This week’s preview will be slightly different with less focus on the Green Bay Packers and more of a strict focus on what the New York Jets are doing. If you want the updated situation on the Packers, I recommend you read my article from earlier this week. With the Packers in this rather precarious position, how will the Jets try and get out of Wisconsin with a win?
The Jets offense is difficult to diagnose from a numbers perspective because their quarterback situation has changed substantially. Zach Wilson missed the first three games of the season and Joe Flacco put together two bad performances around one very good performance. Wilson will be the starter this week, and after a very poor showing as a rookie, his first two games in his sophomore campaign can best be described as ‘fine.’ He ranks 16th in EPA-per-dropback but still seems to be struggling with his accuracy as his CPOE ranks 29th in the league.
Wilson has a plethora of arm talent, but the early returns seem to show that accuracy issues still exist. Wilson also ranks behind only Justin Fields in turnover-worthy plays, per PFF. Expect Wilson to primarily target Garrett Wilson, who ranks first on the team with 38 targets. Wilson primarily lines up in the slot for the Jets and has the traditional quick twitch one would expect. With that in mind, it may be advantageous to put Jaire Alexander inside this week rather than leaving this task primarily to Rasul Douglas.
Protecting Wilson isn’t a strong suit of the line, which ranks 19th pass-block win-rate and 29th in PFF’s pass blocking efficiency and has allowed 72 pressures on 230 pass snaps. Alijah Vera-Tucker and Connor McGovern have done pretty well this year, and veteran tackle Duane Brown may step into the lineup this week and provide some relief. The George Fant, Laken Tomlinson, and Max Mitchell snaps have been particularly porous.
In the running game, the line posts similarly mediocre statistical measures. They rank 21st in Football Outsiders adjusted line yards, 12th in run-block win-rate, and only have one lineman who ranks above average by PFF’s run block grading. Now, the quality of a team’s run blocking has made little difference this season. The Packers run defense has been so porous that we should not be surprised if this mediocre line pushes them around, as they have been pushed around by almost everyone this season.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jets have been a slightly below average unit both versus the run and the pass, ranking between 18th and 23rd in run and pass defense DVOA and run and pass defense EPA-allowed. Now the mediocre aggregates do not mean the Jets team is devoid of talent.
Double team rate at defensive tackle (x) by pass rush win rate at defensive tackle (y), updated through Week 5.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) October 13, 2022
-It's what we usually call the Aaron Donald chart...but right now might be the Chris Jones chart.
-Hello Maliek Collins and DaQuan Jones! pic.twitter.com/yq4kqek6TW
Quinnen Williams is a monster and could wreck this game all by himself, especially if he lines up across from Royce Newman, who has struggled mightily all season. The Jets front is the strength of the defense, ranking fourth in PFF’s pass rushing grade, 14th in pass-rush-win-rate, and 10th in run-stop-win-rate. In addition to Williams, edge rushers Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers have been able to get pressure at above average rates. This will be a test of the Packers offensive line, or, more likely, lead to another very conservative passing gameplan.
Where the Jets are particularly weak is defending the middle of the field. They rank 29th in DVOA on passes in the middle of the field and their linebackers and safeties have pretty poor marks across the board. If there is any weak for Rodgers to kick his habit of targeting the sidelines, it is this week. Rookie Sauce Gardner has gotten off to a good start this season, and the Jets have weaknesses elsewhere, so this is not the type of game where Rodgers needs to be picking on a rookie corner.
It’s hard to meaningfully predict what will happen in these games anymore. The Packers are much more talented and experienced than this Jets team, and the Packers favored by 7 or 7.5 points on DraftKings makes sense. But the Packers just have not played well this season, and it’s hard to trust that they’ll be able to take their advantages and actually leverage them on gameday. Until I see that happen, I’m going to remain cautiously pessimistic.