Are Steelers actually fortunate Jets QB Zach Wilson is playing this week?
New York Jets QB Zach Wilson is returning just in time to face the Steelers in Week 4, but could this actually be a good thing for Pittsburgh?
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that New York Jets quarterback, Zach Wilson, is returning to the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday. Wilson has been dealing with a knee injury since the preseason, and this will be his first regular-season action this year. This comes at a crucial time, as both the Steelers and Jets are looking to salvage their 2022 seasons after 1-2 starts.
In Wilson’s stead, it’s been the Joe Flacco show in New York. Obviously, the results have been less than desirable. Flacco’s offense scored just 9 points against the Ravens in Week 1 and 12 points vs the Bengals last week, but he was able to mount an impressive comeback win against the Cleveland Browns in a 31-30 outing.
Meanwhile, the Steelers defense is coming off their worst performance of the 2022 season and their second straight without team MVP and reigning Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt. Mustering up any sort of pressure has been a chore, and with more time for quarterbacks in the pocket, their secondary has been picked apart.
Wilson was drafted to be the future quarterback of the Jets. However, Steelers fans have the right to argue that they would rather face the second-year quarterback this week than a 37-year-old Joe Flacco.
Why facing Wilson is better for the Steelers
When it comes to the ability to extend the play and make magic happen down the field, Zach Wilson is clearly the better option for the Jets. However, these flashes have been few and far between. The fact of the matter is that Wilson really struggled as a rookie, and it stands to reason that he could come out flat after returning from the knee injury in what will be just his 14th NFL game.
The results were not kind to Wilson during his rookie season in 2021. The young quarterback went just 3-10 as a starter while completing 55 percent of his passes for 9 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His 5.3 adjusted yards per attempt was near the bottom of the league, via Pro Football Reference, as was his 69.7 passer rating and dismal 28.2 QBR.
On the other hand, Flacco is an experienced veteran. While he doesn’t offer anything in terms of mobility or the ability to extend the play. He’s a true pocket passer who has still shown poise and accuracy in his old age. Despite not finding much success on the scoreboard, Flacco’s offense has racked up 370 yards per game in the first three weeks — good for 9th in the NFL. It’s hard to imagine Zach Wilson matching that in his first game back.
The New York Jets probably aren’t going to have a great offense against the Steelers, either way, this week, but it’s probably fair to come to the conclusion that Pittsburgh would rather face a rusty 23-year-old coming off a knee injury that has kept him out since the beginning of the preseason than the savvy veteran who just defeated an old division rival in Week 2. This Jets QB change could prove to benefit the Steelers this week in a must-win game.