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New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys, Week 2 Preview: Hello, Zach Wilson

New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys, Week 2 Preview
New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys, Week 2 Preview (Getty Images)

Zach Wilson takes the ball for the New York Jets

ARLINGTON, TX—Hello, Zach Wilson. We meet yet again.

Just when you thought you were out, he pulls you back in. Perhaps that’s the only theatrical line New York Jets fans can say when thinking about their team’s current quarterback situation.

After all, they were indeed out; Aaron Rodgers had chosen this downtrodden organization and fanbase above all else, and the 2023 NFL season was to be nothing short of glorious. Of course, Rodgers’s Achilles rupture in Week 1’s 22-16 victory over the Buffalo Bills changed this season’s outlook—but there’s no need to dig up the frustrating past.

It’s a new week, which means there’s a new opponent—the Dallas Cowboys. And, of course, there’s a new Jets starting quarterback, Zach Wilson.

New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys, Week 2 Preview
New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys, Week 2 Preview (Getty Images)

Jets at Cowboys game info

  • New York Jets (1-0)
  • Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
  • NFL, Week 2, Sept. 17, 2023, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
  • AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

The 1-0 New York Jets take on the 1-0 Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium for the nationally televised CBS late-game slot on Sunday. That means Jim Nantz (hello, friends) and Tony Romo will be on the call.

After looking tremendous in Week 1 with their alternate 1980s white uniforms, the Jets will go green tops and white pants against the Cowboys in Dallas—courtesy of Jerry Jones’s team usually choosing white at home.

I think it’s safe to confidently say that the 1980s alternate throwbacks should be the permanent uniforms (as soon as possible).

Jets at Cowboys history

  • The Cowboys lead the all-time series 7-5.

The Dallas Cowboys currently lead the all-time series against the New York Jets by a 7-5 count. However, interestingly, New York is currently riding a three-game winning streak.

The last matchup featured Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson taking chunks downfield at MetLife Stadium.

A 24-22 victory in October 2019 saw Darnold throw for 338 yards and two touchdowns for Adam Gase’s squad. Anderson racked up 125 yards and a score on five receptions.

Jets at Cowboys odds (FanDuel Sportsbook)

  • Spread: Jets +8.5 (-105), Cowboys -8.5 (-115)
  • Moneyline: Jets +340, Cowboys -430
  • Over/Under: 38.5 (O: -105, U: -115)

The Jets predictably enter Arlington, TX as a big-time road underdog. FanDuel Sportsbook currently has the Jets as an 8.5-point underdog.

Most of that is due to the Rodgers injury, coupled with the fact that very few in the business have faith in Zach Wilson.

Jets at Cowboys injury report

Other than the Achilles that shook the pro football world, there’s only one notable addition to the Jets injury report.

New York Jets

  • Greg Zuerlein (Out)
  • Breece Hall (Questionable)
  • Duane Brown (Questionable)
  • Mekhi Becton (Questionable)

Jets kicker Greg Zuerlein was downgraded to OUT on Saturday. His recent groin injury forces him out of action, against his former team, which means veteran Austin Seibert will fill in for No. 9 against the Cowboys.

Similar to Week 1, Breece Hall, Duane Brown, and Mekhi Becton are all listed as questionable but are all expected to play.

Dallas Cowboys

  • Tyler Smith (Doubtful)
  • Donovan Wilson (Doubtful)
  • Zack Martin (Questionable)
  • Brandin Cooks (Questionable)

All-world tackle Tyron Smith is also banged up, but he avoided an official injury designation on Friday (with a full participation day).

Jets’ keys to victory

Put Zach Wilson in winning situations

While the conservative final Jets drive in regulation wound up working in the end, the New York Jets simply cannot play that scared if they have playoff designs this season. No matter their overall trust in Zach Wilson, it simply cannot go down that way in today’s high-flying NFL.

Often deploying 13 personnel, Nathaniel Hackett continued to try to set Wilson up with manageable third downs—third and 5, third and 4, etc.—but taking shots ahead of the chains (first and second down) is where Wilson’s confidence will really get going.

Yes, expect a heavy dose of Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook in this one, but Robert Saleh and the Jets have to mix in some first and second-down pass concepts early in the game. Intentionally looking to get Garrett Wilson in space has to be a major priority—with a Cowboys defense eager to crowd the line of scrimmage.

Beat up the Cowboys’ OL

Old friend Chuma Edoga is set to start at left guard, which means Quinnen Williams will have a chance to feast. Although Zack Martin is as good as it gets in this league, the rest of the Dallas offensive line’s worthiness is debatable (at times).

Just as Micah Parsons will be teeing off on the Jets offensive line, the Jets front four must do the same.

Jets at Cowboys prediction

  • New York Jets 20, Dallas Cowboys 23

I have the New York Jets covering but the Dallas Cowboys winning the game. Expect a surprisingly nice start from Zach Wilson, Breece Hall, Dalvin Cook, and the rest of the Jets offense on Sunday.

However, perhaps their conservative nature gets the better of them once they’re up in the first half. In spite of Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, and the rest of the Jets’ elite coverage, Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb will have plenty of shots to rack up the second-half yardage.

The third quarter may be the critical frame in this one—after both teams relied on their scary front four and rushing attack in the first half.

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