Injury-Hit Jets and Broncos Set for War of Attrition

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The New York Jets and Denver Broncos have both had dismal starts to the season as they prepare to square off on Thursday.

New York Jets Frank Gore

The 2020 season has been a disaster thus far for both the New York Jets and Denver Broncos as they prepare to face off at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night.

Both teams are 0-3 heading into Week Four and have been hit hard by injuries, but a win in primetime could provide a ray of light at the end of what must look like a very dark tunnel to the respective franchises.

Which franchise get the wins is hard to work out given their wretched form. The Jets enter the game as one-point favourites and are 25/27 to cover the spread against a Denver side who have really struggled on the road of late.

However, given both teams poor form so far, it might be wise to stay away from the outcome of the match when considering the betting options.

Darnold and Gase Under the Spotlight

For a franchise steeped in misery, even by New York Jets standards, the start to this season has been a tough watch. One-sided losses to the Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts have left head coach Adam Gase clinging to his job by his finger tips.

Gase’s fate won’t be decided by Thursday’s result, according to reports, but he looks certain to be axed at some point this season after a disastrous start to his second year in charge. There’s been plenty wrong with the Gase era in the Big Apple but perhaps his biggest failure during his time in charge of the Jets has been his inability to get the best out of quarterback Sam Darnold.

Gase had a reputation as a quarterback whisperer, which was partly why the Jets hired him to aid Darnold having taken him No.3 overall in the 2018 Draft. However, Darnold’s development has stalled and he has as many interceptions as he does touchdown passes this year.

The pressure is on the 23-year-old to show some signs of life but a receiving core ravaged by injuries hasn’t helped his cause, while he lost his best lineman – rookie Mekhi Becton – to a shoulder issue last week.

The Jets offense is currently one of the worst in the league, ranking last for yards per game and first downs through three weeks. Darnold has only topped 200 passing yards once this year and is 20/23 to have under 226.5 yards on Thursday.

However, they do get their top receiver back this week in Jamison Crowder and although he’s not 100 per cent, he looks set to be Darnold’s main target. He had seven receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown in Week One against Buffalo and is 20/23 to have over 4.5 receptions on Thursday.

Broncos Planning to let it Rypiean

Even with all their injury woe, at least the Jets can call upon their first-choice quarterback, unlike Denver, who will start third-string QB Brett Rypien at MetLife Stadium.

With No.1 Drew Lock out with a shoulder injury and back-up Jeff Driskel having an awful game last Sunday in the 28-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, head coach Vic Fangio turns to the undrafted Rypiean, who completed eight of nine passes last week in his NFL debut after Driskel was benched.

The Broncos are also missing key men at wide receiver and with the inexperienced Rypiean under centre, look for them to try to dominate on the ground. Melvin Gordon is the lead running-back and could be in for a heavy workload.

The ex-LA Charger had a tough outing against the Bucs last week but before then had managed over 70 yards on the ground in his first two starts and is 20/23 to rush for over 62.5 yards against a Jets defence that has struggled to stop the run. Gordon is also 10/11 to score a TD anytime having got in the end zone the last time he faced the Jets.

Points at a Premium

With so many issues on both offences, Thursday’s game is likely to be one for the purists and taking the Under 41 total points at 10/11 looks like a safe choice. Even with both defences being banged up – Denver are missing Vonn Miller, Jurrell Casey and AJ Bouye – it is tough to see how both these teams are going to amass a large amount of points.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Chris is broadcast and written journalist with a wealth of experience, across a number of different sports. As well covering football on the radio, he is a regular online and print contributor on the likes of rugby union, American Football and Formula One.

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