Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott wasn’t sharp in McCarthy’s debut as play caller. Prescott only completed 13-of-24 passes for 143 yards. Running back Tony Pollard had 14 carries for 70 yards and scored two touchdowns. One thing that made the transition hard to judge was how lopsided the game was.
The Cowboys led 26-0 at halftime and didn’t take any major risks at halftime. How Dallas fairs against a good Jets’ defense will say a lot.
Whitehead Tortures Josh Allen
Jets safety Jordan Whitehead made Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen’s life miserable. Whitehead ended up pulling down three interceptions in the Jets’ win. The total gave Whitehead the league lead in interceptions and equaled a career-high for a season for the Pitt product.
Previously, Whitehead’s career high for interceptions in a season was two. Whitehead intercepted two passes in three straight seasons from 2020 to 2022.