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Jets, with Much on the Line, Face Broncos QB Brett Rypien, not Russell Wilson (Hamstring)

Denver Victory Would Give G&W First 4-Game Win Streak Since '15, First 5-2 Mark & 4-0 Road Start Since '10


The Jets were all set to go Sunday in Denver for the first game in their history matching starting quarterbacks who shared the same last name. Then one of the Wilsons went by the wayside Saturday night.

Zach Wilson will make his fourth start for the hot-hot-hot Jets on the road against the Broncos. But Russell Wilson, who injured his hamstring in the Broncos' Monday night overtime loss at the Chargers and was limited at practice all week, was ruled out of this game Saturday night by head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

The QB matchup will now be Z.Wilson against a couple of QBs whom the Jets are fairly familiar with. The start goes to backup QB Brett Rypien, the nephew of Mark Rypien, Washington's Super Bowl-winning QB in the Nineties, and perhaps more important to this game, a one-game NFL starter whose lone start came in the 2020 Thursday night game at the Jets and produced a 37-28 Broncos victory.

Rypien will be backed up in this game (4:05 p.m., ET kickoff) by another QB the Jets and their fans know in Josh Johnson, who's had two stints in the Jets' QBs room — or three, if you count his preseasons in green and white in 2015 and again in '21, then his stay on last year's practice squad until he was needed out of the bullpen for three regular-season appearances before departing once again.

Rypien had a winning performance on TNF against the Jets but it wasn't without its ups and downs. He completed 19 of 31 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns on the night, with the two TDs going to then-rookie WR Jerry Jeudy and veteran wideout Tim Patrick. Both are still with the Broncos, although only Jeudy will be in uniform Sunday with Patrick sidelined for the season due to a torn ACL.

But also that game, Rypien was under some pressure. He wasn't sacked but was hit five times, including once by current Jets DL John Franklin-Myers. He was also forced into a late intentional grounding penalty by the rush of then-rookie DL Bryce Huff. Quinnen Williams started on the DL and had no pass-rush numbers but was called for two penalties against "Ryp" — a roughing-the-passer and a facemasking.

And the Jets picked Rypien off three times, with CB Pierre Desir coming up with two of the thefts and taking one of them in for a touchdown. The current crop of Jets defenders, led by linemen Williams, Carl Lawson and Franklin-Myers and back-end stalwarts Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Jordan Whitehead and Lamarcus Joyner can't take Rypien and the Denver offense lightly, and if they don't, they could continue their fiery play and big production.

The Jets will also be missing an offensive starter as WR Elijah Moore was a non-injury DNP at practices Thursday and Friday and is inactive Sunday with head coach Robert Saleh designating him inactive. WR Denzel Mims, who had been deactivated for the Jets' first six games, is active.

Despite or perhaps because of the missing starters, both teams need to get winning efforts from all their active players. The Jets, seeking a continuation of their energizing start to the season, could rise to 5-2 with their fourth straight victory and start a season 4-0 on the road both for the first time since 2010.

And the 2-4 Broncos need the home win to stay out of the AFC West basement (should the Raiders beat the Texans at home) and remain in the playoff conversation in the first season of Hackett's HC tenure and of R.Wilson's Orange Crush leadership after being traded from his long-time NFL home in Seattle.

The thin air a mile high at Empower Field could get moisture this afternoon. After some morning rain, gametime weather is expected to be mostly cloudy with temperatures falling from the mid-60s to the mid-50s. More rain is possible and winds could gust to 25 mph. That's a double-edged sword for the two big-leg placekickers, the Jets' Greg Zuerlein and the Broncos' Brandon McManus.

These are the Jets' six inactives for today's game:

  • QB Mike White
  • WR Elijah Moore
  • S Ashtyn Davis
  • CB Bryce Hall
  • DL Jermaine Johnson
  • TE Jeremy Ruckert

And this is the Broncos' six-player inactive list:

  • QB Russell Wilson
  • WR Jalen Virgil
  • S Caden Sterns
  • CB Essang Bassey
  • LB Josey Jewell
  • TE Albert Okwuegbunam

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