FLORHAM PARK — Can the New York Jets find a way to move to 2-0 on a young season?
It hasn’t happened since 2015, and will certainly be hard to see happen after recent events. The injury to Aaron Rodgers has severely crippled New York’s overall look as a roster. Turning to Zach Wilson won’t be an easy task after last season, and with the Dallas Cowboys coming off a dominant 40-0 win in their season opener.
But just because Dallas looked more impressive doesn’t mean they have the better team. Which groups give the Jets more of an advantage? Can Gang Green find a way to pull off a major upset on Sunday?
We go through each position to see which team has the edge in Arlington, Texas.
QB – Cowboys
If Rodgers was playing on Sunday, the Jets would have an edge here. Now, Dak Prescott is the best quarterback on the field against Zach Wilson. Wilson doesn’t need to be better than Prescott though. He just needs to be a serviceable game manager to keep the Jets in the ballgame.
RB – Jets
Tony Pollard is a very good back, but Monday night showed just how good the Jets 1-2 running back punch can be this season. Breece Hall came back in his first game since his ACL injury and averaged over 10 yards a touch. Dalvin Cook wasn’t as successful, but he still had close to 70 total yards of offense.
Until the Cowboys get a serviceable backup that is close to Cook, the Jets will have the edge here.
WR – Cowboys
Garrett Wilson is an awesome receiver. I don’t think he’s quite at CeeDee Lamb’s talent level yet though. With Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup, the Cowboys have a trio of receivers that are simply better than most groups in the league. The Jets are high on their own three-man sets, but it’s just not the same group overall.
TE – Jets
Jeremy Ruckert was the highest-graded blocking tight end in football in Week 1 according to Pro Football Focus and for good reason. The Jets transitioned into a three-tight-end set once Rodgers got hurt and were able to thrive in that look. All three of the team’s tight ends are capable of leading a passing attack and that makes them better than the Cowboys’ group.
O-Line – Jets
This was a hard one to judge. For Dallas, Zack Martin is the best offensive lineman on the field Sunday. However, injuries to Tyler Smith and Tyron Smith leave the group with some question marks. Prescott had the least amount of time to throw on Sunday night according to Next Gen Stats.
Conversely, the Jets O-Line played okay but not as well as Dallas did on Monday night. They were excellent in the run though and to me, that’s enough to give them an overall edge over the Cowboys who have some injuries to deal with.
D-Line – Jets
There is only one team that has close to the level of pass rushers the Jets have and it isn’t the Cowboys. Carl Lawson is expected back on Sunday, and that will leave for some interesting personnel decisions for the coaching staff. Dallas does have their level of strong rushers like Demarcus Lawrence, but they don’t have the depth of dominance the Jets have.
Quinnen Williams is closer to Dallas’ top defender than people realize as well.
LB – Cowboys
Depending on where Micah Parsons is placed, the Cowboys have an edge. Parsons is one of the top three defenders in the NFL to date and he’s still considered a linebacker. Because of that, it doesn’t matter how good Quincy Williams or C.J. Mosley played on Monday, the Cowboys have an edge here.
CB – Jets
This is a very close contest. Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, and Michael Carter II are among the best in football but as are the Trevon Diggs, Stephon Gilmore, and Daron Bland in Dallas The edge, goes to Gardner for his dominant rookie season. Gardner may have struggled in Week 1, but he is still one of the best coverage corners in football. Dallas is more of a turnover-prone defense and that means they are susceptible to the big play. That’s why the Jets have the edge here.
S – Cowboys
Jordan Whitehead’s three-interception game notwithstanding, the Cowboys have a better core at safety. Kearse, Wilson, and Malik Hooker are a better overall trio than the Whitehead, Adams, and Amos group for the Jets.
Special Teams – Jets
Xavier Gipson’s heroics overshadowed what was a strong performance from the Jets special teams groups. Greg Zeurlein was perfect from field goals and Thomas Morstead was serviceable in shifting fields.
On the other side, Dallas has had a kicker problem for the last few years and it doesn’t seem to be going away. The Jets have a clear edge here.
Coach – PUSH
Mike McCarthy’s coaching staff is a lot better than he is. The same cannot be said for Robert Saleh’s staff. When comparing the two groups, it’s hard to see who has the edge. Both defensive coordinators are excellent, both play-callers have a lot to prove, and both headmen have the total respect of their locker room.
It’s safer to simply call this one a draw.
Jets – 6
Cowboys – 4
PUSH – 1
Losing Rodgers is massive in a game like this on Sunday. If he was there, the Jets had a positional edge that could overall be a very good Cowboys team. Now, there are more questions to be asked around the halls of 1 Jets Drive. The team may believe they’re in good hands, but against an NFC juggernaut like the Cowboys, it’ll be extremely hard to walk in on the road and pull off a win.