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Jets at Broncos 5 questions: Is Zach Wilson ‘the guy’ for New York?

To preview Sunday’s game, we go “behind enemy lines” to get a feel for Wilson, the Jets and what’s in store in Denver.

You could mark it as a win when the New York Jets showed up on the schedule.

Even with as bad as the Denver Broncos have been.

This season?

Based on the first six games, it looks like Robert Saleh has his team on the right path. The Jets did just go into Lambeau Field and flog Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Whether it’s sustainable, even this week, time will tell.

DraftKings Sportsbook has the Broncos as the -1-point home favorite. That is a bit surprising based on the results so far this season. That’s a direct result of this game being played in Denver (2-4). Don’t be surprised to see that move to a pick ‘em before kickoff on Sunday.

To preview the game, we go behind enemy lines to get a feel for the Jets (4-2), the players to watch and what to expect in Sunday’s game with MacGregor Wells from Gang Green Nation.

MHR: What is the excitement level with the Jets after six weeks of the season?

Wells: Well, the Jets haven’t been to the playoffs since 2011, and they have had just one winning season in the last 10 years. Jets fans have been pretty disgusted with the lost decade of incompetence, and yearning to be relevant again. So I’d say the excitement level among Jets fans is pretty much sky high, with a dollop of worry that it’s too good to be true mixed in.

MHR: What has led to the turnaround for this football team? And how has Zach Wilson looked since coming back from injury? Is there a belief that “He’s the guy?”

Wells: The turnaround is about one thing: talent. The Jets have had incompetent people at the GM position for many years. Joe Douglas is different. It’s way too early to fit him for his Hall of Fame gold jacket obviously, but at this point I think it’s fair to say Douglas has built the Jets from a team completely devoid of talent to one with exciting young players all over the field. There are still holes; this is not yet a juggernaut. But for the first time in ages the Jets have multiple difference makers on both sides of the ball. That’s how you win in this league, and it’s the reason the Jets are no longer a laughingstock. You want to beat this Jets team, it can certainly be done, but you better bring your A game. This team isn’t a walkover anymore.

As far as Zach Wilson is concerned, I think we’re still in wait and see mode. He hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since returning to the lineup. More like he’s done just enough to win. That’s fine for now, he’s still in the early stages of development, and you can see the progress being made in spurts. But he’s far from a finished product and far from being one of those quarterbacks who can be counted on to carry the team week after week. So for now Wilson’s a work in progress and we’re all just along for the ride, hoping he develops into a top quarterback down the road.

MHR: What is your best bet at DraftKings Sportsbook for Sunday’s game? How much of a surprise is it to have the Jets listed as the underdog?

Wells: I’m not surprised the Jets are underdogs in this game, particularly if Russell Wilson plays. I know Wilson has been brutal so far, but he’s still capable of great things in my opinion. Also, the Broncos have one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL. The thin air is difficult for visitors to adjust to. The Broncos also have a formidable defense, which can cause the Jets all kinds of problems. And let’s face it, after a decade of Jets futility, it’s gonna take more than a couple of wins for bettors to start to believe in the Jets. So, yeah, the Broncos being favorites doesn’t surprise me. However, personally (and for my best bet), I’ll take the Jets to win the game outright in a low-scoring affair.

MHR: Who are some of the under-the-radar players on both sides of the ball Broncos fans should keep an eye out for?

Wells: On offense tight end Tyler Conklin might have a big role in this game. The Jets are probably going to want to keep the pressure off of Zach Wilson against an outstanding Broncos pass defense, so we’ll probably see lots of running plays with Breece Hall and Michael Carter. But when it comes time to pass, one of the best ways to deal with a tough pass rush and great cornerbacks is to go with quick hitters to the tight ends in the middle of the field, keeping the ball away from the corners and throwing quickly enough to neutralize the pass rush. That theoretically could mean a big role for Conklin in the Jets pass offense.

On defense D.J. Reed is probably a bit under the radar. He’s not getting much press as the “other cornerback” opposite Sauce Gardner, but he is playing every bit as well as Gardner, forming one of the best outside cornerback duos in the NFL thus far. I wouldn’t be surprised if Reed makes a lot of plays in this game as the Broncos seek to avoid Gardner in the passing game.

MHR: What are your expectations/predictions for Sunday’s game?

Wells: This one certainly looks on paper to be a tight defensive struggle, right? Both teams have defenses playing really well right now. Both teams have top cornerbacks and both teams put a ton of pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. For me the key to this game is Javonte Williams’ absence. Without him I expect the Jets to have more success running the ball than the Broncos. That could be the difference in a low scoring affair. Maybe I’m just being a homer, but I’ll take the Jets, with the score something like 16 – 13, touchdowns being at a premium, for this game.

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