New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has been cleared to return from a knee injury and start Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Wilson has not played since suffering a meniscus tear and bone bruise in his right knee in the Jets' preseason opener, with veteran QB Joe Flacco stepping in during his absence.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh confirmed Wilson would start ahead of Flacco on Sunday, barring any unforeseen setbacks prior to the game.

"If all goes well this week, absolutely," Saleh said when asked about starting Wilson. "He's very comfortable. He's in a great mental state. Everyone is comfortable with where he's at physically."

Wilson, who was second pick overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, reiterated that he was physically ready.

"I'm 100 per cent, I'm ready to go," Wilson said. "The biggest thing is you haven't played ball in a little bit, you've been trying to replicate as much as possible, so I'm just going to have fun with this process and getting back in and just giving it my best."

Wilson's latest injury was on the same knee that he sprained last season, causing him to miss four games. The Jets quarterback insisted he would not alter his playing style to protect the knee.

"I'm full go. I'm going to play ball how I can," Wilson said. "If somebody comes up, [I'll] make somebody miss, get out on the edge, extend plays when I need to, hang in the pocket. I'm playing exactly how I should be."

In his rookie season, Wilson started 13 games, completing 213 of 383 attempts for 2,334 yards and nine touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He was sacked 44 times.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh is expecting quarterback Zach Wilson to return from injury in next Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Wilson has been sidelined since suffering a meniscus tear and bone bruise in his right knee in their preseason opener, with veteran QB Joe Flacco stepping in during his absence.

Flacco struggled in Sunday's 27-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, coming only seven days after his heroics with two late touchdown passes in a miracle 31-30 win over the Cleveland Browns.

Wilson, who was pick two in the 2021 NFL Draft, is expected to come immediately back in as starting QB when healthy.

"I'm expecting [him back], but until the doctors say so, I'm just going to say he's being evaluated," Saleh told reporters.

Flacco had a poor game with two interceptions, two fumbles and four sacks against the Bengals.

"It's frustrating," Saleh said. "Any time you turn the ball over and you only get one takeaway, obviously you're not going to win the football game."

Fans became increasingly frustrated at Flacco, with boos heard at MetLife Stadium following a few throwaways, while there were chants for back-up QB Mike White to come on.

Saleh insisted he never considered a QB change, while Flacco said he had no time to worry about it.

"Fans want to see you win football games," Flacco said. "You get the frustration, but it was a two-score game.

"If we put one in the end zone there ... we have more important things to worry about than listening to that stuff."

On the quarterback situation, Flacco added: "We'll see. You guys know more than I do. I'm going to keep my head down and keep working, doing all I can for this team in whatever role that may be."

Two weeks down in the NFL and the action has been sensational so far.

Late comebacks were the name of the game last week and Week 3 promises to bring even more excitement.

Sunday sees the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins battle it out to remain undefeated, the Baltimore Ravens will aim to respond to a Week 2 defeat against the New England Patriots, while the Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans fight to pick up a first win of the season.

There's plenty more on the agenda and Stats Perform has used Opta data to preview the action.

Buffalo Bills (2-0) @ Miami Dolphins (2-0)

The Bills travel to Florida having won their past seven games against the Dolphins, outscoring them by better than a two-to-one margin (258-123). That marks Buffalo's longest winning streak against Miami, beating a run of six consecutive victories from 1987 to 1989.

Buffalo have outscored their opponents 72-17 so far this season to stand 2-0, with the +55-point differential their second-best through the first two games of a season. In 1981, they won their opening two matches by a combined score of 66-3 (+63 points).

The Dolphins overcame a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit (35-14) in last week's 42-39 win at Baltimore, marking the sixth time since 1925 that an NFL team has won a game in regulation time after trailing by such a margin in the fourth quarter. The last such comeback win was in 2010, when the Eagles beat the Giants 38-31 in Week 16, having trailed 31-10.

Tua Tagovailoa threw six touchdown passes, including four in the fourth quarter, against the Ravens last week. Since 2001, the only other player to throw four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter of an NFL game was Sage Rosenfels for the Texans against the Titans in Week 7 of the 2007 season, though Houston lost 38-36.

Baltimore Ravens (1-1) @ New England Patriots (1-1)

The Patriots have a 9-2 record against the Ravens in the regular season, the best record by any team against Baltimore in their history – though they have split four postseason matches.

