A key matchup in the Jets Week 16 game against the Jaguars will be between Jacksonville's QB Trevor Lawrence and the Green & White's star CB duo of Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed.
Lawrence spoke highly of the pair leading up to Thursday's prime time battle at MetLife Stadium. Lawrence, the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, has been red-hot with 14 touchdowns and 1 interception in the last 6 games.
"Both of them are playing great and they're really sticky in coverage," Lawrence said., referring to Gardner and Reed. "They don't give up easy stuff. … On the outside, they have the guys to match you up, to play man, to press you, to cover you down the field, all those things. We got a challenge, and those guys are playing great, they're playing with a lot of confidence and they've had a really good year."
Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson shared similar sentiments about Gardner, the No. 4 selection in April's NFL Draft.
"It's the reason why they took him so high, obviously," Pederson said. "You see his length, you see his speed on tape, he is and will be a really good corner in this league. Again, you see why the Jets took him."
Gardner, who leads the NFL with 16 pass defenses, returned the compliment of the second-year QB and Jacksonville's offense, which ranks No. 6 overall.
"They have a pretty good offense," the Cincinnati product said. "…Good quarterback in Trevor Lawrence. They have a lot of good things going on with offensive side of the ball."
The Jets started the season fast in the takeaways department, but have hit a slump.
The Green & White were tied for sixth with 14 takeaways through nine weeks and a 6-3 record. Since the bye, the team is 2-4 and has 1 takeaway, which ranks last in the league since Week 11.
"We have to catch ones that are thrown to us," said head coach Robert Saleh. "Since the bye week, we've had 6 or 8 turnover-worthy passes that were in the palm of our hands and we haven't been able to bring them down. Just keep playing, keep attacking the football. Take punches when we can when they're running, get tighter coverage, create more pressure. The ball will come our way in bunches.
"I think Jim Harbaugh, the head coach at Michigan had a good one. He said it's like an olive jar. You tip it upside down and as soon as you pull out the one olive, they all come out. We just have to get one."
See images of the Jets leading up to Thursday Night Football against the Jaguars.
Bad Weather Expected
The forecast on Thursday calls for rain, something the Jaguars struggled with earlier this season.
Jacksonville lost to Philadelphia on the road in Week 4 in rainy weather as Lawrence threw for 174 yards (his third-lowest total this season), 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, while completing a season-low 47.8% of his passes. The Jags fumbled 5 times and lost 4.
"We understand that we kind of had our own self-inflicted issues in Philly in terms of our ball security," OC Press Taylor said. "That's just something we've been aware of. We've tried to emphasize that. Every single week we've gone in, we've played games where there's expected rain whether that was home games or on the road. That's certainly something we're aware of. We understand that we have to do a better job than we did and we saw that three months ago."
Lawrence added: "As far as just my preparation, you know what to expect as far as it's probably going to rain, it's going to be cold. I think you just approach it like any other week, obviously. Ball security is really important, especially in games like that, it always is. Especially in those conditions, just be smart and work on it this week with some wet ball drill stuff with the wideouts and myself just throwing in those conditions."