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New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Week 16 preview: Zach Wilson vs. Trevor Lawrence

Zach Wilson, Trevor Lawrence
Zach Wilson, Trevor Lawrence, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Zach Wilson and the New York Jets welcome in Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars for a No. 1 vs. 2 Week 16 NFL showdown at MetLife.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—Does anybody want to play some football? It’s the question pretty much everybody in the New York Jets organization is asking aloud right about now.

With COVID-19 ravaging the entire NFL and Northern New Jersey, the Jets will be without a plethora of players when they welcome the Jacksonville Jaguars to MetLife Stadium for a Week 16 matchup.

The one showcase that’s still officially on, however, is the main event, the one that features the top two picks from the 2021 NFL draft: Zach Wilson and Trevor Lawrence.

New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, 2021, Week 16 Preview
New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, 2021, Week 16 Preview, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Jets vs. Jaguars game info

  • New York Jets (3-11)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)
  • NFL, Week 16, Dec. 26, 2021, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
  • MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

Just one game separates the two teams in the standings, which means this one means a lot as it relates to the 2022 NFL draft order.

Head-to-head does not matter as it relates to draft order; instead, strength of schedule is the first thing to look to if the Jets and Jags are tied up in the win-loss column. Right now, the Jets’ .504 strength of schedule winning percentage does not get the job done against the Jags’ .508.

Nonetheless, this one could go a long way in determining who picks closer to the top of this coming offseason’s NFL draft.

The Jets will wear their Stealth Black uniforms, and the game will be broadcast on CBS at 1 p.m. ET.

Jets vs. Jaguars history

  • The Jaguars lead the all-time series, 8-7.

Jacksonville currently holds a slim one-game lead over New York on the strength of two consecutive victories.

In October 2019, the Jags knocked off the Jets by a final of 29-15. Current Jet Keelan Cole opened the scoring with a 6-yard touchdown from Gardner Minshew.

A Jags’ 31-12 win in September 2018 saw the 1-2 Jets drop to 1-3 in Todd Bowles’s final season as head coach. Blake Bortles threw for a cool 388 yards and two touchdowns, while rookie Sam Darnold went for just 167 yards and a score.

The Jets had won the previous four matchups prior to the Bortles breakout in 2018, a streak that stretched from September 2011 to October 2017.

Jets vs. Jaguars odds (FanDuel Sportsbook)

  • Spread: Jets -1.5 (-110), Jaguars +1.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Jets -122, Jaguars +104
  • Over/Under: 41 (O: -110, U: -100)

Don’t adjust your phones or computer monitors; you are seeing things correctly. The New York Jets are favored in a football game.

Officially, per FanDuel Sportsbook, the Jets are a 1.5-point favorite in this one. But considering the game is in MetLife Stadium, the Jags would most likely be the slim favorites if it were played at a neutral site.

Jets vs. Jaguars injury report

NYJ-JAX, 2021, Week 16, Final Injury Report
NYJ-JAX, 2021, Week 16, Final Injury Report, New York Jets Communications

New York Jets

  • Elijah Riley (Concussion): Out
  • Jamison Crowder (Calf): Doubtful
  • George Fant (Knee): Questionable
  • Bryce Hall (Illness, non-COVID): Questionable
  • C.J. Mosley (Back): Questionable
  • Sheldon Rankins (Knee): Questionable
  • Quinnen Williams (Shoulder): Questionable

The topic of the day revolves around the injury report and Reserve/COVID-19 list. Never look at only the injury report in the NFL these days.

In addition to the above, that shows Elijah Riley out, Jamison Crowder doubtful and a host of other players questionable, key contributors such as Alijah Vera-Tucker, Elijah Moore, Michael Carter II, Ashtyn Davis, Foley Fatukasi, John Franklin-Myers, Ryan Griffin and Corey Davis will all miss the content while stuck on IR or the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

And this doesn’t even take into account the long-term IR players such as Carl Lawson, Vinny Curry, Marcus Maye, Lamarcus Joyner and Mekhi Becton.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Brandon Lindor (Quad): Questionable
  • Lerentee McCray (Ankle): Questionable

The Jags come into the game much healthier, as just two players appear on the injury report (questionable).

Nonetheless, they too have several players dealing with COVID-19-related absences. As of this moment, Josh Allen, Travis Etienne Jr., Laviska Sheanault Jr., Ben Bartch and Jordan Smith are on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list.

Jets’ keys to victory

Have enough players to play?

Quite honestly, there isn’t much strategy involved as of this moment. With so many players scheduled to miss the game, the personnel is so drastically different that it forces league rankings and identities to become a non-factor.

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Jets vs. Jaguars prediction

  • New York Jets 26, Jacksonville Jaguars 18

In a bit of a shocker, I’ll take the New York Jets in a 26-18 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Expect Braxton Berrios and Keelan Cole to have big games, along with Michael Carter on the ground.

It’ll be tough for Zach Wilson, as he’ll be dropping back without his two starting guards and perhaps without George Fant (currently questionable to play), but the Jags defense isn’t anything that should worry Mike LaFleur.

There are some who feel as though the Jets should sit their rookie quarterback, courtesy of the exhibition-type feel to the game.


This is football, and this is a kid quarterback that needs confidence. Considering these are the Jaguars, it’s a no-doubter to play the kid if only to give him the chance to right the ship and get rolling a bit at this level.

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