Jaguars may have slight edge over Jets amid COVID-19 outbreak

Carlos Sanchez
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t won a game since Week 9 but their Week 16 match might have become a bit easier, as they will be facing a New York Jets team that is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Jets have announced they have placed 14 players and head coach Robert Saleh on the COVID-19/reserve list. While some of them will be back for Sunday’s game, New York won’t be at full strength. Here’s everyone who’s been added to the list, including two rookie starters.

  • Offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker
  • Cornerback Michael Carter
  • Elijah Moore, wide receiver
  • Vyncint Smith, wide receiver
  • Tanzel Smart, cornerback
  • Foley Fatukasi, defensive lineman
  • Justin Hardee, cornerback
  • Hamsah Nasirildeen, linebacker
  • John Franklin-Myers, defensive tackle
  • Sharrod Neasman, safety
  • Jeff Smith, wide receiver
  • Blake Cashman, linebacker
  • Lamar Jackson, cornerback
  • Noah Dawkins, linebacker

As you can see, the list doesn’t include many household names besides Vera-Tucker and Carter. The Jets also announced tight ends coach Ron Middleton will take over head coaching duties Sunday. Travis Etienne is the only Jaguars player that has recently landed on the COVID-19 list. Back in September, Walker Little was placed on the list and during the Summer, edge rusher Josh Allen, safety Daniel Thomas, right guard A.J. Cann, and cornerback C.J. Henderson also spent time there but that’s about it.

The Jaguars still need to show up and play, COVID-19 outbreak or not.

Earlier this week, the Jaguars were a 2-point underdog and the lines haven’t changed much, according to WynnBET. In fact, the Jets are still favored to win by one point. It’s not much, it’s clear that placing such a number of players on the COVID-19 list may be a factor Sunday. Having said that, it’s not a given Jacksonville will beat New York.

In Week 16, the Jags were the favorite and they were playing at home. Furthermore, they were facing the Houston Texans, who had an identical 2-11 record before the game. Nevertheless, they lost 20-10 and they haven’t shown enough in recent weeks to think they would be able to beat a depleted Jets’ team.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the NFL could move the game if the Gang Green keeps presenting cases. Last week, the league had to move three games because of outbreaks. It wouldn’t be shocking to see them do something similar in the upcoming games if more Jets land on the COVID-19 list.

Regardless of the circumstances, the Jaguars need to prepare for Sunday as if the Jets were 100 percent healthy. They have the chance to end the season on a strong note, they can’t put it to waste.

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