Throughout the season, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg and Randy Lange will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: Which Jets player will shine brightest under the prime time lights vs. Colts?
EA: The Jets' rookie class has really come on of late. Pro Football Focus has LG Alijah Vera-Tucker (Rd. 1, No. 14) graded as their fourth-highest guard in the NFL since Week 5. RB Michael Carter (Rd. 4, No. 107 ) has produced back-to-back games of 100 yards from scrimmage, and his 172 in against Cincinnati was the third-most by a Jets rookie. Nickel corner Michael Carter II (Rd. 5, No. 154) had excellent coverage against the Bengals and is the only rookie DB this season with 3+TFL and 3 +PDs. Carter II ranks third on defense with 36 stops in addition to 3 PDs and 1 FR. Cornerback Brandin Echols (Rd. 6, No. 200) has started all seven games and is sixth on the club with 30 tackles and he's registered 4 PDs. Elijah Moore (Rd. 2, No. 34) flew under the radar this week after grabbing a career-high 6 catches for a personal best 67 yards against the Bengals. I'll go with AVT because as head coach Robert Saleh said, the offensive linemen never get enough love. Saleh added of Vera-Tucker: "For all these guys, the sky is the limit, but he's going to be special." Vera-Tucker has great awareness for a rookie and he's a powerful blocker with really good feet. Plus he's nasty and he's got a marquee matchup Thursday against a strong DT in DeForest Buckner. It's an awesome challenge, but I think he'll meet it head on.
EG: There are a lot of ways to go here, but I think this is when C.J. Mosley reminds the NFL how good a player he is. After playing roughly one game in 2019 and opting out in 2020, Mosley has been out of the NFL spotlight for nearly two seasons. He's been great for the Jets this season, averaging a little more than 9 tackles per game, flying around the field lighter than ever. Now with a chance for the world to see the new and improved version of No. 57, I think he'll play well. I also think this is a chance for all the young players to put their names on the radar. RB Michael Carter is coming off of his best performance, but CB Michael Carter II has been one of the team's best players, let alone rookies. I like his matchup against a Colts WRs corps that won't include T.Y. Hilton (concussion). And while the Colts have an All-Pro LG Quenton Nelson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, the Green & White's rookie LG, has been ascending over the last few weeks. HC Robert Saleh said he has a chance to be "special." Overall, this is a chance for a young team to show the arrow is pointed in the right direction with foundational pieces on both sides of the ball.
RL: I'm going to be real vague and say the Thursday nightlights will shine brightly on someone in the Jets front seven. Coming off their rebound game vs. the Bengals and putting the clamps on Joe Mixon, I can see either C.J. Mosley or Jarrad Davis or both leading the charge against the equally scary Jonathan Taylor, who's No. 2 in rushing yards in the NFL and No. 3 in scrimmage yards. But I could also see a player (or two) rising to the occasion in the D-line. Quinnen Williams had a dynamic sack of Joe Burrow to complete the inspirational early goal-line stand. Shaq Lawson is coming off his pivotal late PD behind the line and interception, something no Jet had done since Kony Ealy in 2017. We've seen flashes from ends John Franklin-Myers and sore-backed Bryce Huff. Could this be game for either or both? All right, I have to make a decision. You can't go wrong with Mosley to lead the run defense and trigger the good things that can happen against QB Carson Wentz in the pass defense.