THE GAME: The Baltimore Ravens (3-3) at the Jets (1-5) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday, Oct. 23, 1 p.m. ET.
THE WEATHER: After the cold, wind and rain blow through on Saturday, the forecast for Sunday calls for a gorgeous fall day - lots of sun and temperatures in the low-to-mid 60s.
WHAT IT MEANS: For the 2016 Jets? Nothing. They're burnt toast. For the 2017 Jets? Maybe a lot. For Geno Smith? Everything. This is all about Smith and the Jets' quarterback situation now. It's the beginning of what likely will be a decent stretch of games where he'll have the chance to prove that he either belongs in the conversation about the Jets' 2017 quarterback or that he's good enough to play (and maybe start) somewhere else. The result probably doesn't really matter much. It's all about how Smith plays.
PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Geno Smith. Perhaps you've heard that Ryan Fitzpatrick has been benched and Smith is starting? Seriously, he had two nearly full years to prove his worth to the NFL and all he proved was that he was somewhere between bad and mediocre. Now he gets a reprieve just when it looked like he'd be holding a clipboard on the Jets' bench until his contract ran out. The Jets are a mess, so that's not going to help his cause. But his mobility actually might help him behind what has become a porous and injury-plagued offensive line. Maybe that will give him a chance to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. Though to be honest, that's really playmaker, singular. He's got to ride Brandon Marshall because in the last few weeks nobody has stepped up. Regardless, only one of two things can happen here. One is that Smith does at least an adequate job (or better) and he gets to continue on as the Jets quarterback. But the other is that he stinks and the Jets are forced to go back to Fitzpatrick, in which case you will never see Smith on the field for the Jets again. Because if that happens, they'll just ride Fitzpatrick until they believe Bryce Petty is ready for his close-up.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jets WR Brandon Marshall vs. Ravens CBs. I know, you were expecting another Smith item. But this is somewhat related. Did you see what Odell Beckham did to the Ravens' secondary last week? They looked like cartoon characters flailing at him as he went by. Now, Marshall is a much different receiver than Beckham is, but he's certainly good enough to take advantage of this banged up group. A lot of this, of course, will depend on who plays. Their top three corners are all injured - Jimmy Smith is questionable with a concussion he suffered against the Giants. Shareece Wright is doubtful with a thigh injury and Jarraud Powers is questionable with a thigh injury (The Ravens have six players on the injury report with thigh injuries, by the way. What's up with that?). The only healthy corners on their roster are Will Davis and rookie Tavon Young. The whole thing certainly sets up for Marshall to have the potential for a big day - you know, assuming Smith can get him the ball.
INJURY REPORT: On top of everything else, the Jets are now an injury-plagued mess, too.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle), rookie LB Darron Lee (ankle) and RT Brent Qvale (stinger) are all out. But the big news is that DE Mo Wilkerson's ankle is getting worse and he'll sit this game out. The good news is that the Jets do still have some pretty good defensive linemen without him. The bad news, though, is the entire line has been badly underperforming. LT Ryan Clady (shoulder) and C Nick Mangold (knee) are active, but who knows how limited they really are?
For the Ravens, you can forget about a bunch of key players, including WR Steve Smith (doubtful, ankle), G Marshal Yanda (doubtful, shoulder), Wright (doubtful), LB Terrell Suggs (doubtful, biceps) and LB CJ Mosley (out, hamstring). Oh, LB Elvis Dumervil (foot) is still out, too. QB Joe Flacco missed a couple of practices with a shoulder injury, and that would've been the end for the Ravens, but he will play.
THE PICK: The Ravens are not a good team. The problem is the Jets are worse. Maybe they shouldn't be, but they have been underperforming in a bunch of key areas, including their rushing attack, their secondary and their pass rush. Add in some awful quarterback play and … well, you get the picture. The Jets are trying to address the quarterback issue, but I'm not sure I trust Smith to suddenly be the spark that Bowles thinks he will be. He still has to deal with all the same issues Fitzpatrick was dealing with.
Maybe his mobility will help counteract the offensive line problems, but other than that? To see the Jets beating the Ravens I'd have to assume some of the other parts of their mess will suddenly come around. I don't see that. And while, again, the Ravens aren't good and they are pretty banged up, I do trust their quarterback. Joe Flacco is playing with an injured shoulder and maybe that'll keep this game close. But as we saw against the Giants a week ago, if he's given time in the pocket he can still make things happen. Not much, with this Ravens team, but likely enough to beat the Jets. Ravens 16, Jets 10.
MY RECORD: 4-2.