Almost nothing has gone right for the Jets this season. Experts across sports media are betting that trend won't reverse itself when New York travels west for a Monday Night Football showdown against the Arizona Cardinals.
New York has backed itself into a corner with poor quarterback play this fall. The Jets re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick after his 31-touchdown campaign in 2015, but the veteran passer has proven that his late-career renaissance was an outlier, not a trend. He became the first QB since 2007 to record a six-interception game in a Week 3 meltdown against Kansas City. Through five weeks, he ranks dead last among starting passers in quarterback rating.
He'd be an easy candidate for replacement if the Jets only had a better option to start in his place. The depth chart behind Fitzpatrick includes Geno Smith (35 interceptions in 29 career games), Christian Hackenberg (unproven, oft-injured rookie), and Bryce Petty (actually three children stacked inside a football uniform). That means the embattled vet will take the field on Monday night in Glendale entrenched in his role for the 1-4 Jets.
He'll be without one key weapon, too. Eric Decker was an important factor in last season's 10-win campaign, but he'll miss the rest of the season after landing on injured reserve with a torn labrum this week. Second-year wideout Quincy Enunwa has stepped up in his absence, but he'll have to have a breakout season to rescue his Jets.
Things haven't exactly gone swimmingly for Arizona either, though. The Cardinals limped out to a 1-3 start before dusting lowly San Francisco last week. Carson Palmer is primed to return to the team after missing that victory, but he has been unimpressive in his 14th season in the NFL. He's been responsible for more turnovers (eight) than touchdown passes (six) en route to a passer rating more in line with his forgettable seasons with the Oakland Raiders than his recent renaissance in the desert.
The Cardinals' defense has stepped up to combat some of that drop-off. Arizona acquired Chandler Jones from the Patriots during the offseason to bolster a weak pass rush and that trade has paid off dividends. Jones has paired with second-year linebacker Markus Golden to give the team a dangerous blitzing tandem; they have 10 of Arizona's 18 sacks, a mark good for No. 3 in the league.
They'll use that tandem to keep an inaccurate Fitzpatrick from getting comfortable in the pocket. A win on Monday would prop up Arizona's postseason hopes by restoring its record to .500. It would also all but bury New York's playoff dream by dropping the Jets to 1-5 in a Patriots-dominated AFC East. A quick look at experts' predictions doesn't return many good feelings about their chance to snap a five year playoff drought.
There isn't a single prognosticator between ESPN, CBS, and SB Nation predicting a Jets upset. The worldwide leader is 10-10 against New York. All nine of CBS's experts are throwing their predictions behind the Cardinals.
The same is true with our panel:
|Game||RVB||Stephen White||Thomas George||Jeanna Thomas||Adam Stites||Tyler Tynes||Louis Bien||Joel Thorman||Fooch||OddsShark computer|
|NYJ vs AZ||AZ||AZ||AZ||AZ||AZ||AZ||AZ||AZ||AZ||AZ|
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