The Minnesota Vikings (3-2-1) at the Jets (3-3) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.
In a word: "Brrrrr." OK, so it's not winter-like, but it could feel close. The temperatures will barely get out of the mid-40s, but the partly cloudy skies and the 15-20-mph winds will make it feel even colder. Yes, Sam, you're not in Southern California anymore.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Jets have beaten the Lions (2-3), Broncos (3-4) and Colts (1-5). A win over a Vikings team that is not only over .500, but also thought of as a possible Super Bowl contender, would be a very legitimizing, confidence-boosting win. Everyone, including the Jets themselves, would suddenly have to take them seriously as a playoff contender.
Also, three wins in a row would be a huge deal (I was going to make a joke asking whether Sam Darnold was even alive the last time that happened, but then I remembered they won three games in a row last year!).
PLAYER TO WATCH: TE Chris Herndon
He hasn't had the breakout game yet that everyone keeps expecting, but he had two outstanding catches last Sunday - a long touchdown, and another leaping catch over a defender on the sideline. It would be a huge help if that's the sign of things to come, because with WR Quincy Enunwa out and Darnold facing a Vikings defense that can really rush the passer, he needs a reliable target for "hot" reads and short passes.
The 6-foot-4 Herndon should be a natural for that. He'll be held back a little by the fact that the Jets really use all four of their tight ends, but he figures to be the target with the most upside, and it wouldn't be surprising if Darnold (and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates) lean on him the most in Enunwa's absence.
First of all, Kirk Cousins is better than Darnold. That's right now, of course, not long term, and I definitely think the Jets made out for the better when Cousins went to Minnesota.
But there's no doubt the 30-year-old Cousins is more ready to win now, and he's got a tremendous assortment of weapons at his disposal. There aren't many better receivers in the NFL right now than Adam Theilen (58 catches, 712 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Stefon Diggs (40-435-3) is a tremendous No. 2. His assortment of weapons doesn't stop there either, and that's a problem for a Jets team that has no pass rush and will again be short-handed in the secondary. The Colts, remember, picked them apart and they don't have anywhere near the caliber of receivers that the Vikings do.
This will be a much bigger test, which will put much more strain on Darnold. I have confidence Darnold can move the ball on this defense. The Vikings defense isn't anywhere near what it was last season (when it was the NFL's best). But remember, against a soft Colts defense, the Jets still struggled in the red zone (or near it) last week. That will be a problem this week, especially if Cousins has a big day. … Vikings 34, Jets 17
MY RECORD: 2-4
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO WIN: 1-2
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO LOSE: 1-2