By Rick Brown
After narrowly beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 13, the New York Jets will be traveling west to play the Denver Broncos (3-9) in the Mile High City. The Broncos will be trying to snap an eight-game losing streak after getting blown out by the Miami Dolphins (5-7). Both teams face issues on the offensive line, but the Jets have been more competitive than the Broncos this year.
New York Jets Record
The New York Jets are now 5-7, and while they have only won two more games than the Broncos this season, the big difference between New York and Denver is that the Jets are scoring points.
The Broncos’ history playing the Jets goes back to 1960, when they were the New York Titans. Denver has a narrow lead in the all-time series between these two teams at 19-15-1. The last time they met was in 2014, when the Broncos beat the Jets 31-17 on their own turf at MetLife Stadium.
Led by Josh McCown, New York’s offense is averaging 22 points a game, good for 18th in the NFL. The Jets QB has thrown for 2,880 yards with 18 TDs and 8 interceptions on the season for a QB rating of 96.7. McCown is playing much better than Broncos starting quarterback Trevor Siemian, and the Jets have avoided the quarterback carousel that the Broncos are currently riding.
If anything, the Jets offense has accomplished consistency at being mediocre this season. They’re near the middle of the league in most categories, ranked 17th in yards per game, 18th in passing yards per game, 18th in rushing yards per game, and 19th in total points per game.
The rushing attack has been less than stellar. Led by veterans Matt Forte and Bilal Powell, the aging duo has combined for only 827 yards. A lack of an efficient running game may be one of the reasons the Jets are 3-5 in games decided by seven or less points. An inability to run the clock out leaves teams in the game, and the Jets cannot seem to close out opponents.
On defense, while the Jets have been pretty middle-of-the-road, they’ve had issues stopping touchdown passes – just like the Broncos. The Jets are 23rd in average yards allowed per game, 20th in average passing yards allowed per game and 24th in average rushing yards allowed per game. The Jets defense is allowing 24 points a game, which is good enough for 24th in the NFL.
Unlike the Broncos defense, the Jets are not very exciting to watch. New York is lacking a pass rushing threat as the team’s sack leader, Demario Davis, has just 4.5 sacks on the season.
The Jets secondary has caught 10 interceptions and should be able to pick off Siemian a few times. The Broncos QB should try to stay away from Buster Skrine and Morris Claiborne.
Players To Watch
Look for the Broncos to have issues covering tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The big-bodied tight end will be able to push around the smaller-sized Broncos players. McCown will take chances on Sunday when he throws the deep ball to Robby Anderson, and the two will connect for at least one touchdown. Whoever the Jets line up to play opposite of the Broncos starting right tackle should get a lot of pressure and possibly a sack or two. The Jets secondary should also expect a turnover or three from Siemian throughout the game.
The mistakes will continue to build and the Broncos will find a way to further implode. Look for Siemian to turn the ball over at least twice on Sunday while the Broncos offensive line gives up at least three sacks. The offense will fail to score a touchdown for the second straight week and the Broncos defense will be too tired to stop the Jets offense. Look for the Jets to win in the Mile High city, 20-12.