If last week’s edition of Thursday Night Football featuring the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t peak your interest, then the Denver Broncos and New York Jets might. No, this isn’t the prettiest looking Thursday night game for the second straight week. Boise State Bronco, Brett Rypien, is scheduled to start for the Broncos on the road.
If you’re a college football fan, you are probably familiar with Rypien. He didn’t have the pedigree of Kellen Moore at Boise State, but is a better pro prospect. I don’t know if that means Rypien is going to turn into an every week starting quarterback. However, a career backup wouldn’t be a bad path for Rypien.
Drew Lock is expected to return for the Broncos against the Chiefs a month from now on October 25. That gives Rypien a golden opportunity to impress. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but enough to show that he can be a reliable backup. If Rypien can do that, there would be nothing wrong with sticking in the NFL as a second option.
Jeff Driskel and Rypien did nothing to impress as a duo last week. Driskel was benched in favor of Rypien, and it was hard to get a read on Rypien in limited play. He did throw an interception, but was accurate with 8 completions on 9 passes. I didn’t care for his arm strength at Boise; however, accuracy wasn’t an issue.
The good news for Rypien and the Broncos is that they get the Jets in Week 4. The Jets are the only team in the NFL that hasn’t had a lead at any point this season. I know they like Sam Darnold, but if Trevor Lawrence is there in the draft, it’d be hard to say no to him. Darnold hasn’t done anything to impress me this season. It could be an ugly game, but this should be close at least. Head below for our free Denver Broncos vs. New York Jets props picks for NFL Week 4 on October 1, 2020.
— NFL (@NFL) October 1, 2020
Sam Darnold Passing Yards
I know that Sam Darnold is getting plenty of blame for the Jets’ stagnant offense, but what’s he got to work with here? Would Trevor Lawrence be doing that much better with Jamison Crowder as one of the only reliable wide receivers? Darnold is working with 37-year-old Frank Gore as his No. 1 option in the backfield right now.
Le’Veon Bell is targeted to return next week, but will not be available tonight. I’m confident that Lawrence has a better professional career than Darnold, but there are a lot of problems on this Jets’ offense in 2020. Patriots’ castoff, Braxton Berrios, led the Jets with 64 yards receiving against the Colts. That shouldn’t be happening.
Crowder was unable to play last week, but he is expected to be back in the offense on Thursday night. That’s a necessity for the Jets. Note that Crowder is listed as questionable, so it’s not a sure thing he’ll be on the field. Chris Hogan is also listed as questionable for the Jets.
With a healthier offense in Week 1, Darnold connected for 21 completions on 35 attempts for 215 yards against the Buffalo Bills. The following week versus the 49ers, Gore led the team in production with 63 yards rushing. Darnold passed for 179 yards and a touchdown. Most of those yards, and the touchdown, came in garbage time on the final drive against a prevent defense.
In his latest performance, Darnold threw for 168 yards with a touchdown and 3 interceptions and the Colts. The Broncos are allowing 277.7 yards per game through the air this season. Look at who they’ve played: the Titans, Steelers, and Buccaneers. Ryan Tannehill, Ben Roethlisberger, and Tom Brady are all more dangerous than Darnold and the Jets. They should be able to hold Darnold down on Thursday night.
Noah Fant Receptions
I cashed a Noah Fant reception prop with ease a couple of weeks ago. The total was much too low and was a success on the first drive of the game. This was in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans, where Fant went for 81 yards and a touchdown on 5 receptions.
I was expecting a breakout season for Fant before the year started, so that was an easy selection. The market has adjusted in the meantime, but I am not going to shy away from Fant.
With Rypien getting his first career start, many people will see that as a negative for Fant, but I see it as a positive, at least when it comes to his targets. Young quarterbacks always like to check down underneath when they don’t feel comfortable trying to needle a pass downfield.
Fant is the ultimate safety valve in the offense for the Broncos. He’s also going to be one of Rypien’s first reads down the field as well. Fant has reliable hands and Rypien will likely feel comfortable with him.
Last week with Driskel and Rypien under center, Fant caught 5 receptions for 46 yards. Only rookie Jerry Jeudy had more yards than Fant in the passing game. Fant has recorded 5, 4, and 5 receptions thus far through three games in 2020. With an inexperienced quarterback under center, look for Rypien to target short passes frequently to his tight end.
Melvin Gordon Receptions
I’m going in the same direction with this prop as I am the Noah Fant reception prop. Rypien is likely going to keep everything simple and underneath. There might be a deep shot here and there to Jerry Jeudy, but I find it improbable that the Broncos are going to make it too complicated for Rypien. Fant and Gordon are likely going to be the focal point of the offense for the Broncos.
Gordon caught 4 receptions for 12 yards against the Buccaneers last week. He was targeted frequently, though the Bucs did an excellent job containing him. Gordon caught 3 receptions for 8 yards in Week 1 and 2 receptions for 14 yards in Week 2. With Driskel and Rypien under center, Gordon received more attention from them compared to when Drew Lock was starting. I see Gordon finishing the night with 4 more receptions. There appears to be some value on the OVER at plus money.