The Philadelphia Eagles are on the road to face the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. In order to preview this Week 6 matchup between these two teams, I reached out to our enemies over at Gang Green Nation. The magnanimous MacGregor Wells kindly took the time to answer my questions about this upcoming battle. Let’s take a look at the answers. [For my answers to questions about the Eagles, check out GGN.]
1) On a scale of 1-10 (10 being most confident), what’s the confidence level in Zach Wilson right now?
It’s always difficult to speak for the Jets fanbase. It’s not monolithic. A few Jets fans are still convinced that Zach Wilson will blossom into a top NFL starting quarterback. Many have completely written him off. Some are in wait and see mode. I think as a whole the confidence level in Wilson at this moment is not high. Maybe 2 or 3 out of 10.
2) On a scale of 1-10 (10 being most confident), what’s the confidence level in Robert Saleh and his coaching staff right now?
Again, the fanbase is not in unison on Robert Saleh and his coaching staff. I think most think it’s time to put up or shut up. As a whole maybe the confidence in the Jets coaching staff is at a 4. Time is running out on this staff to show they can get a team to the playoffs.
3) What’s the Jets’ biggest strength?
[BLG Note: This question was answered prior to both Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed being ruled out of Sunday’s game.]
I think the biggest strength of this Jets team is its cornerbacks. Sauce Gardner was first team All Pro Last year. His teammate at the other outside cornerback position, D.J. Reed, is playing at a Pro Bowl level, as is slot cornerback Michael Carter. When all three are healthy this is a very tough group to pass against.
4) To what extent are Jets fans satisfied with former Eagles executive and current Jets GM Joe Douglas?
Many are pretty happy with Joe Douglas, while many others are ready to fire him. Douglas gets the benefit of the doubt because he has clearly made the team better in the time he’s been with the Jets. However, improvement was all but inevitable, as Douglas followed GM Mike Maccagnan, who was in my opinion the single most damaging employee in Jets history. Maccagnan left the team in ruins. Any GM who was not disastrous was bound to look great in comparison. But being better than an absolute trainwreck is not much of a feather in your cap. Douglas has been pretty great at trades, pretty awful in free agency, and up and down in the draft. He has built an excellent defense while failing to build much on offense. The offensive line, supposedly his specialty, has not come close to becoming a top unit. The quarterback position has been a disaster, albeit Aaron Rodgers was expected to fix that before his injury. Outside of Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall, there are no above average offensive skill players on the team.
All in all, a mixed bag. So satisfaction with him among Jets fans is also a mixed bag.
5) Who wins this game and why? With DraftKings Sportsbook listing the Eagles as 7-point road favorites, what’s your score prediction? And what are your expectations for the rest of this Jets season?
I have a difficult time seeing how the Jets beat this Eagles team. The Eagles are deep, talented and well coached. They have a much better quarterback, better offensive weapons, and a much better offensive line. The Jets probably have the advantage on defense, but it’s not a big advantage. You never know how things work out on game day. Upsets happen all the time. A few turnovers, a few broken plays and everything can change in an instant. But on paper this Jets team has no business beating this Eagles team. The Eagles are simply the better team, without question.
As for the score, I’m terrible at this, but let’s say the Jets do a decent job on defense of limiting scoring. Then maybe it’s something like Eagles 23, Jets 13?
The rest of this season for the Jets is considerably easier on paper than the brutal first six games, which were on paper the most difficult schedule in the NFL. Consequently I expect the Jets to start to look better, simply by virtue of facing easier opponents. However, unless and until Zach Wilson shows he can be at least an average-ish starting quarterback in the NFL, the playoffs are not a likely outcome. I have severe doubts as to Wilson’s chances of doing that, but hey, it’s not like I haven’t been wrong plenty of times before. I hope I’m dead wrong about Wilson.
Bonus: Would there be any extra satisfaction in the Jets beating the Eagles for the first time ever since they started playing in 1973? Do Jets fans care about Eagles fans at all?
I don’t think Jets fans care much about any NFC teams. You just don’t play teams in the other conference enough to build a big rivalry. Even the New York Giants don’t elicit much of a rivalry feeling for many Jets fans. Don’t get me wrong, beating a team the Jets have never beaten would be sweet, but I don’t think Jets fans think much about NFC teams in general, Eagles included.