The Jets (1-2) at the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) at TIAA Bank Field in Florida on Sunday, Sept. 30, at 1 p.m. ET.
A few Florida thunderstorms in the morning will yield to a warm and muggy day with temperatures approaching 90 degrees. There could be a little late rain too, I'm guessing.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Jets didn't fair all that poorly for playing three games in 11 days at the start of a rookie quarterback's career. Sure, they're 1-2, but if they were 2-1 people would be throwing parties. I'm no mathematician, but there doesn't seem to be a big difference between those two records. Now, the schedule settles down a bit and we can find out what the Jets really are. The Jaguars are a legitimate contender for the AFC title, so going down there and winning with a 21-year-old quarterback might be a stretch. That said, if they do it, that would certainly make one heck of a statement, wouldn't it? Even playing a close game would be encouraging. And remember, no matter what the wins and losses look like, this is a season that's all about finding encouraging signs.
PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Robby Anderson
Yeah, yeah, yeah ... I know. Sam Darnold. But here's the thing that's bothered me the most about Darnold this season: the lack of attempts to throw down field. So many of his passes have been short, which explains why wide receiver Quincy Enunwa has twice as many catches and targets as anyone else. Robby Anderson is the Jets' deep threat, and Darnold has thrown to him just 10 times in three games (he has six catches for 90 yards). Last year, it looked like Anderson was going to emerge as a potential No. 1 receiver. I've always seen him as more of a No. 3 -- and a deep specialist. But it would be nice if they used him that way.
I get that he's had two game-crushing fumbles, and that's concerning. But he can still be a weapon. I don't know if Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates just isn't calling the deep shots, or if Darnold is checking down (out of necessity or fear), but at some point I'd really like to see what Darnold can do if he's unleashed. For that to happen, Anderson has to get more involved, even against a team like the Jaguars with one of the best secondaries in the NFL.
The Jaguars have been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde team through the first three games. They looked like an NFL power in their 31-20 hammering of the Patriots, and they looked like a team with offensive issues in a win over the Giants and an ugly loss last week to the Titans. That sort of shows what they are, though. They are a team with a terrific defense and with lots of both potential and questions on offense. If running back Leonard Fournette returns, as expected, the job of the Jets' defense becomes that much more difficult. Obviously they want to somehow force the game into the hands of quarterback Blake Bortles and hope he has one of his many off days. If they can find the kind of pass rush they did in the first half against the Browns, maybe they can do it.
But it's hard to see the Jets getting much of a consistent offense going against the Jaguars, who have both a terrific secondary and defensive front. This could be a difficult game for Darnold, especially if his offensive line doesn't come up with the kind of stellar effort it had on Opening Night (and hasn't had since). Because of the pass rush, this figures to be another game of dump-offs and short passes. The Jets will surely try to get their running game going to help him. But unless Bortles has a mistake-filled game that completely shifts the field position in the Jets' favor, it's hard to see how the Jets will generate enough offense to escape with the win. ... Jaguars 23, Jets 10.
MY RECORD: 0-3
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO WIN: 0-2
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO LOSE: 0-1