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Can the Jets’ defense keep it close?

The Kist & Solak Show #128!

Cleveland Browns v New York Jets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are headed slap into a trap game with the New York Jets and it’s the media’s fault. That’s right, I’m taking me and my colleagues to task for their reckless confidence. After a week plus of deriding the 0-3 Jets for their abysmal offense, we the media have created the perfect conditions for a Jets’ upset.

It’s not the Eagles’ coaching, talent, execution, scheme, culture, luck, or any of those other real factors that caused this. Luke Falk and Le’Veon Bell are due to break out and hang 30 points on the Eagles and the media needs to be held accountable for it. The once downtrodden Jets’ line will become actual bulldozers bent on world destruction and the blood is on our hands.

As fans, the only thing you can do to counteract this voodoo curse is to drape yourself in your oldest Eagles’ blanket and watch the entire game in a Trikonasana yoga pose while shaking chicken bones at the television when Adam Gase is on screen. Only you, gentle reader, can save the Eagles.

Alright, we done with fantasy world? This Jets’ offense is still irredeemably bad, but if there is hope for them it’s on the defensive side of the ball.

The Jets’ defense ranks 12th in scoring drive frequency, 8th in turnovers per drive, 10th in rushing DVOA and 12th in passing DVOA. That’s pretty solid, especially considering the catalyst for their highest level of play this year, linebacker CJ Mosley, has only played 46 snaps this year. Step one for them becoming a unit that can keep them in games while Darnold gets back to health is getting Mosley back. Unfortunately for the Jets at the time of this writing it looks like Mosley’s unlikely to play on Sunday.

A major question for the Jets will be if they can harass Carson Wentz enough to keep the Eagles’ offense off the field. Wentz has had a time-to-throw of under 2.45 seconds for three of his four games this season and we’ll likely see a continuation of the quick game this Sunday. That means the pass rush will have to get there quick, which is a problem for a team that’s having issues creating a consistent push.

The Jets pressure rates on the season don’t look great (29.5% > 42.1% > 16.7%). That lone, productive exception was against Baker Mayfield and his average time-to-throw was 3.06 against the Jets, ranking 35th slowest of 37 quarterbacks that week. Wentz has only eclipsed 3.00 once in his career, way back in Week 16 of his rookie season. In 2018 his longest time-to-throw was 2.66. You see what I’m getting at here.

Getting Wentz into situations where he would have to hold onto the ball will likely fall on the run defense, which is an area where the Jets have held up well. Per Football Outsiders, they rank 4th in adjusted line yards (3.37) and 6th in stuffed rank which measures how often they’re able to stifle runs for zero or negative yard gains. It will be a solid test for an Eagles’ ground game that just saw their most single-game rushing yards (176) since Week 12 of 2017 against the Chicago Bears.

The Jets’ interior trio of Steve McLendon, Leonard Williams, and Folorunso Fatukasi have all been stout against the run with linebackers Harvey Langi and Blake Cashman playing well enough in support.

The other test for the Eagles will be dealing with the pre-snap disguises from Jets’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Wentz and the offensive line will have to be active in the pre-snap phase and careful not to bite the cheese after the snap whether it’s in the form of a trap coverage or unexpected overload blitz. Handling the mental aspect has been a particular strength with Wentz this year and success against the Jets will have to be a continuation of that.

Lastly, the Jets will have to tighten up in the red zone. While their points allowed per game isn’t awful (23.3, 17th), they’ve been the 30th ranked red zone defense with 71% of drives reaching inside the 20-yard line being punched in for touchdowns. Conversely, the Eagles’ 8th ranked red zone offense has scored on a nice 69% of their deep trips, which is 5% higher than their bombastic 2017 production.

We discuss all of this and more - including giving our final predictions - on The Kist & Solak Show #128! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!