The holiday spirit may be in the air, but it does not change the fact it has been a rough go of it for the New York Jets of late. New York has not won a game since November, Elijah Moore hit the injury reserved list, and the Seattle Seahawks (being the Jets own their first-round pick) have been getting healthy. All while chaos ensues in Florham Park, New Jersey at the Jets facility.
As teams across sports are dealing with sudden COVID-19 outbreaks, the Jets are no different. New York has 15 players on the 53-man roster on the COVID-19 reserve list, as well as four from the practice squad and Head Coach Robert Saleh. Among the players on the list are starters Alijah Vera Tucker, John Franklin-Myers, Folorunso Fatukasi, and more. Thus, leaving one to wonder… what would make for the perfect Jets Christmas wish list?
The 2021 New York Jets Holiday Wish List
1.) Zach Wilson Beats Trevor Lawrence
Right off of the bat, nothing would bring more holiday joy to Jets nation than to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. For starters, this battle of 3-11 teams has major draft implications, as a win would harm the Jets odds of landing a higher draft pick. Then again, this season has always been about the development of the team, so there is no reason why the Jets shouldn’t be trying to score every drive.
Most notably, this game is going to be the battle of the first two quarterbacks taken in the 2021 NFL Draft – Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. Like Wilson, Lawrence has struggled as a rookie trying to lift a rebuilding team. The only difference is that Lawrence does not have a long-term head coach in place right now. Though, Jacksonville is not dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak New York is at the moment.
Despite being the favorites by one, the Jets are going to face an uphill battle surrounding Wilson with backups on Sunday. Nevertheless, if Michael Carter and company step up, the Jets have a chance to win possibly for the final time this season.
2.) Jets Up in Final Two Weeks
The New York Jets are already eliminated from playoff contention. They also have a legitimate shot at the first overall pick. That does not mean the team should be tanking by any means. It also means the team should try and piece together four quarters of competitive football. Which, for most of the season, has been difficult.
In the final two weeks of the season Gang Green faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home, and travel to Buffalo for the season finale. Both teams are more than likely to have playoff seeding on the line against the Jets, meaning New York will be in for a pair of long games. Nonetheless, it is about showing up and being that pesky non-contender that gives them a run for their money.
3.) Let Quinnen Williams Take Over
In his third season in the NFL, Quinnen Williams has not yet broken their barrier into stardom. Rather, Williams can be categorized as one of the better interior defensive linemen in the pros. Across 14 games, the Alabama product has totaled 50 tackles, six sacks, and 12 quarterback hits. Thus, earning Williams a nod as the third alternate for this year’s Pro Bowl. Except, there is more damage for Williams to do in 2021.
The Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills pass protection has been amongst the middle of the pack this year, and the Jets must take advantage of that. After all, nothing would be better than Quinnen Williams being the first Jet to hit double-digit sacks on the season since Muhammad Wilkerson in 2015.
At the same time, even if Williams does not hit 10+ sacks, he is in line for multiple career highs. One more sack would tie his seven from 2020, and two more quarterback hits tie his mark of 14 last year. Additionally, six more tackles would make for a career-high, after recording 55 a year ago.
4.) Bryce Hall Locks Down Starting Job
One of the few bright spots of the 2021 season, Bryce Hall has been fantastic for the Jets in his second season. In 14 starts, Hall has deflected 13 passes and made 60 tackles as a mainstay in the starting lineup. A former fifth-round pick who slid in the draft due to an ankle injury suffered in college, Hall has become a key piece to the Jets rebuild.
Going into 2022, nothing would be better than to know Hall can be a starting corner. It begins by showing out over the final three weeks against some viable receiving threats. Over the next three weeks, Hall will be challenged by different types of weapons. Marvin Jones Jr. is a reliable veteran, while Laviska Shenault Jr. is an offensive swiss-army-knife. Against the Buccaneers, Hall could be going up against some of the best in the league in Mike Evans and Antonio Brown. Meanwhile, in the season finale, Hall will face Stefon Diggs, whose footwork is incomparable. Even so, if Bryce Hall plays the way he has over the past few weeks, the Jets already have a starter in the secondary for 2022.
5.) Seattle Seahawks Fall Apart
Look, the Seattle Seahawks are a very fun team. Russell Wilson is one of the faces of the league, and he has an elite receiving duo in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. They also have three defensive players who made the Pro Bowl in Bobby Wagner, Quandre Diggs, and old friend Jamal Adams. But injuries, questionable play-calling, and a disproportionate roster have led them to a 5-9 record.
As their first-round pick is in the Jets possession, New York needs the Seahawks to keep losing in order for the selection to remain high. With winnable games coming up against the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, the Jets must hope the Cardinals have something to play for when they meet Seattle in Week 18. Otherwise, the Seattle first-round pick can go from within the top 10 to the late teens-early 20s range real quick.
6.) Looking Long-Term
Oh, how it would be nice to add a Jets Super Bowl victory to the wish list. To get there, one can only wish that the Jets build their defense around their defensive line, C.J. Mosley, and Bryce Hall. Take advantage of the cap space that will be available and strong draft capital (thank you Seattle). Please invest in talent around Zach Wilson, specifically upgrading at tight end and right guard. And one can only pray that somehow, the final three weeks put the Jets in a position to draft a top pass rusher in Kayvon Thibodeaux or Aidan Hutchinson.
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