The New York Jets are searching for their second consecutive victory as they are set to take on the Indianapolis Colts for what could be an unpredictable contest.
The Jets shocked the football world a week ago when they bested an excellent Cincinnati Bengals team. Backup quarterback Mike White was the (Big) Apple of New York's eye throughout that game, completing 37-of-45 passing attempts for an astounding 405 yards and three touchdowns in the unlikely victory. White will now encounter a difficult and stingy Indianapolis defense. Meanwhile, Frank Reich's well-coached Colts team is attempting to remain afloat in the AFC's ever-competitive race to secure a wild card playoff spot.
The outcome of this contest will have wide-ranging implications on the playoff picture, and the current draft order. Here are three player-versus-player matchups we’re particularly excited to monitor.
MICHAEL CARTER VS. INDIANAPOLIS’ LBS
A rookie fourth-round selection out of North Carolina, fantasy managers and Jets fans alike have been waiting for Carter to break out of his shell. Fortunately for all involved, that happened in a major way against the Bengals last weekend. A dual-threat talent, Carter totaled an astounding 172 yards and a touchdown on a healthy 24 touches.
Carter did the majority of his damage in the passing game, where he secured 9-of-14 targets for 95 receiving yards. With White under center for the second consecutive contest, Carter figures to play yet another massive role in New York's passing offense. Opposing defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus will be highly aware of the threat Carter poses both as a runner and pass-catcher, and may employ one of the best linebackers in all of football in Darius Leonard to help stifle the rookie playmaker.
MICHAEL PITTMAN JR. VS. JETS SECONDARY
Sophomore wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. is breaking out right before our eyes. The Bakersfield, California native has amassed an astonishing 315 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his last four appearances.
On Thursday, he'll encounter an underrated Jets secondary that has yet to allow a single receiver to record 100 receiving yards in a game this season. Largely made up of underappreciated and unheralded cornerbacks, a fifth-round sophomore out of Virginia by the name of Bryce Hall may be the player tasked with holding Pittman in check. Hall has performed admirably in 2021 thus far, allowing receivers to corral just 19 receptions on a healthy 292 coverage snaps, via Pro Football Focus.
Pittman versus Hall may lack the superstar billing we often crave in receiver-vs-cornerback matchups, but both players have been in impressive form as of late and should deliver an entertaining battle.
QUINNEN WILLIAMS VS. QUENTON NELSON
One of the league's most intimidating interior defensive linemen will encounter the best interior offensive linemen when Williams does battle with Nelson. Trench play literally does not get better than this. The third overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, Williams is in the midst of the best season of his young career. Williams has already recorded 4.5 sacks in New York's first seven games and will look to create havoc in Indianapolis' backfield on Thursday night.
Standing in Williams' way will be Nelson, a three-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro that has earned each honor in every single one of his three professional seasons. Toughness will be plentiful on a snap-by-snap basis. The intensity will be at a palpable level whenever these two line up opposite one another.