THE GAME: The Los Angeles Rams (3-5) at the Jets (3-6) at the Meadowlands on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. ET.
THE WEATHER: After the cold winter winds blow through over the next few days, it should be a beautiful fall day again on Sunday with sun, light Meadowlands winds, and a temperature hovering around 60.
WHAT IT MEANS: Hard to say, really. Are you still dreaming? Do you care anymore? It's hard to find a plausible path to the playoffs for the Jets, unless you think they can run the table (and beat the Patriots twice). If you do … hey, enjoy the fantasy. The margin of error, though, is gone. If you've surrendered to fate, then the only thing that matters here is the Jets still want to win to keep from dipping into complete chaos. But really, what you see on the field is nothing like what you'll see from the Jets in 2017, so it's hard to argue this means anything. A loss, though, always helps with draft position.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Make that players, plural. Jets DLs Sheldon Richardson and Mo Wilkerson. Two of the three pillars of the Jets' defensive line were benched for a quarter last week for being late to meetings and, in Wilkerson's case, missing a walkthrough practice. In a must-win game for the Jets, it was a show of strength and character for Jets coach Todd Bowles. After the game, Richardson and Wilkerson didn't help themselves by acting like babies and refusing to talk to the media, but someone got a message to them and they both owned up to their actions on Wednesday. Now? How about some better play. They're facing a quarterback that the Giants, and their weak pass rush, rattled into a four-interception performance. Richardson (1 ½) and Wilkerson (2 ½) have a pathetic four sacks between them this season. Now that they've gotten an attitude check, it might be nice if they picked up their play.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Rams DT Aaron Donald against Jets C Wesley Johnson. It is far from ideal that, with Nick Mangold injured, the Jets will have to go with their backup center against Donald, who has five sacks and is being touted as a potential Defensive MVP candidate. Johnson hasn't been bad, but the Jets' line in general hasn't been good and no doubt he will need plenty of help containing the all-pro DT. Donald is quick and strong and very disruptive, and if he gets unleashed he really could cause trouble for Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (and even more trouble if second-year QB Bryce Petty is forced into the game. Fitzpatrick has been very mistake-prone this season as everyone knows, and it shouldn't be hard to rattle him into an interception or two, especially with his mobility (such that it was) limited by his sprained knee.
THE PICK: On the surface, I think the Jets match up well against the Rams. They're just a better team on paper. And no matter what you think about Fitzpatrick, he's still better than Case Keenum. Plus, it seems like the Rams are on the verge of moving to rookie Jared Goff sooner than later anyway. But still, I can't get out of my head the bad vibes I'm getting from the Jets this week. As I wrote on Thursday, Todd Bowles is still very much in control, but it sure sounds like his players are on the verge of giving up. Maybe they haven't yet, but I think when things begin to go wrong in a game there may be a big tendency to let them spiral. That's very often what happens with underachieving and/or overrated teams who find themselves out of the race. Add in the injuries -- especially the knee sprain to Fitzpatrick -- and the Jets have not only a defeated look, but a decimated look. And with Rams DT Aaron Donald looking at a gimpy Fitzpatrick who has a diminished receiving corps, while standing over a backup center … It's all just bad. Very bad. ... Rams 17, Jets 9.
MY RECORD: 5-4
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO WIN: 2-3
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO LOSE: 3-1