Lamar Jackson became the first player in NFL history to have a 75+ yard passing touchdown and a 75+ rushing touchdown in the same game during last weekend's defeat to the Dolphins.

In week 2, the Patriots beat the Steelers 17-14. Since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000, the Patriots are 42-23 in games decided by three of fewer points, the best such record in the NFL.

Nelson Agholor recorded 110 receiving yards in Week 2, becoming the first Patriot with a 100-yard game since Jakobi Meyers in Week 15, 2020. That brought an end to a 20-game streak without a 100-yard receiver for the Patriots, which was the longest spell in the Belichick era.

Las Vegas Raiders (0-2) @ Tennessee Titans (0-2)

The Raiders have won their past three games on the road against the Titans. The last time the Raiders won four straight road games against a single opponent was a six-game streak against the Chiefs from 2007 to 2012.

An 29-23 overtime loss to the Cardinals in Week 2 came despite them holding a 23-7 lead in the fourth quarter, marking the biggest fourth-quarter blown lead for a loss in franchise history.

The Titans are 0-2 for the first time since 2012 and last started a season 0-3 in 2009. The 41-7 loss to the Bills last week was the largest defeat suffered by the Titans under Mike Vrabel.

Both the Raiders and Titans are 0-2 this season after making the playoffs a season ago. Neither franchise has ever started a season with two defeats and rallied to make the playoffs, while the last NFL teams to do so being the Texans and Seahawks in 2018.


Chicago host the Texans with just 432 offensive yards to their name so far this season, the worst in the NFL and the fewest yards the Bears have gained in the opening two weeks of a campaign since they had 335 net yards at the same stage in 2003.

Patrick Mahomes rallied the Chiefs offence to a 27-24 victory against the Chargers last week, overcoming a 17-7 second-half deficit, and are eyeing a third-straight win this season against the Colts. Since his first NFL season (2018), the Chiefs have more comeback victories after trailing in the second half (17) than any other NFL side.

The Saints travel to Carolina on the back of a 20-10 home defeat to the Buccaneers last week. Dating back to last season, New Orleans have scored 17 or fewer points in five of their past nine games (1-4). When they have scored 18 or more, they stand at 4-0.

The Cincinnati Bengals have plenty to do offensively against the Jets, with Joe Burrow having been sacked 13 times so far this season and thrown four interceptions. The last QB to be sacked that many times while throwing as many picks in the opening two weeks of a season was Danny White of the Cowboys in 1987.

With the Cleveland Browns still reeling from their 31-30 loss to the New York Jets in Week 2, star running back Nick Chubb stepped forward to take his share of the blame for the blown lead.  

Chubb scored a touchdown with 1:55 remaining from 12 yards out, putting the Browns up 30-17. The Jets, however, were out of timeouts, and if Chubb had gone down voluntarily, Cleveland could have knelt to bleed the rest of the clock.  

Instead, Chubb’s third touchdown of the day left the Browns up 13 points, and the Jets pulled off a historic comeback.  

"Yeah, I probably shouldn't have scored right there," Chubb said Tuesday. "Honestly, looking back at it, it cost us the game.  

"A lot of things went wrong, not just one thing. But collectively as a unit, as a team, we could've all done things different. But it's only a problem because we didn't win. So, I probably should've went down."

Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski also took his share of the blame for failing to instruct his players on the appropriate strategy.  

"That's something that's my responsibility to communicate to that huddle," Stefanski said. "Putting yourself up potentially 14 points inside of two minutes, you should close out that game.  

"Yes, I wish I had said that to Nick, and Nick would've done it. But it does not change the fact that we had plenty of opportunities to win that game." 

Among the other factors that led to the Browns’ collapse were a missed PAT after Chubb’s ill-timed touchdown, Cleveland’s defense allowing two touchdowns in the span of a minute and the Jets recovering an onside kick, a play with just a 16.1 per cent success rate last season.   

The loss dropped the Browns to 1-1 on the season. The Pittsburgh Steelers visit Cleveland on Thursday night to kick off Week 3.  

The New York Jets achieved something that had not been managed in 21 years or 2,229 consecutive games with Sunday's come-from-behind 31-30 win over the Cleveland Browns.

