The New York Jets are enduring a nightmarish season and things could get worse before they get better. The 1-4 Jets go on the road to face the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football and Arizona will have Carson Palmer back this week.
Palmer suffered a concussion in Week 4 and didn't get cleared in time to play on a short week, so the Cardinals went with Drew Stanton under center on Thursday night in Week 5. After a sloppy, ugly performance by both teams, Arizona eventually pulled out the 33-21 win and moves to 2-3 on the year. They're still behind the eight ball after a poor start to the season, but the Cardinals will welcome back Palmer with open arms as they look to get back into the thick of the NFC West race.
Although Palmer is back, it's hard to tell how well he'll actually play. The 36-year-old has been surprisingly bad this year, throwing just six touchdown passes to five interceptions in four games and completing 58.8 percent of his passes. Arizona's offense is generating an anemic 248.2 passing yards per game, 16th in the league. With a talented wide receiver duo of Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown (along with possibly Michael Floyd, but he's been terrible this year and is losing playing time), one should certainly expect more from the Cardinals' attack.
On the bright side, David Johnson is the real deal. The second-year running back followed up his dynamic rookie season with consistently strong performances this year, keeping the Cardinals in nearly every game. He's third in the NFL with 457 rushing yards and averaging 5 yards per carry while scoring five touchdowns. Johnson's versatility in the passing game makes him Arizona's most important offensive weapon and he should be heavily involved against the Jets.
Ryan Fitzpatrick's regression is the big talking point in New York, but the defense's collapse has to be alarming for Jets fans. New York has the 23rd-ranked defense in total yards allowed per game and is 29th in pass defense. They're still strong against the running game, but the secondary is playing badly and Darrelle Revis' injury is a huge concern. Although Revis had some high-profile gaffes this season, he's still a good cornerback at age 31, and the defense has collapsed with him nursing a hamstring injury. Revis returned to practice this week and has a shot at playing after sitting out Week 5, which can only be good news for the Jets.
As for Fitzpatrick, his collapse has been abrupt but also a bit predictable, knowing his history of inconsistent play. He has 10 interceptions and just five touchdowns in five games, an unacceptable ratio for an NFL quarterback in 2016. To make matters worse, the Jets lost Eric Decker for the year with a shoulder injury, so they have few reliable pass catchers outside of Brandon Marshall. Matt Forte has cooled off after a strong start to the year and is dealing with a knee injury of his own, although he's expected to play.
Jets head coach Todd Bowles oversaw a 10-6 campaign last year, but this is the first time he's had to really deal with adversity. New York's fanbase and media aren't known for their patience, so Bowles could find himself in a world of trouble if his team doesn't turn things around. Against a Cardinals team that's getting healthy and improving, that could be easier said than done this week.
How to watch
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Place: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Announcers: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
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