For the New York Jets, they’re discovering that generally a loss within the ultimate weeks of a shedding season can really really feel like a victory.
The reason being straightforward and it’s all due to one other encouraging efficiency by rookie quarterback Sam Darnold.
Whereas Darnold couldn’t produce his second profession game-winning drive in a 29-22 loss to the Houston Texans, he does give the Jets and their followers a excessive degree of optimism heading into the final two video games.
Seeing what sort of follow-up performances Darnold may produce can be intriguing whatever the opponent, however an added layer of intrigue exists for the Four-10 Jets because of the opposing quarterbacks.
First up is Aaron Rodgers (assuming Rodgers performs since he injured his groin final week) and the Inexperienced Bay Packers this week at residence in a matchup of non-playoff groups after which a go to to New England to face Tom Brady for the primary time.
“Through the offseason, I take a look at Aaron on a regular basis, initially simply to look at among the cool throws that he is in a position to make,” Darnold stated of probably going through Rodgers. “He actually is essentially the most proficient particular person I’ve ever seen the way in which he is in a position to do away with the ball and throw the soccer.
“Simply from that side, it is enjoyable as a quarterback understanding how laborious the place is, understanding how laborious it’s to play, it is actually cool to have the ability to watch somebody actually make it look really easy.”
The Packers entered this season with Tremendous Bowl aspirations. As an alternative, they’re limping into New York with a 5-Eight-1 file to face the Jets in a battle of also-rans.
Nonetheless, the Packers might be enjoying to win relatively than making an attempt to safe a last-place schedule and bolster their draft positioning. That features enjoying Rodgers, who has performed by means of a knee damage all season after which harm his groin in final week’s loss at Chicago.
“I feel it is lots about management,” Rodgers stated of his need to play the Jets. “If I wish to be listened to and adopted and appeared as much as, how may I stand right here and say that these video games that do not matter for playoffs, I’ll money it in? That is simply not the way in which I lead, and I am tremendous aggressive, and I wish to be on the market with the fellows, and I look ahead to being on the market.”
Inexperienced Bay’s offense has been dysfunctional all season. In actual fact, it is solely a couple of subject objective per sport higher than it was final season, when Brett Hundley performed quarterback for half the season with Rodgers sidelined by a damaged collarbone. In seven video games since they bye, they’ve scored 17 factors in 4 of them — all losses.
The Jets subject one of many worst defenses within the NFL, together with No. 22 in whole protection and No. 26 in scoring. Nonetheless, they rank second on third down and can problem a Packers offense that’s No. 22 on third down.
“You take a look at their protection that I have been watching fairly a bit the final couple of days, you recognize they have some good gamers at each single degree of the protection,” interim head coach Joe Philbin stated. “Clearly, Leonard Williams up entrance’s a man that form of catches your eye fairly a bit. (Avery) Williamson has been a really, excellent linebacker within the league for a few completely different groups. And their security actually jumps off the tape. I imply, the security, No. 33 (Jamal Adams) is superb. He is in every single place.”
Accidents have been and proceed to be a problem for Inexperienced Bay. Operating again Aaron Jones, who leads the NFL in yards per carry, was positioned on injured reserve this week and veteran receiver Randall Cobb is within the concussion protocol. Jones is the 14th Packer to land on IR, an inventory that features eight starters.
“It is fairly in depth,” Rodgers stated of the damage record. “You understand, appeared on the roster preseason, and felt good about clearly a variety of positions, and we have had some accidents at some essential spots for us. Clearly, (receivers) Geronimo (Allison) and Randall being harm for a variety of video games, the offensive line accidents that we have had. It has been a tricky 12 months injury-wise, however we have nonetheless had our possibilities to place ourselves in place to make a run.”
The Packers are attempting to keep away from some ugly historical past. They’re Zero-7 on the highway and making an attempt to keep away from their first winless season away from residence for the reason that 1950s. Inexperienced Bay and San Francisco are the one groups with out a highway win this season.
Darnold enters the primary of his two matchups with future Corridor of Famers after two performances that served as a constructive signal. Within the final two video games, he accomplished 40 of 62 passes for 423 yards and three touchdowns, doing so after sitting for 3 video games with a foot damage.
“He is simply snug,” head coach Todd Bowles stated. “When he is enjoying his sport, he is not making an attempt to be good. He is simply making an attempt to play soccer. He is having fun with enjoying soccer. That comes game-by-game. Clearly, having success has one thing to do with it, however if you sit out some time, you get to step again. Whenever you come again, you’ve got realized a bit bit. He seems like he is realized fairly a bit.”