The Jets rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final two minutes to win the game. No side had achieved that since the Chicago Bears in 2001, who also did it against the Browns.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh labelled it "something crazy", while quarterback Joe Flacco called it a "wild one".

While a lot went right for the Jets, a lot went wrong for the Browns, with Nick Chubb running in a touchdown to make it 30-17 with 1:55 left, instead of stopping short and retaining possession.

Given the Jets had no timeouts left, the Browns could have kept the ball and run out the clock. Instead, they handed possession over, offering the Jets a chance, which head coach Kevin Stefanski took the blame for.

"That is a scenario where that is on me to communicate that to the huddle," Stefanski said.

"We've done that before. Having said that, we need to close that game out."

The Browns also left wide receiver Corey Davis wide open for Flacco's 66-yard touchdown pass that gave the Jets an avenue back into the game, before the Jets' QB found rookie Garrett Wilson for the winner with 22 seconds left.

"Obviously, guys not on the same page," Stefanski said about the Davis touchdown.

"It was very, very clear what we were doing. We talked about it on the sideline before everybody went out and talked to the entire defense about what they were about to do, which was try and throw it over our head. We can't let that happen.

"We have a young football team, and unfortunately, that youth at times has shown up here, and we have to grow up real fast. I am not going to get into the specifics. When we do not do our job as one person, it is a reflection of the entire defense."

It was a major triumph for the Jets, who shrugged off the disappointment of their opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens despite the absence of starting QB Zach Wilson, with 15-year veteran Flacco flourishing in his stead.

"I don't know where it ranks, but it's up there," Flacco said. "And there were 22 seconds left so as much as you want to freak out and assume you have victory at that point, that's a lot of time. They had a timeout.

"You become a fan at that point, you become very nervous. When you come out on top, it adds to the excitement. It was a wild one, for sure."

The Jets had rookies Wilson and Breece Hall contribute three of their four touchdowns, offering belief for a side that finished the 2021 season with a 4-13 record.

"Those guys don’t blink anyway," Flacco said. "I think a lot of the time you're looking for the outcome to be in our favour before you can say those kinds of things.

"You're obviously not going to say those kinds of things about young guys when we're not winning games. That's why winning is so big, it allows those things to be so big."

Three turnovers in the fourth quarter propelled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 20-10 victory against the New Orleans Saints in a frustrating game for Tom Brady.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion angrily tossed a tablet on the sidelines as both offences struggled to get going, with just a field goal apiece at the end of the third quarter.

A Jamel Dean interception proved to be the turning point though, setting up Brady for an 11-play drive, which was capped off by a 28-yard pass to Breshad Perriman.

Dean struck again in the following drive for the Saints, intercepting Jameis Winston in back-to-back possessions for the Saints and putting the Buccaneers in a solid position on the opposition 29-yard line.

Brady was unable to capitalise, the Buccaneers instead settling on a field goal to extend their lead. The visitors would hold firm despite Michael Thomas giving the Saints hope with a seven-yard touchdown reception.

Having suffered four consecutive regular season losses to the Saints since joining the Buccaneers, Brady's run came to an end, but it was not a vintage performance for the veteran, who completed 18 of 34 attempts for a total of 190 yards.

Tagovailoa shines in comeback victory

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens had a fine start against the Miami Dolphins, Devin Duvernay taking the opening kick-off for a 103-yard return and Jackson having three touchdown passes in the first half, as well as a 79-yard rushing touchdown.

When Jackson completed a 75-yard touchdown pass to Rashod Bateman, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to have 75-yard passing and rushing touchdowns in the same game.

Trailing by 21 points heading into the fourth quarter, Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdown passes to secure a remarkable 42-38 comeback victory – finishing the game with six touchdown passes and 469 yards, completing 36 of 50 attempts.

Jets stun Browns with huge comeback

Victory for the Cleveland Browns at home against the New Yorks Jets would have secured a 2-0 record to start a season for the first time since 1993, and Kevin Stefanski's side looked to be set for a historic win, leading by two scores heading into the final stages.

Nick Chubb had starred with three touchdowns, totalling 87 yards from 17 carries, putting the Browns on the brink, but the Jets responded valiantly to score two touchdowns inside the two-minute warning.

Joe Flacco combined with Corey Davis for a 66-yard touchdown, before the Jets then recovered an onside kick and pulled ahead through a Garrett Wilson touchdown catch to win 31-30.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson returned to the practice field on Wednesday for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee last month.

