Week 10 of the NFL season usually still boasts plenty of compelling matchups featuring teams still realistically eyeing the postseason.
When the New York Jets host the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, rest assured this game doesn’t mean much from a playoff perspective. At 3-6 and 3-5 respectively, these two teams are more or less destined to play out the string and, maybe in December, test run some young quarterbacks.
But a football game demands to be played, no matter the stakes, and here are three keys to the matchup.
The right stuff
Gang Green’s run defense, currently fourth in yards per carry, continues to be a source of strength. That will come in handy against Rams running back Todd Gurley.
Last year’s top offensive rookie is not producing the same way this season as teams stack the box and penetrate a porous L.A. offensive line. Sheldon Richardson and the defensive line is well set up for an impressive afternoon.
But don’t take the talented rusher lightly. Coach Jeff Fisher has occasionally utilized the wildcat formation to give Gurley a little more of a head start.
The leagues top two quarterbacks (in interceptions) could face off. Case Keenum (11 INTs) is set to start again for the Rams, but the Jets may not be able to turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick (13 picks) this week if the veteran passer can’t overcome an MCL sprain.
Bryce Petty figures to start if Fitzpatrick can’t go, but either way this came could feature plenty of turnovers. Petty is a wild card, but young quarterbacks with limited first-team practice don’t usually fare well in their first big opportunities.
Rams fans can’t be happy with the way the team’s first season back in SoCal has gone, but the Jets’ campaign seems to be just as bad off the field as on it.
Reports of infighting and tardiness for meetings paint the picture of a team whose head isn’t in the game. Coach Todd Bowles swore to reporters Monday he has control of the locker room, but if not the team’s miserable season won’t be getting any better soon.