Zach Wilson was handed the starting quarterback job as a rookie right after he was drafted No. 2 overall from BYU. And now he needs to earn that job back, which ain’t happening this week against the Chicago Bears. Instead, he takes over clipboard duties from quarterback Joe Flacco, who will be backing up new starter Mike White.
Yes, the Jets are desperate, as they try to salvage a wild-card spot in this season’s playoffs. Wilson did himself no favors by refusing to take accountability for last week’s offensive ineptitude in a 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots.
Wilson eventually apologized to his teammates, but the damage was done. Saleh said he was considering a change Monday, and he made the announcement Wednesday to end the suspense.
Wilson now becomes about as relevant of a leftover as Thanksgiving gravy, the brown stuff that is coagulated when grandma tries to foist it upon you as you make your post-Thanksgiving departure. That stuff usually ends up in the gas station garbage pail, and while Wilson is not being disposed of quite so harshly, he is most certainly being tossed aside.
Jets QB Mike White to start Sunday vs. Bears. pic.twitter.com/ETdVoCLhQv
— NFL (@NFL) November 23, 2022
White has not yet played this season, and the last time we saw him in a regular season game he was throwing four interceptions in last season’s finale against Buffalo, a 45-17 loss. But two weeks earlier he was the hero against the Cincinnati Bengals in a 34-31 victory against the eventual AFC champions. That’s when he threw for 405 yards and two TD passes and led the Jets to a pair of touchdowns in the final 7:29 after they trailed 31-20.
White even caught a two-point conversion pass from Jamison Crowder, leading the Jets fans to chant his name after the game.
Mike White then catches a 2-point conversion off a Philly Special play.
This team lost 54-13 last week!pic.twitter.com/Nv2Bc6imAH
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 31, 2021
Jets fans can count glorious moments like that one from the past few seasons on one hand as they continue to have the NFL’s longest postseason drought, dating to 2010. But this is not a lost season despite the fact that they have dropped two in a row to the Patriots, sandwiched around a victory over the Bills. This is certainly a must-win against Chicago to keep legit postseason hopes alive. They play on the road at Buffalo and Minnesota over the next two weeks before finishing the home schedule against Detroit and Jacksonville. Then it’s on the road against Seattle and Miami.
Sportsbooks Hold Jets In Lower Regard
Gang Green is in seventh place in an AFC conference that has only eight winning teams, one of which is the 6-5 Patriots, who own the tiebreaker with New York. The Jets begin Sunday with +110 odds to make the playoffs, while the Pats are +135, and the ninth-place Los Angeles Chargers are -120 despite their 5-5 record. Translation: The oddsmakers believe more in the Chargers than they do in Robert Saleh’s or Bill Belichick’s squads.
White should be stoked for this game, because he has a chance to take over the quarterback duties for the remainder of the season if he kills it. Remember, Salah turned to Joe Flacco in Weeks 1-3 when Wilson was injured, and Flacco went 2-1 with 5 TD passes, including a pair in the final 1:22 of the miracle victory over Cleveland in Week 2.
The 37-year-old, who has 15 career postseason games under his belt, is now the No. 2 behind White, which means White has to perform well and perform early in order to avoid getting sent back to the bench in favor of Flacco 2.0.
At the end of the day it’s the same old Jets pic.twitter.com/1Ad5CCOsLe
— Wu-Tang is for the Children (@WUTangKids) November 20, 2022
Players props for White were unavailable Friday, as the sportsbooks hit their history books and tried to come up with fair numbers. That line may even stay off the board if Salah indicates today or Saturday that Flacco replacing White as a real possibility if the game vs. the Bears is going poorly.
What Are The Trends Here?
Chicago has a three-game losing streak, but is coming off a 3-point loss to the Falcons, a 1-point loss to the Lions, and a 3-point loss to the Dolphins. They were not exactly blown out in their two double-figure losses: 17 against the Packers and 20 against the Cowboys. Bears quarterback Justin Fields has rushed for 410 yards in the last three games, but separated his left shoulder on his team’s final possession and is listed as questionable.
“It’s a separated shoulder with partially torn ligaments,” Fields said, describing his injury. “Basically, like an AC joint. That’s my understanding of it.”
That uncertainty could impact the betting line, which is Jets -6. It is the largest amount the Jets have been favored by all season. In fact, they have been favored only twice. They have gone under in 5 straight, and last week’s Jets-Patriots game was 3-3 until the end of the fourth quarter, when Marcus Jones scampered 84 yards with 5 seconds left for the NFL’s first punt return for a TD all season. Wilson threw for only 77 yards, and the Jets punted 10 times.
Jets player prop specials include Gang Green at +2000 at DraftKings to have the most points of any team playing Sunday. The Bears are +10000. A free bet is available, but you must opt-in (“free” means you get to make another wager of the same amount if you lose. The limit is $100).
Robert Saleh said his phone call to Mike White on Tuesday to let him know he'd be starting this Sunday "lasted all of 30 seconds" pic.twitter.com/gLHKx4brA2
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) November 25, 2022
The over/under has dropped from 43 to is 38 1/2, which is a huge drop. Yes, the Jets managed only 3 points last weekend, but they scored at least 20 in four of their previous six games, and they are facing a Bears team that leads the NFL in average rushing yards, 179.9 per game, 35.1 more per game than second-ranked Baltimore. Chicago is 13th in the NFL with 241 points, while the Jets are in the bottom eight with 199. BetMGM has taken 73% of handle on the under, while DraftKings has taken 84% of handle on the under.
One last thing: The victory over the Bills had Jets fans on Cloud Nine, and the loss to the Patriots had them digging ditches.
But the fact of the matter is that this Bears game will make or break their season. Win it, and they are 7-4 and a half-game behind Miami, who they play in the final game of the season. In all likelihood a wild-card berth is at stake for at least one of those teams in that season finale. Fields is +210 at be an anytime TD scorer. He has seven on the ground among his 834 rushing yards.
Before the 2021 NFL draft some people questioned Justin Fields work-ethic and leadership.
Here he is in year 2 and he has the mental intangibles of a 10 year vet.
— Bears Nation (3-8) (@BearsNationCHI) November 23, 2022
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