Wilson, who was injured in the Jets' preseason opener on August 12, did some throwing and took some dropbacks, according to ESPN. The 2021 No. 2 overall pick has yet to be cleared for team drills and isn't expected to return until the team's Week 4 game at the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 2 at the earliest.

Head coach Robert Saleh told reporters veteran Joe Flacco will make a second straight start in Wilson's place when the Jets visit the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Flacco threw for 309 yards in last week's season opener, though the Jets' offense struggled as a whole in a 24-9 home loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The veteran completed 37 of 59 attempts with one interception and one touchdown, a three-yard strike to tight end Tyler Conklin in the game's final minute with the outcome already decided.

Though he admitted Flacco’s performance left room for improvement, Saleh attributed the offense's ineffectiveness to several other factors beyond the quarterback’s control. Jets receivers dropped four passes on the day and there were notable protection issues as Flacco was sacked three times and took nine knockdowns.

"There was a comedy of errors that just led to what looked like a bad performance by [Flacco]," Saleh said. "Now, it wasn't his best performance, but I don't think it was as bad as people think.

"When you look back at the game, when he had a clean pocket, he was very, very efficient. Part of the clean pocket is the offensive line's responsibility to give it to him and for him to just deliver the ball where it needs to and get off of certain reads."

Flacco has now lost all six of his starts with the Jets over the past three seasons, and last week's showing had fans at MetLife Stadium calling for the former Super Bowl MVP to be replaced by backup Mike White throughout the second half.

White made three starts in place of an injured Wilson last season and won the first by throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns against the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals. The 27-year-old had a combined 346 passing yards and four interceptions in losing the other two, however, and opened camp as the Jets' No. 3 quarterback until Wilson's latest injury.

The New York Jets placed starting left tackle Duane Brown on injured reserve on Saturday, keeping him out of the team's first four games of the season at the very least. 

Brown, 37, suffered a shoulder injury in practice on Monday and was held out of team activities for the rest of the week. 

The 15th-year veteran was ruled out for Sunday's season opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Friday, but his injured reserve status opens a roster spot for the Jets. 

Brown's is just the latest injury for a New York team trying to escape the AFC East cellar. 

Brown was signed to a two-year, $22million contract last month after tackle Mekhi Becton was shut down for the season with a fractured right kneecap. 

Jets starting quarterback Zach Wilson will miss at least three games as he recovers from surgery to repair a non-contact knee injury suffered in a preseason game. Joe Flacco will start under center in the meantime. 

Brown was a First-Team All-Pro choice in 2012 and has been selected to five Pro Bowls while playing for the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks. 

The New York Jets entered the week with Zach Wilson "possible" to start the season opener, but those hopes have now been dashed.

Coach Robert Saleh announced on Wednesday that the second-year quarterback would be sidelined until Week 4 at the earliest.

On Monday, Saleh said it was possible Wilson would be on the field against the Baltimore Ravens after he threw some passes and tested his right knee during a workout.

Wilson suffered a bone bruise and torn meniscus in the knee while scrambling in the Jets' preseason opener on August 12.

The 23-year-old had successful arthroscopic surgery four days later, and the original diagnosis was he would be out for two to four weeks.

Saleh, however, is now saying Wilson will be out until at least October 2, when his team face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"We are going to make sure both mind and body are 110 per cent and make sure we do right by him," Saleh told reporters. "And we feel talking to the doctors and everyone, it's going to be that Pittsburgh week.

"After all the information gathering, it's just not worth the risk in terms of getting him out there. There's the knee element, there's the mind element, there's the practice element, there are a whole lot of things other than the knee."

Joe Flacco will feature on Sunday when the Jets host the Ravens. He spent his first 11 NFL seasons with Baltimore and guided the team to a championship in 2012 while being named Super Bowl MVP.

The 37-year-old Flacco is the Ravens' all-time leader in passing yards (38,245) and touchdown throws (212).

"I've been in a bunch of games where guys have played their past teams," Flacco said. "Usually, the emotions are definitely crazy. Guys try to act like they're so cool during the week. I've probably thought about it a tiny bit."

The idea of "any given Sunday" is what makes the NFL so compelling.

