Florham Park, NJ – The Jets visit the Denver Broncos this Sunday, their first road trip since visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the bye week. The Jets won their last game 38-31 against the Broncos’ divisional rival, Kansas City Chiefs. The Broncos, meanwhile, fell to the Jets’ divisional rivals Miami Dolphins, 35-9.
Denver leads the all-time series against New York, 19-15-1. Since October 3, 1999, the Broncos and Jets have traded games in the four meetings between them. However, from 1980 to early 1999, Denver had New York’s number, winning four consecutive match ups including a meeting in the 1999 AFC Championship game that destroyed the Jets’ dreams of going to the Super Bowl for the next 11 years. Out of 16 meetings between the Jets and Broncos in Denver, the Jets have won six. Here’s what to watch for in Sunday’s game.
When: Sunday, December 10, 2017 – 4:15 EST
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
What To Watch For
Jets Pass Offense vs. Broncos Pass Defense – No pun intended, but the Jets’ pass offense is soaring a mile high above expectations now. Robby Anderson had his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown reception stop at five against the Chiefs, but he tallied over 100 yards receiving. Jermaine Kearse had an equally impressive game with over 150 receiving yards. But the Broncos have many defensive weapons, such as Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib, who can disrupt the Jets pass offense. If Anderson and Kearse can find some separation, the Jets will have a greater chance of winning.
Jets Pass Defense – The game against the Chiefs was not one of the better performances by the Jets defensive secondary. They allowed Alex Smith to throw for four touchdown passes and Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to record over 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns each. Defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers credited the poor secondary performance to a lack of technique. For Rodgers’ sake, he better hope that it was technique and Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, and Buster Skrine used this week to correct theirs. Otherwise, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas will have a field day against the Jets secondary, much like Hill and Kelce had.
Jets Defensive Line – It seems like every week the question on every Jets fans’ minds is, “When will the defensive line finally break out?” The talent of Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, and Steve McLendon is there, but they haven’t shown it in games earlier this season. There have been flashes of the talent in recent weeks, including against Kansas City when Williams recorded four QB hits on Smith and half a sack with Wilkerson. Going up against a Denver Broncos offensive line that’s allowed 39 sacks this season, which is tied for third in most sacks allowed with the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions, this week would be the best opportunity for Williams, Wilkerson, and McLendon to prove doubters that they can get the sacks.
Jets Running Backs – Collectively, Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, and Elijah McGuire have done their jobs, but neither has stood out alone as the leading running back. Last week, Forte had 58 yards, Powell had 48 yards and a touchdown, and McGuire had 20 yards and a two-point conversion. If Harris Jr and Talib disrupt the Jets pass offense, one of the running backs will have to step up against the Broncos. If they can’t, there’s little chance of the Jets walking out of Denver with a win.
Injury Report (As of Friday, December 8)
Out: G Ronald Leary (back), QB Paxton Lynch (ankle)
Questionable: DE Adam Gotsis (illness), DT Domata Peko (knee), WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle)
Out: LB Bruce Carter (groin)
Questionable: RB Matt Forte (knee), G Brian Winters (abdomen, ankle)
Prediction: Jets win 21-10
This match up against the Denver Broncos will be a nice change in pace for the Jets, especially since their last two opponents were division-contending teams. Denver’s season is down the tubes at 3-9, so they’re likely playing for a high first-round draft pick. Even with the Broncos’ defensive secondary, the Jets pass offense is really clicking right now that it’s hard to imagine Anderson or Kearse not having an impact on the game. In addition, the Broncos’ offense is struggling now, which the Jets can and will take advantage of. The advantage Denver has over the Jets is their home-field advantage, but that can only carry you so far in a football game.
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