Jets’ NFL-worst offense will face Commanders’ league-worst defense in possible Christmas Eve snoozer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The Washington Commanders are bringing their 32nd-ranked defense to New York to square off against the Jets’ NFL-worst offense.

Something’s got to give, right? Well …

MetLife Stadium could be the site of a Christmas Eve snoozefest Sunday when the Commanders (4-10) — losers of five straight — face the Jets (5-9), who have dropped six of their past seven. Or maybe a surprising slugfest.

It all likely depends on whether the defensively challenged Commanders can stop the Jets’ sluggish offense, which will have Trevor Siemian starting at quarterback since Zach Wilson didn’t clear the concussion protocol.

The Jets managed just 103 total yards in their 30-0 loss last Sunday at Miami. They rank last in the NFL in third down conversion rate (26%) and red zone scoring rate (34.5%), and have scored just 13 touchdowns on offense in 14 games — and only one in the first quarter.

“Yeah, it’s just been tough all year, honestly,” wide receiver Allen Lazard said. “Obviously, we want to go out there and put up a better performance out there. We want to play better as individuals, as a unit, as a group and collectively as a team, but we definitely have fallen far short of the standard.”

Meanwhile, the Commanders allowed 445 yards in their 28-20 loss last Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams. Washington ranks last in the league in yards passing allowed, and has given up at least 400 total yards in seven games — including each of the past three.

“For the back end, it’s just explosives,” Washington cornerback Kendall Fuller said of the secondary. “Honestly, I think we play really good football but we’ll have one or two or three plays, max, that we give up that ultimately explosives lead to points.

“For us on the back end, just being able to play more consistent, doing whatever we can do to just limit those explosives and I think that’ll show more than anything how well we’re actually playing.”


Sam Howell is back as the Commanders’ starting quarterback after getting pulled during the second half of their loss last week at the Rams, despite a strong relief performance by backup Jacoby Brissett.

The organization’s entire focus is on the future and seeing if Howell is the guy.

“What matters is how I play each and every week,” Howell said. “Obviously there’s a lot of questions about what’s going to happen after this year, but I feel like if I’m playing my best football at a consistent rate, then those questions won’t be there.”

Howell has thrown a league-high 15 interceptions on a league-high 535 passes. Coach Ron Rivera said he’d like to see more consistency out of the second-year pro.


Wilson remained in the concussion protocol as of Friday, giving Siemian his first start for the Jets since 2019 during his first stint with the team.

Siemian will be the fourth quarterback to start a game this season for the Jets, joining Wilson (11 games), Aaron Rodgers (one) and Tim Boyle (two). Only one other time has New York started four QBs in a season: in 1989, when Ken O’Brien (12 games), Tony Eason (two), Pat Ryan (one) and Kyle Mackey (one) took turns under center.

“It’ll be nice if I do play to get a full run at it, but it is what it is, it’s a job, it’s the life of a backup quarterback,” the 31-year-old Siemian said earlier in the week. “I’ll be ready to play if they need me, and if not, we’ll go from there.”


Rodgers was aiming to make a Christmas Eve return from a torn left Achilles tendon, completing an improbable comeback.

Instead, the four-time NFL MVP will not play again until next season with the Jets out of playoff contention and the quarterback not fully healthy. Rodgers was activated from injured reserve this week and is part of the 53-man roster so he can continue to practice as part of his ongoing rehabilitation so he can be ready to go to start next season.

“The excitement of everybody coming out of the tunnel on Sept. 11 was real, and it’s unfortunate the way the season panned out,” coach Robert Saleh said. “But with that excitement, we’ll have that excitement again, and the expectation for me, and I’ll speak for everyone around here, is that we win, and I do believe we will.”


Punter Tress Way, one of Washington’s most consistent players for several years, shook off a big hit against Los Angeles after a botched snap and returned with nothing more than neck tightness and some shoulder pain.

Way more than anything else wanted his teammates and family in attendance to know he was OK and assured team doctors he didn’t have a concussion, but that didn’t help in the moment.

“I don’t know how many breaths, physiologically, you have in your body, but all of mine got knocked out,” Way said.

He didn’t appear on the injury report this week and will be fine to play against the Jets on Sunday.


AP Sports Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.



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