1. The starting offensive tackles will allow zero pressures
The New York Jets‘ starters are only expected to play one quarter at the maximum in their preseason opener against the New York Giants, so this one may not be too bold. Staying clean in pass protection for one quarter is not an astronomical feat.
Nevertheless, I am going to roll with it. I think the Jets’ starting tackle duo – Mekhi Becton and either Morgan Moses or George Fant – will not allow the Giants’ pass rushers to create pressure a single time.
As an additional prediction, I believe that whoever does not start between Moses and Fant will also allow zero pressures.
There has been a lot of concern raised about the offensive line’s performance in training camp practices. The unit has not looked great.
However, it should be kept in mind that they are competing daily against the Jets’ top-tier defensive line. That group is likely to make a lot of offensive lines look silly this year.
Plus, practices tend to favor defensive linemen, as contact is limited and the defenders get to learn more and more about the offensive linemen’s tendencies each day.
The Giants have a great group of interior defensive linemen, but they have one of the least intimidating edge-rushing groups in the NFL. Not to mention, starting outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter is already confirmed to be sitting out.
Becton and his running-mate (whether it be Moses or Fant) will draw a juicy matchup tonight, giving them a chance to dominate for a couple of drives and build some confidence.
Second-round pick Azeez Ojulari could see some matchups against the Jets’ starters. That will be a fun duel to watch if it transpires.
2. The starting defense will get two sacks
Back in July, I conducted a ranking of all 32 offensive lines in the NFL based on the 2020 statistical production of each team’s projected five starters.
The Giants landed at No. 32.
If you think the Jets’ defensive front has looked good against the Jets’ offensive line, just wait until you see what they do against the Giants’ offensive line – which probably won’t even have its starters on the field.
Even if the starting defense only gets two drives on the field, I think that will be plenty of time for them to rack up two sacks before the clock strikes zero on the first quarter.
3. The kickers will be perfect
According to reports, Ammendola has gone 14 for 16 (87.5%) in his training camp kicking sessions with the Jets while Naggar has gone 15 for 20 (75.0%).
I’m going to go out on a limb and say the two young kickers both shine under the spotlight in their preseason debut.
Naggar will be the man to keep an eye on tonight. Three of his five recorded misses came at MetLife Stadium when the Jets held their Green & White Scrimmage. He went 1 for 4 in his East Rutherford kicking session while Ammendola went 4 for 4.
If Naggar has a rough night tonight, that will mark two consecutive shaky outings at MetLife, which is not a good trend.
4. Zach Wilson will throw a TD and complete at least 70% of his passes
Zach Wilson will likely get his first NFL action against the majority of the Giants’ second-team defense, as Big Blue is poised to rest most of its starters for this contest.
That gives Wilson a great opportunity to hit the ground running.
I do not expect Wilson to light the world on fire with highlight-reel plays, but I think he will lead one or two crisp, consistent drives in which he steadily leads the Jets down the field, at least one of which will result in him throwing a touchdown pass.
Bonus prediction – Corey Davis grabs the score on a four-yard pass into the flat.
5. Michael Carter will rush for over 60 yards
Of course, that depth chart is exactly what the title says it is – unofficial – but if that is indeed where the Jets have Carter slotted in the running back rotation as of right now, it could mean that he is poised to get a heavy workload tonight with the starters coming out of the game early.
I think Carter will get at least 10 carries and turn them into over 60 yards on the strength of two rushes for 15+ yards.