No. 2: Defense Takes Step Into Elite Territory
As I mentioned earlier, Sauce Gardner will be roaming the defensive backfield for the next decade at MetLife Stadium. The Cincinnati Bearcat product is already a top defender in the NFL, but he isn’t the only thing making this defense a potentially elite unit.
Entering his fifth season with the Jets, defensive lineman Quinnen Williams is the focal point of the front line. He is a force in the run game and consistently puts pressure on the pocket from the interior. With a mostly unproven collection of pass rushers on the roster, Saleh will look to Williams to eat up attention, freeing up his teammates with one-on-one looks outside.
Veteran C.J. Mosley returns for a fourth season in New York, fresh off a second-team All-Pro selection in 2022. Jordan Whitehead, D.J. Reed, and Al Woods are a few more veterans tasked with getting this unit over the top. Rodgers can carry one side of the football, but the defense must take a leap into elite territory to be in the conversation in February. And I believe it will.