Any one team can beat another, and that means at this stage of the season, with the first snap still to be taken, every team can have Super Bowl aspirations.

Sort of.

The Cincinnati Bengals, for example, may have been slightly surprising contenders in 2021, but there remain some teams whose title hopes are so remote as to be non-existent.

For some, this is because they have missed their shot at glory in recent years; for others, the plan is to challenge in seasons to come.

So, this leads us to draw up a preseason tier system, ranking all 32 teams by their Super Bowl windows with the help of Stats Perform AI predictions...

Nowhere near

This is unlikely to be a season to remember for the teams grouped in this category, for a variety of reasons.

The Houston Texans won the AFC South in 2018 and 2019, but the Deshaun Watson saga and two down years have them looking at a rebuild, with the data forecasting just 4.8 wins this year. That at least ranks them ahead of the Atlanta Falcons (3.6 projected wins) and the New York Giants (4.2), while the Texans did gain draft assets in the Watson trade.

The Chicago Bears are the fourth and final team projected to earn fewer than six wins (4.9), with second-year quarterback Justin Fields receiving little help on offense and playing behind an offensive line ranked 31st in pass protection.

Meanwhile, the Washington Commanders rank 31st in terms of skill players – better only than the Falcons – with faith in Carson Wentz long since having diminished. In Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, the Carolina Panthers have two high-draft-pick QBs unlikely to trouble the postseason. The New York Jets are in a similar boat, even if Zach Wilson is still young.

The Detroit Lions might argue they do not deserve to keep such company after a 3-3 finish to last season, but nobody could seriously argue they are title contenders.

Entering contention

If that first group was a mixed bag, so too is the second.

Anyone who has paid any attention to the New England Patriots' preseason would suggest they are very fortunate to be given any hope of success in the near future, but they finished with 10 wins in 2021 – even if that number is projected to shrink to 7.7. Despite a trade for Tyreek Hill, that still ranks the Patriots comfortably ahead of the Miami Dolphins (7.0), although the losing team in their Week 1 meeting will face a long slog of a season.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Philadelphia Eagles are forecast to have 11.9 wins – the second-most in the NFL – after a very strong offseason. But Jalen Hurts, for now, is unproven in the postseason, so Philly fans may have to stay patient.

The San Francisco 49ers are even younger at QB after promoting Trey Lance to a starting role, which explains why the prediction model looks so unfavourably on a team many consider contenders right now. Just 7.1 projected wins speaks to the potentially low floor Lance brings.

NFC West rivals the Arizona Cardinals have to be considered among this group of future hopefuls, with Kyler Murray hugely talented and now committed long term but frustratingly inconsistent, while the Jacksonville Jaguars will hope Trevor Lawrence can follow in the footsteps of the Bengals' Joe Burrow – the number one pick the year before him.

The Los Angeles Chargers, with 9.8 projected wins, have Justin Herbert to lead their charge, while the Cleveland Browns might have been contenders already if not for Watson's suspension, which is enough to limit them to a still strong 9.3-win forecast.

In their prime

The Chargers may have Herbert, but they also have three division rivals who intend to win and intend to win now. Indeed, all four AFC West teams rank in the top half of the league in terms of projected wins, with the Chargers second – behind the Kansas City Chiefs (11.5) and just ahead of the Denver Broncos (9.7) and the Las Vegas Raiders (9.2).

The Chiefs lead the AFC in this regard, although their playoff win over the Buffalo Bills last season came down to a coin flip, and the two are set to be similarly tough to separate this year. Buffalo are down for 11.1 wins.

The two teams coming off a Super Bowl run are of course prominent among the contenders, even if the model has far greater optimism for a Los Angeles Rams repeat than for another Bengals charge. The Rams are backed for a league-leading 12.4 wins and given a 15.3 per cent shot at defending their title, while the Bengals are actually projected to dip below .500 with 8.2 wins.

The Bengals' route to the Super Bowl will be complicated not just by the AFC West and the Bills but also by any return to form for the fit-again Lamar Jackson's Baltimore Ravens, who are counted among nine teams on course for 10 or more wins (10.4).

Also in that group are NFC pair the Dallas Cowboys (11.0) and the Minnesota Vikings (10.9), who may not even be the best teams in their divisions but might be nearing a point when they must seriously challenge or start again, which brings us to...

