Last Monday night was bittersweet for the Jets as their home opener against Buffalo began with Aaron Rodgers' season-ending injury and ended with Xavier Gipson's game-winning punt-return.
What will it be like in Dallas for the Green & White? More bitter or more sweet?
That will be determined on several fronts.. Can Zach Wilson pick up the Rodgers reins full-time and lead the Jets offense against a tough Cowboys defense that shut out the Giants at MetLife Stadium one night before the Jets beat the Bills? Can the Jets overcome their short week on the road against the Cowboys' longer week at AT&T Stadium? And in the Pokes' home opener, no less?
Most important, can the Jets maximize field position, minimize turnovers, and find a way to a victory, ugly or otherwise, to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2015, thus retaining their at least partial hold on the AFC East lead? A road win would also improve the historical chances of making the playoffs by about a third compared to the odds of NFL teams reaching the postseason after 1-1 starts?
On the personnel front, the Jets will get the delayed 2023 debut of outstanding pass rusher Carl Lawson to add to their pressure package that dropped the Bills' Josh Allen five times and turned him over four times. They also have signed QB Tim Boyle from their practice squad to their active roster to serve as the only backup (besides WR Randall Cobb?) behind Wilson.
See photos the Jets arriving at AT&T Stadium in Dallas for Sunday's matchup vs. the Cowboys.
But they also lose not only Rodgers after he was placed on Injured Reserve on Tuesday, but also K Greg Zuerlein for at least this game. "Greg the Leg," a key contributor to the opening-night win by going 3-for-3 on field goals and 8-for-8 on kickoff touchbacks, will be inactive due to a groin injury suffered in practice that head coach Robert Saleh said is "not serious" but was serious enough to prompt the Jets to explore kicking options for this game.
The team signed free agent K Austin Seibert, who was Cleveland's fifth-round draft pick out of Oklahoma in 2019 and kicked for the Browns and Bengals in 2019-20 and the Lions in 2021-22. He's a career 80% FG kicker (44-for-55), including going 2-for-6 on kicks of 50-plus yards. His career long is a 53-yarder for the Browns vs. the Bengals in '19 and he had a 52-yarder at Minnesota in '21.
Seibert was signed to the practice squad, elevated for this game, and will kick for the Jets against the Cowboys.
Here is the Jets' seven-man inactive list for today's game:
- K Greg Zuerlein
- WR Jason Brownlee
- RB Israel Abanikanda
- CB Bryce Hall
- LB Zaire Barnes
- T Max Mitchell
- DL Will McDonald IV
This is the Cowboys' seven-player inactive list, which includes injured veteran WR Brandin Cooks, who sat out the week's practices with a knee injury:
- WR Brandin Cooks
- S Donovan Wilson
- QB Trey Lance (emergency 3rd QB)
- CB Noah Igbinoghene
- CB Eric Scott
- G Tyler Smith
- DL Viliami Fehoko