(CBSNY/CBS Local) — Even given the modest expectations, the New York Jets season isn’t off to a good start. Between the multiple injuries to key players and the general ineptitude, they’ve been hard to watch at times.
“The Jets have so many problems to deal with right now,” says CBS Miami sports anchor Mike Cugno. “Le’Veon Bell hasn’t been the same Le’Veon Bell we’ve seen throughout the years. It’s taken some time for him to get going.” But they welcome back starting quarterback Sam Darnold from his bout with mono, thus ending team’s QB purgatory… for now, at least. And his return should inspire at team looking for a spark in what’s been a dismal season to date.
The Jets offensive stats so far have been abysmal. The team is averaging an NFL-worst 179.5 yards per game, which is almost 50 yards below the next-worst team (the Dolphins). They’re averaging under 10 points per game. While most teams led by a third-string quarterback will struggle, the Jets’ offensive efforts have seemed especially futile.
The Jets defense, however, has been solid, giving up 347.8 yards game. While that average doesn’t elevate them to elite status, it puts them in league with the Cowboys, who allow 321.8 yards per game. And they’ve been doing it without their best player, linebacker C.J. Mosley, who’s been dealing with a groin issue since early season. Starting linebacker Avery Williamson tore his ACL in preseason and is out for the year as well. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has this group playing over their heads in losing situations. So a little hope, in the form of a productive offense, could, make this unit even more dangerous.
The Dallas Cowboys, their Week 6 opponent, ran roughshod over the first three teams on their schedule. With those easy wins over the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins came a confidence that this team might be in for a special season. Then reality set in, when the New Orleans Saints held them to just 10 points in their Week 4 grudge match. The Green Bay Packers proved too much again last week.
Now that undefeated start seems diminished, given the poor quality of those first three teams and the subsequent losses to better teams. But hope is not lost in Dallas.
Their capable offense has shown the ability to pile up yards and points in any given week, given the right circumstances. Dak Prescott threw for 463 yards against the Packers. Amari Cooper hauled in 11 catches for 226 yards that same week. Ezekiel Elliott, while a little off his usual pace, still has multiple 100-yard games.
“If the Cowboys offense looked lackluster, no need to worry,” says Cugno, “because they’re going to be playing the New York Jets.” The Jets, at 0-4, offer the Cowboys a chance to return to that early-season glory. And they’re going to need the confidence, with the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots on the schedule in the coming weeks.
“I think the Cowboys get on track this week, says Cugno. “I think Dak Prescott has a bounce-back week from last week, even though he had a pretty good game towards the end there. I think he leads them to victory over the Jets.”
The Jets play the Cowboys this Sunday @4:25 ET on CBS.