Last chance saloon

As long as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are the QBs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers, those teams are in with a chance. The question is how long that will remain the case.

Brady is 45, briefly retired this offseason and then missed a chunk of the preseason. Rodgers is 38, has repeatedly been linked with a move away from Green Bay and lost top target Davante Adams ahead of the new season. Still, the Buccaneers rank eighth for projected wins (10.7), with the Packers up in third (11.5).

They are not the only ageing teams in the NFL, however.

The Indianapolis Colts hope they have upgraded in moving from Wentz to Matt Ryan, yet the former MVP is now 37 and last played in the postseason in 2017 – when Wentz's Eagles took the title.

Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill is a little younger at 34, but of greater concern would be Derrick Henry's durability after the injury that limited to eight games last regular season. The Titans need to make the most of any seasons they have left of the superstar running back going at full tilt.

Missed their chance

Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees won Super Bowls with the Seattle Seahawks, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New Orleans Saints respectively, but with all three having now moved on, it is difficult to see those teams plotting a path to the title.

For the Seahawks and the Steelers, this will be their first year without their stalwart QBs, even if things had already gone stale in 2021. Wilson dipped below the .500 mark for a season for the first time in his career, while Pittsburgh were attempting to stay competitive in spite of Roethlisberger rather than because of him.

Still, with both gone – Wilson to Denver and Roethlisberger to retirement – there is a void under center that has not been suitably filled. Seattle also rank 32nd in pass protection, likely leaving Geno Smith hopelessly exposed.

The Saints have had another 12 months to come to terms with Brees' exit, albeit they spent it juggling Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill at QB. Winston's season-ending injury doomed the Saints' hopes of contention last year, and New Orleans' outlook for 9.5 wins with the entertaining but erratic former number one pick is at least far more positive than that of the Seahawks (6.2) or the Steelers (7.0).

Regardless, each of these three teams have provided an example in how not to do succession planning. They all could have won additional honours with their departed veterans and now face long waits for further title tilts.

The New York Jets' season kicks off in six days and coach Robert Saleh is still leaving the door open for Zach Wilson to start the opener.

"Yeah, it's possible," Saleh said on Monday.

Saleh told reporters Wilson threw some passes and tested his right knee during a workout on Monday and a decision will be made in the next few days to see if he will be healthy enough to start on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. 

"We put Zach through a workout today," Saleh said. "Looked good, felt good. We're going to see how the knee responds today and tomorrow, and we'll have an answer for everyone on Wednesday."

Wilson suffered a bone bruise and torn meniscus in his knee while scrambling in the Jets' preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, and the original diagnosis was he would be sidelined for two to four weeks.

That timeline remained the same after the second-year quarterback had successful arthroscopic surgery on August 16 in Los Angeles.

"Everyone heals differently," Saleh said. "Like I said, we'll see what happens tomorrow and all that stuff.

"I almost feel like some of the guidelines that are put on, they're guidelines, but everyone responds differently."

The Jets plan to be cautious with the 23-year-old, who they selected second overall in last year's draft, as they hope he will be the franchise's long-term answer at quarterback.

If he cannot play, Joe Flacco will get the start in Week 1 against his former team.

The new NFL season is right around the corner and, amid the battle for the playoffs and eventual success in the Super Bowl, there's also the fight that nobody wants to admit they may like the idea of.

The team with the worst record in the NFL in the 2022 season will secure the first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft – theoretically allowing the worst teams to pick the best players, continuing a cycle of maintaining competitiveness across the league.

For the past two seasons, that opportunity has fallen to the Jaguars but, while 2022 may not be a fully enjoyable season in Jacksonville, there is at least hope that they can rise off the bottom after two seasons with a combined record of 4-29.

So, if not the Jaguars, then who? Stats Perform has crunched the numbers and given an assessment of four teams who could be in the hunt for the number one pick.

Houston Texans

There are few teams who head into 2022 with such a bleak picture across the entire team and Davis Mills, the quarterback tasked with helming the offense, has weak wide receiver options and an offensive line unable to provide him with much safety.

Last season, Houston were ranked dead last for the total number of first downs (266), and red-zone drives (37), as well as holding the worst yards-per-game average at 278.1 and the highest percentage of three-and-out drives (28.2)

Their first down efficiency, the percentage of first downs picking up four or more yards, was 42.9 per cent, again the worst across the league.

