The most anticipated New York Jets season opener in years ended with a 22-16 upset victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday night on a walk-off punt return touchdown, but it was as costly a victory as possible. The Jets lost new quarterback and four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers after just four offensive snaps to what is expected to be a season-ending Achilles injury. At DraftKings, the Jets are now +215 to make the playoffs (31.7%), while the SportsLine Projection Model gives them less than a 5% chance.
The Rodgers injury is oddly familiar to the 1999 season opener for the Jets when they were the fourth favorite in Super Bowl odds – this year, they were seventh-favorites. Vinny Testaverde tore his Achilles in that '99 opener and New York finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.
Rodgers unfortunately will make history as his one pass attempt would be the fewest in a season since 1950 when QB starts were first tracked. Former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson will retake the starting job. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 140 yards, a TD and pick in place of Rodgers on Monday.
The Jets had a very conservative gameplan for Wilson, who at least offers more mobility than Rodgers does. Wilson also is the only QB since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to finish last in the NFL in passer rating in back-to-back seasons and has zero career games with three passing touchdowns in 22 starts. The Jets haven't had a 4,000-yard passer since Joe Namath in 1967, the second-longest active drought in the NFL behind Chicago, and that drought seems likely to continue.
New York's updated season win total is over/under 8.5 at DK, with the Under a -155 favorite. The model, meanwhile, has the Jets winning only 5.8 games now compared to 9.6 with Rodgers. The Jets are +600 to win the AFC East (formerly +270), +3000 to win the AFC and +6000 to win the Super Bowl (formerly +1600). The Jets have the longest active playoff appearance drought in NFL (12 seasons).
For Week 2, New York had been +3.5 in Dallas with a total of 45.5 points, but it's now Cowboys -7.5 and 42. Rodgers' teams in Green Bay were 6-12-1 since 2008 when he didn't start. Wilson is 8-14 as a starter, completing 55% of his passes for 182.8 yards per game with 15 TDs and 18 picks, a rating of 70.9.
Should New York go looking for a quarterback, the likes of Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, Cam Newton, Philip Rivers, Colt McCoy and former Jet Joe Flacco are out there in free agency. Like Wentz, Foles was part of the Eagles organization during Jets general manager Joe Douglas' time in Philadelphia. One also imagines Tom Brady will be getting a phone call, but it seems unlikely that the future Hall of Famer would once again come out of retirement.
|NEW YORK JETS||WINS||WIN%||DIVISION||PLAYOFF||CONF||CHAMP|
|w/ Aaron Rodgers||9.6||56.50%||25.10%||59.70%||5.80%||2.20%|
|w/ Zach Wilson||5.8||34.10%||0.90%||4.70%||0.30%||0.10%|
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