In the NFL, there’s a fine line between winning now and developing for the future.
At least, that’s the sacrifice the New York Jets, who have NFL odds of +15000 to win the Super Bowl, are contemplating ahead of the upcoming campaign. Wily veteran Joe Flacco has impressed in training camp and preseason, making the case that he deserves to be under center when the season kicks off on September 11.
Of course, that would mean less playing time for Zach Wilson, and a murkier future, as New York looks to make the most of their offseasons adjustments and compete now, abandoning those much-needed reps for their future quarterback.
As usual, these narratives write themselves, as it just so happens that the Jets open the season against Flacco’s former team, the Baltimore Ravens. Irrespective of who they chose, there’s still a lot to be decided ahead of Week 1, but any changes are unlikely to impact New York’s standing in the futures market.
Ineffective Rookie Season
Rookie starting quarterbacks are afforded a little more leeway as they find their footing at the professional level. That was the case with Wilson, who went through a typical pattern in 2021.
The former BYU Cougar completed just 55.6% of his passes, throwing for more interceptions than touchdowns. Wilson faltered towards the end of the season, as he failed to throw more than 234 yards in any of his last four games, failing to surpass 170 yards in three of four.
The seed of doubt was planted, and Robert Saleh entered the season with a more open mind about what was best for the franchise moving forward.
Zach Wilson is on the bike as he recovers from his knee injury: pic.twitter.com/V68cmNbwdK
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) August 28, 2022
Joe Flacco’s Still Got It
It’s tough to put a lot of weight on preseason action, but in reviewing Flacco’s metrics, it’s evident the veteran play-caller has plenty of gas left in the tank. Last year, the former Super Bowl MVP appeared in two games, completing 27-of-42 passes for 338 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Limited action, but impressive nonetheless.
Flacco hasn’t gotten a fair shake as a starter since 2018, but given his pedigree, strong play in camp, and effectiveness in the regular season, he’s earned a shot to lead the Jets into the upcoming campaign.
Worst Defense in the League
The starting quarterback will be inconsequential unless the Jets find a way to improve their defense. New York ended 2021 allowing the most yards per game and points per game. Thankfully, the Jets spent most of their offseason upgrading their D, which should yield more positive results throughout the season.
The AFC East basement dwellers used two of their first-round picks to upgrade their defensive line and secondary. Cornerback Sauce Gardner was selected fourth overall and will immediately help decrease the 259.4 passing yards the Jets allowed per game.
Then, New York moved back into the first round to select Jermaine Johnson with the 26th pick. Failing to pressure the quarterback contributed to their passing woes and resulted in just 1.8 sacks per game, tied for the seventh-fewest. Johnson solves both of those problems and makes the Jets better.
Mix in a few offseason acquisitions, like D.J. Reed and Jacob Martin, and the Jets’ remolded defense has the pieces to take significant steps forward this season.
BetMGM Super Bowl Insights and Analysis
The Jets are building for the future, and although growing pains will be a part of their trajectory for the next couple of years, they will be more competitive.
Still, BetMGM has New York priced with the fourth-longest odds on the board at +15000. With no conceivable angle to the playoffs, the Jets may be resigned to accepting 2022 as a development year, but that’s the best outlook the Jets have had in years.
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