Defensively, things were not much better. When it came to stopping big plays where opponents gained 10 or more yards, the Texans were bottom of the class with 257 given up and allowed the most successful plays in the red zone with 55.9 per cent.

The Texans' opponents averaged 384.4 yards per game in 2021, which was the second-worst tally in the NFL - and Houston also ranked 31st for the average margin of defeat (17.15 pts).

Atlanta Falcons

Having traded away the greatest quarterback in their franchise history in Matt Ryan, the Falcons head into unchartered territory in 2022, but the signs are far from promising.

Marcus Mariota, entering his seventh year in the NFL, has been named as the Falcons' starting quarterback for the forthcoming season ahead of rookie Desmond Ridder, but has enjoyed limited playing time in recent years.

Getting up to speed with the offense will be even harder without Calvin Ridley, handed an indefinite suspension for betting during the 2021 season, though tight end Kyle Pitts and rookie receiver Drake London offer him two physically imposing targets.

Atlanta have also had problems retaining the ball, with the Falcons recording 30 fumbles last season, the most in the NFL - conceding possession on 11 occasions.

Things are worse on defense. In the 2021 season, the Falcons gave up an average of 364.4 yards per game and conceded an average of 27 points per game - the third-worst mark in the NFL behind only the New York Jets (29.6) and the Detroit Lions (27.5). Atlanta's is a talent-poor roster that looks primed to put them in contention for the first pick and a potential shot at a franchise quarterback.

New York Jets

The Jets' situation looks bleak before even diving into the stats, with the franchise 0-6 against division opponents in 2021 and having an overall record of 4-13 last season – only the Jaguars and the Lions held a worse return.

Positive moves were made in the 2022 NFL Draft, New York landing cornerback Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner, wide receiver Garrett Wilson and defensive end Jermaine Johnson in the first round – but getting immediate contributions from all three may be asking too much.

The Jets were comfortably the worst defensive team in the NFL last season, conceding an average of 397.6 yards per game, the highest in the NFL, and 29.6 points per game totalling 504 overall – the most by some distance ahead of the porous Lions (467).

Vulnerabilities were present across the field, with the Jets giving up an average of 138.3 rushing yards per game in 2021, the fourth-highest in the league, and 259.4 receiving yards per game, the third-highest total.

The Jets will be desperate to improve a turnover differential of minus 13. Doing so will be contingent on 2021 second overall pick recovering from his preseason knee injury and staying healthy and avoiding the poor decisions that were prevalent in his rookie year. He threw 11 of the Jets' 20 interceptions last season. 

If Wilson fails to make those strides, the Jets could be debating whether to replace him with one of 2023's top quarterback prospects with the number one pick.

Seattle Seahawks

Losing Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos is a hit likely to send the Seahawks to the NFC cellar, as their 2012 third-round pick was responsible for moments of magic that kept Seattle's head above water in recent years.

The strength of Pete Carroll's defense had defined his reign in Seattle, but the Seahawks have gradually declined to become one of the league's worst teams on that side of the ball. Seattle conceded an average of 379.1 yards per game in 2021 – the fifth-most in the league.

Seattle have particularly struggled defending the pass, giving up 265.5 yards per game through the air in 2021 – putting them behind only the Baltimore Ravens.

Neither of Wilson's replacements have previously shown any indication of elevating an offense to a level to mitigate the defensive struggles as the franchise legend did so often during his storied spell in Seattle.

Indeed, neither Drew Lock nor Geno Smith can be considered capable of filling the void left by the nine-time Pro Bowl QB.

Lock's interception percentage of 2.8 since entering the NFL in 2019 is the ninth-worst in the league in that time. Both Lock (6.54) and Smith (5.88) were among the five worst quarterbacks (min. 50 attempts) by pickable pass percentage last season.

Simply put, the Seahawks do not possess the quarterback play to allow for the defense to be as bad as it is. It's a transition year in Seattle, and the Seahawks could soon be transitioning to Wilson's long-term replacement with the top pick.

New York Jets coach Robert Saleh laid it out bluntly when addressing Zach Wilson's availability for the NFL season-opener against the Baltimore Ravens on September 11. 

In his first public comments since Wilson had successful arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles to repair a torn meniscus, Saleh did not rule out Wilson taking the field against the Ravens.

