Two playoff-hungry teams meet to open Week 16 of the 2022 NFL season, when the Jacksonville Jaguars visit the Meadowlands to face the New York Jets on what should be a soggy Thursday night.
The weather forecast calls for a 90-plus percent chance of rain throughout the game, with a temperature at kickoff around 50 degrees.
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NFL · Thu (12/22) @ 8:16pm ET
|MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey|
Where Jags, Jets Stand Heading Into Week 16
The Jets (7-7 straight up/8-6 against the spread), who have been eliminated from AFC East title contention, have lost three in a row after winning six of eight and stand one game out of a wild-card berth in the AFC. Sunday’s 20-17 home loss to Detroit was particularly deflating.
But if they win out against Jacksonville on Thursday and then at Seattle and Miami, they’ll make the playoffs with some help.
Jacksonville (6-8 SU/6-8 ATS) has won four of its past six after a five-game losing streak, and rather than a wild-card berth, the Jags are aiming to catch fast-fading Tennessee (7-7) for the AFC South title.
The Jaguars, whose Super Bowl odds have shortened from a high of +50000 to +8500 (FanDuel), are coming off a stirring 40-34 victory at home against Dallas in which they overcame a 17-point deficit in the third quarter. The winning score came on a pick-six by Rayshawn Jenkins in overtime off a tipped pass thrown by Dak Prescott, who probably didn’t get a good night’s rest that evening.
Now, if the Jaguars win out, which would include a season-ending victory at home against the Titans, they would win their first division title since 2017.
Both Sides of the Ball
For the Jets, QB Zach Wilson gets his second straight start for injured Mike White (ribs) after being demoted and deactivated only four weeks ago. Wilson is the league’s 32nd-rated QB and last (33rd) in completion percentage among qualifying passers.
Jacksonville QB Trevor Lawrence, who has 14 TD throws and one INT his past six games, is slated to start for the Jags, despite a toe issue that has limited him in drills the past couple of weeks. That injury didn’t stop him from throwing for 318 yards and four scores Sunday against a Dallas defense that stands eighth in the league but yielded 503 yards to Jacksonville.
New York has been carried by its defense, which ranks third in the league in yards allowed, behind the powerhouse Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.
But the Jets have forced only one turnover their past five games, after having 15 the first nine.
Jacksonville’s defensive unit ranks only 27th and but isn’t that bad in slowing the running game, ranking eighth by allowing only 4.2 yards a carry. That’s one spot behind NYJ, which yield 4.1. The Jags also have caused six turnovers the past two weeks and have 22 this season, tied for fourth most.
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Jags vs. Jets Injuries
Not only is Lawrence nursing his toe injury, but OLT Cam Robinson suffered a season-ending knee injury last week. Plus, ORT Jawaan Taylor is listed as questionable (hamstring) and ORG Brandon Scherff is wrestling with an abdominal issue (also questionable).
Two key New York linemen are questionable as well — ORT George Fant (knee) and OLT Duane Brown (shoulder), who’s been moping about having to play on short rest this late in the season.
Line moves: NFL Week 16 odds
The difference Thursday likely will be quarterback play.
Over the past month or so, no one has performed better than Lawrence, who has the benefit of quality pass catchers Zay Jones and Evan Engram, to go with RB Travis Etienne, who’s totaled 917 yards and 5.0 a carry.
Wilson, meanwhile, continues to toss floaters to the sideline and overthrow receivers between the hash marks. And that’s when it hasn’t been raining.
Forecast: Jaguars 23, Jets 16