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New York Jets vs. Houston Texans: Storylines, prediction in the battle for 2022 draft positions

What are the NFL odds, main storylines, and our prediction for this New York Jets vs. Houston Texans matchup?

While this New York Jets vs. Houston Texans matchup does not have playoff implications, it could have a huge effect on where each team is selecting in the 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s take a look at the storylines surrounding this Jets at Texans matchup, the NFL odds, and make a prediction for how it may turn out.

New York Jets vs. Houston Texans Predictions | Top storylines in Week 12

With both teams sitting tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars at the foot of the AFC, the main thing to play for here is pride. With just seven games remaining, each franchise is four games outside of playoff spots. If they have any chance of making the playoffs — spoiler, they do not — they need to be perfect the rest of the way.

However, among the relative hopelessness of both of their seasons, each team has individual storylines that makes this a somewhat intriguing game to have half an eye on Sunday.

The much-anticipated return of Zach Wilson

It has been quite the ride for Zach Wilson since he was injured in Week 7. Initially, the struggles of Mike White in that game had Jets fans hoping Wilson would be back soon. Then, White came out and lit up the Meadowlands in a 34-31 victory over the Bengals. Unfortunately, White crashed back to earth in Week 10 against the Bills, before Joe Flacco started in Week 11.

That has left Jets fans coming full circle to wanting to get the player who should be the face of their franchise back under center. Wilson’s rookie season stats do not make for pretty reading. He has just a 57.5% completion rate, with 4 touchdowns to 9 interceptions.

Even when we look at the advanced numbers, things are not pretty. Pro Football Network’s Offensive Value Metric uses statistics from Next Gen Stats that are under the QB’s control to grade each player for the season. Wilson is currently the fifth-least valuable QB within his environment, according to the metric. However, there is one piece of positive news for New York fans. While Wilson’s OVM grade is not great, it is still better than ex-Jet Sam Darnold’s, the least valuable QB this year.

The next few weeks are very important for Wilson. The season is over as far as the playoffs are concerned, and now it is simply about Wilson developing every week. Will there be bumps in the road? Sure, but the Jets just need to see something from their rookie QB to give them hope that things might be better in 2022.

Tyrod Taylor’s battle for his future continues

Tyrod Taylor’s future in Houston is another storyline to watch for in this contest. The Texans QB is on a one-year contract, but he has a chance to prove he could be a long-term solution. He just needs a strong finish to the season, and he might very well earn an extension to that contract.

Taylor looked impressive through his first two starts before leaving in Week 2 with an injury. In those first two weeks, he completed 31 of 44 passes (70.4%) for 416 yards with 3 touchdowns. He also added a further 55 yards and a rushing score on 5 rush attempts. Then, an injury left him facing extended time on the sidelines.

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There was hope that Taylor could continue his impressive performance when he returned in Week 9 against the Dolphins. However, it was quickly apparent that he might have rushed back a week too early. He threw 3 interceptions while completing just 55.8% of his pass attempts. Fortunately, the Texans had a bye in Week 10 for Taylor to return to full health.

Unfortunately, Week 11 was not much better. Yes, he rushed for 2 TDs and technically got the “win” against the Tennessee Titans. Regardless, Taylor completed just 14 of his 24 pass attempts for 107 passing yards. In the past two weeks, he has averaged just 5.2 yards per pass attempt. The Texans will need to see much more from Taylor to convince them to invest in him past this season.

The battle for the second overall selection

For the front offices of these two teams, there must be contrasting emotions around this game. Of course, the two embattled franchises could really do with a win, but a victory might actually be more detrimental for the future.

Right now, the Texans and Jets are tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars at 2-8. The Jets have the second pick in the draft and the Texans the fourth based on strength of schedule.

A win could see either of these teams drop down into the region of the fifth or sixth pick and put them a win away from second overall. The Lions look locked into the first pick, but some interesting prizes are available with the second selection. Players such as Evan Neal, Derek Stingley Jr., Aidan Hutchinson, or one of the two Ohio State WRs could be in the frame for those selections.

Lose this game, and either team will be in a prime position to essentially have their pick of those options. However, a victory could see them being left at the mercy of four or five other teams’ decisions before they get to select. Winning this game might not be in the best interest of either franchise’s future. Nevertheless, that will not matter in the slightest to the players on the field.

Jets at Texans betting line and game prediction

Much like the majority of fans, the sportsbooks do not really know what to do with this game. The Texans being 2.5-to-3 point favorites is essentially reflective of their home-field advantage. It is difficult to split these two teams on the field, so Vegas has essentially judged them as equals.

The Jets have the marginally better offense, while the Texans have the marginally better defense. However, neither has a significant advantage that makes you feel good about this game. Where the Jets do have an advantage is converting on third down. They are the eighth-best team in the league with a 43% conversion rate. The Texans rank 19th at 38.5%.

Keeping drives alive could be key for the Jets, but turnovers are also a crucial element. Taylor has a 2.7% interception rate, compared to 5% for Wilson. When you have two teams with these two records, it essentially comes down to who can make the fewest mistakes.

If you sat through the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears game, you probably got a glimpse as to how this one will look: two sloppy teams going head to head. The only difference is we may get a few extra points simply because these two defenses are so bad. With all of that said, this game is too close to call either way. You should avoid betting this game at all costs, but if you must, give me the bad team getting points as opposed to the one laying them.

Jets vs. Texans prediction: Texans 23, Jets 23

Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN.

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