''If Zach is ready to play, he's going to be the Week 1 starter,'' Saleh said on Thursday. "'If he's not, Joe [Flacco] will. That's no secret." 

Wilson was injured while scrambling in the Jets' preseason opener last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, and the original diagnosis was he would be sidelined for two to four weeks.

The timeline remained the same after the surgery, and his availability will come down to if he is healthy enough to take the field. 

"It's really going to dictate on how he feels and when he's ready to go," Saleh said. "We're going to make sure we do right by him in terms of making sure that he's 100 per cent healthy. Whenever that is, that's when he'll hit the field."

The Jets plan to be cautious with the 23-year-old, who they selected second overall in last year's draft, as they hope he will be the franchise's long-term answer at quarterback. 

When Wilson hurt his knee last Friday, some feared his injury could miss the upcoming season.  However, he has already returned to the team facility after a cross-country flight and eager to get back to work. 

'"Zach flew back last night and he's here today,'" Saleh said. "'He's already walking. He's in really good spirits. And he's champing at the bit to get to rehab."

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson had successful arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to repair the meniscus in his right knee, according to multiple reports.  

Surgeons found no further damage in Wilson’s knee, ESPN reported, keeping intact the initial timeline of a two to four-week recovery.  

The second-year quarterback suffered the injury while scrambling in the Jets' preseason opener last week against the Philadelphia Eagles.  

Wilson made an awkward cut during the seven-yard rush and fell to the turf. Given the non-contact nature of the injury, Jets fans and pundits initially feared a more serious injury, but Wilson may have a chance to start New York's season-opening game against the Baltimore Ravens on September 11.  

If Wilson needs additional time to recover, the Jets will turn to veteran Joe Flacco, who has been with the team since 2020.  

Members of the Jets' offense have voiced their comfort with Flacco filling in when needed. Wide receiver Garrett Wilson, the 10th overall pick in April's draft, said that Flacco throws a "receiver-friendly" ball on Monday.  

"There’s definitely a difference," the rookie receiver told reporters. "It's a lot of experience right there with Flacco. I feel like everything with him, he takes some pace off, puts some pace on the ball. He does a good job of making the passes receiver-friendly. That's the best way I can put it into words.  

"They're pretty easy to catch. Takes some off the ball when you're running a slant route versus an out route, put some zip on it because it's gotta be. Things like that."

Even if Flacco fills in admirably, the franchise knows that Wilson is the quarterback of the future. He will miss valuable repetitions in practice, with the Jets set to hold joint sessions with the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants this preseason.  

“It's a setback in that he's missing an unbelievable opportunity to get these reps in and to play other defenses, especially the Giants who have such an elaborate pressure package system, a pressure system,” first-year coach Robert Saleh said. "But he's got to stay dialled in just like he was last year when he was hurt, learn from his team-mates and try to be involved as much mentally as he can possibly be.  

"The timing of it all is terrible and it sucks, but I think Zach can still have an opportunity to grow from it if he attacks it mentally."

The New York Jets have bolstered their offensive line, officially agreeing to terms with veteran left tackle Duane Brown on Monday.

The two sides reportedly agreed to a two-year deal worth up to $22million last week after right tackle Mekhi Becton sustained a season-ending injury at practice.

Brown earned his fifth Pro Bowl selection last season with the Seattle Seahawks and is expected to start at left tackle with his former Seattle team-mate George Fant moving to the right side.

Fant was projected to start at left tackle this season with Becton on the right side but after the latter's injury, Fant will move to the right side keeping Brown in his familiar spot on the left.

Brown, who turns 37 later this month, has played in every game in three of the past four seasons and missed just four over that span. His 203 career starts – all at left tackle – are the most of any active offensive lineman.

A first-round pick of the Houston Texans in 2008, Brown earned first-team All-Pro honours with the Texans in 2012. He spent nine-plus seasons in Houston before being traded to Seattle during the 2017 campaign following a contract dispute.

The Jets begin the season on September 11 against the Baltimore Ravens and are hopeful of having Zach Wilson at quarterback for the opener.

Wilson suffered a bone bruise and torn meniscus in Friday's preseason opener and is undergoing surgery on Tuesday.

He is expected to be sidelined two to four weeks, but the team will have a better idea of his recovery time after the procedure.

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