The New York Jets will shuffle starting quarterbacks against the Detroit Lions on Sunday because Mile White was not cleared to play due to an injury, which means Zach Wilson returns as the starter.
White began the preseason as the third-string quarterback, but he moved up the depth chart throughout the season. He took over as the starter in Week 12 after head coach Robert Saleh benched Wilson.
White fractured his ribs against the Buffalo Bills during a revenge game in Week 14. He took two gnarly hits in the loss, which resulted in multiple fractures, but remained in the game.
White told reporters he expected to start on Sunday against the Lions. However, on Friday the medical staff informed Saleh and the Jets that White would not get clear play. White sought out other doctors for a second opinion, but every doctor had the same outlook and refused to clear him to play against the Lions.
“That opinion will not change,” said Saleh. “We could drag this out to Sunday, but this is one of those deals we have to do what’s best for the player and protect the player from the player.”
If I get hit in the wrong spot, it could lead to some further damage,” said White.
The Jets (7-6) opened as -1.5 favorites at home at MetLife Stadium against the Lions (6-7). However, after the quarterback switch from White to Wilson, oddsmaker flipped the favorite. The Lions are now a -1.5 favorite, and the Jets find themselves as a home dog in Week 15.
Lions Found a Path to the Postseason
The Lions are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now after winning five out of their last six games. They improved to 6-7 after starting the season 1-6.
The Lions dropped only one game since early November with a three-point loss against the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving. The Lions established themselves best team in the NFC North right now, after first-place Vikings (10-3) struggled over the last couple of weeks.
The Lions defeated the Vikings in Week 14 with an impressive 34-23 victory, which opened up a path to the postseason.
Our guys played hard, and they believed in the game plan and they executed it,” said head coach Dan Campbell. “It wasn’t perfect, but I think that shows signs of growth. It was just a hell of a job. Our guys, I was proud of them.”
The Lions have a 25% chance to qualify for the postseason, according to a projection by FiveThirtyEight. Their chances increase to 40% with a victory over the Jets. If the Lions win their next three games, they can jump to 75%. The Lions face the Carolina Panthers (5-8) in Week 16 and the Chicago Bears (3-10) in Week 17.
The Lions are 9-4 against the point spread (ATS) this season, but they covered the spread in their last six games.
We gotta keep going. pic.twitter.com/Obb5p4yZeO
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 12, 2022
Jets on Shaky Ground
Saleh benched Wilson after he refused to accept responsibility for a loss in the media. The New England Patriots defeated the Jets in Week 10, and teammates were irked at Wilson’s comments especially after the offense scored a paltry three points.
Saleh demoted Wilson to third-string quarterback due to his immaturity and lack of leadership. He also felt the offense has sputtered with Wilson under center and wanted to do something to spark their passing attack. Saleh promoted White as the starter in Week 12 and the offense exploded against the Chicago Bears.
White almost helped the Jets pull off an upset over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13, but the Jets lost 27-22.
In three games, White went 1-2 as a starter. He completed 62% of his passes for 952 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.
In seven games this season, Wilson was 5-2 as a starter. He completed 55.6% of his passes for 1,279 yards, four touchdowns, and five interceptions.
With a 7-6 record, the Jets are on the playoff bubble. The Patriots also have the same record, but occupy the #7 seed as the last potential AFC Wild Card spot. With four games remaining, every victory counts, so the Jets are in a must-win situation against the Lions.
FiveThirtyEight projects the Jets have a 33% chance to advance to the playoffs. That number jumps to 55% if they pick off the Lions, but the outlook is grim for the Jets with White out with an injury.
The Jets started out with a 5-2 ATS record this season, but they’re only 3-3 ATS in their last six games for a total betting record of 8-5. The Jets are 2-3 as a home dog this season.
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