Key Matchup: Jets vs Giants – 5 Factors to Monitor in Week 8 of the 2023 NFL Season

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Many people wrote off the Jets’ postseason chances when they lost quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a potentially season-ending injury in the season-opener against the Bills.

However, after dropping to 1-3, the Jets won their last two games heading into the bye week and now have a chance to improve to 4-3 in a winnable game against a 2-5 Giants team.

Here are the biggest stories to watch as the Jets look to move above .500…

Is this a trap game?

It’s been some time since the Jets were a good enough team to overlook an upcoming opponent, but the Giants’ struggles could give them confidence that they might be heading into Monday Night Football against the Chargers with a winning record.

Clearly this is something the coaching staff cannot allow to affect the team’s performance, as this is a critical game against an opponent that has shown signs of life in their past two games. The fact that they are facing their same-stadium rival may benefit the Jets here, as it will add to the importance of the game and hopefully keep everyone focused on the job at hand.

How will Wes Schweitzer cope if forced to start at right guard?

The Jets lost Joe Tippmann to a quad injury in the first half of the Eagles game after the rookie had played well in four starts at right guard. His replacement, Schweitzer, might need to start on Sunday if Tippmann can’t go. Tippmann missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday so it looks highly likely the veteran Schweitzer will be in there.

Although Schweitzer isn’t a household name, he has plenty of starting experience and is also very familiar with the Giants, having spent the past three seasons with their NFC East rivals in Washington. Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams are two of the Giants’ best defensive players, and at least Schweitzer will be familiar with their games.

The Giants had their best game of the season in terms of run defense on Sunday, although that was mostly due to the fact that they led for the entire second half. Prior to Sunday’s game, they had given up at least 120 rushing yards in every game, with the likes of James Conner, Christian McCaffery, and De’Von Achane all having big performances against them.

For the Jets, the need to get the running game going is a constant key. To illustrate the importance of getting Hall going, he has averaged 145 yards from scrimmage in their three wins and only 35 in their three losses. He is also coming off his most productive game of the year as a pass-catcher, as he had 54 yards on five catches against the Eagles. Prior to that, he had just 59 receiving yards in five games.

After both missed the win over the Eagles with concussions, the Jets should get starting cornerbacks Reed and Gardner back for Sunday’s game. Both have played outstanding football over the past year and a half, but – somewhat surprisingly – neither has intercepted a pass in over a year.

If the Jets can get a momentum-changing turnover or two, that will be a good way to take the pressure off Zach Wilson and the offense. Either of them could be a threat to return an interception for a score, too.

Williams has been as disruptive as ever this year on an impressive Jets defense. However, he only had half a sack in the first six games. After signing a big contract extension in the offseason, Williams may start to feel pressure to put up bigger sack numbers after posting 12 in his contract year.

He’s going up against a Giants offensive line that has been in flux all season and lacks elite talent on the interior even when everyone is healthy. The Jets should be able to get Williams into some favorable matchups and will be looking for him to finish off some impact plays in the backfield.

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