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NFL Thursday Night Preview: Yikes!

Week 4 offers an underwhelming matchup of winless teams as the Jets and Broncos battle to claim their first win of the 2020 season.

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ by Matthew D. Britt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

NFL Thursday Night Preview: Yikes!

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Here we are, only two days removed from some pretty ugly television on Tuesday night. Since then, I’ve been looking for something exciting and entertaining to lift my spirits (perhaps the NBA Finals or MLB Playoffs) and make me forget about that debacle. Well – instead, we have the Denver Broncos and New York Jets on Thursday Night Football. Woof.

So Far, So…. Bad

Both of these teams are off to a rough start. Denver has been bitten by the injury bug and, while managing to be competitive for the most part, they’ve just failed to get over the hump to notch one in the win column.

The Jets, on the other hand, have claimed their place as the frontrunner for the first overall pick in next year’s draft. Even worse, there doesn’t seem to be much hope moving forward at the moment.

The Denver Broncos – How They Got Here

The Broncos have caught some tough breaks along the way. The team was less than stellar in Week 1. They managed to hang tough with the Tennessee Titans until Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 25 yard FG with 17 seconds left to hand the Broncos a loss. There were also some significant injury issues, as guys like Von Miller, Phillip Lindsay, and Courtland Sutton each battled ailments.

Week 2 sent them to Pittsburgh, where they quickly lost QB Drew Lock to a shoulder injury. Despite the blow, they once again found themselves in a position to pull out a victory only to come up short, losing 26-21. That brings us to last week, where they welcomed new Tampa Bay Buccaneer Tom Brady to Denver. The Broncos were the only team to have a winning record against Brady, but that changed as the legendary QB left with a 28-10 victory, sending the Broncos to an 0-3 start.

The New York Jets – How They Got Here

If the Broncos have been competitive but unlucky, the Jets are, well, just plain bad. They opened their season in Buffalo and it was ugly. The final score was only 27-17, but that belies just how terrible the Jets looked. They were thoroughly outplayed in every aspect from the opening whistle. Their running game was non-existent and made worse when Le’Veon Bell left with an injury. The wide receivers were ineffectual and Darnold, now in his 3rd season, was making rookie mistakes. His coaching staff didn’t do him any favors either. It was only the first game of a season where there were no preseason games, so there could be a “take it with a grain of salt” argument, but the Jets simply did NOT look good.

This team makes me feel better about being a Giants fan

Would they be able to bounce back at home against the 49ers? It didn’t take long to figure out that the answer would be a resounding NO. Niners RB Raheem Mostert ran for an 80-yard touchdown without so much as being touched on the game’s first offensive snap. It was a harbinger of things to come. Despite the 49ers losing numerous players to injury, Gang Green were still dreadful – losing 31-13 to a depleted San Francisco team that played the entire second half with a lot of backups. But the “hot seat” temperature really started cranking under head coach Adam Gase after last week’s performance in Indianapolis against the Colts.

It’s almost as if the Jets aren’t out to win, but rather to prove their inferiority even more so from week to week. Instead of banding together to, at the very least, prove they can be competitive, the team got utterly embarrassed in a 36-7 drubbing at the hands of the Colts. I looked for positives to take from this game (and honestly, from this season so far), but I just couldn’t find any.

A Change of Fortunes?

So here we are. Thursday Night Football in Week 4 of the 2020 NFL season. A battle between two winless teams. Something’s gotta give, right?

For Denver, they’ll be rolling out a new starting QB as Brett Rypien will start under center. He came in toward the end of last week’s game and acquitted himself well enough to earn the start at MetLife Stadium tonight. Will the offensive weapons at his disposal help him out? Will they lean on the running game to ease the pressure, or will they roll the dice with Rypien, who’s attempted a whopping 9 passes so far (though he did complete 8 of them to be fair).

All of the talk for New York this week has been about their head coach. Speculation has been running rampant that if Adam Gase loses this game, he’ll be out of a job. I suppose we’ll have to just wait and see if that actually comes to pass. Believe it or not, the Jets are actually considered favorites in this matchup (barely), so we’ll see what happens.

Both offenses rank at or near the bottom in the league (Denver is 29th overall while the Jets are dead last). The defenses, while faring a bit better than their offensive counterparts, are still both ranked in the bottom half of the league (Denver is 20th overall, NY is 17th).

All in all – it’s a recipe for a pretty underwhelming game of football tonight. In the end, I think Denver heads home with its first win of the season, and we’ll all be watching to see how much longer Adam Gase is employed.

Final Score: Denver 27 – Jets 14

Joe is an actor who grew up eating, living and breathing sports. He spent many an afternoon on the soccer or baseball field in his youth (and even gave several other sports a shot) before a series of events put him on the path to pursuing a performing career. Subsequently, he's worked almost every other type of job you could imagine while trying to support that endeavor. Whenever he's not working any of those jobs, he can often be found watching, playing or discussing sports in some way. Most of that banter revolves around the Mets, Giants, Rangers or Manchester United. His short term goal is to fully convert his fiance into a rabid sports fan, not someone who leaves the room whenever he turns a game on.

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