Week 17 of the NFL season has arrived. In previous years, before adding an 18th week this year, this would be the final game before the postseason. Because of that it’s important that Super Bowl hopefuls, like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to be playing well this time of year. And there may not be a team in the league you’d want to play right now than the New York Jets.
The Jets are a lowly 4-11 this season. They have struggled in basically every aspect of the game and truly look the part of one of the worst teams in football. This is a game you’d want the Bucs to dominant as they prepare for the playoff push. Here’s what you need to know about the New York Jets.
With the second overall pick in the NFL draft the New York Jets selected quarterback Zach Wilson. The BYU star was electric last season, using his big arm and above average mobility to make splash plays with regularity. He was expected to step in as a rookie and lead the offense.
Since then, things have not been so great for Wilson. He has just 7 passing touchdowns and eleven interceptions this year. And that infamous running ability he showed in college has often looked like bailing from the pocket prematurely at the pro level.
It’s fair to say that Wilson has been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL this year. If the Bucs can pressure him then he will make mistakes. Even with a thin Tampa secondary, Wilson shouldn’t be too much of an issue at this point in his career.
We have seen COVID have an increased impact on sports in the last month. More players are going on the reserve list than ever before. This is an issue that both the Buccaneers and Jets will be dealing with this weekend.
The Bucs have Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean and Mike Evans on the COVID list as well as head coach Bruce Arians. The Jets have most of their starting defense and first round pick Alijah Vera-Tucker currently listed as on the reserve via COVID.
It’s hard to say what to expect here due to ever changing guidelines and an evolving pandemic that still isn’t fully understood. In a perfect world everyone would be back healthy by Sunday. However, we have learned over the last two years that this world is far from perfect. This game could very well be a matter of who has more NFL caliber players available.
Even if the Jets roster were fully healthy, there isn’t a lot of top end talent to speak of. Quinton Williams is an impressive young defensive tackle who can pressure the quarterback. C.J. Mosley is an established linebacker who brings physicality up the middle. Mekhi Becton is a freakish blend of size, strength and mobility at offensive tackle.
Mosley is the only one of this group likely to play, with Becton on injured reserve and Williams on the COVID list. However, even if they could all play it probably wouldn’t make a huge impact. The Jets are quite simply one of the least talented teams in the NFL.
Even a banged up and short handed Bucs team should be able to take care of business against this lowly Jets roster. There is just no aspect I can look at and say the Jets reasonably have an advantage. On paper, this has the makings of a game where the Bucs can rest their starters by halftime.
Buccaneers – 34
Jets – 16